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Recently this post appeared on Google+:

Here’s My Plan: Everyone makes $100,000 World dollars a year and the prices for everything all over the world should be the same. ie: a Loaf of bread costs $2.00 in the US and Europe and India …. One currency. And everyone works only 4 hours a day and gets 2 months off for holidays. Everyone pays 30 % taxes and gets Universal Health Care. But no one needs to be making $100,000,000 million dollar bonuses. Would that work ?

Now this generated a lot of comment, about half in the “that’s crazy” camp and about half in the “that would be wonderful” camp, with a certain amount of “that’s what OWS is all about!” and “That’s socialism!” sprinkled-in for seasoning.

One currency isn’t the point. It’s one economy that you need. Even the U.S. doesn’t have one economy. If we did it wouldn’t be so messed-up. Economies are ultimately regional – they become intertwined globally, but are still centered on geographic and political regions. Even if you had one world currency you would have some regions doing better than others, and inequality in their economies – so your money wouldn’t be worth $1 everywhere: in some places that $1 would buy less than in others because of local market valuation.

This single-currency-brings-about-utopia idea is only possible once:

1: Everyone speaks a single language,

2: All regions are coordinated so they are not in direct competition but instead provide complimentary economic activities.

3: No one has anything someone else doesn’t have.

4: There is no greed.

5: We have exactly enough people to do exactly the number of jobs available, and those numbers are instantaneously adjustable to fit each other.

6: Different nations absolutely agree on everything, or there are no different nations, in which case there would be world government, and it would have to be repressive to maintain control.

7: There are no cultural differences at all – no religious differences, no societal differences, no ethnic differences.

8: All ideas are carefully studied before being put into practice, and any that might be destabilizing to the world order are repressed

9: We must arrange things so everyone would be paid exactly the same amount based on the time it takes to do their job, no matter how stressful it is, and how much of an impact it has on their health and personal life. And all products of the same type must be made and distributed using exactly the same materials and processes that have exactly the same values everywhere regardless of how they are extracted from the environment, processed, and distributed.

Otherwise the dollar I make might not be worth as much as the dollar you make. And the profit one company makes on their $99 phone won’t be as much as the profit another makes. It only works if everyone’s life is the same. There is more to the concept of “value” than a number – the number is just a symbolic representation of worth, and worth varies based on circumstances. The fact is life is inherently unequal in almost all its aspects, and just assigning an arbitrary number to things doesn’t change that. If you live where water is scarce then water is more important and therefore worth more than in a place where it is abundant. Just geography and climate alone dictate relative economic values.

This “one currency fixes everything” thinking is the result of mass media making us think things are the same everywhere, and Western science being based on the assumption that numbers aren’t symbols but have an inherent reality all their own. This thinking invades culture and makes everything seem simpler than it is.