The future of work, and money

Seems lots of people these days are writing about ‘the future of work’ – and even putting some of that thinking into practice, too. But is that thinking going anything like deep enough? Hmm… – not sure about that…

So let’s be a properly provocative about this, yes? Take the exploration to where it really needs to go?

Okay, here goes…

There’s an elephant in the room, regarding the future of work.

It’s called money.

The reason why it’s an elephant-in-the-room is that almost no-one that I’ve seen writing on ‘the future of work’ so far has questioned an assumption that all work is inextricably interwoven with money – as we’ll see in phrases such as:

  • “work is what I do for my pay”
  • “work is what I do to pay for my play”

Ideas of that kind, anyway. Yet it’s an assumption that has some truly horrible consequences:

  • People skew their work-choices, solely because of money.
  • People spend their entire careers doing something they hate, and even that they know will hurt themselves and others, solely because of money.
  • People whose work does not focus primarily on money – such as nurses or police or production-staff – are deemed to be worth less in monetary terms, solely because of the distortions created by the societal over-emphasis on money.
  • People whose natural capabilities do not fit well with the ‘exchangeable-commodity’ model on which the money-system is built – and I’d include myself and my own work amongst them – will find ‘making a living’ in a money-based economy a perpetual struggle.
  • People whose current responsibilities preclude making themselves available as ‘exchangeable commodities’ – such as parents or other carers – will find ‘making a living’ an even harder struggle.
  • People whose skills and abilities are no longer considered ‘tradeable’ – in other words, the so-called ‘unemployed’, or, worse, ‘unemployable’ – are somehow deemed almost not to exist, because their existence cannot be converted into money.

This also leads to some utterly absurd ideas about the definition of ‘work’: for example, looking after someone else’s children is ‘work’, but doing the exact same actions to look after one’s own children is ‘not work’. Huh???

Kinda odd, right?

And that’s before we even start to look at the dysfunctions implicit in the way in which we’re often only deemed to be ‘working’ when we’re ‘making money’ for someone else. (It doesn’t matter whether that ‘someone else’ is the boss or the infamous ‘1%’ or shareholders or pension-funds or tax-beneficiaries or pensioners or welfare-recipients, it’s still someone else.)

Definitely ‘kinda odd’, then…

Yet from a futures perspective, what makes it all really odd, and really in need of an urgent rethink, is that the only viable future of money is that it has no future. To put at its most blunt, the whole concept of money – or rather, the concept of ‘personal possession’ that underpins it – is literally not compatible with human survival: somehow it has to go, or we won’t survive.

Yeah, that serious…

I’ve gone into the detail of this in some depth in various posts elsewhere on this blog, such as the post ‘Four principles – 3: Money doesn’t matter‘, so I won’t repeat it here. Probably the simplest way to visualise the overall problem, though, is as follows:

I’ll admit that at present all of this is still somewhat of a ‘futures’ matter – crucially important, yet not yet requiring immediate action. My best-guess right now is that we can perhaps put off facing up to it for maybe twenty years from now, maybe even thirty. But we can’t keep putting it off indefinitely: as I understand it, the global-scale changes that it implies must be complete by no later than somewhen around the end of the current century, otherwise anything resembling human civilisation – certainly at a global scale – would be gone forever.

In short, ouch… – at a literally global scale.

Which brings us back to the futures of work – because if all of our current rethink about the futures of work is still tangled up with assumptions about money (or any other form of currency), which itself is something that not only doesn’t work but cannot work into the indefinite future, then yeah, there might just be a problem there…

So, just as a thought-experiment for now, let’s try going right back to first-principles, and think a bit more deeply about work itself, and how it intersects with human society.

The first challenge is that most of those discussions about work have a worryingly-narrow concept of what ‘work’ actually is – hence “work is what I do to pay for my play” and suchlike. Instead, if we go back to first-principles, then in physics the definition of ‘work’ is that ‘work is the rate at which energy is expended‘. And that definition also makes sense in human terms: to do anything, we need to expend real energy, initially sourced in biochemical form as food.

