Wealth, Value and the Altruistic Economy
Updated: May 25
Welcome to key 9. Obviously, I am a layman and not an economist. For this post, I can only offer my thoughts and observations on this topic from a spiritual perspective. In fact, our perspectives play a huge role in this topic. Think about it... there was a time when what was considered wealth is now all but obsolete. What we consider wealth today as a civilization is also destined to become obsolete. Our current paper format of money was developed in China during the 7th century and became globally recognized as a convenient means to transfer wealth. Before paper money, heavy and cumbersome coinage was the only currency. When questioned by religious Jews of the time if it was justifiable to pay taxes to the Roman emperor governing Judea/Samaria at that time, Jesus took a coin and asked whose inscription was on it - then replying "give to Cesar what is Cesar's".
Generally speaking, wealth is determined by our societal systems and collective opinion as humans. Like all of these things, wealth is also destined to constant change. This is very obvious when we observe what happens to global economies. Wealth is also directly determined by what we value. For this reason, wealth is often subjective, divisive and unevenly distributed. Is wealth inherently bad ? Not necessarily. Even among neo-spiritual communities, the topic of prosperity and abundance is not only accepted, but embraced. Most spiritual doctrines agree that money is not the root of all evil, but rather, attachment to it is a cause of many evils and suffering. Avatars and spiritual masters throughout the ages have warned about the hoarding of and attachment to wealth rather than warning against wealth itself.
A good analogy is to look at wealth as a party. You acquire a huge banquet, the best food and drink, and a state of the art sound system. Now imagine that you are the only attendee of your own party. Would you enjoy it ? Hardly ! Wealth is meant to share. Wealth is a means to bring intentions and actions to fruition. Wealth should be a means of dignity and opportunities to recipients. Wealth should ideally create more wealth and expand, just like our universe is constantly expanding. Yet, wealth has seemed to do just the opposite in most parts of the world, especially in the Americas. Why is this ? Consider this... people build dams to contain water and benefit from the accumulation of it. Nature defies the dam. Water is meant to flow, or it sits and eventually becomes stagnant. It's a law of nature.
Since I don't intend to create keys / posts that are too political in nature, I purposely refrain from certain topics. That being said, it's worth researching the history of American Capitalism, the U.S Dollar and especially the 'gold standard'. You will find that much of what we value comes into question, and world economies are more interconnected than ever, despite many denying this fact. With the inevitable advent of e-currency (electronic currency) and the global economy, it will be necessary for human civilization to embrace economies that are altruistic. By definition, altruism means "the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others". Perhaps this seems somewhat utopian, but by now, many of us now understand it as a necessary evolution of economics. Unfortunately, an altruistic economy would require regulation, and the most staunch defenders of Capitalism refuse to acknowledge regulations as beneficial. In our modern age, unless it's sustainable, it's not attainable ! When Capitalism no longer benefits 99% of its population, it is no longer sustainable. Values change, economies change, and wealth must change. Although stock markets and investors in modern times are always trying to predict the direction of the economy, Lao Tzu - one of the wisest men to ever walk the planet - once said, "Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge." So, what's in your wallet ? Wait, do we even need wallets anymore ?!