“‘It was after the Great Recession of 2025 that everything really changed,’ said Jonah James, self-styled warrior against the thing-based establishment. ‘Up until that point, money had value in its own right.’
Jonah reminisces about a time in primary school when his parents had given him money to go on a school trip. ‘I got sweets in the gift shop at the Heritage Centre in exchange for the coins I had in my pocket,’ he says, shaking his head in disbelief at this bygone time.
“Of course, it doesn’t work like that any more. When money lost all value, it stopped being circulated and now we have the Thingcards. National Revaluation really shook things up. Everyone is now familiar with the way exchange works in our economy. The more things you have, the more you are worth – a simple fact of “Thingconomics” as it’s come to be called.
“While people had previously been well-off because of how much money they had, Revaluation allocated assets according to how much stuff people had. Where once there was wealth, there were now things. Wealthy people were now impoverished in comparison to the thingy people – people who had lots of things. The monetary value of those things didn’t matter. When recession and hyperinflation came into effect, currency was worthless.
“Jonah remembers the day the Revaluation assessors came to their house. ‘They arrived with their tablets and counted every single thing,’ he says, a far-away look in his eyes. ‘Then my parents were allocated a Thingcard charged with weekly credits.’ Every year, in a routine each family will be very familiar, Jonah’s family had the Annual Inventorisation Visit, during which all of their things were counted. The more things you can demonstrate you have, the higher your allowance. This has become standard practice across the country and is very much a fact of life.
“‘That’s just how it works,’ says Jonah, shrugging and running his hand through an unruly mane of long, thick hair. ‘Quantity is obviously a better marker of how well off you are. I remember seeing shops on the History Channel when I was growing up that had been thought of as the best places to go back in the old days, because everything there cost so much money. You could only afford one or two things unless you were really wealthy. I remember hearing that the shops said their things were “quality” but as far as I could tell, the food in those fancy places didn’t look any different than the stuff my mum got.’
“Jonah’s mum said that when he was born, people had looked down on her for shopping at Poundland because the things they sold were cheap in monetary terms. These days, only the thingiest people shopped there, and Jonah remembered begging her to go somewhere different because people would know how thingy they were.
“Wealthy. There’s a term you don’t hear any more. When Jonah was very young, he vaguely remembered that one of his aunties was known of as wealthy. ‘She didn’t have lots of things,’ he said, ‘but what she did have was apparently worth lots of money.’ When currency was phased out in National Revaluation, Jonah’s aunt was devastated. ‘All the money she’d had was worth nothing,’ he recalls, ‘and with only a few things, she was suddenly poor.’
“When Jonah got to secondary school he used to get teased because his family were really thingy. They said his family looked down on everyone and thought they were better because of all of their things. Jonah had only ever wanted to be like all the other kids – he was embarrassed by how thingy his family was. ‘ I used to try and pretend like we had hardly anything,’ he reminisces, ‘but as soon as anyone came to the house and saw all the plastic toys, stacks of tinned food and bumper packs of toilet roll, word got around that we were rolling in things and no-one wanted anything to do with me.’
“There wasn’t really any way to hide it either. ‘I don’t know how the people in the olden days managed to convince others that they were well-off when all they had was a house with a few bits in it,’ he says. He knew, because his mum had told him, that people used to get teased for being wealthy when she was little the same way he got picked on for being thingy, but he still doesn’t understand how. ‘It would have been easy to hide if you had lots of money because it didn’t take up any space. If you had lots of things, there was no way to get away from it.’
“As soon as he was old enough, Jonah decided to get away from it all. ‘I always loved the open air, and I could learn to do everything I needed to make a good life for myself,’ he says. Taking off into the woods, he secured a plot of, built a home from the materials he found around him and planted his own crops. He had very few things and all he needed to be happy and free.”
Gillian looked up from the story in Take A Closer Look magazine and snorted.
“What an elitist twat,” she thought, and tossed the magazine over the massive heap of things on the lounge floor and onto the huge pile in the corner of the room.