But what is ‘work’, in human terms? In terms of energy needing to be expended, digging a ditch is work; solving a technical problem is work; calming a fractious child is work; reclaiming hope from despair is work. Different forms of energy for different types of work, we might say – yet the ultimate source of that energy in each case has much the same biochemical base. In that sense, we could reasonably assert that human work is anything upon which human energy is expended.

To make sense of the complexity, it’s probably simplest to start off by thinking in terms of four distinct dimensions of work:

  • physical work
  • virtual, mental or informational work
  • relational or emotional work
  • aspirational or spiritual work

Since most work encompasses multiple dimensions at the same time, it’s probably useful to envision these dimensions in tetradian-relationship with each other, with each type or item of real-world work representing a region within the respective tetrahedral space:

Each item of work thus acts on the respective combination of the asset-dimensions, as described in various places here such as the post ‘Fractals, naming and enterprise-architecture‘:

  • physical asset-dimension: physical objects, physical ‘things’ – independent, tangible, exchangeable, alienable
  • virtual asset-dimension: data, information – nominally-independent, abstract/non-tangible, non-alienable, ‘exchanged’ via copy
  • relational asset-dimension: relations/connections between people – interpersonal/dependent on both parties, both parties are tangible, non-alienable, non-exchangeable but potentially replicable
  • aspirational asset-dimension: anchor-point for ‘belonging’, motivation etc (e.g. as represented by brand) – personal / dependent on both parties; one party tangible, the other (e.g. brand) usually not; non-alienable, non-exchangeable but potentially replicable

The work itself enacts the respective variations on a theme of Create / Read / Update / Delete for the asset-dimensions of the items being worked on.

In effect, that gives us both the ‘What’ of work and, by extension through service-modelling and suchlike, the ‘How’ of work. All of which is fairly straightforward, once we use that kind of dimensional mapping.

(The ‘Where’ and ‘When’ of work is wherever and whenever it happens, of course. There’s been lots and lots and lots of discussion around that, in relation to ‘the future of work’, but all of it seems kinda moot if we haven’t first bothered to understand what work actually is…)

Where it gets a lot trickier is around the ‘Who’ of work and, even more, the ‘Why’ of work

The purposive aspects of ‘Who’ and ‘Why’ relate to how we decide whether work is ‘useful’ or not. A lot of activity may do ‘work’ in the sense of causing changes to assets, but would often be dismissed as ineffectual, destructive or otherwise pointless and purposeless. There’s a real need for a purposive element here, that useful human work is anything upon which human energy is expended ‘on purpose’.

This in turn gives us a reference-point against which we can assess efficiency and effectiveness:

  • work is efficient to the extent that it uses the least energy (or, more accurately, the appropriate minimised mix of energy-types) to achieve or reach towards the desired outcome
  • work is effective to the extent that it achieves or reaches towards the desired outcome, with minimal variance or collateral-impact other than that desired outcome

The purpose – the desired outcome – represents the ‘Why’ for the work. But it’s crucial – yet too often ignored – to note the ‘Who’ of that work: not just who does the work itself, but who gets to choose, or not-choose:

  • Who gets the ‘rights‘ to choose the purpose?
  • Who does not get the ‘rights’ to choose the purpose?
  • Who benefits from achievement of the purpose?
  • Who does not benefit from achievement of the purpose?
  • Who does the work needed to achieve the purpose?
  • Who does not do the work needed to achieve the purpose?

