Last week I saw the picture below while scrolling through my Facebook feed. Among the dozens of pictures I saw, it stood out to me. Read it closely and think about your own response.
To be clear, I understand the purpose of this thought experiment. It’s intended to help people determine if they are actually passionate about their work, and if they are not, the implication is that they find something they’d be so passionate about they’d do it for free.
That sounds nice and dandy, but it’s nonsense.
If money didn’t exist, you really wouldn’t get up every morning and do what you currently do for living, but not because of a lack of passion, rather because your job wouldn’t exist. In the absence of money most of us are doomed to a miserable existence toiling each day for the bare essentials of life.
This is primarily because (don’t cry, lil collegiate socialists) businesses exist to make a profit..all businesses. If they don’t make a profit, that is, if the money they are taking in doesn’t eclipse their expenses, they go out of business and the jobs they supported disappear.
In a world without money, this incentive to start a business called the ‘profit motive’, wouldn’t exist. If the profit motive doesn’t exist, people don’t start businesses.
Money is a tool of voluntary trade and interaction among individuals seeking mutually beneficial solutions to a myriad of desires and problems. Thus, money is a product of individuals who are producing value for their customers, clients, and beneficiaries.
Historically, as Ayn Rand so literally articulates, “so long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another—their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.” In every society where money is either “eliminated” or made essentially worthless, it’s a nightmare existence. Think of the Weimer Republic in 1923, or think Venezuela right now.
In a world where money doesn’t exist, I have no choice but to infer that the worst of all possible worlds also exists there. I wouldn’t wake up in the morning and work as a marketing consultant, bringing value to small businesses searching for hyper-growth. I would wake up to guns, chains, whips, and orders to follow in the worst situation, and in the best situation, I’d be waking up to forage for every bite to eat, every piece of clothing, each new warm shelter.
The Star Trek economy is a pipedream, resources are scarce. Money is our answer for how to effectively distribute resources to meet demand. Praise be unto money, for your job exists as a direct result of it, and how wonderful that job is when compared to the alternatives.
Money, capitalism, and the profit motive, has resulted in more prosperity in such a small amount of time than any other time in history. In 2016, I’m literally wealthier than J.D. Rockefeller as a result of money and free markets.