I’ve always been stumped by those who assume that we will be using money in Zion. Where does it say in the scriptures that a market economy is Celestial in nature? I’ve never seen any such scripture. If I had to guess, I’d guess market relationships are Terrestrial at best. In fact, evidence from the Book of Mormon suggests that having a market economy is risky for a Zion society, but we’ll save that topic for another time.
A market economy is based exchanges – you give me something, then I give you something in return. Is this the only option? Heavens, No! Let’s consider one possible alternative economy, just for fun.
How about an economy based on gifting? Let’s start off by having everyone in our theoretical Zion society all producing their own food on debt-free land. Then suppose you are a furniture maker. You get great joy out of building furniture that is both beautiful and functional.
Now, your neighbor’s daughter is engaged to be married. In anticipation of their wedding, you build her parents an extra-special set of dresser drawers for them to give to their daughter. Not only do you get joy out of doing a fantastic job, but you also experience joy when her parents see what you’ve created, and then again when they give it to their daughter at the wedding reception.
Heard a couple of years back about a study which reported that our brains are flooded with “happy hormones” of some kind when we either DO something nice for someone, OR, witness others doing nice things for people. Sounds like God wired us to experience joy by helping others. Why not base our production and distribution of goods and services on that? The cobbler in town gets joy out of producing comfortable shoes for everyone, the mechanic gets joy out of fixing cars for people. The dressmaker… the toaster manufacturer… etc. all can find joy in blessing the lives of others.
Imagine everyone in the community truly giving of their gifts and talents to their neighbors and finding joy therein. That’s a Joy Economy.
My guess is that in such an economy as we’re imagining here, it would be wise to have everyone in charge of raising their own food. Otherwise the farmers would feel like they were slaves to everyone else, expected to produce sufficient foodstuffs daily for everyone in the community. Might be best to decentralize the production of food (and perhaps other life-sustaining necessities) to each family. Then, any luxury (non-essential-to-life) goods and services are provided via the Joy Economy. Those who easily produce more food than they need simply donate their surplus to the local storehouse to the benefit of those who are unable to produce enough, due to age or infirmity.