False Economy

I was having a conversation the other day about how the harnessing of technology is bringing about disruption, democratization and demonetization of the society in which we live.

These are three of the ‘6 D’s’ suggested by Peter Diamandis but this insight is not about that – apart from the concept of demonetization.

As usual this was discussed some time ago in the realms of Science Fiction and quite recently in the Gene Roddenberry ‘Star Trek’ philosophy.

(It’s amazing the philosophical and other boundaries you can break as a science fiction writer)

In the ‘Federation’ we have multiple planetary systems and civilisations who exist quite successfully without the need for money.

And those which do have currency of some form seem to manage it without any necessity for the grotesque capitalistic system that we seem to thing is the ‘only way it works’.

One alternative is the Ferengi who do use currency and base their society entirely on business – but more like business as it used to be on our planet s few centuries ago before the industial capitalistic revolution.

The Ferengi are a race of entrepreneurs – ‘small’ (and they are small) business men who compete with one another to create profit. Profit equals status and the more profit you make the more credibility you have in that society.

They are ‘managed’ by the Ferengi Commerce Authority (FCA) whose job through implementing the ‘Rules of Acquisition’, is to make sure they don’t undercharge, don’t do stuff for free, and don’t give any money away. They collect a payment (bribe) for every transaction.

Seems that whoever decided to change the FSA to FCA wasn’t a Star Trek fan! (or maybe they were)

Anyhow, our whole financial system and indeed lifestyle is based on something called ‘Economics’.

Now I’ve had two eminent Economics professors as clients. One advised the Labour Party and the other the Conservatives. They always came up with different, indeed usually opposing, ideas or theories but they were good friends because to them the whole exercise was entirely academic.

They built ‘economic models’ to attempt to predict what would happen if . . .

They and their teams went into a lot of detail, a lot of supposition, a lot of assumption, and a lot of speculation – and came up with their advice about how the country should be run.

But it’s all theory – and there’s always another theory about why the first theory, and all the other theories didn’t come true.

And there was no real way of testing the theories before they ‘went live’, before some ‘economic policy’ was adopted.

And you and I paid the price for all this speculation, supposition and assumption.

Most of global society (‘East’ and ‘West’) is based on this in one form or another. There are some Ferengi like states where local operations take place, but they are highly corrupt and lack humanity – as of course did the Ferengi.

We’re moving towards a ‘cashless’ society, but what about a ‘moneyless’ society?

How could that work?

It works in Star Trek because there is a limitless source of free energy and they have the technology to create things at will by by breaking down waste products to molecular or atomic level and then reassembling them like Lego bricks into something else.

Energy/Matter (which is of course energy) cannot be created or destroyed – just ‘moved’ or repurposed.

The closest we’ve got to this so far is the 3D printer, but who knows in a few years . . .

They can do it with people to move them from one place to another as well and believe it or not there are people out there working on that!

But it all depends on that free limitless energy that can be harnessed without destroying anything.

It’s coming but until then you and I must continue living in his ‘false economy’ we call the ‘civilised’ world.

In the Star Trek world people would develop the skills and occupations they wanted to develop, there was no need to ‘work’ to purchase food or the other things we need to keep us going – it was all readily available – at the touch of a button.

Now here’s the thing – we don’t always have to exchange money for goods and services. We can do wat we always used to do and exchange goods and services for goods and services – according to the ‘values’ we mutually placed on them.

So, think about this – what can you exchange today with someone who has or does something you want?

Forget about the ‘monetary value’ – what’s the real value to you of the things that you consume?

And when you’re the provider – what’s the value, not to you but to the person who wants what you have or do.

Remember you can both always decide not to do the deal if the values don’t match.

Money seems to make this process easy, but does it?

Are we living under a false delusion about the ‘value of money’ based on the Economists suppositions, theories, assumptions and speculations – and their ‘mathematical models’?

If so it’s time we stopped.