Money Shapes Our Culture in More Ways Than You Can Imagine

Doug TjadenDomestic Politics, Economics, Money, Principles0 Comments

Money is the primary subject of what I will write and speak about going forward. Why? There are a host of reasons, not the least of which is that I’ve studied it for over 15 years. A major discovery during that time is that what the world perceives money is and what it should accomplish are grossly distorted.

Case in point. I have a good friend who is literally fighting for his life right now. But it’s for reasons you may not think. Yes, health is involved. But doctors have identified the root cause of his health issues and they are treatable. Insurance is an issue because the remedy for his health problems is outside of what the established medical community understands, and thus insurance won’t pay for it. But that’s another issue and not my point.

No. The issue is that by friend is unable to find anyone near his doctor who will let his wife and him stay with them for a few months while he gets the treatment he needs.  He is 33 years old. Both he and his wife are of good character. So, why is it that they are finding it nearly impossible to find someone to open their home to them?

First of all, lets acknowledge the social issues that have been uncovered as I’ve traveled this journey with them over the last several months.

  • People today are suspicious of strangers. Granted, there are some good reasons for that, however in the case of my friend they are easily overcome with a little research. My friend has people in well respected ministries that will vouch for him and his wife.
  • Local churches are focused on their specific ministry programs and if your need doesn’t fit their mold, they pass. I understand that. However, there is a major problem with networking so that they can refer needs outside their focus to ministries that may be able to help.
  • People are just too busy to help.

And it’s the last issue that brings us to the subject of money.

People assign a value to their time. Today’s monetary system promotes competition in an economy built on consumption. Thus, if your labor does not produce goods and services that make our lives in some way easier, more convenient, or comfortable, it is devalued.

  • You can get paid $10+ per hour to bag groceries.
  • You can get paid $50 per hour to fix cars.
  • You can get paid $100 per hour to tell people how to invest their money.
  • You can get paid $200+ per hour to fix disputes over legal matters.

But how much can you get paid to care for widows and orphans in distress? James tells us that there is little else we can do that is more pure than help those who are among the most helpless in our culture. Yet how does our culture value this kind of labor? Care of widows and orphans is often relegated to our leftover time. Volunteer work usually, and certainly not well compensated for.

Think about that.  I mean really give it some thought.

For a host of reasons both cultural and historical, our monetary system does not value those who care for the poor, hungry, mentally wounded, widows, and orphans. What do people who care for these needs have in common? Their labor is motivated by a heart of human compassion and cooperation. Yet our culture is built upon a monetary system that doesn’t value these functions enough to compensate them adequately for their labor, even though it would vastly improve individual lives and the culture at large. 

Ouch.

I submit that it isn’t entirely the culture’s fault. Our monetary system was designed to feed an industrial age of rapid expansion of plant and equipment. Its design forced competition, not cooperation or certainly compassion. Unfortunately this system’s design, which is in use today, has a fatal flaw that I will talk about in later posts and in my podcast.

Reality is, if we step back and gain a little intellectual curiosity, we will find that money has been designed in the past with the specific purpose of solving many cultural problems. It just takes us understanding that a) it requires a different type of money, and b) technology puts this new type of money at our fingertips.

A monetary system can be designed and implemented that will value the labor of those who would care for our poor, widows, and orphans in a way that would vastly reduce the suffering of those among us. It would not interfere with the needs (or rather “wants”) of our present economy but would supplement it.

Over time, introduction of money that promotes cooperation and compassion would help shift the entire value system of the culture. A new paradigm would emerge where abundance would be defined as decreased poverty in a culture where compassion and cooperation are valued above competition and consumption. We could not even imagine the “quality of life” that would arise in such a world.

Or can we.

That in part will be my objective. I want to help you envision a day when people like my friend don’t have to wonder if they are going to live because nobody will open their home to them due to being too busy or financially strapped. Instead, reaching out and caring for those in need will be honored and a natural part of our culture. And yes – the type of money we use can bring that world closer to reality.

That’s something I think we can all get excited about.

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