My Mind On Money

How money affects our hearts and minds.

Are You A Consumer? Or A Creator?

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One of the reasons it is so challenging to envision a Resource Based Economy is that most of us (especially Americans) think of ourselves as Consumers.

Consumers ask the question, “Where can I get the money to buy the stuff I want and need?”

Creators ask the question, “Do I have the resources to create this?”

If we see ourselves as Consumers, then the process of creating often boils down to, “Where do we get the money to buy the stuff we need to create what we want?”  This unfortunate process detracts from the creative process, and can leave us feeling frustrated and empty.

In a lecture on TED Talks,  Daniel Pink explains how financial incentives interfere with the creative process.  (The video is embeded on website here: http://www.metaphysics-for-life.com/mind-on-money.html) Money motivates action that requires no problem solving or creative thinking.  And yet, money is considered the primary source of motivation in our economy!

Before we can successfully move from a money based to a Resource Based economy, we must begin to redefine ourselves – to make the quantum leap from seeing ourselves as Consumers, to seeing ourselves as the Creators we truly are.

Economies do not run on money.  Economies run on people!  We can have an economy without dollars, trade, barter or exchange.  We can create a society that is fueled by the creative genius within each and every one of us – that creative genius that is crushed by financial incentives.

The key word is “CREATE”.  To create the peaceful, abundant, healthy, and FUN world we all want – start seeing yourself as CREATOR!

Note: Please share your experiences with creating and consuming, and how those two experiences have impacted your own personal “economy” (ie. how rich do you really feel?)

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Written by Ilana

November 19, 2009 at 12:34 am

It’s Not About Economics

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A Blog post by Resource Based Living on imagining a Resource Based Economy…

 

Saturday, 24 October 2009

 

It’s Not About Economics

 

One of the most common statements I hear about “A World Without Money” and Resource Based Economies in general are that they are economically unfeasible. Yet this way of looking at the problem is too narrow minded. Not only will the rules of economics be obsolete, but economics itself will not even be relavent.
What will happen when robots/computers take all our jobs? Of course, they might never be able to do everything, but really, they don’t have to. When the number of jobs becoming automated increases to a certain level – which I assure you that it will – there are going to be problems regardless. Things as we know it will collapse, and the world will face unemployment the likes of which we have never seen.
Will no available work cause mass poverty? If it does, the people will have nothing, and there will eventually be massive social downturn. At the moment, we’re all being kept relatively sweet, but when the middle class can’t feed themselves, society isn’t going to last very long.
Or there’s the possibility of a dangerous government “cutting a deal” with the people, promising small benefits while taking away more liberties or causing even more serious problems.
Alternatively, no available work could have some very different implications.
People could learn the beauty of self sufficiency and frugality. Their lives could become not about work but about living.
This would be fueled further by advances in technology making it easier to reduce our reliance on the current economic system. With technology such as home factories, personal automation, self sufficient energy solutions, and automated agriculture and transportation, the everyday person will no longer need to go out to work.
Will there still be a need to trade when we have all our basic needs? Perhaps there will always be a need for some kind of economics to trade in more luxurious items, creative works, and certain, otherwise unobtainable services. But this will be minimal when everyone has most of the things they need and perhaps won’t have anything to trade anyway.

So say what you like about ‘economics’ – you might as well talk about traffic issues in Antarctica.

Posted by Stuart

Written by Ilana

October 26, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Try This When Visiting DC – Just for fun

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areallycoolpicture

Written by Ilana

September 27, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Illness Profit Industry

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Until Medical Bills Do Us Part
NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF, Columnist – The New York Times
This is how sick we have become with the illness profit industry.

Thanks to Rick Ingrasci, MD.

Critics fret that health care reform would undermine American family values, not least by convening somber death panels to wheel away Grandma as if she were Old Yeller.

But peel away the emotions and fearmongering, and in fact it is the existing system that unnecessarily takes lives and breaks apart families.

My friend M. – you’ll understand in a moment why she’s terrified of my using her name – had to make a searing decision a year ago. She was married to a sweet, gentle man whom she loved, but who had become increasingly absent-minded. Finally, he was diagnosed with early-onset dementia.

The disease is degenerative, and he will become steadily less able to care for himself. At some point, as his medical needs multiply, he will probably need to be institutionalized.

The hospital arranged a conference call with a social worker, who outlined how the dementia and its financial toll on the family would progress, and then added, out of the blue: ‘Maybe you should divorce.”

‘I was blown away,” M. told me. But, she said, the hospital staff members explained that they had seen it all before, many times. If M.’s husband required long-term care, the costs would be catastrophic even for a middle-class family with savings.

