No one can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.
— Matthew 6:24
Scripture tells us we must choose: either money or life. It is a profound and eternal truth. Our economic institutions can be designed either to serve money or to serve life. We have chosen money and are paying the price.
To create an economy that serves life, we must first understand the true nature of money as a mere number, its role as as system of power, and the defining money system design options.
If we look way up stream for the source of economic dysfunction we find an illusion, the belief that money is wealth.
Actually, money is nothing but a number created with a simple accounting entry. Most of it is nothing more than an electronic trace in a computer file. It has no reality outside the human mind. Yet because money represents a claim on so many things essential to our survival and well-being, we easily slip into evaluating economic performance in terms of the rate of financial return to money, essentially the rate at which the numbers that represent the financial assets of rich people are growing. This bears no necessary relationship to the long-term well-being of people and nature.
Once the belief that money is wealth is implanted firmly in the mind, it is easy to accept the idea that money is a storehouse of value rather than simply a storehouse of expectations, and that “making money” is the equivalent of “creating wealth.” Because Wall Street makes money in breathtaking quantities, we have allowed Wall Street to assume control of the whole economy—and therein lies the source of our problem.
Financial collapse in the United States and most of the world pulled away the curtain to reveal Wall Street for what it is, an illusion factory that pays its managers outrageous sums for converting the living wealth of people, community, and nature into financial wealth to give the very rich control of what remains of Earth’s rapidly diminishing store of real living wealth. It is a path to collective suicide!