This historical challenge of the virus works like a mirror. The planet reflects on us. It shows us, what we did, when we started to put our stress on it. The animals and plants, other cultures started to either adapt or fear the capitalistic culture, escaped, started to run and hide from the capitalocene. Then, they were extinct or went bankrupt in their existence. Got killed. We feel and experience now, what we did over centuries to other cultures, to other living species.
Sure, we did not do it on purpose (not always). But does the virus do anything on purpose? A virus isn´t even really alive. It´s more dead than alive. And this is what money is, too.
Money goes viral
Look at a coin. A bill. Your numbers on your bank statement. Are those alive? Is there a pumping heart, warm blood anywhere? Is there consciousness? Is there reproduction out of itself? No. Money works like a virus by itself. It needs investments (cells) to reproduce. A virus depends on cells. It can delegate a lot to the host and manage to exist with fewer genes than if it were alone and outside the cell.
The same applies to money and to its even better structures and prepared version: financial capital. The financial markets are often described as highly efficient. Why? Because they outsourced most of their reproduction, their growth to the outside, to host-cells. Money and capital never really reproduced themselves out of themselves, they never really ‘worked’. They always made others work for them. Investments. People. Calculations. Algorithms. Cities. Societies. The planet.
Compounded interests and the need for growth forced us into exponential developments and exploitations of the planet. A growth of our GDP by 4 percent does not sound very much. But adding it up it creates an exponential growth which leads to an economy being doubled in its size after twenty years. Which means amazon selling two times what it does today. It means two times the cars of today in our streets. Two times the products and goods in our houses. Two times the waste. Two times the energy consumption. Is this really realistic?
Innovation will save us, the true believers shout out. Maybe. Maybe not. Instead of going for the source, the driving forces, we aim to weaking the results, the symptoms of the disease.
As we now see and learned from the virus, this kind of behavior or reproduction is devastating for the cell-host. Or for the economy. The system of the host is not just breaking down because of the virus. It is breaking down, because the system cannot deal with the effects of the virus anymore.
There is fever (fires in rain forests), organs cannot work properly anymore (dying coral reefs). There are problems to breath (air pollution). The body lacks oxygen. And so on and so on. Until there is a total breakdown.
If the person makes it into a hospital there are many treatments, ways of helping to supply the body artificially with what it needs. This happens now also on a bigger scale. The virus did not just infected single bodies, it infected our whole system. This is why we pump now artificially money into our infected social body. This is why we lock down parts of our infected social body.
It is exactly what happens on the other side. It´s how the planet now reacts on our attack. It shuts down with less and less water to drink. With dry fields and acres. With less and less resources in the oceans, on land and in the air.
What, if we are not just killing the planet and exploit it, but if the planet also started to lock down. What if the planet also tries to get rid of this species with its very own driver, its RNA, we call money?
There is no such thing like a dollar
A virus cannot overcome itself. It works like it works.
The question is, if we can overcome money. The monetary system, which we created. Or at least how we deal with it, how we constructed it. Therefore we must understand it much better. Recently there is more and more research about money. What is it? How does it work? What will come after money?
Me personally, I do not think that there will be a world after money until we really understand, what money is. And we didn´t so far. How much are we part of the artifact, the thing, we call money? And how much is the development of money in the past hundred maybe even thousands of years connected to human culture?
Like with every technology and medium, mankind invented, there is always a co-development, a co-evolution. Even when we think, that the hammer or the knife is something outside of us, which is ‘not human’, we as humans live in a hammer-made and a knife-made world. And this world influences our ways of being and seeing this world. By the end of the day, we live in a totally man-made world. There is no outside anymore. We have a concept of something we call ‘nature’. But what is this? The documentaries we see about it? The fields in the sub-urbans being used for agricultural activities? The artificially grown and constructed woods?
We are the fish swimming in the water, not knowing what water is. And one central element of our water is money. Our whole monetary and financial system. When someone asks us, what money is, we show her our coins, our bills, maybe our credit cards or our smart phones with their payment apps. But those are just tools. Gadgets. Symbols. Not the structure. Not the culture of money.
