A choose-your-own-adventure map for hacking the future of money
"... To replace it (the money system) you’d actually have to re-grow our entire economic organism, ....Anybody that’s imagining a wholesale replacement of one monetary system for another, and is not expecting the body to die in the process, is… well... delusional."
This is an assumption not a fact. First what do you mean by "wholesale replacement"? If you are suffering from scurvy several vital systems (connective, circulatory, immune, etc..) cease to function, do you replace them or do you correct them by adding enough of one of the simplest molecules (C6H8O6 aka Vitamin C) known to biochemistry? If you do add vitamin C, a "wholesale replacement" has taken place, i.e. from dysfunctional system A to functional system B. But notice that little was done to achieve such a colossal transformation.
The take home is to know how to define a system, removing one detail completely transforms a system from a functional <=> dysfunctional, stable <=> unstable, passive <=> active. In the case of money systems mainstream or alternative, we need to first determine the problem statement they are to address and only then can we talk about what requirements need to be satisfied e.g. do we need to produce alternatives or will a simple correction of what is already in place be sufficient?
Finally, you need to understand how systems affect other systems they come into contact with, e.g. any passive system cannot coexist in conjunction with an active system unless it is completely isolated and independent.
The first part of this essay is absolutely brilliant, Brett. Should be required reading for anyone in economic study.
Came across @brettscott article today and couldn't resist diving into the full read. It's a heavy hitter, but the effort was well worth it! I'm with him on the idea that money's a social construct – if we're not fans of the current setup, why shouldn't we have the power to switch it up? Of course, that begs the question of who 'we' are and what 'we' desire, but let's park that thought for a sec.
Now, Brett, if I'm picking up what you're putting down correctly, it feels like there's a shadow of 'capitalist realism' in your views, similar to the very concept you flag in the article. My takeaway – and I might be off-base here – is that your vision for money's future revolves primarily around its traditional roles: medium of exchange, unit of accounting, and store of value.
It seems like you're imagining a fresh take on money with maybe new rules for entry or a tilt towards equity but otherwise not so much different to today. But let's not forget, the role of money's changing with tech too! I scribbled down some thoughts on how crypto's carving out a niche as the cash of choice for computers, not just us flesh-and-bone types. Could be something in there that sparks your interest.
Check it out here https://open.substack.com/pub/swenldn/p/crypto-is-money-not-for-humans-but?r=1rk8o9&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web I hope you will find it useful #DigitalCash #mydigitaltruth
I quote Brett Scott @Suitpossum
🙏🏼 in the Tumbla ~ keep send swap spend (document)
Exploring early-bird discount payment combined with a swap market for vouchers.
A voucher with Geographic, Redeemability & Time Limits.
As Brett Scott explains, “large-scale systems ‘dissolve’ communities into large formless bodies of people who just see themselves as floating ‘consumers’, while small-scale systems connect people into more holistic closely-knit meshes”.
Maybe your starting point as to the ‘Altered State Of Monetary Consciousness’ begins with your anthropological awareness that “Pre-capitalist ‘human economies’, by contrast, tend to carry far less of this ‘commodity fetishism’, in that people recognise that economic value lies in people, not things. Human economies like this are associated with ‘social currencies’, ceremonial objects that act to mediate human relations, unblock tensions, facilitate unions..” These social orders did not suffer from the reductionist delusion of the separation of the individual from the group. And their credit systems were WAY MORE than ceremonial objects……and those social credits themselves provided the tools to “mediate human relations, unblock tensions, facilitate unions.”
What is interesting about this “Altered State” is that the MSTA finds this moment of the mistaken notions involved with ‘commodity fetishism’ as the place to which we must focus our attentions. Because correction of this takes us to simple bookkeeping about the activities within these ‘human economies’ and delivers us away from the illiterate consequences of this commodity fetishism you so cogently point to.
You see, if the focus is on this foolish ‘commodity fetish’ and the misguided attempts to use the features of commodities as if they legitimately apply to abstract unit based representation of a ‘human economy’ (and in the end there is no other kind), then the “nervous system" analogy you give to money (which I interpret to mean an information system) can only become a “contributor to any emergent ‘consciousness’ that develops in and around that system” if it first starts with bad information (money has the features of commodities) and then operates in feedback loops related to this.
You wrote: “Money is the nervous system of the global economy, and - like any nervous system - it’s a core contributor to any emergent ‘consciousness’ that develops in and around that system. So, if you feel that maybe the global economy is like a numb, delusional and paranoid wreck walking towards oblivion, it makes sense to consider how we might alter the state of its nervous system.”
Is the economy that way because the ‘consciousness’ about money is delusional and causing the numbness and paranoia? Focus on the feelings is not enough if those feelings are rooted in delusion or the mistaken. The ‘emergent consciousness’, if based in delusion will be unaware of the root of the paranoia, because that is the problem with delusion. But the human perception at some basic level (those same feelings) has the awareness of the impossibility of being able to make the present system work. And this becomes a feedback loop within this nervous system/communication system/information system/the present money system that surely and realistically does feel like “walking towards oblivion.” So, this state of affairs must deeply look into the dynamics of this ‘emergent consciousness’ you point at.
It seems to me that WAY Too Many of the ‘solutions’ in so called ‘modern’ economic models are nothing more than circling attempts to make the misrepresentation of money (commodity features can be legitimately applied to the abstract unit used to represent the interchange of economic value) work.
When a populace has only one frame of reference, and that one is invalid, it cannot even begin to know what is wrong. The point about not having any other frame of reference is critically important, because there is no guarantee that the 'development' of humanity has gotten stuff figured out correctly. Which raises the question: What do we have wrong?
One of those things that we surely have wrong is money. And we have had this wrong since the time we switched from fungible commodities as trade goods to abstract unit based representations of value interchange used in bookkeeping. What we got wrong is that, because we "conflated the two mutually exclusive notions of “measure” and “commodity” - be it either conflating “measure” with (fungible) commodities such as gold or silver or “commodity" with mere annotations of value such as fiat notes" (Marc Gauvin) - we assigned the properties of a commodity to a simple abstract unit! In doing this we messed up our own abilities to have stability in our acCounts and bookkeeping and society as we sought to 'own and protect' the abstract units as though they were fungible commodities, when they were/are but abstract representations of the value contained in the stuff of real value in our interchange!
Through all this time in human history, since before the formation of Nation States, we have been confused about what Liberation through bookkeeping and abstract representation of our own interaction needs in order to work. Because the goods interchanged no longer need an intermediate fungible trade good. What we need is a specification for a 'unit of value' with which to measure/annotate and keep the records about the value contained in those items of genuine value about which we are writing stuff down! Please take a look at this paper. http://www.bibocurrency.com/index.php/downloads-2/19-english-root/learn/271-brief-history-of-money-s-misrepresentation
I celebrate your willingness to challenge the status quo and to ask what we have been getting wrong.
It seems to me, that with regard to money, we are still in a 'pre-Copernican' era thinking that fungible commodity-like money is at the center of our economic world when it cannot possibly be. And so long as we subjugate ourselves to the foolish need to have money retain the attributes of fungible commodities we abandon our own position as the initiator (the center) of economic capacity and give ourselves over to the eventuality of control exhibited by those strong armed protectorates that have developed into the Nation States along with all the corruption that entails.
There is a way out that involves simple monetary literacy. Check this out!!