So my question is quite simple. Can a society grow and prosper without a currency? Does human greed overtake people's desires?

I myself just have so many mixed feelings on this issue.

I want to hear your thoughts.

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Your premise is flawed. "Does human greed overtake people's desires". Your premise is that currency results in human greed. Some form of currency has been around since the beginning of time - sometimes it was barter by trading goods - but currency drives competition and innovation. Without competition and innovation, societies and economies stagnate. Capitalism is a force of good and a system which entails the greatest number of people to prosper and succeed - but most importantly, takes into account human nature.

Greed is learned and taught by being a "have not" in a society that places a monetary

value on everything. I don't believe his premise is flawed. Just because something has always been around does not mean there are not other ways to have a civilization.

Check this site out:

We have been inside of the same box of thinking because we as a world have been unable to work together because all we ever see are our differences. Money and who has or does not have it, is a major contributing factor to people feeling on the "outside".


If civilization saw the benefit of the needs of the people being met so they could live meaningful lives, the contributions to society would be innumerable. Goods such as , food, shelter, education, would be the rights of everyone, and would have no cost. It is because we believe we have a measure of "freedom" because we have money and can buy things, that we are so blind to what is actually real: we are slaves to the monetary system. We live lives of indentured slavery to the very system we believe represents freedom. The truth is no one is free. We are only free as long as we submit to the rules and laws of where we live and work.

True "freedom" is unattainable as long as we have physical restraints, regardless of whether we can afford to pay for it or not.


You cannot go cold turkey off currency. But, money needs to start to be seen less as something valuable in and of itself. It should be viewed more as a simple medium of exchange. And, yes sadly greed does overtake many people. It is sad that greed has been given veiled virtue status. Capitalism uses greed because it makes people aspire. The accumulation of things should not be the driving force behind actions. The good of all, not the individual should be the goal. Only then could currency be deemed obsolete.

I think this is a big problem with all countries. I've always heard that money is the root of all evil but that's nowhere near the truth. Money is simply a piece of paper. Greed is the source of a lot of the evil attributed to money. There will always be currency unless everything in the world is free and even then greed will lead to strife. People can't help but want what others have. It's a survival trait. Anything bartered for gain becomes currency the moment it is excepted as fair trade. Some tribes use sea shells. How do you get around that one? I say currency is here to stay and what we need is to be more harsh with greed. I heard something like "the greatest among us is judged by how we treat the least among us." If only that were true.

I think all I want to say has been said by other who have replied before me, but I'd still like to give it a go.

Short answer, No.

Unless the community is small, self sufficient & the people rational with everyone contributing and getting enough to get by & having enough free time to do what their heart desires. But as the numbers increase, such a system would start to become unstable.

it could happen that we could have enough resources to satisfy the basic needs of everyone, so that no one has to work, people would still want some form of currency so that they could satisfy their materialistic needs.

So I guess a future where your needs are taken care of & you don't have to work, but most would work, because almost everyone like buying stuff.

Currency is used to give a value to something that everyone in that community or society can understand. It is a measure of the (objective) worth of something. Even if the supply if material was free there is still a value on the time taken to process it – ok robots might settle for WD40. However the currency never has to be only money. It can be a barter system or whatever the involved parties deem as “currency”.

BTW always suspected those trekkies of being damn commies !!

The assumption currency = human greed overtaking people's desires is wrong. Greedy or not, we all need money to meet our basic needs, whether earned or unearned, cash and non. In a very small community. having no currency may make out so long as everyone can barter for what they want. However, if people are not able to get exactly what they want through barter or gift, a medium of exchange (currency) becomes useful. I have studied many utopian experiments that attempted to do away with money, but each swiftly collapsed or instituted currency with another name-coupons, labor notes, credits, etc. Money becomes valuable in itself, whether because of some commodity (e.g. gold, silver) being used or due to legal tender mandating use of a fiat currency-the present system. Currency is necessary to rationally set prices of goods and services, so supply meets demand (all things being equal). No other system has ever surmounted the economic calculation problem. 


