No video for this chapter, at least not yet.
But there is a pull quote:
Money, in its pure form, is like chicken for a vegan, in a world where everyone is a vegan.Here's the text:
CHAPTER 7: MONEY
With money, we move solidly into the realm where there aren’t directly analogous phenomena in other species or in ecosystems as a whole. The task is the same: there’s still a need to coordinate the actions of multiple individuals within a species, or to mesh the roles of multiple species within an ecosystem. But money as a tool for doing that is a uniquely human approach, with unique attributes.
And yet, to understand it we’re going to start by going back to those pre-human models. Because when we look at money’s role in the context of how ecosystems coordinate their activities, we do two things. First, we shed a particular light on how money works. And second, we develop a way of seeing when money doesn’t work so well.
Animal use value
Use value for humans
Distributing use value
- What money is
- Roles of money
- Attributes of money
The value spectrum
Animal use value
Start with a familiar picture, one of the stylized versions of an ecosystem from chapter 2. [See Figure I.7.1 below.] The ecosystem is full of species that are doing things that keep the whole thing humming along nicely. But that’s not “why” they’re doing it.
As an example, look at soil organisms decomposing dead stuff that used to be living. If we had to translate the instructions in their genetic code and accompany those instructions with a rationale, their genes wouldn’t be telling them, “Break down that organic matter and make it available to plants for new growth so that everyone in the neighborhood can thrive.” No. Their genetic instructions are, “Eat that, because it’s got energy or other stuff you need in order for you to live.”
That other thing gets done: the soil organisms break stuff down and make it available for plants. But from the organism’s perspective, that’s not why it’s doing it. It’s merely doing what’s useful for its survival. The seemingly magic part is that a coevolutionary process has shaped it such that, when it does what’s good for its own survival, it’s also doing what’s good for the ecosystem.
From an animal’s perspective, the “value” of anything it does is based on how much that thing contributes to the survival of its genes. Animals are shaped by evolution such that behaviors they find useful—behaviors they choose to engage in, behaviors that have “use value” to them—are also behaviors that increase the chance of their genes making it into the next generation and beyond.