Things can get decidedly messy when those who choose the purpose, and who benefit from achievement of the purpose, are not the ones who do the work. (Hence a lot of important and very-necessary yet too-often-sidestepped questions around hierarchies and shareholder-privilege and the whole concept of the ‘limited-liability company’ in which shareholders reap all of the benefits but do none of the work and have none of the responsibilities. There’s a nastier name for that kind of model: it’s called ‘slavery’… )

Which brings us to the motivational aspects of the ‘Who’ and ‘Why’ of work. What we now know, from Dan Pink and others, is that there are several key strands to this, including:

  • autonomy
  • mastery
  • self-purpose
  • shared-purpose
  • ‘fairness’

It’s not quite as simple as those bald terms, of course: for example, concepts such as ‘autonomy’ and ‘fairness’ have all manner of cultural-overtones. Overall, though, all of this would point towards an understanding that useful work is anything upon which people choose to expend their energy, on purpose.

But the one strand that isn’t part of motivation towards quality-work – in fact, past a certain minimum level, has repeatedly been shown to be negatively-correlated with quality-work – is money. The reasons are complex – for example, focussing on money distracts attention away from factors that contribute to quality – but the key point remains that money itself is exactly what doesn’t work as a viable basis for determining the value or purpose of work.

Which makes it kind of unfortunate that, to many people, ‘making money’ is the sole basis and reason for an economic system of work.

Oops…

And yes, it gets worse:

  • the nominal basis for the money-economy is the transfer of exclusive ‘rights of possession’ in exchange for monetary ‘compensation’
  • exclusive ‘property-rights’ only make sense for asset-types that are transferrable (I can give it to you) and alienable (if I give it to you, I no longer have it)
  • of the four asset-dimensions, only two (physical, virtual) are transferrable
  • of the four asset-dimensions, only one (physical) is alienable

The way that the money-economy ‘resolves’ all of this is a disastrous mess of kludges – all of which pretend that everything is a physical-like asset, an exchangeable, alienable ‘exclusive property’, amenable to monetary-style ‘valuation’. Hence, for example, the smoke-and-mirrors fakery and fraud around so-called ‘intellectual-property’, and the fundamental flaws and falsehoods inherent in concepts of ‘goodwill‘ and the like.

We can just-about get away with those kludges in contexts where the core-asset-dimension is bundled together with something physical, such as the information literally bound into a physical book, or the information of a film available only in a physical cinema. But once we ‘de-bundle’ the asset-types – as in a so-called ‘digital-economy’, where information is accessible in non-physical form – then the whole illusion breaks down, and we end up with absurdities such as ‘digital rights management’, which attempt to treat pure information as if it’s physical. Which it isn’t.

Oops…

In practice, whilst the money-economy may run on exchangeable-assets (physical and/or virtual), ultimately it depends on non-exchangeable assets (relational and/or aspirational) such as interpersonal-relations and, especially, trust. For a viable economics, we need to model services that act on non-exchangeable assets just as much as the exchangeable ones – otherwise the overall economy won’t work. And we need to model those interactions in their own terms – and not try to force them into a frame in which, by their nature, they cannot fit. Failure to to understand how non-exchangeable assets work – and the very real necessity for the work that acts on those assets – is a very common cause of ‘inexplicable’ wicked-problems in business and elsewhere.

So whenever we look at the future of work, we need to be clear that human work is anything upon which human energy is expended, and useful human work is anything upon which people choose to expend their energy, on-purpose – with ‘useful’ and ‘choose’ both being more than a bit problematic at times in a dysfunctional society’s equally-dysfunctional economics…

Yet we also can’t ignore the impacts of ‘the elephant in the room’ – the money-system, monetary-economics, the possession-economy. As enterprise-architects exploring the future of work, we should not take those constraints as a given – not least because it doesn’t work. At some point in the not-too-distant future, we’re going to have to herd that elephant out of the room, and set up something that actually does work, for everyone, at a truly global scale.

To me at least, the only viable future of money is that it has no future.

Which in turn implies that tying the future of work to something that has no future is Not A Good Idea?

Which kinda suggests that we need to explore this a bit more carefully than many folks seem to have done so far…

Seems like it’s something to think about, anyway.

Posted in Business, Enterprise architecture, Futures, Society Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
10 comments on “The future of work, and money
  1. Ric Phillips says:

    Hi Tom,

    need to be careful not to confuse fiat currency with the general economic construct “medium of exchange”.

