Gautam's questions and Anil's analysis in my previous post is definitely worth a fresh post. I thought; why not bring it on the stage so that all of us can have a healthy discussion.
Why is money measured as wealth?
Why do we need money?
Why is there an unequal distribution of wealth?
I might not touch upon all, I might deviate or just cut short; but these ones are worth a discussion. In earlier times; in our land; temples served as secure area to store people's assets. Their role in those times were one of the roles of present day banks - safe haven to store assets; which were not in cash but in kind. Cut to present day banks; they operate in an interesting concept. They charge interest on money borrowed which feeds as interest credited to the money saved + other investments. Was this a practice in then banks/temples in our land? I do not know.
I cant help but think about the banks bailout in USA. The President passed bills to accommodate bank bailouts which funded the Congress for the campaign and other activities; only to downgrade their credit ratings. What an irony!
Anyway, why we need money and why are people selfish to accumulate wealth is obvious. I dont want to discuss these. But why is GDP the chief economic indicator? Is owning money/wealth a sign of happiness? Is our happiness linked to possession of material wealth? Progress is defined as a mere increase in commercial transaction in our conventional model which stresses on economic growth; which is limited as the measures are quantitative.
Gross Happiness Index is been around for a while - countries like Bhutan and Denmark had realized quite early that the ultimate aim of most people is not be rich, but be happy and healthy. So we find, India more happy and healthy than the USA, Bangladesh more happier than India and Costa Ricans lead a very peaceful and healthy life than most of us only next to Vanuatu and Columbia. Gross national happiness has more insights.
Coming back to do we need money? The answer would depend on if we want to go back to barter system? The devastation in Greek's economy has enabled her citizens to make use of time bank. Its a reciprocal service exchange that uses units of time in currency. In simple terms, services are bartered in cashless transactions. The "time" one spends in providing some service earns "time" that one can spend to receive services. For e.g. a teacher can spend her time teaching piano in exchange for a legal assistance.
This has emerged has a creative solution to a crisis called Greece. This exchange network has not only eased people's crisis but also is bringing people together and building solidarity when any economic upheaval can divide people. What about tax, deficits, credits and all such factors in a given economy? Are these relevant? Can such a priceless commodity be adopted; how will this be accepted among world economy?