(hi - these really are notes - rather than a script - so may not read too well - and have the odd bit of pasted in content)
I&#x2019;m mac morrison, I&#x2019;m a creative director until last week at team spirit digital, an agency specializing in financial services. I&#x2019;m not an economist, and i don&#x2019;t have in depth knowledge of the stock markets or political ideologies.
I am however a citizen and member of my local and other communities. And I&#x2019;ve seen money and financial services as a broken model and i&#x2019;m optimistic that we can find other ways to make the world fairer and nicer.
Science fiction offers more inspiration than economics, but more the science and less the fiction. When gene rodenberry devised star trek it was in a unequal time - he added social awareness into a previously melodramatic genre - his future was integrated, equal and free from money. Though it seems everyone is in the military, or eking out an existence on some dangerous outworld - so its not all rosy
I&#x2019;m not sure where this sits in Gene&#x2019;s vision
I&#x2019;ll not dwell on the current economy but I&#x2019;ll mention briefly the history of money. For money is something we have created, and the current system is 100&#x2019;s not 1000s of years old. So there&#x2019;s no great need for it to remain. if we look at how our lives have changes in the last 200 years money is one thing thats lagged behind a bit.
Money has no specific value, but basically its just a promise to pay the bearer. Its an abstract representation of value. Most money is based on the fiat money system, where money declared by a government to be legal tender. The term derives from the Latin fiat, meaning
"let it be done".
Fiat money achieves value because a government accepts it in payment of taxes and says it can be used within the country as a "tender" (offering) to pay all debts.
nothing to do with small unreliable cars
rather than the historical representative money - where a note is a direct representation of a valuable commodity - such as gold.
so if your planning on bringing down the us by bombing fort knox, like gold-finger, post 1972 its a bit pointless.
The Tinkerbell effect describes those things that exist only because people believe in them. The effect is named for Tinker Bell, the fairy in the play Peter Pan who is revived from near death by the belief of the audience. Claimed cases include: monetary system the value of a nation's money in a fiat system civil society the "rule of law" deities
everyone wants to take a pop at the banks and financial institutions, and quite rightly, theres an element of &#x2018;whats in it for us&#x2019; and if the government has to bail all these greedy companies out - they are now my property. current situation iceland us uk, stock crash causes shareholders to demand action, jobs lost etc.
but the companies are doing the same business they always were. theres alot of independent banks in the us and this works well as a bank is basically permission to lend money. Credit is what the banking system is built on. Co-operative and building societies have given way in the 80s and 90s to shareholder pleasing operations.
how are the banks innovating?
branches with cash machines only and ex-disney store door staff.
We all have wants and needs. Money enables us to provide shelter, obtain food, clothes, education and entertainment. These basic requirements can all be achieved for free by an individual,
LIke this house built by a woodman who used material from the local wood, and volunteers to help build the house, they would come and stay - get food and drink and tuition from a master carpenter. With no builders' wages, and the wood being free, He aimed to build the house, complete with sun- and wind-powered electricity, for just &#xA3;25,000.
but that doesn&#x2019;t scale up.
We can&#x2019;t all live the good life. We don&#x2019;t all own woodland, we don&#x2019;t all have the skills to trade. and we like cities and communities.
people often fear a moneyless society - stating its just communism. well extremes of capitalism and Communism offer up pretty much the same results for the mass population.
But we&#x2019;re used to the culture of free - concept of Creative Commons and Open Source software, so why not make other items abundant.
goldcorp inc were struggling. took all there geological data back to 1948 and made it public domain launched a competition with $575K prize money to find new gold location over 1000 people from 55 countries crunched teh data not from industry students, mathematicians, military officers applied physics intelligent systems cgi and organic solution 110 locations were found - 50% were new to the company 80% yielded gold - 8 million ounces went form a $100million to a $9billion company
money is of our making, we can change things, it prevents more than it allows.
Web 2.0 companies are producing one after another amazing product.. The trouble is its not cheap being at the cutting edge, staff cost money, servers etc. they are dropping costs but still costs. Theres the constant urge to MONITIZE. twitters second biggest criticism (after the pointless i don&#x2019;t want to know what X had for breakfast) is where the money coming from.
Bernard Lietaer made an interesting example
Assume that a Martian lands in Denver on the wrong side of the tracks. He ends up in one of the ghettos and finds that the houses are run down, the kids not taken care of, the elderly in trouble, and the trees dying. He sees all these things, and discovers that there are people and organizations absolutely equipped and ready to solve every one of those problems. So this Martian asks, "What are you waiting for?" The answer: "We're waiting for money." "What is money?" the Martian inquires. "It's an agreement in a community to use something as a medium of exchange." Don't you think he may leave the planet believing there is no intelligent life here?
These frustrations are the things that can be changed by mass shifts of attitudes and actions.
One simple action we can take is to simply be more frugal, avoiding the need for money as much as is possible, self sufficiency, This is close to impossible to achieve without some form of money exchange, though this can be kept to a minimum.
one project I&#x2019;ve worked on is called 60 days. It&#x2019;s been kicking around for a couple of years and is currently in development as an android and iPhone app. The idea is too have a diet on your wallet for 60 days of the year. This financial fast then gives you a nice surplus bit of cash. just by stopping some of the little luxuries for a couple of months.
