Live to Work or Work to Live?
Humans are amazing in so many ways, this is inclusive of their ability to imagine, and their greatest product of imagination in all of humankind’s history is money. Money is just that, a figment of our imagination, if an alien came to our planet, they wouldn’t see a £10 note and idolize it as we do, they would see a piece of paper with an elderly lady printed on it. The first ever currency was created in 600BC which was a coin featuring a roaring lion, the first ever bank note was created in 1661 AD and the dreaded credit card was introduced in 1946. So, we humans have had over 2600 years to implement and modify our beautiful method of trade that we see today, but what does this mean for us now and would it be any different if money didn’t exist?
A lot of people get up and we are at work for 8am…ish and leave work at 5pm 5 days a week, in the winter most people leave their house just as the sun rises and go home in the dark, and what for? Money, people need money to pay the mortgage, buy food, pay for gym memberships, buy clothes, buy cars, pay for fuel to get to work and the list goes on. On average a British person will work 3,507 days in their lifetime according to a survey the independent carried out, that didn’t seem that high to me, but remember this is an average including part time workers and people who can’t or don’t work. What would you do if you didn’t work perhaps you would travel, perhaps take your kids to Disney Land, perhaps just spend time at home with your family and enjoy each other’s company? I don’t think so, all of this cost’s money, and if you’re not working, you do not have money.
The obvious solution to me is get rid of money, if we get rid of money then we don’t need to work, right? Money is horrible, people have killed and been killed, wars have been fought, won and lost for money, but it is unfortunately a necessity, if it didn’t exist surely we would fall into chaos, why would people work to ensure we have electric and water at home? Why would our MP’s go to Government? Why would my local cinema open? If the people that ran these businesses and governments didn’t get paid it is unlikely they will complete their work to a satisfactory standard. Could we live in a trading society, for example “I will ease your door if you provide me with 4 big mac meals with strawberry milkshake”? Possibly we could, but who would set the standards of value? For example, who is to say my easing of your door is worth 4 big mac meals with strawberry milkshakes? And this does not alleviate our constant need to work, it only gets rid of our 2600 year old imagined currency.
Even if we as humans did manage to find a way to create a society in which play comes before work, maybe by focusing on the ever-improving AI, would we really want to? I often reflect on people like Elon Musk and Richard Branson, they really do not need to work anymore, I am sure if they stopped work, they would be able to live a happy life until the end. Why do they then? I think it is unfortunately engrained in us, we have evolved to work, we want to work, we need the satisfaction of good job completed, or perhaps a legacy to leave behind.
Money is evil and necessary, Humans live to work because they want to, I believe these statements to be true. It would be lovely to live in a world where we can share our skills without exerting ourselves to earn pennies, it would be justice to simply burn all the money in the world and close the banks, but without money I believe chaos would rein, it is the lesser evil.