Eventually, after the expenses whittled away their combined assets, her husband could go on Medicaid – but by then their children’s nest egg would be gone, along with her 401(k) plan. She would face a bleak retirement with neither her husband nor her savings.

A complicating factor was that this was a second marriage. M.’s first husband had died, leaving an inheritance that he had intended for their children. She and her second husband had a prenuptial agreement, but that would not protect her assets from his medical expenses.

The hospital told M. not to waste time in dissolving the marriage. For five years after any divorce, her assets could be seized – precisely because the government knows that people sometimes divorce husbands or wives to escape their medical bills.

‘How could I divorce him? I loved him,” she told me.

‘I explored a lot of options with an attorney here in town,” she added. ‘The attorney said, ‘I don’t see any other options for you.’ It took about a year for me to do the divorce, it was so hard.”

So M. divorced the man she loves. I asked him what he thought of this. He can still speak, albeit not always coherently, and he paused a long, long time. All he could manage was: ‘It’s hard to say.”

Long-term care constitutes a difficult and expensive challenge in any health system. But the American patchwork, full of cracks through which people fall, has a special problem with medical expenses of all kinds bankrupting couples.

A study reported in The American Journal of Medicine this month found that 62 percent of American bankruptcies are linked to medical bills. These medical bankruptcies had increased nearly 50 percent in just six years. Astonishingly, 78 percent of these people actually had health insurance, but the gaps and inadequacies left them unprotected when they were hit by devastating bills.

M. still helps her husband and, quietly, continues to live with him and care for him. But she worries that the authorities will come after her if they realize that they divorced not because of irreconcilable differences but because of irreconcilable medical bills. There were awkward questions from friends who saw the divorce announcement in the newspaper.

‘It’s just crazy,” she said. ‘It twists people like pretzels.”

The existing system doesn’t just break up families, it also costs lives. A 2004 study by the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, found that lack of health insurance causes 18,000 unnecessary deaths a year. That’s one person slipping through the cracks and dying every half an hour.

In short, it’s a good bet that our existing dysfunctional health system knocks off far more people than an army of ‘death panels” could – even if they existed, worked 24/7 and got around in a fleet of black helicopters.

So, for those of you inclined to believe the worst about President Obama, think it through. Suppose he is indeed a secret, foreign-born Muslim agent who is scheming to undermine American family values while killing off as many grandmothers as possible.

If all that were true, why on earth would he be trying so hard to reform our health care system? We already know how to prod families into divorce and take a life unnecessarily every 30 minutes – all we need to do is reject reform and stick with exactly what we have.

Written by Ilana

August 30, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Graviola — the cure that worked too well

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(note: I deleted the sections attempting to sell you HSI’s (Health Sciences Institute – see link below) “exclusive” report.  I published this as a demonstration of how profit driven medicine leads to withholding natural pharmaceuticals that can’t be made “profitable” by big corporations…)

One of America’s biggest billion-dollar drug makers began a search for a cancer cure and their research centered on Graviola, a legendary healing tree from the Amazon Rainforest.

Various parts of the Graviola tree — including the bark, leaves, roots, fruit and fruit-seeds — have been used for centuries by medicine men and native Indians in South America to treat heart disease, asthma, liver problems and arthritis.

Going on very little documented scientific evidence, the company poured money and resources into testing the tree’s anti-cancerous properties — and were shocked by the results. Graviola proved itself to be a cancer-killing dynamo.

But that’s where the Graviola story nearly ended.

The company had one huge problem with the Graviola tree — it’s completely natural, and so, under federal law, not patentable. There’s no way to make serious profits from it.

It turns out the drug company invested nearly seven years trying to synthesize two of the Graviola tree’s most powerful anti-cancer ingredients. If they could isolate and produce man-made clones of what makes the Graviola so potent, they’d be able to patent it and make their money back.

Alas, they hit a brick wall. The original simply could not be replicated. There was no way the company could protect its profits — or even make back the millions it poured into research.

As the dream of huge profits evaporated, their testing on Graviola came to a screeching halt. Even worse, the company shelved the entire project and chose not to publish the findings of its research!

Luckily, however, there was one scientist from the Graviola research team whose conscience wouldn’t let him see such atrocity committed. Risking his career, he contacted a company that’s dedicated to harvesting medical plants from the Amazon Rainforest and blew the whistle.