Starbucks coffee every day? thats &#xA3;120 saved Newspaper? another &#xA3;50 make your own lunch &#xA3;100 stay in one night you would normally go out &#xA3;200 quickly you can save alot from your normal disposable income and then use it to buy a luxury high ticket item - without the need for credit.
Now the thing that got me interested in moneyless society was a science fiction book by Cory Doctorow. Down and out in the magic kingdom, is set in the future, in a post - scarcity economy.
Post scarcity economy is one where all the things we need are freely and abundantly available, now this is a bit of an oxymoron as some things will always be scarce and desirable, front row tickets at a concert, a great flat, time spent with friends etc. All the things that cant be owned by everyone. contextual, physical and location based experience.
Now this sort of example from cory features a reputation currency, called whuffie - its a constantly updating digital &#x2018;score&#x2019; based on your deeds, think of it as a value representation of you karma. Enabled by microchips in our heads - and a central database - and presumably armies of helpful robots doing menial tasks.
Now the problem with reputation based scoring is who decides whats good and whats negative,
helping a lady across the street 200 points? not cleaning up dog mess -50 ? its all a bit subjective, In corys world its a crowdsourced solution, so public opinion decides, the rules will be constantly shifting as acceptable standards shift as a society progresses.
This currency is enabled by the society - authority is always present to allow the policing of such karmic forces. of course private deeds may not be as rewarding as public shows of charitable behaviors.
and theres various subcategorys of reputation.
(information - what price knowledge - well around &#xA3;15 for a text book)
The Setting of disney land is equally compelling as this disney land was originally devised as a model for the way we live in the future. Its a melting pot of world cultures sanitized and easily consumed.
This is exactly the social environment where people co-exist yet remain private. like our cities - we treasure our anonymous privacy - reputation currency makes us drop that guard - and in a post scarcity economy thats fine - we dont have work time and work colleges. so we can help and know neighbours physically or internet communities
Now any merit system should rewards the mundane - serveing in a bar should earn you as well as being a doctor.
the whuffies constant score makes it feel like some experience level in a video game, there are many reputation / experience based gaming currencies.
second life has a very vibrant currency that is transferable to hard cash. Indeed theres plenty of people paying their monthly bills purely by trading linden dollars. And people using it to manage and improve their real life reputation.
Go Go crazy Bones have a tradable value in the playground (and later a more legal tender via sales on ebay) so this swapping and bartering is ingrained in our psyche from an early age.
World of warcraft has a reputation currency of experience level, this is something that take time to build up, often though fairly tedious activities (called grinding) So a cottage industry has sprung up where someone will take you character and build it up to a useful level in return for legal tender.
If you create a currency - people will trade it
THis is quite interesting as its basically fraud. I&#x2019;m paying to improve reputation, this is different from getting plastic surgery to improve your physical appearance, as you are changing your experience, with out earning it.
dangerous power in untrained hands. while it seems trivial in this context - its something to be wary of in real reputation currency.
these reputation currencies may seem far fetched, but they existing in a slightly intangible form already. its just not clearly scored.
Social currency - when you pass on links or chat you are gaining plus points with your peers. the water cooler moment, the funny email.
If you take a picture on your camera phone and only you look at it - theres little value. put it on the wall and people will see it put it on the internet 1000s will see it and comment and find ti positive or negative.
These transactions have value based on scarcity and desirability, a story told twice has a negative value the second time, unless its a shared collective retelling, and sending on a link that someone has received three times already has little or negative value.
So theres an element of landgrab. sometimes this backfires.
Social capital is a used in business, to value connections within and between social networks. R he core idea "that social networks have value. Just as a screwdriver (physical capital) or a college education (human capital) can increase productivity (both individual and collective), so do social contacts affect the productivity of individuals and groups". The question is how do these statistics add up to a calucatable value - this become complex. Because whats a 100,000 twitter followers worth, well it depends on who they are and how they were obtained. and what you want to do with them, stephen frys 600K twitter followers have become an unlikey outlet for smart phone communications. so to apple nokia and tv companys they are very valuable, to the RSC? less so.
but these reputation currency values have to have context, and maybe we have multiple authorities overseeings them. ebay is primarily based on traditional currency and trade, supply/demand and desirability. But it has an underlying reputation currency with its user ratings.. A high positive rating will give you a better chance of completing an auction at a higher price. People will trust you and are always prepared to pay more for peace of mind. If something seems too good to be true - it probably is.
Google page ranking is another closed reputation system - though theres plenty of traders desperately trying to increase the stock value of their web pages.
two very different but very valuable reputation currency that are real and tangible.
word of mouth has always been a powerful conduit of this reputation currency, but one that was close to impossible to draw up a nice set of accounts for, now social media has become primarily online, theres a breadcrumb trail of these transactions, and a slew of tools and companies willing to try and balance your books.
one thing thats always present is the need for some sort of authority, big brother or all seeing bean counter to keep some form of tabs on the system whatever it is
even if its just the central database and robots managing their abundance of things we need
all communities self manage and moderate - its just how that is done - in our society its police and government.
fraud will always be part of human nature, and how can a genuine act be distinguished by false platitudes. The fear is that this will just be a replacement system that jsut as bad as what we currently have only different.
while the idea of a purely moneyless society is attractive - after all it is apparently the root of all evil, realistically its going to be around for some time, what will become more prevalent is private or complimentary currencies.