    Media of exchange do have the kind of side-effects you enumerated. But I think the jury is out at to whether we are looking at some kind of crises in the functioning of media of exchange – or merely in the operation of fiat currencies.

    It is also important (I think) to not generalise too much to the individual as the frame of reference for understanding the function of media of exchange – which evolve to solve problems of scale.

    Historically we have shown a remarkable capacity to absorb the perverse effects of solutions to genuine problems – as inequality, as poverty, and as war. As far as perverse effects go they don’t get much more perverse than these.

    Still the abstraction of value into the forms you enumerate – currency, property, etc – have continued and we have accepted their very high costs for a long time now.

    There needs to be a way to organise the activity of very large societies.

    The neo-liberal / internet-anarchist ’emergence’ theorists have it wrong – mostly because they are optimists who don’t understand the actual mathematics of complex systems – which are highly entropic and tend to prefer chaos over order by several orders of magnitude.

    There is a crisis in the offing. I do not believe there is any hope of a self-regulating stable alternative emerging – anywhere. (Dreamers romanticise the ballet of a million swallows in flight, but conveniently overlook population crashes and natural extinctions.)

    Even a cursory reading of human history suggests functional (systemic) crises relocate themselves to political crises pretty quick smart and the response then moves into the domain of violence – worst case the mass violence of war, slightly less worse the surgical violence of totalitarianism.

    (Civil wars and collapsed states are a special extreme cases and to date have always remained constrained by local conditions – that is, global crises tend not to take that form.)

    Media of exchange are a necessary for societies to function at scale.

    The perverse effects of media of exchange are well described from the personal frame of reference your work-function analysis takes.

    Fiat currencies generate their own set of perverse effects – which occur as aggregate functions of the reification of second-order values (ever more complex financial derivatives.)

    But – and it’s a big but – the advent of regulated fiat currencies was a critically important innovation that allowed very large societies to function peacefully. And even then at some very high costs in intermittent partial or temporary collapses.

    Large societies need something that functions the way money does. And anything that ends up functioning the way money does will end up being money.

    Then it can either be stabilised or chaotic.

    But the stability or lack thereof of large scale societies will track quite closely the stability of whatever it is that is functioning as ‘money’ for them.

    To my mind the hope for change lies in rethinking a closely related but considerably less fundamental concept than money – the “market”.

    That, I think, can change.

    Cheers.

    • Tom G says:

      @Ric: “need to be careful not to confuse fiat currency with the general economic construct ‘medium of exchange’.”

      I don’t understand this – sorry… If fiat-currency is a sub-type of media-of-exchange’ – which it clearly is – and the root-problem is at (or rather below) ‘medium of exchange’ – as you seem to agree above – then what is it that I’ve missed, that fiat-currency resolves?

      Again, look at that graphic above: the root-problem is right down at the concept of possession. Which means that attempting to solve those problems via anything that’s built on top of the concept of possession – as applies to medium-of-exchange, and thence fiat-currency – is ultimately just ‘futzing around’: it will make no difference at all, other than waste time, energy and hope.

      @Ric: “Media of exchange are a necessary for societies to function at scale.”

      No, that’s an assumption, based on the deeper assumption that possession-based economics is viable – which it isn’t. I perhaps need to re-emphasise this point: there is no way to make a possession-based economics sustainable – it can only be run as a pyramid-game, dependent on an illusion of perpetual ‘growth’ to conceal the fact that it is only a pyramid-game, and hence is ‘viable’ only until it runs up against non-negotiable absolute constraints, which it’s in the process of doing right now.

      @Ric: “But – and it’s a big but – the advent of regulated fiat currencies was a critically important innovation that allowed very large societies to function peacefully.”