When researchers at the Health Sciences Institute were alerted to the news of Graviola, they began tracking the research done on the cancer-killing tree. Evidence of the astounding effectiveness of Graviola — and its shocking cover-up — came in fast and furious…

…The National Cancer Institute performed the first scientific research in 1976. The results showed that Graviola’s “leaves and stems were found effective in attacking and destroying malignant cells.” Inexplicably, the results were published in an internal report and never released to the public…

…Since 1976, Graviola has proven to be an immensely potent cancer killer in 20 independent laboratory tests, yet no double-blind clinical trials — the typical benchmark mainstream doctors and journals use to judge a treatment’s value — were ever initiated…

…A study published in the Journal of Natural Products, following a recent study conducted at Catholic University of South Korea stated that one chemical in Graviola was found to selectively kill colon cancer cells at “10,000 times the potency of (the commonly used chemotherapy drug) Adriamycin…”

…The most significant part of the Catholic University of South Korea report is that Graviola was shown to selectively target the cancer cells, leaving healthy cells untouched. Unlike chemotherapy, which indiscriminately targets all actively reproducing cells (such as stomach and hair cells), causing the often devastating side effects of nausea and hair loss in cancer patients.

…A study at Purdue University recently found that leaves from the Graviola tree killed cancer cells among six human cell lines and were especially effective against prostate, pancreatic and lung cancers…

Seven years of silence broken —
it’s finally here!

A limited supply of Graviola extract, grown and harvested by indigenous people in Brazil, is finally available in America.

(to visit HSI go to: http://hsibaltimore.com/)

To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson
Director, Health Sciences Institute

The Health Sciences Institute

The Health Sciences Institute (or HSI) is a unique members-only organization that’s dedicated to doing one thing: breaking the barriers big-money medicine has placed before revolutionary natural cures — and bringing breakthrough information on those cures to you RIGHT NOW! No more waiting.

As a result, the Health Sciences Institute has become one of the world’s most important and revolutionary sources for cutting-edge medical information. Unlike anything before it, HSI doesn’t represent the opinion of a single, self-appointed “guru,” but contains the unmatched combined wisdom of the world’s most formidable medical minds.

The HSI network is more than 550,000 strong now and getting stronger every day. And through our daily HSI eAlert news service, we rush you the latest news about Big Pharma’s hypocrisy, the shocking failures of mainstream medicine and the “forbidden” natural cures that leave best-selling drugs in the dust.

Almost overnight, the clear and easy-to-read HSI eAlert has become a legend in the alternative medical industry as the quintessential source for cutting-edge news and medical discoveries. Many physicians all over the world use the HSI eAlert to educate themselves about medical solutions and treatments available nowhere else.

Written by Ilana

August 14, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Man Who Doesn’t Use Money

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Posted July 24th, 2009 by Ryan Mitchell and filed in Life Style, Local

What if you stopped using money, I mean all money?  No credit cards, no debt cards, checks, nothing! How would you eat?nomoney How would you get new shoes when yours wore out?  When I really think about it, I can’t imagine if I couldn’t not buy anything.  Not because I am addicted to consumption and materialistic things, but there are arguably things you absolutely need.  Soap for instance, I don’t need fancy soap, but a bar of ivory, sure.  To wash my hands, to shower, to clean cuts when I get injured, to wash the counter after cutting raw chicken.  Shoes, in our urban waste….I mean urban wonderland there are too many things that can injure you and places you can’t enter without them.

Reprinted: Style Christopher Ketcham

Daniel Suelo lives in a cave. Unlike the average American—wallowing in credit-card debt, clinging to a mortgage, terrified of the next downsizing at the office—he isn’t worried about the economic crisis. That’s because he figured out that the best way to stay solvent is to never be solvent in the first place. Nine years ago, in the autumn of 2000, Suelo decided to stop using money. He just quit it, like a bad drug habit.

His dwelling, hidden high in a canyon lined with waterfalls, is an hour by foot from the desert town of Moab, Utah, where people who know him are of two minds: He’s either a latter-day prophet or an irredeemable hobo. Suelo’s blog, which he maintains free at the Moab Public Library, suggests that he’s both. “When I lived with money, I was always lacking,” he writes. “Money represents lack. Money represents things in the past (debt) and things in the future (credit), but money never represents what is present.”

On a warm day in early spring, I clamber along a set of red-rock cliffs to the mouth of his cave, where I find a note signed with a smiley face: CHRIS, FEEL FREE TO USE ANYTHING, EAT ANYTHING (NOTHING HERE IS MINE). From the outside, the place looks like a hollowed teardrop, about the size of an Amtrak bathroom, with enough space for a few pots that hang from the ceiling, a stove under a stone eave, big buckets full of beans and rice, a bed of blankets in the dirt, and not much else. Suelo’s been here for three years, and it smells like it.