In fact you probably have some in your pocket right now.
A coffee shop loyalty card is a basic complimentary currency, it has a very real, easily calculated value, approximately &#xA3;2 depending on your brew of choice.
Roskilder festival the returned beer cups have a real value, and late into the night people trade on the laziness of most festival goers and return the rubish for kroner.
Sex sells - flirtomatic is a web and mobile social site, it&#x2019;s free to access but to use it in anger required flirt points - purchased with cash.
I buy my groceries at sainsburys and buy my kids christmas and birthday presents in argos with the nectar points I&#x2019;ve earned.
even on xbox you use points, currently only as a cash replacement - but theres scope to allow you to earn them though achievements and other off console activities.
there are three main types of complimentary currency:
TImebanks, LETS and script
scrip money is basically a stamp or coupon substitute money scheme. it has the advantage of keeping trade in a community - offering discount for use or charitable donations. devaluing to discourage hoarding. But while its an interesting complimentary currency -its a more a purchased substitute not replacement for money - though schemes exist where you are part paid in scrip.
How LETS works Local Exchance and Trading systems Local people set up an organisation to trade between themselves, keeping their own record of accounts. A directory of members' offers and requests&#x2014;goods, services or items for hire, priced in local LETS units&#x2014;is compiled and circulated. Members use the directory to contact one another whenever they wish. They pay for any service or goods by writing a LETS cheque or credit note for an agreed amount of LETS units, or by exchanging printed LETS notes. If applicable, the credit note is sent to the LETS bookkeeper who adjusts both members' accounts accordingly. Since its commencement over 20 years ago, LETSystems have been highly innovative in adapting to the needs of their local communities in all kinds of ways. For example in Australia, people have built houses using LETS in place of a bank mortgage, freeing the owner from onerous interest payments. LETS is a fully fledged "monetary system", unlike direct barter, with LETS members able to earn credits from any member and spend them with anyone else on the scheme.
Time banks are quite common. They work by assigning a value to tasks by time. this allows a social need to be filled, if someone needs a plumber to fix their shower he will get a credit of 2 hours. time banks work well in mixed prosperity communities. one interesting time bank vatiation is ...
For example, there are about 300 or 400 private currency systems in Japan to pay for any care for the elderly that isn't covered by the national health insurance. They are called "fureai kippu" (caring relationship tickets). Here's how they work: let's say that on my street lives an elderly gentleman who is handicapped and cannot go shopping for himself. I do the shopping for him. I help him with food preparation. I help him with the ritual bath, which is very important in Japan. For this help, I get credits. I put those credits in a savings account, and when I'm sick, I can have other people provide such services for me. Or I can electronically send my credits to my mother, who lives on the other side of the country, and somebody takes care of her.
Here is an agreement within a community to use as medium of payment something other than national currencies, to solve a social problem. And it makes it possible for hundreds of thousands of people to stay in their homes much longer than they otherwise could. Otherwise, you'd have to put most of these people into a home for seniors, which costs an arm and a leg to society, and they're unhappy there. So nobody's winning. In contrast, Japan has created a currency for elderly care.
In Curitiba, Brazil if you bring in your rubbish ready sorted - you can recieve bus tickets in return. The state services co-operating with a virtual currency.
all Balinese participate in a dual currency system. The first is the conventional national currency (the Indonesian Rupiah); the second is a time currency where the unit of account is a block of time of approximately three hours. This second currency is created and used within the "banjar." This is a community entity consisting of between 50 and 500 families.
This is essentially simple, a complimentary currency and occupations. You have lots of micro jobs earning you money. Much as you do in life anyway.
If you are a parent you may be involved in you schools running and activities, you may get involved in after school clubs, teach music to your childrens friends, even car pool the neighbours to scouts. All this little activites are you giving benefit to others. Your reward is karmic, but it could be a complimentary currency, it could be points that go towards your pension.
Of course there probably going to be taxation on this income.
And many people will have a negative balance, we have to be careful that that is not a disabler in society.
The State has a big role to play in enabling these money free currency, after all the state is responsible for legal tender - so why not these alternatives.
Community service is regularly dished out as a &#x2018;bad reputation currency&#x2019; I did something wrong, these positive deeds will balance my books.
A moneyless society still needs regulation, policing and authority. Because any alternative will be open to fraud as much as a pile of dollar bills can be stolen.
these currency will vary in scale as well, and need to have local government be it a village, city district, town, county or country or global currency.
theres a cultural impact in earning and spending these reputation currencies. If you do me a good deed, you may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable with me giving you hard cash, but if i buy you a meal, a bottle or wine or give you a reputation currency - its acceptable. Because it feels good.