«Traditional Means of Payment»

Money and Relationship III: The world as environment



The opposition and confliction of each individual with an abstract totality is the inevitable outcome of a money-mediated society. As an outcome of everyone having to contest for money to live, each person already carries this confliction in himself, on the one hand. He finds himself a subject in a world of objects, sees himself as a lone internality surrounded by an exterior totality. With the money-mediated society comes the onset of solipsistic views, views emanating from an I enclosed in itself, that only refers to itself, surrounded by the infinity of all the other such units – as the zero point of a coordinate system is surrounded by all the other points of that system. It is an I that regards the rest of the entire world merely as not-I, an abstract negation of his self, a self that ultimately only knows itself and really nothing about what – in this idea of it –  solely and exclusively surrounds him.

You get money only by having something that can be sold in exchange for money

But each of us does not only hold within himself this opposition of inside and outside, but also acts accordingly: he must bring it forth. The money-related confliction indeed plays out primarily and originally in this external world, as it obligates everyone to muddle through with money and thus to get money. But you get money only by having something that can be sold in exchange for money; and so our world as externality must be transformed piece-by-piece into sellable somethings, into merchandise. In search of more and more things that can be made into merchandise the world turns into one mere economic zone.  And this constraint is as relentless, as the hunt is pitiless and careless: ultimately totally self-centered.

«Umwelt» is the German word for «the environment»

Umwelt: It's the German word for «the environment,» since the world is endangered by this hunt for more things to sell. Indeed, as Umwelt it is handled by money's subjects, who grab it as if they themselves were not part of this world, as if they would not live in it, they destroy, poison and barren this world - we just have to look around. Environmental awareness holds to the same mistaken view that it would have to fight: to treat the world as Umwelt, as an externality – only that care is to be taken with this externality. But the world remains the Umwelt as long as the capitalist view prevails, and a more considerate way of dealing with it is impossible as long as money’s power persists. Stay the course and ultimately the environment will become the unvironment.