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March 29, 2004


John Moore

This is good thinking. I know I fall victim to that money trap sometimes, but when I'm doing what I really love the money feels secondary.

I think there's a related pitfall that traps me - which is to fail to charge for some of the things I'm really good at and enthusiastic about. I end up not charging for things that I think are easy... and grumbling about how hard it is to make money!

And by the way, I think your blog is terrific. Always a first read in my Sharpreader. J

Ton Zijlstra

Hi Curt,

I also think we fall into this trap because we fail to see that money is a man-designed system, with its own built in features and parameters. It's not a given, like the sun coming up each day.

Failing to see it as a system, will make it hard to find 'ways around it' in those cases when this system hinders us. I recognize John's problem of sometimes not knowing when to charge. I have the same thing. When does relationship become the vehicle for transaction.

Anyway here is a summary of what money as a system entails:

Our current money system combines value and means of exchange. In other days value was stored in other things, e.g. landownership, not in the money used for exchange.

It's designed to be scarce (money is primarily created out of thin air through banks giving out credit. But the money to cover interest rates isn't created with it and has to come out of the total of issued loans, so by design there is not enough to go around)

It's good for hoarding (because money is also where the value is located, and because it's not designed to lose value when not used)

It's stimulating competition (because of it's scarcity)

It knows inflation (primarily because of issuing by lending: prices have always to be higher to cover interest expenses. Beware that the causality is different here than most economists would have you believe, they paint interest rates as a weapon against inflation, where in fact it is simultaneously it's source)

It's a fiat system, demanding a centralized control

Now in a lot of businesscontexts it makes a lot of sense to have a money system that encourages competition and is useable to hoard value. We have got industrialization because of it. (and of course also exploitation)

In other situations other types of money systems might be better suited.

If the value to be created e.g. is community a money system that encourages competition might not be useable. Then a system where money is created by the transaction itself, and therefore is always in perfect supply, could be much more of use. A lot of LETS-type systems are designed like that, as mutual credit systems. But the cathedral builders of the middle ages are an example as well.

Then there are money-systems created that aim for loyalty, or more to the point, shield a group from the competition in the market where our current money system is at play (air-miles etc. ), money systems aimed to share healthcare burdens for the elderly (like in Japan the Fureai Kippu system) etc. etc.

History also shows us money systems that encouraged transactions, because of it's decrease of value over time (demurrage). Grain based currencies in old Egypt, but also several systems in Europe in the 1930's that popped up during the big depression. (As we've seen in Argentina in the last few years as well). In these systems you gain the most value from your money not by hoarding it, but by quickly spending it.

Most of these alternative systems are actively suppressed by national money systems if they become successfull. As national systems have competition build in, of course every alternative is viewed as competition above a certain threshold. There are exceptions of course. Global companies have build up an international barter network that takes place outside the national currency systems entirely. And the internet is a place where 'global currencies' can be introduced as well.

Seeing money as a system and seeing it's aspects, I find, makes it possible to handle questions around career/rat-races and value and spending of life energy. It especially indentifies quickly why it is that sometimes passions/energy are hindered by everyday cares about money. Thinking abuot the exact aspects of money that cause it in a give situation, also helps identifying the type of solution you would be looking for.




Thanks for sharing that Curt, just a twist on our usual understanding of things can make such a difference in perspective (and passion).

For me, it has been the raising of my kids that has opened my eyes to the value of time. I can't look at money the same when I realize what my search for it is costing them.


Heh heh, you'll be going all pinko-commie like me one of these days :)

Great stuff as usual curt

Avi Solomon

I use Joe Dominguez's tape course:)
There's a whole community of people applying YMOYL steps:
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