      Agreed that “the advent of fiat-currencies allowed very large societies to function peacefully” within the constraints and assumptions of a possession-based economics. But now that we’re coming to ever closer to the point at which a possession-economics breaks down at a fundamental level – because you cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet – then fiat-currencies will not help in this: all that they will do is keep the illusion of viability going for that little bit longer, quite possibly over the critical cross-over point at which the non-viability becomes non-recoverable.

      In short, fiat-currencies (in fact all forms of currency or ‘medium of exchange’) are themselves a core part of the problem – not ‘the solution’.

      It worries me a lot that this (to me self-evident) point is just not getting across – not just to you, but seemingly to almost anyone. Oh well.

      @Ric: “Large societies need something that functions the way money does. And anything that ends up functioning the way money does will end up being money.”

      That would be true, if a possession-based economy could be made sustainable. Since it can’t, the assertion is inherently invalid – certainly in the longer-term, which happens to be rapidly becoming medium- to nearer-term…

      That’s the challenge: that since just about every part of our medium- to larger-scale economics is based on a possession-type construct that, right at its core, is not sustainable, and hence not viable, we therefore must (no choice) rethink every one of those institutions in a way that is not based on possession-economics.

      I don’t have any set answers as yet. What I do have is some clarity around some of the non-negotiable constraints – in particular, the constraint around the non-sustainability of possession-based economics.

      @Ric: “To my mind the hope for change lies in rethinking a closely related but considerably less fundamental concept than money – the “market”.”

      Very probably. But it has to be a rethink of ‘the market’ that is not based on possession-economics – otherwise, again by definition, the ‘market’ will inherently be as non-sustainable and non-viable as the economic-model on which it’s based.

      I will admit I find it really frustrating that people just don’t seem to realise that trying to do fixes on anything “considerably less fundamental” is not going to work if the underlying fundamentals don’t work. You’re one of the rare ones who’s actually managed to get as close to the fundamentals as you have – most don’t get even get much below the very first surface-levels. But we still need to go quite a lot deeper than you have above, and really face the real fundamentals here – otherwise it’s not going to work.

      And, well, yeah, you too know well what’ll happen if it doesn’t work – you’ve given plenty of examples above…

  2. Doug McDavid says:

    Hi Tom — As you know, this is a subject I’m interested in, have studied, have written about, and even played with some prototype software to experiment with alternatives. I think we’ve also had some good conversation about the absolute basis of human activity in services, and I think we agree that in a very real sense, it’s services, services, services, all the way down.

    Some good underpinning for that viewpoint can be found from the mid 1800’s in the writings of Frédéric Bastiat. I recently posted some thinking, based on Bastiat’s work here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/all-services-time-doug-mcdavid

    There are over 100 million Google hits on “future of work” and over 60 million on “future of money”, so you’re right, there’s a ton of interest out there. I am very interested in hearing more about your fully-baked alternative to the very idea of possession, and how this could play out in a more survivable system than the many variations of systems we have today. I get your frustration, but we really need some kind of workable system. I may be moved to give you the shirt off my back, and I absolutely believe that the relationship of “possession” goes both directions. But I wonder how I might even have even one shirt to wear (or a pair of socks, as in Bastiat’s example) under the alternative that I hope to see in more fleshed out form.

    By the way, there is also a much smaller literature and level of interest in the so-called “gift economy” (Kula ring, Potlatch, etc.). This is also possession-based, and has been known to result in some pretty brutal effects: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gift_economy

    • Tom G says:

      @Doug: “I am very interested in hearing more about your fully-baked alternative to the very idea of possession, and how this could play out in a more survivable system than the many variations of systems we have today.”

      I don’t have “a fully baked alternative” – I’m not that bright to be able to just drop one into reality fully-formed, nor (I hope) so arrogant or stupid as to claim that I have one when I don’t. All I have at present are some fairly solid understandings about what doesn’t work, and why it doesn’t and cannot work into the longer term, and also some few hints about what might possibly be used as a basis for a viable replacement. That’s it; that’s all.