Night falls, the stars wink, and after an hour, Suelo tramps up the cliff, mimicking a raven’s call—his salutation—a guttural, high-pitched caw. He’s lanky and tan; yesterday he rebuilt the entrance to his cave, hauling huge rocks to make a staircase. His hands are black with dirt, and his hair, which is going gray, looks like a bird’s nest, full of dust and twigs from scrambling in the underbrush on the canyon floor. Grinning, he presents the booty from one of his weekly rituals, scavenging on the streets of Moab: a wool hat and gloves, a winter jacket, and a white nylon belt, still wrapped in plastic, along with Carhartt pants and sandals, which he’s wearing. He’s also scrounged cans of tuna and turkey Spam and a honeycomb candle. All in all, a nice haul from the waste product of America. “You made it,” he says. I hand him a bag of apples and a block of cheese I bought at the supermarket, but the gift suddenly seems meager.

Suelo lights the candle and stokes a fire in the stove, which is an old blackened tin, the kind that Christmas cookies might come in. It’s hooked to a chain of soup cans segmented like a caterpillar and fitted to a hole in the rock. Soon smoke billows into the night and the cave is warm. I think of how John the Baptist survived on honey and locusts in the desert. Suelo, who keeps a copy of the Bible for bedtime reading, is satisfied with a few grasshoppers fried in his skillet.

He wasn’t always this way. Suelo graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in anthropology, he thought about becoming a doctor, he held jobs, he had cash and a bank account. In 1987, after several years as an assistant lab technician in Colorado hospitals, he joined the Peace Corps and was posted to an Ecuadoran village high in the Andes. He was charged with monitoring the health of tribespeople in the area, teaching first aid and nutrition, and handing out medicine where needed; his proudest achievement was delivering three babies. The tribe had been getting richer for a decade, and during the two years he was there he watched as the villagers began to adopt the economics of modernity. They sold the food from their fields—quinoa, potatoes, corn, lentils—for cash, which they used to purchase things they didn’t need, as Suelo describes it. They bought soda and white flour and refined sugar and noodles and big bags of MSG to flavor the starchy meals. They bought TVs. The more they spent, says Suelo, the more their health declined. He could measure the deterioration on his charts. “It looked,” he says, “like money was impoverishing them.”

The experience was transformative, but Suelo needed another decade to fashion his response. He moved to Moab and worked at a women’s shelter for five years. He wanted to help people, but getting paid for it seemed dishonest—how real was help that demanded recompense? The answer lay, in part, in the Christianity of his childhood. In Suelo’s nascent philosophy, following Jesus meant adopting the hard life prescribed in the Sermon on the Mount. “Giving up possessions, living beyond credit and debt,” Suelo explains on his blog, “freely giving and freely taking, forgiving all debts, owing nobody a thing, living and walking without guilt . . . grudge [or] judgment.” If grace was the goal, Suelo told himself, then it had to be grace in the classical sense, from the Latin gratia, meaning favor—and also, free.

By 1999, he was living in a Buddhist monastery in Thailand—he had saved just enough money for the flight. From there, he made his way to India, where he found himself in good company among the sadhus, the revered ascetics who go penniless for their gods. Numbering as many as 5 million, the sadhus can be found wandering roads and forests across the subcontinent, seeking enlightenment in self-abnegation. “I wanted to be a sadhu,” Suelo says. “But what good would it do for me to be a sadhu in India? A true test of faith would be to return to one of the most materialistic, money-worshipping nations on earth and be a sadhu there. To be a vagabond in America, a bum, and make an art of it—the idea enchanted me.”

There isn’t enough space in Suelo’s cave for two, so I sleep in the open, at the edge of a hundred-foot cliff. No worries about animals, he says. Though mountain lions drink from the stream, and bobcats hunt rabbits under the cottonwoods, the worst he’s experienced was a skunk that sprayed him in the face. Mice scurry over his body in the cave, and kissing bugs sometimes suck the blood from under his fingernails while he sleeps. He shrugs off these indignities. “After all, it’s their cave too,” he says. I hunker down near a nest of scorpions, which crawl up the canyon walls, ignoring me.

