Transitioning to a Moneyless Society: Key Insights from Daniel Schmactenberger

I’ve been a fan of Daniel Schmachtenberger for a long time, and recently came across this video he did which really hits home the issues with our monetary based society and how we can do some work on transitioning to what would be a Post-Scarcity Society (or what I call an Abundance Based Society, ACeS).

I like the idea of Yellow teaming.
If Red Teaming is about it failing (e.g a Pre-mortem) and Blue Teaming is about having it succeed. Then yellow teaming is about analysing what would happen if it does succeed, what are the externalities and problems? That can be done with everything from Facebook and advertising based social media highlighting the most inflammatory posts, to chopping trees down and the damage to the biosphere.

It’s a big watch, so I downloaded the video, extracted the subtitles from what YouTube auto-generated and then asked Claude (Anthropic AI’s equivalent to ChatGPT) to summarise it. I tried ChatGPT as well, but I’m not paying so only have access to Chat GPT 3.5 which doesn’t have a large enough context window and also didn’t accept file uploads like Claude does.

Here is a one page summary of the key points from the discussion:

Summary

  1. Money and capitalism are powerful technologies, but are fundamentally destructive and need to be replaced in the long-term. However, this won’t happen overnight, so we need to use money more responsibly in the meantime.
  2. True value is complex, contextual, and often unquantifiable. Optimizing solely for what we can measure destroys ecology and community. We need wisdom and non-quantitative ways of knowing.
  3. Impact investing often ignores critical externalities. We should do thorough systems analysis, consider unintended consequences, and build portfolios that utilize diverse capital types (government, market, non-profit) to drive change.
  4. Progress narratives tend to be told by the “winners” and ignore harm done to people and planet. Much of what we call progress does not increase fulfillment or sustainability. We should reconnect to nature and indigenous ways of knowing.
  5. Technology cannot solve our problems alone. We need collective intelligence augmented by tech, but centered on developing ecological wholeness, empathy, and care for all people and species.
  6. We can’t fully rationalize the complexity of living systems. But we can contemplate nature, cultivate non-analytic intelligence, and make choices that honor the web of life. Even small steps matter when made with care and awareness.

I also asked it to summarise just the first key point about how “Money and capitalism are powerful technologies, but are fundamentally destructive and need to be replaced in the long-term”:

Money is an incredibly powerful technology that allows us to exchange value easily. However, it incentivizes infinite growth, extraction of resources, and externalization of costs.

Money has no intrinsic value – it only represents exchangeable resources. Yet people optimize solely for accumulating money, not for stewarding real resources sustainably.

Money drives innovation to more efficiently convert natural capital into financial capital. This systematically depletes ecology and community, which are not quantified.

Interest and returns on investment require endless economic growth. But no exponential growth continues forever on a finite planet. Money’s mechanics will drive overshoot and collapse.

Every dollar today relies on destructive practices – mining, deforestation, factory farming, planned obsolescence, etc. The system is backed by military force to secure these violent supply chains.

True costs to communities and planet are not included in prices. So market dynamics destroy shared/natural wealth to accumulate privatized financial wealth.

Capitalism’s incentives lead to concentration of wealth/power, which translates to political influence. This reinforces extraction, as the winners write policy.

While money coordinates activity efficiently today, it is unsuitable for an ecology of life. We must transition to systems that account for living/shared value.

This will be a long journey, but it is necessary for humanity’s future. In the meantime, we must use money consciously, not blindly follow its dictates.

I highly recommend you watch the video.

I have a similar idea for transition as part of my Price of Zero transition plan which I posted back in 2017 and it’s been refined since then as I’m now focusing on the idea of using Mars as a test case for an Abundance Centered Society.

By Michael Kubler

Photographer, cinematographer, web master/coder.

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