The word exchange appears frequently in the Cape Town Talent Exchange and the Community Exchange System but we rarely see it used in the regular Rand economy. Is there no exchange in the Rand economy; only buying and selling?

From an early age we learn that if we can ‘get’ money then we can ‘get’ stuff. All through our school lives we are encouraged to study hard to get good grades so that we can get a good certificate that opens the way to the good jobs that will allow us to get the goods to live the good life. Getting is good!

Never are we taught that the economy is a place of giving and receiving and that in order to receive we must give, which means we have to exchange what we have and can do for what we need and want. Everyone is focussed on the ‘getting’ side only: getting a job to get money to get stuff; starting a business to sell stuff to get rich by getting good profits.

That is the problem with money: the focus is always on getting more of it, not on what is really needed and on what harm is being done in its pursuit. The objective of every single business in the money economy is to produce the maximum amount of money. The products and services that are provided are incidental to this goal. Likewise, every participant in this economy is focussed on maximising the amount of money that the system can provide them, not on the welfare of the whole or the health of our planet.

In this blind pursuit of money we are destroying our world. So long as we are all focussed on getting money, nothing will change. The Talent Exchange provides us with a tool to create an alternative economy, where we provide for ourselves and exchange what we have and can do for what we need. If we don’t need money we don’t need to sell our planet. Give what you can and have what we need.