      I get a lot of attacks from folks who seem to assume that because I don’t have ‘the Answer’, there’s therefore no point in even looking at the questions I’m raising, and therefore by definition I must be ‘wrong’ or whatever. But blunt fact is that it’s going to take a lot of work by a lot of people a lot brighter than I am to develop “a fully baked alternative” – and even then (as you imply) there are likely to be many, many, many variations on that general theme, just as there with possession-based economics.

      There are a few hints that I could point to right now:

      — We know smaller-scale economics – such as a literal ‘the management of the household’ – typically works on a responsibility-based rather than possession-based model. In fact it’s usually most efficient and most effective – in the sense of best overall outcomes for all economics-participants – to the exact extent that it is responsibility-based and is not possession-based.

      — We also know that the same responsibility-based economics can also apply to larger groups or business-contexts – though practical limits to direct person-to-person connections, as in Dunbar’s Number, does seem to be key factor that can act as a constraint on scalability. There are ways around those constraints, though, once we acknowledge that they’re there, and real: my IntegratedEA slidedeck ‘Invisible Armies‘ provides some ideas / understandings / whatever as to how we could start to tackle some of those challenges.

      — We also know from child-development studies that possession and concomitant attempts to ‘control’ others via withholding is (or should only be) a transitory stage during a child’s social development – typical of ‘the terrible twos’, when sense of self has been established but concepts of mutual interresponsibility, social interdependency and ‘Other-as-Other’ as yet have not. (The latter concepts should typically start to develop at around age 3, and, in a functional society, should be fully established by no later than around age 5.)

      — In that sense, possession-based economics can be seen as a dysfunctional and literally childish overlay on top of a more adult responsibility-based economics. Or, to put it bluntly, our global ‘economics’ is actually what I call a paediarchy – rule by, for and on behalf of the childish – in which people are actively rewarded for being childish, and actively punished for behaving as a responsible adult.

      — Many supposed ‘alternative’ economics are still possession-based – such as in your example of a possession-type ‘gift-economy’ with “some pretty brutal effects”. This should warn us that if we are to shift to a viable responsibility-based economics, we cannot allow any form of possession-based ‘exchange’ to continue – otherwise it would inherently drag us back to (worse than) where we started.

      — As you suggest, services and the whole concept of mutual service are probably the key here (or a key, at least) – services as mutual-responsibilities in context of the whole. (Because it’s in context of the whole, the mutualities are not necessarily point-to-point, as they are in a possession-economy.)

      — Although I think the term itself is almost magnificently misleading, Bob Marshall’s ‘Antimatter Principle‘ describes the core concern of the entire economics in just four words: ‘Attend to folks’ needs‘. If we rethink services (and more) in terms of that principles, that gives us the fundamental basis for a responsibility-based economics, implemented in terms of services.

      There’s much, much more to this, and in reality all I’ve done so far is little more than scrape at the surface. I’m under no illusions at all that it’d be in any way easy – especially at first – but even from just the above, we perhaps have enough to make a start. Especially if it’s done by people brighter than I am. 🙂

  3. Doug McDavid says:

    Thanks for answering my question, Tom. You actually provided the basis for the answer I was looking for, when you mentioned “responsibility-based” economies as an alternative to “possession-based” economies. And the example of the family.

    I would love to participate with you in working out more details, scenarios, and mechanisms that flow from this paradigm reversal. For instance it seems to me that an implication would be a major impact on the very concept of “standard of living”. There must be a major impact on the concepts of “success”, “self-esteem”, even “well-being”.

    Even in the family, which is generally not heavily money-based, my impression is that the possession impulse is very strong. Is this a matter that children pick on the importance of the concept “my toy” and “my shirt” and “my doughnut” long before they have the slightest inkling of money? In other words, are the adults unconsciously teaching these concepts? Or is this a matter of basic human nature that would need to be controlled (gently?) from the earliest age?

