Subscribe to our Newsletter

“Imagine an economy in which life is valued more than money and power resides with ordinary people who care about one another, their community, and their natural environment. It is possible. It is happening. Millions of people are living it into being. Our common future hangs in the balance” – David Korten

What is Money?
What is ‘Real Wealth’?

(Written by Shabs Ash – 24 July 2016)

I have pondered this question for the last few years now.

I felt it was important for me to inquire further.

Many of us spend day and night in pursuit of money, in jobs, or our business so that we can buy goods and services that we either need or want. Hence, I thought this topic of money deserves my attention.

What is money anyway? It’s a rectangular piece of paper right or a round metal object of varying sizes? Or is it just a digital number on a screen somewhere?

The Federal Reserve of New York, has this supplement on their website, which animates in very basic terms ‘The Story of Money’ – if you want a quick background on money: The Story of Money

Money holds value, because it was decided centuries ago, that money would act as the official medium of exchange to buy goods and services we need and desire. I.e. food and shelter as the basic necessities and other wants such as say that ‘holiday home’ in the sun or the latest fashion trends etc., you take your pick!

The real value of money lies in the goods and services we consume, i.e. the food we buy and enjoy from the supermarkets in exchange for our money; or services such as that fresh new hair cut at your favourite hairdressers.

So what is ‘Wealth’?

Is real wealth then simply having a lot of ‘money’ in one’s bank account or holding other financial assets such as real estate or stocks and shares? Or is it more complex than that? Having a healthy bank account and owning financial assets certainly helps and can enhance our lives in many ways! But in and of itself, is it enough?

Is money an Illusion?

“Liberation from subservience to Wall Street begins with a recognition that money is just a number of no intrinsic value.” (David Korten)

Whilst researching this topic about ‘money’ and ‘wealth’, I came across David Korten’s work. David is the author of the international best seller, When Corporations Rule the World. He also wrote a very interesting article entitled, ‘The Illusion of money’ which is well worth a read and can be found on his online publication called ‘Yes magazine’, here is the link: Yes Magazine

Here, David distinguishes between ‘Real Living wealth’ and ‘Phantom Financial Wealth’.

David argues that Real living wealth includes things of value such as fertile land, healthy food, knowledge, caring communities, pure water and clear air etc. Whereas Phantom financial wealth is merely a number on a piece of paper, appearing from nowhere and can disappear in an instant, as a phantom in the night.

I’m not sure about you, but I prefer the sound of Real living wealth.

Therefore, money and other financial wealth instruments such as real estate, stocks and shares etc may be a means to acquire ‘Real living wealth’ which is inherently our birth right anyway!

I mean can you really put a price tag on ‘fresh air’ or the O2 we breathe in order to survive? How about the food we eat? Yes, there is a price tag for the food we buy, but the reality is there is enough food on our planet for everyone to be fed; yet in our world today, billions of people are starving to death! Something is not adding up here?

“Humans are the only species that pay to live on our planet” – (A quote I’ve heard)

Yet they say money can’t always buy happiness or inner peace etc, but if we don’t have enough money for our everyday needs such as food, clean water and shelter, it can also destroy our happiness and peace. So it is a fine balance!

They say the rich get richer and the poor poorer. But does this necessarily have to be the only way to such an extreme where many in our world today are without these basic necessities such as food and shelter. This leads me to believe there has to be a better way!

Distribution of Wealth and Money

Is the distribution of wealth and money in the world we live in today, then the real problem here?
It seems if you have enough financial wealth, you can survive, but if you don’t you are in trouble!
The question then is, who is in control of the financial wealth in our world today? When did financial wealth such as money first come about? Who created/ creates money or financial wealth (which many say the banks create out of ‘thin air’)?


Who controls and creates Money or this Phantom Financial Wealth?

“Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes it’s laws”.
(Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild – Famous banker and founder of the Rothschild banking dynasty)



Thomas Jefferson said it well. (As per above quote)

The money system plays such a fundamental and integral part in all our lives and I feel we need to openly talk about what is no longer working so we can create something that does work.

It starts with asking the questions, the few who control the printing of money or the money supply in our economies, make it sound complicated as they don’t want to be challenged by the people. They also create a lot of fear amongst the people so that no one challenges the way things are.


“It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” (Henry Ford)

We are born into the money system and learn to just get by but at what cost? I am not a 100% confident that our current economic system as it currently stands will sustain us for the foreseeable future. Unless we take charge, empower ourselves with the right tools and make the necessary adjustments and changes needed to secure the future of all.

The time is now to openly debate and raise those all important questions.

Knowledge is power and the more we know, the more we are able to understand that perhaps the current system is not optimal for humanity or the planet.

There has to be a better way and as the next generation, it is up to us to find a solution!


Further Resources:

Another excellent resource to learn the truth about our money system, laid out in simple terms, is Chris Martenson’s free video crash course, well worth a visit:

Peak Prosperity Crash Course

Here Chris talks about the Three E’s – Economy, Energy and the Environment and how the three E’s are interlinked – great work.

David Korten’s work can be found here:

Living Economies Forum
Yes Magazine