As a teenager, I used to go around telling people that money was evil and a society could be run well enough without it. I guess you could say I was advocating the resource-based-economy. In truth I was never sincerely involved in the movement, but something about the way the money system is running bothered me, and I diagnosed that the very concept of money was faulty.

Now I look back on it as a thought experiment – an idea I was testing people for a while.

After about a year in this mode, I took the red pill, as it were, and dived into alternative topics. A long road led me to Ron Paul, and the wider liberty movement. For a while I held on to my anti-money position, sort of believing that once we had achieved liberty in our time we could think about disposing of the monetary system completely.

Everyone in the movement kept going on about this book called Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt, and after the 20th libertarian recommending it to me I was like “Fine jeez” and I ordered it.

To say it was a revelation would be offensively inadequate. It sparked a fascination, nay love, for the subject of economics that will last all my life. This book plus wider readings in the Austrian school helped me realise what the point of money and an economy is, making those RBE notions seem frightfully silly.

Money’s true purpose is to solve the problem of barter. If Harry has a sheep, and wants fish from fisherwoman Linda, but she doesn’t need wool, how is he going to make an exchange with her? Harry would have to swap wool with someone who had something that Linda wanted. And with every other good he desired, he would have to go through the same process. Money helps facilitate exchange between people as a mutually valuable commodity.

The best kind of money is portable, divisible, and most importantly scarce. It was the scarcity factor that was the game-changer. The fact that the fiat currency we use in the modern economy is not scarce is the source of a huge chunk of our problems with corruption, economic crises and inequality.

And after reading Rothbard’s trilogy on money and central banking, I had the full picture: “it’s not money itself that is the problem, it’s the damn Fed!!!”

Now that I know what the true purpose of money is and its uses in an economy, I see how ridiculous the concept of a moneyless society is. I could never go back. But I’m not embarrassed by my previous views.

I believe that we must not take anything for granted. We must put everything under the microscope to see if it stands up to truth, especially the things that ‘everybody knows’.

‘Everybody knows’ that we need money to survive, but only few of us know why. The lack of explanation was especially suspicious to me, and my response to this was to reject the idea entirely. However, this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing in the long run because it was my first glimpse into a larger world.

Now I know what the purpose of money is, and have a much clearer idea than most people. Now that I do know, rather than totally rejecting the idea of money, I can totally embrace it.

Most people have this weird relationship with money. On the one hand, they see all the damage it can cause in the wrong hands, and see how it seems to corrupt the powerful (power, in fact, corrupts money), but on the other hand they see that it gives them what they want.

This cognitive dissonance was brilliantly illuminated by Francisco D’Anconia in Atlas Shrugged:

“Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter. . .”

And more succinctly by Pink Floyd in their song, Money

‘Money, so they say, is the root of all evil today
But if you ask for a rise it’s no surprise that they’re giving none away’

I propose a less schizophrenic attitude to money, and a much more positive one: not only is it OK to desire money, it is a moral necessity.

Be patient libertarians and capitalists, because first I’m going to directly address those readers whom, after reading that, are close to fainting. They probably think I’m a market fundamentalist extremist or just overcome with greed.

Have you ever looked at a billionaire who apparently only seems to use his or her money to buy off politicians or practice underhand business, giving nothing back to the world? Then you imagine what good he or she could do with that, the millions of lives that would be changed forever if it was put towards worthy causes. No doubt you have.

Most people’s conclusion from this thought is that the government must tax them to oblivion and redistribute the wealth to programs that help the poor and needy. The fatal problems with that idea I need not get into. I simply recommend you look around you and see how the state ‘helps’ people.

I have a much better idea: make loads of money yourself, and do what you need to make this world a better place.

If you have an inclination to help the world, and have a talent that people will find valuable, then you need to do all you can to reach a wider audience as possible. It just so happens that the easiest and fastest way to do that is to start a business and make a profit. With those profits, you have more resources for increasing your efforts and reaching further.

You can either give that money to worthy charitable causes or NGOs, or you can re-invest it to expand your business and make it reach farther or increase the quality of your good or service.

There is absolutely no reason to feel guilty for wanting to make money.

The only thing you need to worry about is not being consumed by money at the disregard for all other things. Money is not the goal but the means for creating the life that you want, and bringing your value to others. If it gets in the way of that goal, then there’s a problem. But until that happens, keep it coming.

Making money is all about creating freedom for yourself. It is not about hoarding possessions, it is about relieving the worry of instability, and freeing yourself from the prison of circumstance.

There is no fixed pie. When you make money, you are not depriving someone else. Every exchange is mutually beneficial. When a trade occurs, we know that both participants valued the other good more than what they gave away. Both of them perceive that they are better off than they were before.

In a free market, having loads of money is simply evidence that many people find the good or service you are offering valuable, and are willing to give over their money to you. Therefore, if you are not making loads of money, you are not giving as much as you ought to be.

Rather than feeling bad for wanting money, you should feel bad that you are a poor person.

In truth we are not living in a free market. There are lots of barriers to money-making in this statist economy, but we should defend the principle that making money is the means for a better world.