Economies without money – how should that work? We also don’t know. But we do want to think about it. People do things, give each other gifts, share what they have, help each other and contribute to the success of enterprises large and small – without money. They did it earlier and they do it today. And what does the future look like?
Most considerations about the difficulties that money provokes are directed to the money itself: money should be crisis-free. Accordingly, in their thoughts they construct a kind of money that ignores certain disadvantages and limits itself to its benefits. Other approaches use alternative forms of money circulation, underneath the reign of world money, that deviate in tangible ways from its logic.
The commons movement counters money-mediated provisioning with collective participation in the activities and basic concerns of provisioning such as ownership. The movement’s core conviction is that, to avoid money’s built-in constraints, only the community can decide on its common endeavours.
What the people live from and how they distribute it ought to be organised fundamentally differently than it is with money. And if highly segmented divisions of labour shall persist, a return to older forms of subsistence can be excluded. The extremely elevated capacity of people pressured by money to produce more with less effort and to distribute their products more precisely than ever would doubtless be useful – just organized differently than it is with money.