What would it take for money to be beautiful?

It’s strange how random thoughts sometimes stay with you.

Perhaps it was the beautiful September day, or the enthusiasm of the people on the stalls, or the colour. We went to the only garden exhibition we’ve been able to this year, and the explosion of colours, smells, and enthusiasm for craft and beauty in the shadow of the Malvern Hills just made me smile.

Back to the random thought.

What would it take for money to be beautiful?

We used to repay debts in kind, a reflection of gratitude for the favour bestowed. You help me with my Barn, I’ll plough your field. You paint my house, I’ll make you a table. It was local, personal, memorable and founded in gratitude, recognition and relationship.

Somewhere along the way, it’s become grey, anonymous and sterile. It doesn’t reflect in any way what has been done to earn it. I use the same money to pay a gas bill as I do to my child’s surgeon.

The consequences of an accident, or worse, negligence, are recognised and paid in money. (In Roman Times, bridge builders had to live under the bridges they built. Gives a different perspective on ISO)

We determine whether or not a loved one gets life saving treatment based on QUALYS – Quality Adjusted Life Years. Value for money. That’s just about the most repulsive acronym I can think of.

Obscene fortunes are made trading one currency for another based on the short term prospects of their economy. No mention of what may be determiniing those prospects. Natural disasters reduced to data points.

An artists obsession with beauty traded for money after her death, with death normally increasing the value.

What if we said you could only hold the currency of the country you live in? That your wealth is directly linked to how well your country is doing? That only national exchequers could benefit from currency trading? That shares you buy have to be held for a year? Or that trading in money for other money carried a punitive tax rate?

What if money stored and not used to do something generative automatically reduced in value, and that money used to do something that improved somebody’s life chances increased in value?

That money derived from mining natural resources, or polluting the atmosphere, was a different colour to money earned from feeding refugees?

What if we asked the question of every transaction “how will this make things more beautiful”?

What would our wallets look like? What would the wallets of corporate executives look like compared to a nurse’s?

We have made money anoymous, grey and ugly, with the personality of a zombie.

I’d quite like it to be colourful, beautiful and attractive.

As I said, random thought.

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