Try this at home, or in your classroom. Ask five individuals the question “What is money?” Write their answers down. Notice anything peculiar? They’ll all be able to tell you what they use it for (i.e. buying things), but they won’t be able to tell you what it is. Not a single one of them will have a good explanation. In fact, after reviewing their answers you might even suspect that they don’t really know what money is after all, and you’d be right. Perhaps it is just the “low” circles that I hang around in but I have not met a single person who understands what money is.

This should be shocking to you, if you think about it for a bit. Given the significance of money to all life on Earth, and its implication in the destruction of this planet, you’d think the true nature and essence of money would be the first thing we’d talk to our children about; but we don’t. We don’t ever teach our children, our adolescents, or even our adults, just what money is. Why? Well, because nobody has taught us. Why has nobody taught us? Because if they did, the entire self-delusional economic system farce that we all participate in, but that benefits only a few while increasingly killing the planet, would crumble into dust and disappear. Once we all know what money is, we’re not going to be so easy to control. What’s more, once we know what money is, everything from the way we see things to the way we live our lives is going to start to change. No matter how rich or poor, we need to make that change right now because if we don’t, mass human suffering will be the inevitable result.

So, are you ready to learn what money is? Are you ready to make “the shift.” If you are ready, then let me give you the gist. In a nutshell, Money is a  container for your labour [power] abstracted. I know it might sound complicated, like the kind of thing you would have to write three tortuous volumes to explain, but it’s not really. In fact, I explain it completely in Rocket Scientists Guide to Money and the Economy: Accumulation and Debt, so if you don’t understand what money is but you want to, you can download that book right here.

As for the rest of you? What can I say that Bob Dylan hasn’t already said much better. “The waters around you have grown” and “Times they are a changin.” Don’t be surprised when the rising tides of (still reversible) climate change come and wash your drenched bones away.

Mike Sosteric (Dr. S.)

Just another loud mouth sociology professor, teaching sociology courses at Athabasca University. Check me out here at the Socjourn, over there at The Conversation and at

Skip to toolbar