Role of Money

What Role Should Money and Markets Play in a Good Society?

My Answer – as little as possible!

Sorry – doesn’t get a pass mark from me – misses the two most fundamental issues of our time.

1/ Markets measure exchange value.
Exchange value is some function of human value multiplied by some function that estimates scarcity.
The more scarce something is, the more it is worth.
Without scarcity – no market value.
Example – oxygen in the air, arguably the single most valuable thing to any human, yet of zero market value due to universal abundance (zero scarcity).
Logical extension: markets cannot be incentivised to deliver universal abundance, or to deal with it in any meaningful non-destructive way.

2/ Exponential changes in technology.
In the past, most things were genuinely scarce.
It took real human labour to produce most things (goods and services).
We now live in an age of automation, where a large and exponentially expanding set of goods and services can be fully automated.
Full automation offers universal abundance, but that leads to zero economic value.
Hence we see the rise of artificial barriers to universal abundance, in notions such as copyright, and intellectual property and any sort of patent that lasts more than 5 years. Many international “free trade” treaties are nothing more that such IP induced scarcity.
Exponential technology can deliver on universal abundance, but market incentives are directly opposed to any such universal abundance.
Another aspect of this is that poverty is a structural necessity in market based systems.
The only reason anyone on this planet need not have all their reasonable material survival needs (water, air, food, housing, energy, education, transport, communications, healthcare, sanitation) is the needs of the money system. Technical solutions to those problems are relatively trivial.

To claim that “Techno-utopians will argue that the answer to either problem is more economic growth” may apply to some, but definitely not this one (nor, would I suggest, any with a reasonable knowledge of both technology and economics).

I argue clearly and explicitly that it is the very concept of money as a measure of exchange value that is now the single greatest impediment to real technical solutions to the many levels of problems facing our society and the ecosystems within which we exist.

The logic is clear – indisputable:
No exchange based based system of values can deliver optimal outcomes in a technical environment capable of delivering universal abundance of a significant set of goods and services (including all survival needs).

The authors go nowhere near this issue.

Sorry – you missed the boat!

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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