Bitcoin

Question of the Day ?29 December 2013 ? BITCOIN

What do you know about BITCOIN and do you think it is the start of a new type of global economy ?

Bitcoin is an attempt to create an encrypted digital method of exchange (money) that is limited, and is hard to counterfeit.
It doesn’t appear to address many (most) of the major problems inherent in monetary systems.

Monetary systems inherently tend to centralise the money into ever smaller groups.
Money, left to its own devices, tends to create an optimal level of unemployment that creates an incentive to work and forces down the cost of labour.
Money, in and of itself, tends to incentivise an optimal level of scarcity of all goods and services, that generates the maximum flow of money (rather than creating abundance for all).
People tend to focus on money, rather than the flow of goods and services that it represents.

So no monetary system is ever going to create a great future for all humanity.
Humanity has to make a choice to create a future of abundance, and then use monetary tools to create that future.
I doubt bitcoin has any significant role to play in that – at present it appears to be an attempt to work outside of governments and the provision of social services.

[followed by]

Hi OM

All money is essentially myth.
Services are only of any value if people are being served by them.
Most goods devalue rapidly if not consumed immediately.
Nothing has value independent of context, and the most powerful context that delivers value is people’s belief.

Gold has value in a sense because it is easily shaped and moulded, and it doesn’t oxidise. Thus things made of it tend to last. In more recent times it has acquired value as a conductor in electronic devices, particularly on the plates of contact points between different circuits. It is also used as a catalyst in a few chemical processes. Yet we cannot eat it. Gold has no value if no-one has any food or water.

Our perception of value in general derives from unequal distributions.
Oxygen is clearly the most valuable thing in our lives, yet is is so abundant in the air that most never think of it, and no one will trade money for it, except in exceptional circumstances, like going deep-water diving with SCUBA or HeliOx systems, or going into space.

In the past, we settled on metals as a money, because, as you said, they have some value in most situations, in and of themselves.

However, once the myth of money, as a value distinct from circumstance, good or service, was established, then metals could no longer fit the role, as their production and consumption and storage affected values and made accounting difficult, and there was a high cost in transport, and it was hard to hold on to (easily lost to theft).

Our daughter has been looking for paid employment for over a year, and finally found a job, that promised full employment, but is yet to deliver more than 5 hour per week.

Almost one in 5 people (here in NZ) are looking for work that pays a reasonable living wage, and cannot find it. World wide, the figure is closer 1 in 2.

There is no shortage of things that need doing.
There is no shortage of people wanting to do something.
There is a complete mismatch, fueled by the myth of money, and the mechanisms used by the elites that control it.

Money seems to have become (and has been for thousands of years) a tool of political control.

The control of money is, and always has been, built upon deceit and lies. It is about fooling people into believing something that isn’t so. No real changes there, just changes in the mechanisms used.

So long as people value money (be it gold or bitcoin or fiat money) above human life, we have a problem – a fundamental systemic problem.

We now have the technical ability to deliver an abundance of all of the necessities of life to every human being, yet we do not do so, because of a set of myths and our belief in them.

We need to accept some physical realities, that we need to restrict our rate of breeding. For now, no more than two children per family, and that may reduce to one child per family in the future. If you want more, then you will need to go somewhere else, off this planet. This planet is reaching its carrying capacity.

Money has value only in respect to the sort of life it can sustain.
The sort of life we can experience is very much a function of our beliefs, our technology, and our population density – those are inescapable realities.

[followed by]

Hi OM

You misunderstood me.
I said political control. Sometimes that has meant government control, more often in history true political control (in so far as it exists) has been by an elite outside of government.
Value is always a complex function of supply and demand, expectation and context. Those who manipulate expectations and contexts control value. Such has always been the case.
It seems clear to me from such historical records as do exist that people have used deceit at various levels to manipulate value and extract profit, and it is a complex situation.

And I agree with you, that money has, on average, over time, served humanity well, for most of our history.

And I repeat, that now that we are entering an age where we can create abundance of all necessities for all, the incentives inherent in markets and money are working against the interests of humanity as a whole when its values are allowed to dominate high level planning.

And I get that there are a lot of problems in the move to fiat money, and there are a lot of solutions to older problems in the move. It is an extremely complex, deep, and multi-levelled set of issues.

I am not saying we need to get rid of money all together, I am saying that we need to make our long term choices independent of any money considerations. Money is a tool, not an end in itself.
It is not possible to measure human values in money.
Money always distorts human values, because it has the scarcity measure inherent in any market valuation mechanism. When things are genuinely scarce, that is appropriate. When they aren’t, that is deceit.
And it is a really complex topic.
There are genuine reasons for discounting futures, as there is genuine uncertainty; however, the cost of doing so can be huge.
It is complex. I acknowledge that, I get that.
And, acknowledging all that, my fundamental thesis remains logically inescapable.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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