Capital - Part 3
The problems with our current system are felt by a growing majority and are increasing in both breadth and severity. Not only is this majority growing in the United States, but because of how money is currently defined chaos in foreign developing economies becomes profitable. Part of the reason we see the push for the injection of democracy into developing nations is to allow their economies to be susceptible to the same level of control through market forces seen in developed nations and exercised by the leaders of the mercantile branch of global government. At this point it is helpful to understand the classical definition of money. Aristotle defined money as having four key traits: durability, portability, divisibility, and intrinsic value. Since the introduction of the central bank, the buying power of the dollar has been plummeting. This is because the value of any globally recognized unit of money can not be susceptible to control by any centralized authority, a fact we will revisit.
The value of the dollar, the global standard since 1944, is actually directly tied to the value of other recognized global currencies. As more alternatives arise with developing nations stabilizing and growing their economies, the difference between the strength of the dollar and other currencies will fluctuate and cause further questioning of why the global currency is based on the strength of a single economy. The problems associated with this model are also systemic. Feasible solutions have already been proposed, but they are often solutions to the symptoms rather than solutions to the root of the problem; band-aids without a balm will leave the wound to fester. The solutions we are proposing are also feasible and not mutually exclusive so combinations of any proposed parts could be used to address the root of the problem. Before continuing, let's first highlight a few more prominent trends that will help in the appreciation of the theory behind the solutions to be proposed.
The role of technology since the rise of tools has been to augment human production. As we extend and improve technology on multiple scales including speed, intelligence, accuracy, scalability, durability, and the like we have seen the absorption, consolidation, and redefinition of entire markets into new technologies. Automation is merely the final stages of this process. Literally, no conventional job is safe! Unemployment and underemployment have been rampant for several years as the speed of technological progress vastly outpaces the learning curve on new standard technologies. The job market has actually been condensing for some time as a result of the true role of technology and automata. All of this will be exacerbated by the recent public push by the industry and several data technology powerhouses for AI. It should be noted, however, that the democratization of big data and AI could change how these trends play out. The importance of access to energies and advanced manufacturing in how our systems of government and definitions of economy will be redefined can not be understated. The democratization of clean energy and technology will fundamentally change how people think of each other because the removal of dependencies on others for utilities of modern life change the innate feeling of control or superiority felt by members of the producing sections of society. Movements have arisen that spoke to the symptoms of these trends. The two most notable being Occupy and the Maker movement, which show that movements are speaking to both the root of the problems as well as a potential solution. Sadly, the probable rise of internal chaos from the loss of any of the four forms of government control and increased access to sustainable off grid lifestyles would cause the current systems to become unstable so the importance of these movements have largely been watered down by mass media. Lastly, the right to education, the only true means of improving ones standing in life has become the next target of businesses looking to make a profit. This trend of injustice against the rights of the underrepresented precipitates from higher education to basic education as well and can be seen in the national closure rates and the resulting achievement metrics.
With these trends in mind we can now consider three key questions:
What is money today?
Where do people fit into this redrawn economic landscape?
How do we define an individual's value in an era of abundance?
Rising modern currencies are electronic, and at the forefront is Bitcoin. Bitcoin as well as several alt-currencies are scarce by design and many of the potential flaws in its design are solvable. Digital currencies have several features needed for the stable currency of the future. The classical definition of money needs to be adjusted. The money of the future needs to be adhoc, decentralized, and not scarce as implied in the classical definition, but finite. Additionally, because of how governments are defined, unless a group of high value corporations backs a single or selection of digital currencies there is likely to arise a group that will be dedicated to the eradication of Bitcoin and alt-currency harddrives. For the first time in our history money can be something that we are not only able to create, but also eradicate. Though permanence is not seen by many as a problem with rising digital currencies it is one that needs to be addressed for wide spread adoption to be wise in the long term. There are solutions we could propose, however, this problem will likely be addressed by experts of alt-currencies once the situation does present itself.
