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A World Without Money?

Nate Hagens, The Oil Drum
… below the fold is a short thought experiment. Imagine what the world would look like if tomorrow morning we woke up, and all money in the world had disappeared…..

No money. Empty bank accounts. But everything else remains the same….

Let’s take as given there will be general chaos for a period of time, pretty much everywhere. Just-in-time medical prescriptions would be disrupted, dog and cat food supply would stop, and all sorts of other unpleasant trajectories that would accelerate adverse feedbacks to the system. For the benefit of getting worthwhile discussion from this post however, let’s avoid debating whether this temporary anarchy would be a 6 or a 9 on the 1-10 nastiness scale, and look beyond to the eventual order and type of structures that would emerge, be it in 3 days, 3 weeks, or somewhat longer.

With no money, in our pockets or in our banks, financial ‘capital’ would at least temporarily cease to exist. Though it exists now as an abstraction that facilitates commerce and trade, money is really only a marker representing the 4 real categories of capital: built capital (wind turbines, shovels, books, houses, lumber, tools, etc), natural capital (land, animals, trees, riparian zones, ecosystems, fresh air, sunlight, etc.), social capital (friends, trust, networks, communities, family, etc.), and human capital (knowledge, skills, social acumen, experience, etc.). The moment money disappeared, all these ‘real’ forms of capital would instantaneously increase in value, some more than others.
(31 December 2008)

See the Blind Spot, a new documentary

Jan Lundberg, Culture Change
Blind Spot is a critical education for our time. Destined to win awards “if anyone’s listening,” the hour and-a-half documentary tells a clear but most alarming story through profound interviews. They are draped by artful imagery and restrained, saddening music coloring the picture of our planet and species in peril. Everyone should see Blind Spot, even the very well informed.

… The eldest interviewed subjects captured by Blind Spot are Albert Bartlett and William Catton, leading thinkers already assured a place in any list of modern practical thinkers able to capture our essential flaw as a culture. Also on that list near the top would be M. King Hubbert who died in 1989 at age 85.
(25 December 2008)
Jan Lundberg writes:
Our current pitch for year end support includes “Culture Change — the longest running peak oil group.” Makes me kinda feel like an old man when I still feel like a young upstart from the get go.

In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!

Libelle, The Oil Drum
When you use energy, the rules are very well defined. The first and second laws of thermodynamics have been well understood for well over a century, and the third for just over a century, but the subject is still viewed by most as being pretty arcane. This is a pity, both because these laws are of such importance, and because almost everyone has a fair understanding of the first and second laws, even if they think they don’t. Understanding the implications of the laws is another matter.

There are many facetious versions of the laws. The set I like best goes:

(zeroth law) You must play the game.
(first law) You can’t win.
(second law) You can only break even on a very cold day.
(third law) It doesn’t get that cold.

These are surprisingly accurate.

The actual laws are, it should be remembered, experimental in origin. The world has been found to work this way.
(30 December 2008)