I hear a lot of talk in the spiritual communities declaring that money is evil. For a time I did entertain this idea, and I can understand where it comes from. I also like the notion of going back to exchange instead, but I think there are some holes in this idea.
It seems to me that bartering/exchange could only work on a local scale, in communities with shared values only. Exchange is a great and simple concept at this level, and money has indeed caused complex issues within society. However, to think that we could return to ancient methods in a bid to shake off the perceived 'evil' that is money doesn’t seem realistic.
For example, let’s assume you are a vet and you want to fly somewhere. How would you offer exchange? Would you give the pilot's dog a years’ supply of vitamins? Would you de-flea the check in girl's cat? Operate on the fuel-tanker driver's hamster? How would you go about arranging this even if it were considered a 'fair' exchange for a flight? What if nobody required your services? No holiday for you then, unless perhaps you offered to clean the airport. You can see why this might not work out.
There would be many organisational complexities
What if your actual job was cleaning? How many clean toilets would equate to a flight to the Bahamas? Then there is the question of priorities. Who gets 'first dibs' and based on what? Who values the services? Is prioritisation based on quality of or demand for services?
Then there is the question of proving yourself. What system would be put in place in order that you prove your capability of providing an exchange-worthy service?
Even if an exchange system was set up to match supply with demand, only those whose services were deemed truly valuable would be able to attain goods or services. Goods or services that, for example, took a lot of resources or 'expensive' materials like gold.
Saving would be a redundant option
The ability to save would be eradicated, meaning if you have no 'valuable' talent or specialty, you could be forced into a very simplistic life. What about if you're sick and in need of treatment - too sick to provide an exchange service for medicine?
What about the elderly? What provisions would be in place for these? It would create dependency on others to exchange on their behalf. Exchange must be based on resourcefulness, talent and capability.
There is probably a lot more than even those things to think about, but it just seems far too complex for the modern world. So unless we are prepared to abandon all modern conveniences and limit ourselves to absolute basics - meaning no more travel, no more exotic foods, etc - and choose one country to remain in long term, we are going to need a system similar to money.
Grand-scale bartering would be more complex than money
A truly fair exchange system would need to be even more complex than money, for people to retain the freedom of choice that money brings. The system of monetary distribution (and travel/food supply, etc.) has been created/hijacked by those who wish to control, which at probably contributes to the notion that money is the root of all evil.
Yet money itself is not the problem, it is simply a system that allows us to acquire what we need without discrimination.
What is necessary is that we don't allow it control us to the extent it currently does, and we embrace the concept of exchange alongside it where possible, so that money is not the only way to get what we need.
If we can acknowledge and avoid the traps set for us by those in control of this system, we are more likely to achieve that. Debt is the biggest one. Trivial values that encourage the acquisition of wealth, status and power are another.
Integrity versus psycopathy
We have evolved too much to expect a barter system to function globally. It seems to me that the only way that we could have a healthy monetary system is if those in control of it were replaced with integral people instead of psychopaths.
In blaming money itself for being evil, you risk banishing it from your reality; you place unhelpful limits on your life within the current global construct. I for one find it more helpful to embrace money, choosing to use it in only positive ways while I have the option to. That being said, this only applies to cash itself. Not credit cards, mortgages and debts.
Digital money will be open to serious abuse
The main problem with the system that I currently foresee is that when cash (the voucher/tokens that represent value) is replaced entirely with digital currency, the scales are tipped further in the wrong direction - toward total control.
At that point, a fair exchange system is no longer guaranteed. Your money becomes an illusion - numbers on a screen, and something that can be switched off at will. Then you would have nothing with which to exchange for your goods or services.
I look forward to the time when I can grow my own food, and to participate in exchanges of all kinds with local communities. Being fixated by resources of any kind is unhealthy. However, as it stands money equates to freedom of choice, and for that I must work. In this modern world, to achieve what I wish to in life, money is the one. It's just the way it is.