    In terms of planetary effect, the furthest I’ve personally gone is to grok the pernicious effect of the growth imperative. You have gone further to see a pernicious effect of the very concept of “mine”. I’m enthusiastic to try to help think this through in all its ramifications, even in a totally hypothetical sense. There are many implications that make me wonder if this is tenable, even with the best intentions. Just for one example, can we imagine how there could be a possession-free world in which you and I would actually still be able to encounter each other in the first place, and have this kind of conversation? Because, to me, our ability to interact in a very rich conversation, even though separated by thousands of miles of distance, is a very good thing. And I would really miss it if a possession-free regime couldn’t be made to work in such a way as to make this possible.

    I guess you’ve already expressed my major concern on p. 76 of your Invisible Armies deck. “be careful about what you change, how, where and why — don’t mess with morale!” I take that to mean messing with morale in a negative direction. So the question becomes, how might it be possible to convey a major paradigm economic paradigm shift in a way that boosts morale in anticipation of the challenges and rewards? Because one thing I believe is that people are positively motivated by challenges, which maybe even seem “impossible”!

    • Tom G says:

      Hi Doug – many thanks for the above – much appreciated!

      Yes, very keen to continue the conversation. 🙂 I first need to move it back up to the top-level, rather than down in the depths of the comments, so I’ll work towards a new blog-series that other people can comment on as well – with luck that’ll help build a broader conversation too.

      The area I’m mainly focussing on right now is the non-negotiable constraints – the ones that we can’t ignore, such as the practical impossibility of infinite growth on a finite planet. The reason is that if we do try to ignore those constraints, all we’d be doing is wasting energy and effort for no value – and that kind of waste is something that, collectively, we urgently to stop, because there’s far too much of it happening right now. Oh well.

      More later, anyway – and thanks again.

      • Darryl Carr says:

        Hi Tom, Doug,

        I can’t say that I’m in any way positioned to provide expertise in this area, but would love to be involved in future conversations along these lines. Do you have any ideas on the forum through which these ideas can be progressed?

        Darryl.

        • Tom G says:

          Thanks, Darryl

          As Doug says, this site seems to be one of the few places I know of that’s seriously tackling such ideas. Almost all of the rest that I know – such as in Doug’s examples below – are still stuck at ‘futzing around’ at the more surface-layer issues such as so-called ‘alternative-currencies’ or “service-backed money as alternative to debt-based moneys” etc. (Or mainstream politics, of course, that assumes that the current economics will and must be able to continue on forever, which by definition they can’t. Duh… oh well…)

          I’ll be writing more intensively on these issues over the coming months. How on earth I’ll be able to ‘make a living’ within a failed culture that is almost the perfect antithesis of what I’m aiming to explain… well, that’s another problem I still have to tackle… – but someone has to work on this, otherwise we’ll all be stuck up shit-creek without the proverbial paddle. (‘Paddle-maker for future shit-creek explorers’ – that’s probably my current role, I guess? :bleak-wry-grin: )

  4. Doug McDavid says:

    @Darryl — It looks like Tom’s site might be one place where these ideas will be explored. Other places where I hang out are in a complementary currencies LinkedIn group, and the Digital Architecture group I started, where crypto-currencies have been addressed. But neither of those would be too welcoming to the “banish currencies altogether meme”. A new community of interest is forming under ISSIP on the subject of economics of services, but there seem to be pre-formed ideas or the agenda of that group, though they do seem open to my ideas about services-backed money as alternative to debt-based and commodity-based moneys.

    • Tom G says:

      Thanks, Doug.

      And yeah, you’re right, I don’t think such groups would be very happy to hear what I have to say…

      I’ll happily agree that some type of monetary-type exchange-management model will probably be needed as an intermediate step. But it needs to be understood right from the start that at best it’s only a stop-gap, and that the real challenge is to develop an economics-model that does not depend on ‘exchanges’ of ‘rights of possession’ – otherwise we’d inherently be led straight back where we started, only worse, with even less time to fix it. Not A Good Idea…

      More later, anyway – and thanks again.

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