Money has always been synonymous with power, control, privilege, and access. In an economy experiencing widespread excess the foundation is still governed mainly by structures from times when scarcity materials or knowledge was a real barrier to production. There is no longer a need for scarcity, which contributes to current currencies having intrinsic value, to be included in the conventional definition of money. Furthermore, when we start to think of a world currency and what that will mean in the future, we see that a permanent consolidation of government power globally would become susceptible to the same problems of modern currencies once a group of individuals conjures some reason to need to control the flow of power, some reason to control access. Decentralized digital currency secure from human control could be the currency of the future, but the digitization of money as well as skills emphasizes the importance of the question of where humans fit and how they can add value?
It is here that we would like to propose and define the direction the world economy is going. Within the next 25 years we will see convergence of technologies to form an Automata Plateau where human labor is no longer necessary to the production of products OR services for other people. Robots will be able to do everything we once did, and currently do as cogs in the industrial machine, far better than we ever could without augmentation. Furthermore, the rise and adoption of renewable energy means that it will be efficient and sustainable! The world seen in many dystopian movies, especially as of late, is an extension of our current stratifying economy and its emergence will continue to be seen worldwide if we continue along the current path. The reason economies and governments tear themselves apart, the reason instability always forms is proximity of the ruling class to poverty and the inheritance of several lifetimes worth of not only access, but amounts of power beyond what any individual should be granted without due process. While we have solutions to propose for this as well (such as limiting the inheritance of an individual to between 3 and 5 multiples of what could be earned in a lifetime at a middle class wage or requiring exposure of those standing to inherit reins of control to the rigors of poverty for a period of time proportional to their background and extent of the power to be inherited) these would be further band-aids for a system that is not favored to work in the long run.
The economy is currently under-defined. We would like to redefine things of value to the economy as:
Services to other people
& Services to Self
As of now the last service of value has never been quantized. People do not consider that where you come from defines not only the intrinsic value of your life in the eyes of members and outsiders of the community as well as your own eyes, but also how socially mobile you are likely to be and the quality of the services that will be directed to your upbringing and maintenance. However, as the Automata Plateau continues to form and eventually rises exponentially, we will see the confirmation that the only true contribution a person can make to society will be Services to Self.
The final solution to the economy is one consisting of machines in control of materials and utilities who determine access by following the metrics agreed upon by all through a redefined democratic process. Our solution to the divides just beginning to rupture modern society is an equation that quantifies a person's disadvantage and adjusts their access to the rising amounts of information and available materials accordingly. We need not abstain from the flow of automation, but embrace it so we have more time to foster the things that make us human. Cultures of consumption create people who often feel hollow inside or leave masses on the ever-growing Fringe of society. What our group hopes to do is quantize disadvantage, foster the human Need to Create, and make the things that add value to being alive the new metric for access. We want to create a database of problems and projects to be solved for a certain amount of access as well as network of mentors to aid in the development of the individuals on the network. This will be an open source movement of individuals.
This adjusted access method can be termed Capital Egalitarianism and defined as a system where access is based not solely on the lottery of birth, but on an individual's dedication to improvement of self and community. Time is the finite resource upon which access should be based. Moreover, everyone has it and use of your time is not dependent on the abilities or preferences of other people, rather just your access to resources and information. We will be launching our crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo within a week from today. Based on your support we hope to do further R&D and run a pilot of the Cadet Platform which aims to leverage new technologies to implement several of the proposed solutions presented above. In the mean time we ask you to volunteer to be mentors, donate if you are able, and post your #BigToDo about the problem you have been hoping to solve, project to build, or trip to make! The world is changing rapidly and our definitions of community, government, value, and access will need to change as well. Only together can we make this change virtuous and stable.
UPDATE (Nov 7, 2014): Our Indiegogo campaign is live now. You can view at igg.me/at/cadet or you can donate directly through our donate page [preferably after we have reached our fundraising goal :) ].