There are many ways a community may exist without cash, but the two most obvious are through communist-inspired sharing, and a cashless society based on bartering. My essay shows the advantages and disadvantages of both. Despite the fact that a cashless society has some advantages, it is my argument that a cashless society is unworkable.
A Cashless Society Based on Communistic Sharing
Communist sharing involves a large government that controls everything from who is allowed to live in a house to who is allowed to use public toilets. In this case, every citizen would get the same amount of resources, freedoms, etc. (Prager, 2017)
Such a form of sharing means that people who contribute nothing are able to receive an equal amount as the people who contribute a lot to our community. The advantage to this is that the vulnerable people in our society are able to have the same quality of life as the healthiest and strongest in our community.
Sharing without merit offers no benefit for trying. Why work a 50-hour week if you can get the same working a 2-hour week? Plus, how resources are shared is difficult since the people in charge of such resources need a reason to share fairly, and they have nothing to lose from sharing unevenly.
Even if work is regulated to try to make sure everybody does the same amount, the truth is that setting equal amounts of work is difficult. Some people make excellent surgeons while others make excellent floor sweepers, so the idea that work may be divided equally is impossible. Also, consider that some jobs take specialist knowledge and so there are fewer people available for such jobs, which means people with specialist knowledge will have to do more work that those without, which encourages people “not” to seek out specialist knowledge or training because the only thing to be gained is more work.
A Cashless Society Based on Bartering
People are not given cash in return for their work, they are given a resource. That person then swaps one resource for another resource until he or she has everything he or she needs. In essence, all resources act as a commodity and as a fiat currency. (O’Dwyer, 2018)
People who contribute the most to the community have access to better resources, which may help them produce more for the community. It may become worthwhile for certain individuals to group up to barter better deals, which creates communities within the larger community. There is the threat that such communities may work for selfish ends, such as how mafia groups do, but there is a fair chance that other groups will challenge selfish groups to restore some form of fair balance to society.
The people with the lowest intelligence and/or the people who are the weakest are likely to be exploited, whereas the strongest and most intelligent are likely to thrive. Weaker people may be bullied into taking a less advantageous deal, and people who are smarter may outwit others so that other people get a less-than-fair deal during bartering session.
Can A Cashless Society Exist?
No, a cashless society cannot exist, which means capitalism is still the best hope for our future. However, time and technology may fix the few problems that capitalism has. For example, people who are severely mentally ill are often unable to find work, and are often mistrusting of the benefits system, which leaves them no way to function in modern society. However, in a world where food and clothing are free because of Star Trek inspired replicators, and where medical technology makes medical treatment very cheap, such a person may live a long time. People would still strive to work hard and earn more so that they may have more, but basic survival needs would be met so that all people would have a fair chance to earn more, produce more, and therefore have more under a capitalist system. (Americanthinker.com, 2018)
There are no workable ways to run a cashless society. We need some sort of marker or tally to determine how each person contributes to the community. Without such a tally or marker, people have no reason to contribute to the community beyond survival, which means as a species we have to stay in the dark ages where survival is the only form of lasting success. This is the reason why even in a capitalist society, it is impossible to take from the rich and give to the poor because as soon as you remove the monetary incentive, there is no reason to contribute to a community for anything other than survival. If people live in a society where there is no chance of large rewards for large efforts, then there is no reason for people to contribute beyond what is needed for their survival.
Americanthinker.com. (2018). The Sinister Side of a Cashless Society. [online] Available at: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/08/the_sinister_side_of_a_cashless_society.html [Accessed 11 Oct. 2018].
O’Dwyer, Rachel (2018). Gloerich, Inte; Lovink, Geert; De Vries, Paricia, eds. MoneyLab, Overcoming the Hype. Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam. p. 151
Prager University. (2017). Why Isn’t Communism as Hated as Nazism?. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUGkKKAogDs [Accessed 11 Oct. 2018].