Some have mentioned the idea of a post-scarcity economy, in which supply exceeds demand. First of all, potential demand is not finite. While basic necessities may be non-scarce at some point, luxury goods and services will probably never be, absent virtual reality in which everything can be generated. However, either of these scenarios is fraught with potential difficulties. Let us suppose that provision of basic needs (food, clothing, shelter, medicine, etc.) can exceed demand for them and thus every person is simply guaranteed these. First of all, there will have to be some means of distribution, even if not rationed. Thus a "credit" as Star Trek has, which is just another system of currency, although different from that existing currently. Secondly, the provision of luxury or scarce goods. Currency will likely remain necessary to buy these. It may be that a person's "credit" will be enough to cover luxury items to some degree, and if they do not overspend things can be purchased. This could ration scarce items. However, it remains unclear how the credit will be decided in the first place-how do we know what every person needs or wants? Some will undoubtedly need more than others (e.g. those with medical problems vs. in perfect health).


Third, a lack of incentive and idleness. Often people imagine that if basic needs were provided for, problems would go away. For some this is no doubt possible. Overall this is highly questionable. Taking Star Trek as the example, I would guess the post-scarcity economy (replicator) would be coupled by necessity with virtual reality (holo deck) so people who do not have to work have an outlet preventing mass ennui and potential restive anti-social action. One can imagine the administrative elite (Starfleet, Federation government) looking down on those provided for to some degree, and resentment of them from below. So bread and circuses are given to most, while those outstanding individuals will latch onto power that does not derive from material wealth, since this is no longer so much a distinction. There are many kinds of power, and wealth is just one. A managerial class, which exists by necessity in this system, has vast power. In any case probably they would receive more "credits" along with greater access to scarce, luxury goods as rewards. In short, this moneyless utopia sounds great, but it has problems. 

The answer is yes.


The Inca civilization from 1438-1533 was a very successful society that did not use any form of currency


In addition, many of the tribes of North American Indians did not use currency either and they were some of the most successful societies of any time. However, there was plenty of trading of items and food that did occur between people and between tribes. There was a form of currency called Wampum that did at one point become a very important part of American Indian societies. Wampum were sea shells would be used for trading and for buying items and paying for labor.


It seems that it is fair to say, historically at-least, that some form of currency was used by most societies, but primary for trading and buying of goods to sustain life like food and clothes.


I think the need for currency and the overcoming of human greed are two different ideas. It seems we will always need some form of currency.  The question of can we live with material greed is another question. I would like to think we would be able to live like that. I just don't know how or when this will happen. I think of all of the countries of the world, the US and westernized capitalistic systems like ours will have much less of a chance of living this way.

They used crops as a proxy. Whether currency is denominated in bushels of grain, pieces of metal, or colored cotton paper with numbers on them, the idea behind it is the same.

Also, the Incas thrived (past tense), which speaks volumes about the efficiency of that particular system...

Short answer: No.

Slightly longer answer: Currency is an imaginary concept made by humans to ensure that we don't all have to be self sufficient and can trade using a single mean of barter. Instead of having to create a system where everything produced of goods and services need to have a reference price in other goods and services, humans have simplified it. It has nothing to do with greed per se, but rather efficient allocation of resources. Without it, societies cannot prosper.

I refer you to the concept of 'Money Illusion':

In economics, money illusion refers to the tendency of people to think of currency in nominal, rather than real, terms. In other words, the numerical/face value (nominal value) of money is mistaken for its purchasing power (real value). This is false, as modern fiat currencies have no intrinsic value and their real value is derived from their ability to be exchanged for goods and used for payment of taxes.

Grow=The next generation having access to more resources than the previous one.

Prosper=More than 0 minutes free time per day.

That would at least be keeping definitions very simple and workable.


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