“Money is an anonymous form of energy”
25 March 2008
“Money is an anonymous form of energy”:
Money can facilitate exchange among friends and neighbors, but in essence money is an anonymous form of energy—almost by its definition as a universal medium of exchange. Among friends and neighbors, the usual laws of market economics do not apply. You don’t seek to maximize profit. You don’t raise your prices to the maximum just because you can. You are not doing it for the money; you are doing it for your family and for the neighbors. In an economy of reciprocation and social exchange—that is, in an economy that is not primarily a money economy—“economic efficiency” takes on a different meaning.
The more anonymous the customer, the more money stands as the sole motivating force. In today’s multi-level, automated and standardized food production & distribution system, the consumer is almost totally anonymous to the farmer, the commodity buyer, the processing factory and even the grocer. There is no reason to care about the wholesomeness of the product, except to the extent necessary to conform to whatever regulations are enforced, and whatever the public might find out about.
You cannot pay someone to care. You can pay someone to act as though they care; you can pay them to follow meticulous guidelines; but you can’t make them really care.