The morning ritual is simple and slow: a cup of sharp tea brewed from the needles of piñon and juniper trees, a swim in the cold emerald water where the creek pools in the red rock. Then, two naked cavemen lounging under the Utah sun. Around noon, we forage along the banks and under the cliffs, looking for the stuff of a stir-fry dinner. We find mustard plants among the rocks, the raw leaves as satisfying as cauliflower, and down in the cool of the creek—where Suelo gets his water and takes his baths (no soap for him) —we cull watercress in heads as big as supermarket lettuce, and on the bank we spot a lode of wild onions, with bulbs that pop clean from the soil. In leaner times, Suelo’s gatherings include ants, grubs, termites, lizards, and roadkill. He recently found a deer, freshly run over, and carved it up and boiled it. “The best venison of my life,” he says.

I tell him that living without money seems difficult. What about starvation? He’s never gone without a meal (friends in Moab sometimes feed him). What about getting deadly ill? It happened once, after eating a cactus he misidentified—he vomited, fell into a delirium, thought he was dying, even wrote a note for those who would find his corpse. But he got better. That it’s hard is exactly the point, he says. “Hardship is a good thing. We need the challenge. Our bodies need it. Our immune systems need it. My hardships are simple, right at hand—they’re manageable.” When I tell him about my rent back in New York—$2,400 a month—he shakes his head. What’s left unsaid is that I’m here writing about him to make money, for a magazine that depends for its survival on the advertising revenue of conspicuous consumption. As he prepares a cooking fire, Suelo tells me that years ago he had a neighbor in the canyon, an alcoholic who lived in a cave bigger than his. The old man would pan for gold in the stream and net enough cash each month to buy the beer that kept him drunk. Suelo considers the riches of our own forage. “What if we saw gold for what it is?” he says meditatively. “Gold is pretty but virtually useless. Somebody decided it has worth, and everybody accepted this decision. The natives in the Americas thought Europeans were insane because of their lust for such a useless yellow substance.”

He sautés the watercress, mustard leaves, and wild onions, mixing in fresh almonds he picked from a friend’s orchard and ghee made from Dumpster-dived butter, and we eat out of his soot-caked pans. From the perch on the cliff, the life of the sadhu seems reasonable. But I don’t want to live in a cave. I like indoor plumbing (Suelo squats). I like electricity. Still, there’s an obvious beauty in the simplicity of subsistence. It’s an un-American notion these days. We don’t revere our ascetics, and we dismiss the idea that money could be some kind of consensual delusion. For most of us, it’s as real as the next house payment. Suelo doesn’t take public assistance or use food stamps, but he does survive in part on our reality, the discarded surfeit of the money system that he denounces—a system, as it happens, that recently looked like it was headed for the cliff.

Suelo is 48, and he doesn’t exactly have a 401(k). “I’ll do what creatures have been doing for millions of years for retirement,” he says. “Why is it sad that I die in the canyon and not in the geriatric ward well-insured? I have great faith in the power of natural selection. And one day, I will be selected out.” Until then, think of him like the raven, cleaning up the carcasses the rest of us leave behind.

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Written by Ilana

July 25, 2009 at 2:12 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Changing The Economic Story – Yes Magazine “New Economy”

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July 2009
Comic by Stephanie McMillan for YES! Magazine

Reinflate the Old Economy? Get Real!

The current economy is undermining the health of the planet and the well-being of all but the wealthiest few. It’s time to let it go.

Here are the commonly-held beliefs that keep us stuck in the current economic mess. What if we base our economy on a new story: one that is true for everybody, not just for the rich…

Old Economy script Get Real script
crumpled money Money
The measure of a healthy economy is a growing GDP.
A healthy economy meets real needs within ecological limits.

All you need is money.
You can’t eat money. What we need is healthy families, communities, and ecosystems.

Booms and busts are inevitable in a modern economy.
The boom/bust cycle is a result of letting banks create money.

cumpled dollar note Finance
Wall Street is the engine that powers our economy.
Most real economic activity is local.

Corporate banks are too big to fail. We need them to keep our economy going.
Small, responsible banks and credit unions build real wealth in our communities.

The smart investor insists on high returns.
Slow community investments pay back in dollars and quality of life.

crumpled money money
Well-run businesses require a hierarchy of highly paid executives.
Worker co-ops are efficient and democratic, and workers keep the profits.

The freedom to do ecological damage improves the business climate.
If we destroy the environment, there is no business … or climate.

Large corporations are efficient, innovative, and create jobs.
Locally rooted small- and medium-sized businesses create the jobs and innovations we need.

:: NOT YET A SUBSCRIBER TO YES! MAGAZINE?
Take us up on this introductory offer to subscribe today, starting with the New Economy issue.
[Free with subscription: David Korten’s latest book]

:: CHANGING THE ECONOMIC STORY
Spread the word to your friends and family—or send it to your email list!
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Written by Ilana

July 11, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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