VII. Social Implications
The Social Contract
There is a difference between the individual transactions of freely giving and receiving described in the last chapter and the general social contract. Obviously, it is good to “give something back” to society if you have received something from it. It is expected of every citizen to abide by common sense rules and generally be willing to “give and take” on a macro-level.
But remember, just because you generally give back value to society, it doesn’t make sense to quantify that value or apply this symmetry when it comes to the micro-level transactions with individual people.
Respect and Appreciation
Appreciation is the oil that greases the wheels of a moneyless society. There is no limit to what a person can achieve when they feel that they are being appreciated for their work. This means: make sure to sincerely thank the person who is giving you something. In a way, it could be argued that this is a replacement for payment- but the difference here is that there is neither an attempt made at quantifying the value of the transaction, nor creating an equal compensation.
Remember that “no money” doesn’t mean everything is “free”, or that you are allowed to steal things. You must ask permission before taking something, and if granted, show your appreciation by saying ‘thank you’. Again, it helps to imagine yourself in the moneyless situation of a family, or on a space station: if you cook for a group of friends, you don’t expect to be paid, but you do expect to be appreciated and thanked.
The basic rule for land ownership would be: first come, first served. This is similar to finding seats on a train or bus. There is no over-arching authority to tell you who can sit where. You simply have to act like a social human being and come to terms with the people around you.
There is no point in arguing about which ancestors first lived in a particular area, because in reality, there were other ancestors who lived there before you, and others before them.
The process of choosing the land you want to live on is a highly personal, individual process. There are many factors involved, such as the landscape, the climate, and proximity to friends. If you find an area you like, and you can set up your abode there without disturbing or displacing the already present flora and fauna, ideally, perhaps even harmonizing with your environment, then you may do so!
But if that particular house or area of land is already inhabited, you can’t just march in and say “right. I’m buying this from you.” Instead, you must accept the fact that it is already taken, and move on to look for someplace else to live. This is similar to finding someone attractive, but then discovering they already have a partner. “There are always more fish in the sea”, and there is always more area on Earth. No one owns a piece of land forever- we are only picking out temporary seats on a train.
Similar to the limited number of seats in a train, I predict that there is a certain ratio between the number of humans living together and the size of the area, which, if it is surpassed, causes the life quality to decrease for everyone involved. This manifests itself through diminishing size of living space, fewer resources for everyone, and probably a lessened feeling of community and empathy. Through close observation and comparison of established cities whose populations have grown, we must infer the ratio at which the decrease of living quality occurs.
Conversely, there may also be a low limit underneath which other problems occur, such as not enough resources being able to be made, and an increased feeling of loneliness. Especially with regards to the farm, there is probably a threshold of population size that needs to be reached before enough food can be comfortably grown for everyone, while reducing the amount of work for everyone to a minimum level. For example, if there’s only one person living alone, he will have to be outside working all day long just to ensure his survival. But the more people are involved, the less work each individual person needs to do to make sure everyone gets enough food.
If we learn that there is a certain ratio of humans to land that is beneficial for all life involved, then that knowledge should be imparted to everyone. It should be taught in schools, where it would encourage responsible, sensible considerations such as not having too many children, and not moving to a place that is already overcrowded.
Assertion vs. Submission
Those who have the most humility or the least interest will naturally withdraw their insistence and submit to the will of others. Those who are the least humble or have the most need will naturally insist on their decision. This is not something to be forcibly stopped; instead this will strengthen people’s respect and understanding of each other’s needs when they arise.
In real life, there exists no symmetry or equality; some people claim more for themselves, and others are more humble. It is far more desirable to accept this as part of nature than to have these differences ‘equalize’ through the mechanism of blackmail and money.
Leading vs. Following
A common belief is that the best way to create efficiency in an organisation is through the establishment of a monetary hierarchy, (similar to a military hierarchy), and if we abolished money, there would be no more grand inventions like the iPhone or the aeroplane. I would argue that leadership and cooperation without using money is far more effective and harmonious.
In a moneyless situation, it is still very possible for a person to lead a team of workers to create something extraordinary. A person will develop a clear idea of what he wants to do- a vision or a goal. From that point on, if his words and deeds are inspiring and motivating enough, he will find more people to help him fulfill that goal. If people are attracted to his work, they will willingly follow his instructions and require/expect no payment.
It is good to have someone in charge of spearheading a project, as this creates focus and efficiency. But the roles of the leader and the follower are far more powerful and functional if they are assumed willingly and without the blackmail of money. Both graceful leading and humble following are skills, that if performed consciously and intelligently, are the foundation for a fruitful cooperation.