By Susana Piohtee
About six months ago I came into contact with some of the people, and thinking, linked to Monetary Reform. It gave me a feeling akin to having finally ‘landed’ on a hospitable island after a long and rough sea voyage with no known destination and several false landings.
Here at last, I could see, were individuals saying very clearly and succinctly what I had been feeling for many years but had found difficulty in articulating; namely that the only acceptable role for money is its ability to enable as many human beings as possible to employ their own God-given energies and skills in ways that are Life enhancing rather than Life threatening – by making grateful, creative and sustainable use of this planet’s abundant and wondrous natural resources.
Though in 1999 I had run a series of interesting but inconclusive workshops entitled ‘What is Good Business?’ in an attempt to get other people thinking about the employment of money within the business world, it was only when I met up with Richard Greaves that I became aware that many other people were attempting to do the same thing.
As I am sure Prosperity readers will recognise, this is a task that requires astute and ingenious manoeuvring if one is not to be perceived as a head-in-the-clouds idealist living in fantasy land – a loving, yet disheartening description of myself once offered by a group of good friends after I had attempted to share my thinking with them. In fact, I am a well-grounded pragmatist, my ‘idealism’ balanced by a high dose of common sense.
In the recent past I practised as a freelance counsellor and trainer, and time and time again was confronted with the admonition: “You should charge more for your services, otherwise people will think you’re no good”. Yet the people I most wanted to work with were those who could not in all reality afford even a small proportion of the average charge for an hour’s counselling. I had no independent source of income, and the route of ‘becoming a charity’ with all its attendant rounds of fund-raising bids has always been alien to me – a stressful time and energy consuming activity that detracts from and can even sabotage the intended core activity. Why oh why, I used to ponder, was it always so difficult to access the money needed to provide any form of beneficial not-for-profit service, and yet so easy to access it for the purposes of making even more money!
What was the point of so much money being ‘created’ if it was not being used to engender a better yet sustainable quality of Life for all? But I found few people able even to comprehend my ‘problem’, never mind support my thinking.
I came to the conclusion that the majority of human beings have fallen under a self-induced spell that causes the loss of the ability to act – a paralysis only reversible by ‘money’ being used to ‘activate’ us – as though we are robots in need of an ignition key to turn us on.
So, when I read, in the December 2000 issue of Prosperity, the message: Where there is a genuine need to be met, the intelligence, physical skill and natural resources available to meet it, then … do something about meeting it!, I felt elated.
Nonetheless, I am the first to acknowledge that my own personal experience of financial poverty can feel frustrating, apparently preventing my involvement in many things that interest me, including becoming a subscriber to newsletters, or participant at conferences and training courses.
However, I have eventually found that maintaining a sense of self-worth when unable to contribute due to lack of money offers a great, and worthy, personal challenge. And rather than falling prey to total ‘paralysis’, I do what I can: talk about the need for monetary reform and other matters related to quality of life, photocopy and distribute articles, network consistently, and plan and facilitate workshops, such as the ‘Money Talks – But Should We Believe What It Says?’ seminar with Richard Greaves in November last year.
I am going to use the December issue of Prosperity to try and formulate a thought-provoking piece of correspondence to send to various of my Local Authority’s Directors – because I am fed up with hearing that health, education, or housing needs cannot be optimally met because of restricted budgets – despite thousands of pounds being spent on carrying out ‘Best Value Reviews’!
Of course, developing a better quality of Life will never only be reliant upon the amount of money available. It will matter not what ‘form’ of exchange we devise if we do not at the same time manage to transform our culture from one that is based upon competition to one that is based upon co-operation.