Written by Mariah K
Science fiction books and films have been entertaining people for generations. This encompasses everything from traveling through space to the elves living in the rhododendron bush in the backyard of the futuristic family. Science fiction has also been defined by the hunger and dependence of society for currency. Although it is extremely difficult to imagine any civilization without some form of money, there have been spectacular movies where no currency existed. For all of these reasons, it makes sense to wonder what could be accomplished by using cryptocurrency, time or even motivation as a type of money in science fiction. This would help define the genre in new and scintillating ways.
The Currency of Time
Imagine a movie where time is the money used by the society. In one scenario, the length of time a person was able to live would depend on how much time they were able to collect. When an individual ran out of time, they would die. Another engaging concept would be if time were required for the individual to leave their home for any reason. Without time, they could not work and earn more time, shop for groceries, breathe fresh air, attend a party, take their children to school, or even get a haircut. If time were used as money, this could encompass traveling to the past or the future. An entire society, culture and story line could easily be built around the concept of time.
A lot of these concepts have been covered by the 2011 Sci-Fi movie “In Time” starring Justin Timberlake. If you haven’t seen it, I would suggest giving it a watch. While yes this was already done in a movie, I feel there is plenty of room to explore this concept and for authors to go further in their own works.
A Society of Motivation
Close your eyes and imagine what it would feel like to have no motivation. You would not desire food, companionship, laughter, children, etc. What if the only way to get motivation was through working. This would mean the only way to enjoy your life was to earn your motivation. A futuristic society with motivation earned instead of money would be brilliant. New terms could be created such as Friday is motivation day, three motits per hour and the motivation rate. Success would not be based on monetary items, but what could be accomplished with enough motivation. Motivation would be required to receive an education, travel to new places and have children. This concept could create an entirely new society.
Creating a new world based on cryptocurrency has endless possibilities. This could eliminate theft, bribery, money laundering and numerous types of crime. The blockchain could be developed in a manner where it was controlled by a select group of people who controlled the world. The masses could rise up against this dictatorship and strive for equality. Cryptocurrency could be used to fund new technologies and developments such as creating a sustainable atmosphere on an uninhabitable planet, developing a spaceship capable of navigating the black holes in space to discover incredible new civilizations or combining the intelligence of the people of all nations to prevent war and develop a free energy source. The options are as exciting as they are endless.
The Greed of Acquisition
The ideal evil character in a science fiction movie would be in a society defining money as acquisitions. Image someone so greedy they required dozens of buildings to house their acquisitions. An individual drunk with the idea that acquisitions equal power. If a town required chickens for eggs or gasoline for cars, the person with access to these items would effectively control the entire town. There would have to be a hero as well to ensure balance. The hero would fight for the rights of the people to have access for what they need to live. The evil one would exist on greed, corruption, and manipulation.
The Thumb Scan
What if there were a world with no cash, no bank accounts, investment opportunities or portfolios. Each individual would have the same status as their ancestors from birth inscribed into their thumbs. The people could be grouped by numbers or colors. When the thumb scan was yellow, the individual received a rundown shack as their home with limited food supplies and clothing. Pink would grant them a mansion, lobster, and opera tickets. Perhaps red would be somewhere in the middle. The perfect movie theme would be what do you do if you are born into a life you are unable to change. Some would accept their lot in life while others would fight using any means at their disposal to live a better life. The excitement would draw large crowds.
The New Life Forms
What would happen if the earth joined a galactic alliance with alien beings who did not use any money in their society. This would destroy the entire concept of value as well as the economy. What if cash was some type of gemstone not found on earth? Now imagine the people who figured out how to create this gemstone. They would become incredibly rich on many different planets. They could enjoy activities and items never before seen on earth. Science fiction writers could invent possessions so thrilling and exciting the people of earth would kill to possess them. This would create destruction and upheaval in mass proportions. A black market would form capable of asking anything for this gemstone. Again, the options are nearly limitless.
Banknotes with Artificial Intelligence
A nice twist would be a society that still used cash, but the banknotes had artificial intelligence. These notes would refuse to conduct any illegal transactions to make society safer. Unless of course the money began thinking for itself. The money could refuse to purchase guns, ammunition, alcohol, specific types of music or DVD’s, legal services and the list goes on and on. The ability of the owner to pay a bill or purchase anything would depend on the attitude of their banknotes. The entire monetary system would be effectively derailed.
The Bottom Line
A science fiction writer has the power to create the world or society of their choice. Personal worth would be dependent on what the writer chose to use for money. In the modern world, personal worth is often linked to finances. The best premise of all time is money is the root of all evil.