Deforestation in a Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington State, USA
What exactly is money and why is it important? Is it actually important.
What is the difference between commodity money, flat money, credit money and money supply?
A few evenings ago, we had a really fantastic conversation with DS1, who asked questions about money, onto economics, politics, plundering, and finally onto resources and global markets. A little overwhelming I have to say but one thing just led to another and in between the conversation in which we tried to make sense of it all, we felt a bit overwhelmed, by its importance in our lives and how we had got there.
How did it get this way?
Who has told us about money and how do we educate the next generation about resources, how precious they are and the likelihood of greed and erosion of those resources. How do you tell a 13 year old starting to make sense of the world what a mess it is in, and which role we have played in it, how do you look your child in the eye and claim ignorance. After 2 hours of interesting and challenging , uncomfortable debate I had to admit to myself that I had not always been responsible with money and resources and that I was trying very hard to make changes.
Just because you can does not mean to say that you have to....a phrase I heard about eating meat but it can apply to anything we consider doing. Just because you can go out and buy something does not mean that you have to. And whatever you buy as a commodity, will have a price, not only in monetary terms, but has an impact on a global scale. Once you understand that, that you do not live in isolation and are part of a community, then you can feel a certain repsonsibility for it. We adults reflected on the fact that when we worked in the service industry, we had relationships with buyers and sellers, we had conversations and were quite open about the impacts of our decisions. Now, we have moved from an organic, holistic way of doing business to a mechanic, virtual, robotic way which ressembles closer to plundering than respectfully exchanging sums of money in fair terms for the goods we receive. We may be able to order online for our items, but we have lost the wonder and the connection with how, why and who made it. With that we have lost a sense of responsibility and the value of the items and their relationship with money.
Having explained about the acts of plundering in history to my son, I became acutely aware that that is in fact what we are doing to the earth's resources.....we are plundering violently the best we can, we have lost a whole generation of skills and sense and although the past is exactly that, the future is full of opportunities.
Instead of discounting what surrounds us, we are trying to open our eyes and find ways to use what is in our vicinity. The wonderful peacock butterfly would not be able to exist in my garden without some presence of nettles, and nettles would not be available to make soup out of in the beginning of spring. When I look at my surroundings in these terms, I realise that I have not even begun to explore what grows in my area and how it can best be used.
More and more these days I find myself pondering how to reconcile my net income with my gross habits."