James – Buddhism, Seneca, …

Buddhism, Seneca, and Tyler Durden

Nice one James.

So much truth in what you wrote.

We are serfs to an idea of value based in scarcity.
When most things were genuinely scarce, the idea that markets measured a good proxy for value generally had some merit.
Today we have the automated technology to meet all the reasonable needs of everyone on the planet, with minimal use of anyone’s time; and yet the quest for market value (a value based in scarcity) is driving the insanity we see today.

We make laws to preserve scarcity just to maintain market value – we call them intellectual property, as if that idea makes any real sense.
We have entire advertising industries that are there to create needs in us that we really don’t need – but the economic system needs us to keep on needing, to be able to continue generating the sort of value it makes.

So yes.
We need to rethink value.
We need to accept that markets are now useful only in measuring a very small component of the values people have, and if left to their own incentive structures will tend to destroy all other values to create more scarcity value. That is actually a mathematical recipe for societal level extinction.

We can do better than that.
We must do better than that.

We need a simple hierarchy of values:
1/ Individual sapient life (human and non-human, biological and non-biological);
2/ Individual liberty, and that demands of us
3/ Individual responsibility.

Liberty cannot mean doing anything, because some things are actually a threat to life, and life comes first.
Liberty must be within the constraints of social and ecological responsibility if it is to acknowledge the higher value of life in the long term.

Markets cannot do that.
Markets and money are internally incentivised to destroy any abundance – because market value is optimised at a certain level of scarcity.

That is why we must go beyond markets.
But that is not a trivial change, as markets currently empower many levels of functions that are essential to our survival – like distributed networks, distributed coordination, distributed arbitrage and conflict resolution – the list is huge.
Universal Adequate Income may be part of a useful transition strategy, but is not any sort of long term solution to the problem of valence based in scarcity.

So we live in interesting times.

Real security can only come when we each choose to take on whatever level of responsibility we can see as being required of us.
Not comfortable, and as you have noted here, rewarding in its own way.

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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