# Does money make life easy?

1. Jan 20, 2008

### pitot-tube

If we didn't have money we would spend lots of time bartering deciding if a sewing machine is worth a loaf of bread plus a bottle of tomato ketchup etc.
From a scientists point of view doesn't money stop us from wasting time and effort (expending energy) and from arguing/fighting one another.Isn't it something that persists because evolution favours it.Doesn't the complicated interactions that human beings have with one another compared to other animals make money essential for our survival?

Last edited: Jan 20, 2008
2. Jan 20, 2008

### arildno

Well, you could reasonably argue that in an extreme luxury situation in terms of goods, we might get by without bothering too much about the precise bartering value.

However, in that case, we would still need some sort of incentive to produce that luxury..

3. Jan 20, 2008

### drankin

Money is basically how humans apply value to their work. If we didn't have money, what would we have? I'd have to barter stuff to get what I want (a few chickens for a jacket, a jacket for a knife, a knife for a 12-pack a beer that originally wanted), very inefficient. So I'd say "yes", money evolved by human culture.

4. Jan 20, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

If one has sufficient money, then money can make life easier.

Money is a representation of wealth, i.e. it is a substitute. Money facilitates trade because is it must more easily transported, and now electronically, it moves faster.

Not having money can make life more difficult, and in that sense, the inability to earn money can be a cause of difficulty for some.

A barter system is not necessarily problematic in a culture where cooperative economics is the norm. The problems arise when one or more individuals control more than a reasonable share of the wealth (i.e. unbridled want or greed), and that is the same problem in a monetary-based economy.

5. Jan 20, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

Money has nothing to do with evolution. You could say that money makes life far more complex. Many cultures still use bartering. I don't even get the point of this thread. Just because you pay money for something doesn't mean that there isn't extensive and often quite complex negotiations involving money. The thinking here is so basically myopic and oversimplified I don't know where to begin. Money isn't about walking into the grocery store and buying a pack of gum.

6. Jan 20, 2008

### rewebster

I think it depends on one's attitude about life and how much having a lot of money is important---in other words, is money a driving force in one's life (greed)? or is money just necessary for doing want you like and want to do when it is necessary?

Money is an invention---a medium for the excahnge of goods and/or services--whether its paper, rocks, or metal (or etc.)

Last edited: Jan 20, 2008
7. Jan 20, 2008

### turbo

Good concise post, Astronuc. I'd like to add the concept of "assumed debt" in which barter is not negotiated, but assumed by ethical people. I have a neighbor who gives me Russian and German garlic (mmmmm!) and I give him salsas and chili relishes, carrots, squash, etc. When I told him that I wanted some boat racks for my truck, he gave me some home-built pipe racks that he had salvaged from the dump. Another neighbor offered to cut these down for my compact truck and weld them for me, so we spent an afternoon doing that. I bought that neighbor a pack of Sawz-all blades because he ruined one and dulled another trimming those old racks. Those two guys were sawing up some birch and pine logs from both properties on neighbor 1's large band-saw, and I spent a day stockpiling waste, stacking boards, positioning logs with chains, loaders, man-power, cant-dogs etc.

Never once did any one of us say "you owe me" or ask for payback. We participate in "loans" that are freely given and freely repaid. It's a matter of pride that we do not profit from one another without giving back.

Neighbor 1 is an organic gardener, and thanks to his gifts of root stock, I have about 15 feet of cloves of German garlic planted and another 20 feet of Russian garlic. We should be self-sufficient for garlic next year, and maybe be producing a surplus the next year so we can give freely to relatives and friends.

Last edited: Jan 20, 2008
8. Jan 20, 2008

### Cyrus

What a bunch of odd ball questions you have lately. Anywho, you obviously have not been to the Middle east or China where even with money people haggle eachother non stop for a deal.

