There is a very old story that goes something like this:
Many centuries ago, there was a very powerful Egyptian Ruler who wanted a pyramid built for himself and his family.
He told his generals to gather up all the people they could find and make them slaves and work commenced.
A few years later, with the pyramid only one-quarter completed, The King was getting a bit worried about how long it was taking and complained to his generals about this. The generals replied that there was little they could do - they had conscripted everyone - young and old from all corners of the empire were whipped and threatened with all sorts of horrible punishments if they didn't work hard enough and there seemed to be no way to build the pyramid any faster.
Then one general suggested that maybe they could get some better results, if instead of punishing the slaves, they offered some sort of incentive to them.
After some meetings, the King and his generals came up with an idea. They would issue a gold coin every week to every slave that worked hard. With this gold coin, the slave was able to buy food, clothing and other essentials for himself and his family.
After issue of the gold coins (which cost the King very little, as he owned ALL the gold in the empire), work proceeded at a much faster rate because the slaves were much happier to put more effort in and the pyramid was constructed on time.
Now here's the clincher: NOTHING HAS CHANGED SINCE THAT DAY
If person A has a bag of apples and person B has a bag of oranges, they could SELL them to each other to get what they want. In both cases, each would need to PAY money.
But if they simply exchanged their fruit with each other - both STILL get exactly what they want AND IT COSTS (monetarily) NEITHER OF THEM ANYTHING!
Let's just examine this for a moment;
We all have things to offer - God knows we have to because those who don't end up with exceedingly poor lives.
Some of us have talents and abilities, some of us have goods, some have services and still others have stock.
At the moment though, we have this so-called "economic crisis" wherein money is just simply "not easy to come by" and things that were worth lots years ago are worth very little now. It's like the King in the example above has run out of Gold coins or has too many slaves to give each one enough.
So we all suffer.
But we still NEED the same things we have always needed, regardless of their monetary value.....
So Person A ends up sitting on all his apples and person B sits on all his oranges because neither of them can get enough money to buy each other's goods.
BUT IT'S STUPID! - if the MONEY were to be taken out of the equation, the exchange would be viable and benefit both!
Our problem is that we have let MONEY become the standard means of exchange and when it becomes short in supply, exchange grinds to a halt and we all end up going without, even though we still all have the same value to offer others.
My idea is to construct a website where you simply go and input what you HAVE and what you WANT. The computer can now scan all the available entries and suggest a trading scenario where everyone involved gets what they want.
Ok, I can almost HEAR "the taxman" cursing this whole idea because it seems like he has nothing to offer, but that's not true! Tax money is supposed to be for helping the community. And even THAT can be done by trading.
When you look at ALL the effort, paperwork and time we spend with handing money, it seems crazy! - we could do ALL the things we struggle with now far more easily and save all that messing around.
The notion of a Star-Trek type civilization where money is obsolete is within our grasp.
Let's "make it so" (Captain Picard, StarTrek New Generation)
It is not necessary to even get rid of money entirely! - we could still use it where trade is difficult for some reason... but if MOST things were carried out without money, we would ALL benefit - the taxman included!