When we give legitimacy to money (by using it, accepting it as payment, etc.), we are dispersing our power, sidelining ourselves and handing over authority to all the unfathomable quantities of combined monies that elsewhere exists. Agreeing to be part of the money system is in more than 99% of human cases the agreement to deleverage oneself; it is from the get-go the signaling of an agreement to fractionalize oneself to the betterment of non-reciprocating others. The uncritical educational propaganda says money exists to facilitate trade, when money really exists to facilitate trampling. How many sustainable subsistence economies existed throughout the world before the narrow conception of money/property was introduced—at the point of a sword—to siphon off the inherent non-monetized value that had been previously built in these locales? Money facilitates conquering and victimage at both the macroeconomic and microeconomic levels; it has never been employed to facilitate symbiosis (though some symbiotic tending people may have deluded themselves that money was a positive part of their program). Money grows (and is grown) in the vacuum of a fleeting and absent symbiosis; it parasites on the death of trust, and wedges in between more and more areas of receding life.
If money doesn’t taste like it is this bad of a pill to swallow, it’s because we aren’t the ones who did the original swallowing. Our great great grandparents had to swallow that pill at a creeping dosage, and we are merely born dependent—hopeless junkies looking for a fix, rather than looking to detox. Money is the greatest and grandest Ponzi scheme, extended so much so that the original creators are long gone by the time the game collapses. Because so many different entities are dependent on money, their own epic failures obfuscate money’s prime role by the sheer number of debris that litter the ad hoc graveyards. So what happens then? After a generation, money reenters the equation to rape the next era, mistakes repeating themselves.
So long as the money system remains legitimate by our energy inputs, money that isn’t possessed by us is money that is potentially—and more than likely eventually—wielded against us, if not directly than through the inevitable erosion caused by externalities. Money is internally a zero-sum game; it naturally pits people against one another which some argue allows for a productive competition, which in turn causes an external net benefit: money has been part and parcel of the progress that we’ve seen. But this progress is really just that of money breaking down the natural defenses to the commons (wearing down people, animals, and life to exhaustion and quitting), with more and more natural resources becoming “monetized” and future inhabitability of vast lands put in to jeopardy. The true cost of money is not a zero sum, and it is certainly not a net benefit. The true cost—by which I measure using a core and utterly essential foundation to know where we are truly at—is the level of biodiversity and biomass occurring on Earth. Since the rampant exportation of money economies—what we call European colonialism—that measure is way down; life is dying all around us; life requires symbiotic relationships for a synergistic net gain, yet synergies including organic complexities, are dwindling. Trees are much more easily turned in to money than money is turned in to trees, just as violence more easily gets rid of something than peace recreates it.