9. Jan 20, 2008

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Money is just a surrogate for bartering. There's very little difference between setting the price of an item as $12 or two chickens, other than having currency builds in an easier exchange rate...two chickens, or 3 lbs of cheese, or one ceramic bowl, etc. Whether using currency or directly bartering goods, yes, it's generally easier to be the one who has the most "stuff" to trade, but then again, unless you're born into the wealth, acquiring it usually comes with a price of its own...hard work of some sort or another to earn that wealth. 10. Jan 20, 2008 ### Evo ### Staff: Mentor Mexico, all of South America, probably most of Africa, even smaller areas throughout Europe and North America, Asia. When I was in Thailand I was advised that a vendor would actually be insulted if I paid the first price they asked. (although I'm sure they would take it without any problem) I don't think the OP has ever bought a car. I don't like haggling over price, I find it stressful. Last edited: Jan 20, 2008 11. Jan 20, 2008 ### Astronuc ### Staff: Mentor Money or rather wealth could affect evolution if those with more money were successful at reproduction. In reality, wealth has little to do with reproduction. Poor couples are just as likely to have children as wealthy couples, and then there are many children in single parent households, either because of divorce or the procreating couple never married. 12. Jan 20, 2008 ### Moonbear Staff Emeritus It might even be an inverse relationship, since very wealthy couples are spending all their time working and focused on a career rather than having many children, while poorer couples have more time to focus on children; at least in today's society. 13. Jan 20, 2008 ### glondor Here is a story about trading. Kyle MacDonald started with one red paperclip and in 14 trades he had a house. The photos at the top show the trades. Neat story. http://oneredpaperclip.blogspot.com/ 14. Jan 20, 2008 ### Evo ### Staff: Mentor ? Money is something that can be lost in a bat of an eye. Or gained overnight (think celebrities). Wealth and power can shift suddenly up or down. It's not a given. It's not like selecting a mate for physical strength or intellect, something that would be passed on to future generations. 15. Jan 20, 2008 ### turbo Don't haggle. Make common ground and negotiate. I have put together deals worth hundreds of thousands (or more) by treating clients like real folks, calling them to follow up and assess their concerns, and otherwise establishing a level of trust that makes them WANT to trust you with their business. Years back, I took over an auction division in a modest-sized auction company that was lucky to gross$4M/year and within 4 years, the division was grossing \$15-16M, easily out grossing all the other 3 auction divisions combines and killing their net revenues. Treat people like you want to be treated.

16. Jan 20, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

I think that could be qualified. There is a certain volatility in wealth. Much depends on how one's wealth is structured/invested. There are prudent investments and there are reckless/speculative investments. Certainly some folks are very successful, while others lose much or all of their fortune.

However, I believe I made the case that in reality, wealth has little to do with reproduction, and therefore little to do with evolution.

Certainly, it is not a physical trait passed on from generation to generation. On the other hand, one could consider significant wealth to be an attribute of a successful person who might be more likely to attract a mate.

But to my point, even successful, wealthy people may fail to reproduce successfully, and economically unsuccessful people may reproduce.

In brief, there seems to be little influence of wealth in the ability to successfully reproduce, so there would be little impact on evolution.

17. Jan 20, 2008

### denverdoc

Funny story about money. As if I he king of compassion and understanding offer a better product i will make more money. Perhaps so, and I wouldn't object to the killing you make thru kindness... Personaly I use both systems, and finfd for the most part that when one gives an hour of labor for same, the quality is much higher. Not that this is practceable, but a useful reminder of the indifference oney or any other indirect way of recompensation can cause decline.

18. Jan 20, 2008

### GeorginaS

Oh heavens do I agree with you on that, Evo. Car sales people must have always found me a dream customer, because I'd ask "how much?" and they'd tell me ,and I'd say "okay" based on that number if I wanted that car. I can't stand house-purchase negotiations either.

Anyway, to the OP. Barter doesn't make things better or operate as a better system, necessarily. Nor does money have anything to do with evolution, in the literal sense.

As a kid I thought that a barter system would be best if all social contributions were measured equally. That is: the person who collects garbage is as entitled to a roof over their heads and food for their family as a doctor is. When I was around 14, I devised a whole social economic system based on the notion that all one had to do was contribute in one way or another to society and that counted sufficient to provide food and shelter and clothes and what all one needed to live. I figured that would be a good idea because I didn't think that just because a person was less capable than someone else by virtue of genetics that that meant they were less entitled to proper necessities of life. Kids are pretty wide-eyed in their ideas of "fairness", aren't they?

Not that that really has a whole bunch to do with the opening post, but kinda.

Last edited: Jan 21, 2008
19. Jan 21, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

Before buying a car, do the research on-line regarding price and performance, including gas mileage, typical maintenance cost and insurance cost.

Also, go in with some payment schedules, e.g. 48 mo and 60 mo, and a couple of interest rates.

Back when I was in university, my wife and I went to buy a new car. The salesman wanted to sell us a 0% or low percentage financing deal, which sounded really good, until I punched out the numbers on my calculator (he looked worried when I pulled out my HP calculator). I then informed him that under that plan, it would cost me more for the car, and he quickly left to go talk to his supervisor. He came back, and I got a better deal.