Imagine if money were a bridge we built so we could trade more readily with our neighbours.
The bridges have stood up well, for the most part. Sometimes small bit have fallen off, causing people to slip and climb back up, or slip and fall off never to be heard from again. Sometimes the entire bridge collapses with massive losses, and the bridge is slowly rebuilt allowing gradually more traffic through.
But on recent surveys of the bridges there were lots of reports coming back of cracks in the foundations. Since then, some of those bridges with same pattern of cracks in their foundations have collapsed quickly, violently, and tragically. More people are looking at their own bridges, questioning how safe they are, and realising there was some kind of problem.
It used to be that if you had a heavy load to take across the bridge, you’d meet a chap on the bank before you crossed, and this â€˜Banker’ would help you and arrange to carry much of your load. But now even the Bankers are refusing to cross fearing the bridge might collapse beneath them, too.
It seems that the bridges have a fundamental design flaw which makes them completely unsuitable to the modern heavy loads. Or that our modern heavy loads are just way too big for the bridges.
What are we to do? We can lie that the bridges are safe. We can build bigger and bigger bridges. We can spend lots of resources of huge engineering works to give a short term fix.
Or we can build something else. Something that does not have these weaknesses and (importantly) is worth having anyway as a backup. We can build tunnels, use barges and ferries, we can even build dirigibles and float across. It turns out that there are lots of ways to hop from trading place to trading place! Sometimes there is no chasm to cross at all, and it’s just through habit that we’ve built a bridge! We can build roads, and use bicycles! We can walk! We can use trains!
This whole â€œwe must use money as we conceive it now, or elseâ€ stuff is nonsense, and we are just stuck with it through habit. It is failing. It will continue to fail until it is redesigned to reflect the world we live in now, not the world in which it was designed hundreds of years ago, when society, culture, finance, the environment, and finance was all very, very different.
Money is a concept we invented to make our lives easier. It has now become something which makes our lives harder. It is time to reconsider.