HomeArticlesNon-POM: Utopia? Hardly.

We all want to live in utopia. In a utopia we would all be happy. There would never be any problems. We wouldn’t even be bored.

Like it or not, utopia will never be more than a dream. Philosophers and sages down through the ages have given us visions of near perfect societies based on religion or a clever philosophy. But they all have foundered on the realities of national economies and human nature. Can you imagine a nation in which there are no problems? I cannot. Even the non-POM society will be peopled by ordinary folks like you and me and nobody’s perfect.

Just because there is no poverty and no taxes and no oppressive government in a non-POM economy that doesn’t mean there are no problems and that no one suffers. People are, after all, people. They still will make gross errors from time to time. They will still be irrational and emotional and grumpy and afraid of dying and so on. Men will still fail to understand women and many women will be unable to tolerate men leaving the toilet seat up. Disease will be a constant threat. Earthquakes, volcanoes, tornados, hurricanes, and floods will continue no matter what kind of economy we use. There will still be global warming and the planet will still have more people than it can comfortably support. Pollution will still exist despite our best efforts. Insanity will still happen.

But these are things that no economic system can prevent though a non-POM society can cope with them better than POM societies. That still ignores problems that come with a non-POM society that simply don’t exist in a POM economy.

For example, in a non-POM society what does one do if one’s spouse becomes a payer? Payers can never have luxuries (things so designated, though this designation can change). So that means they could not live in a luxury house or apartment. Your spouse might therefore have to move out of your home. They could not have luxury foods so you would not be able to bring luxury foods into the house for fear that your spouse would be suspected of eating them. (It would be legal but risky.) They could not go on vacations with you to the beach or the mountains. They could not wear luxury clothes. Your life would be adversely affected by your spouse becoming a payer. Of course, you could also become a payer but let’s assume you aren’t ready to give up all luxuries (like wine or cigarettes). This is a problem not faced in a POM economy.

What if you had some "crackpot idea" that you wanted to pursue. In a POM society if you have the money you can buy the cooperation of others. In a non-POM society you would have to persuade others to cooperate with you. You would have to gain their willing cooperation rather than being able to buy it. (Please note that in my situation of trying to get people to consider an "outside the box" economic system I should be the last one to call the unusual ideas of others "crackpot.")

When things go wrong in a POM society we can always blame the government, particularly the head of that government, and with some justification. In a company one can always blame the chief executive officer. But in a non-POM economy, there is no individual to blame. There is hardly any government worthy of the name and what little there is has no control over day-to-day life. Therefore one cannot blame the President if one doesn’t like what is happening. If one works with others in a producing organization, one is cooperating voluntarily rather than obeying in exchange for money. Therefore, one shares the responsibility for what the organization does.

Of course one can always blame the Payers but there are millions of them and they don’t tell anyone what to do so it’s hard to get that strong emotional release from blaming them.

There would be almost no laws. The fact that something is legal or illegal in a non-POM society would have almost no influence. It would be difficult to feel like one is controlling the behavior of others by getting a law passed. Let’s say one is opposed to pornography. (You can fill in some other behavior that you consider bad if you like.) In a POM society, it may be legal or illegal depending on the nation. But in a non-POM society, if someone produces pornography there will be no adverse response from the police unless that pornography does some harm. Then everyone who contributed to the production of that pornography would lose potential income. The manufacturers and distributors of the film and camera (if it uses film) would lose income. The people who allowed the pornography to fall into the wrong hands would lose income. Thus, pornography would exist, as it has in every society, but there would not be any law needed nor paid attention to in deciding what to do, if anything, about each individual instance of pornography.

The lack of law will be most uncomfortable to some people. They are used to being told what they cannot do and what they must do. This gives them a freedom from having to think for themselves. In a non-POM society one must consider the consequences of everything one does in order to avoid losing money. To maximize income, one must be thoughtful and considerate. Many people will find this irksome. The requirement (not required by law, just the way things are) that one be responsible for one’s property and actions is something that many will find most annoying. One will be unable to say "that’s illegal" and thereby justify some behavior.

But beyond that, one will be unable to excuse one’s self by saying "he made me do it." For example, today, one can say, "I was just doing my job." "I had to do it to keep my job." In a non-POM society that will be no excuse at all. No one can make you do anything in a non-POM society. (This is an exaggeration, of course.) If you are doing a particular kind of work it is because you choose to do that work. You are working for luxuries only, so you could get along just fine and your family could do all right without your earning any money at all. You are not compelled by fear to do anything. You are lured by desire to do work. Therefore, one must take responsibility for everything that one does. This, too, can be disturbing. Many people don’t like responsibility but it comes with the non-POM.

Finally, for those who always wanted to inherit a fortune, non-POM money cannot be inherited. If your father dies rich he took it with him because no one in the world will ever be able to spend that money. He could have given you luxury items or paid for luxury services while he was alive but that ends at the moment of death. Any luxury items (like that big house and all those jewels) can be inherited, but not the money. This will disappoint many who would like to get money without effort on their part.

So though a non-POM is a definite improvement over a POM in terms of living conditions, lifestyle, security and so forth, one still will have problems, concerns, jealousy, envy, annoyances, and the risk of an untimely death in a non-POM society just as today.


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