No one ever saw a dollar. Or a euro. A renminbi yuan. A pound. They just do not exist beyond our imaginations, our fictions – talking and calculating them into existence. We can even go this far to label them as spells. They are our modern alchemy. Creating value out of nothing. A piece of paper of a certain seize and with certain printings on it suddenly has the value of 50 euro.
It took mankind a while to accept that there is money you can make with money. A concept called ´interests´. Because you are not really working with money, but with time. And time was always a mighty tool in the sphere of the gods.
The brutal fictions of others became our truths
The shaman and priests became economist and analysts. Today they have to find good reasons, why they failed in their predictions. It looks like there is no magic involved anymore. There are massive, computer based calculations. Research. There is so called hard science involved. But what are the very basic assumptions of all that? Which assumptions are the foundations of all these calculations, papers, conferences, think tanks and single, very influential experts?
What if this whole system of numbers, structures, processes, accounting standards, rights and laws only seem logical and scientifically right, because our culture forced other cultures to believe into our assumptions, our values and world views? Forced them into acceptance of all the paradoxes build into our monetary system like money created out of debts, debts we need to grow, while the force and push to grow needs more money (to pay off the interests and profits). Surely money becomes a means for itself in such a closed system.
We kept this going with brutal forces, with wars, with the killing and extinction of other civilization which we called primitives. We put money where we want to see the truth, our truth, our story. By installing media and developing media content to push certain world views. Certain stories to tell and explain the world.
Asking again, what money is, the answer seems much more difficult. How does it influence our way of being. Of who we are? How does it influence our psyches, our institutions, our organization, how we do business, and – maybe even more important – how we do all the other things which are not business. How many behaviors and ways of thinking of our everyday lives are influenced by rational calculations, by money?
Try to live one or two weeks in a city of your choice without money. Try to think about your future, your career without having money involved. Think about your family life without money. Think about politics in times of Corona without spending trillions or lacking investments in the health sector.
Try to think about the role of the central banks. Think about their huge influence to the global economy just by putting out some interest rates or by buying bonds for billions and billions of euros and dollars. Try to think about, how this influences our ways of living sustainable. Or not.
Try to think about the technology we use. Just recently we hear so much critics of Silicon Valley and their technology they brought to the rest of the world. But what about being critical about the way investors had spent their money. We have and run the technologies investors wanted to see in the world. Being financed by investor´s criteria. Not by social criteria. Not by ecological criteria. Investor´s criteria are not per se ecological or social. Not at all.
The next criteria for the technologies we use today where markets. Technologies being massively sold on markets are the ones, we own and run today. Markets being guided and constructed by laws looking for profitability, for efficiency and equity. Not for social justice of ecological diversity.
Like hammer and knives created the world we live in and which creates us, money started to create the world we live in hundreds of years ago more and more. It became the force majeure. It became the DNA of our societies.
While we started to manipulate biological DNA and RNA of the human and other species we are blind for the very inner code of our society we run by. But this is the part we must look at. This is at the core of our virus-behavior on this planet. This is the operating system we must change.
Starting with the very simple question: what is money and what does it do to our societies? In a good and in a disastrous way. How can we change it? What kind of power shifts will be necessary? How can we trigger those?
Maybe it should start with a look into the mirror. Let´s face it. Look into the next mirror and ask yourself the questions: what is money for me? Then start the quest this question will guide you to. It will be a journey into the inner sanctum of what makes us human in today´s times and how we experience ourselves on this planet.
We are the money. We are the virus. About to change. Or being extinct, because we destroyed our host. But the planet will recover. After some more centuries in its billions of history.
This monetary system is highly intelligent, a smart predator, including razor-sharp minds to anticipate the next steps of its enemies – the immune system of our social bodies, our societies. An intelligence that helps also to embed and to integrate the critique, the attacks and ‘alternatives’ into its logics of financial wealth extraction and exploitation – until the host is dead.
Right now we try to solve our economies with trillions of central bank money. With trillions of debts from governments.
We try to recover by vaccinating the patient with the virus.