competition is a component of our economic system. our economic system is a way of ensuring that mouths get fed, and we get things to sustain and grow our lives. it compromises of things we need, like water and food, and things we want, luxuries like handbags, paintings, and other things. our economic system allows a bartering process which is decentralised. instead of bartering for each of the goods that you try to attain, you can use money, which acts as an agent which bypasses the process of bartering.

the thing about money is that, although its decentralisation of bartering makes bartering easier, it is possible for people to hoard money. this allows individuals and groups to exit from the economic system, while still benefitting from it. you are using bartering power to attain goods, without actually providing anything to anyone, save for more bartering power. it is worth noting that although money is a relatively new invention (the past few thousand years), wealth could be said to have existed for far longer.

if mimetic value holds, (where we want things that other people want), then whoever holds the object of this mimetic value, could be said to be wealthy (in the economic sense). Why? because she or he could likely trade that thing for a lot of different other things. this would assume that power (physical or institutional) was not a factor in this case. so even without money, there remains some kind of value, which individuals could hold.

obviously, having some kind of power, this would change the dynamics of the bartering process. money is a way of diffusing this to a certain extent, although within money, people have been able to assert power in different ways, via price wars, reserves, where outcomes are predicted by game theory.

by hoarding stores of value, people may hoard wealth. but what if this could be replaced? cultural currencies provided a way to trade based on reputation, on contribution- here, people perhaps once again regain a sense of what something is worth. a cultural currency kind of scenario would produce different dynamics in that particular economy, compared with boomer economic theory.

perhaps the removing of abstraction from economic exchange could reduce the stigma around money. rather than someone judging themselves for receiving a certain amount of money for whatever service they are providing, they are just receiving the outcome of a bartering process between them and the buyer. bartering is a lot more personal. it adds a personal element to the dynamic, which opens up the possibility that each participants’ life is connected to the other, even through the bartering process. once more, the wellbeing of someone’s daughter is connected to your getting a haircut, which is connected to someone else’s learning to drive.

when money is removed from these interactions, then the people behind them, the cooperation between us as human beings, is once again laid bare. previously, someone might just care about getting money, keeping money, and spending as little of it as possible. in this scenario, it is not our concern what happens to the person on the other side of the exchange, so long as you keep your cash. why? because there is a sense that “everybody is playing the same game” — get the best possible price, no matter what — because without that money, how else are you supposed to feed your daughter, or get your haircut?

in this scenario, the person would have to “get a job”, from which to attain money, to pay for their needs. but there are many things that person A (selling a cake) may value (but isn’t employing for), which person B could give, to person C, however person C doesn’t have any capital to give. Say, support a homeless person C. Person C might then be able to provide something for person A. However, there is a lack of money, circulating, to enable this more complex exchange to play out. Here, credit becomes a thing. Person B owes person A, and person C owes person B, and so, by person C giving to person A, person C gets the credit from person A, passes it on to person B, who passes it on to person A.

However, when there is an absence of credit, then this cannot happen. There is an option to print more money. However this then can act to make the existing credit less valuable (inflation). Credit hoarders usually have their credit stored in “safe haven assets”, stores of value where more of that thing cannot be made.

if those people on the chain of food cannot access food, and water, then they’re screwed.

surely competition is a sign that this system of money has failed. because people are angling to amass credit, and not be left out in the cold without credit. Usually the fear of the latter precedes the former.

it is a failure because the economic system, which originally had been set up to serve the society, acted to break it apart, as a social group. instead of looking to people to help sustain you, you looked to money to help sustain you. trust was replaced by power.