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    A core tool is holding back everything.
    Knowledge is power. I find every day more and more evidence pointing towards this proverbial fact, and with this knowledge of evidence, I learn more about the correlative newfound power that I hold.

    A lot of people like to state that money is power. I think that this is a bit of a misunderstanding (Or, perhaps in the case of those with the money telling people this, misinformation) through common materialistic philosophy - Many people have money, but not all are powerful. Take people that win the lottery, for instance. They win it, then have most of their "winnings" taken away through mindless consumerism, taxes, etcetera. Then, on the other hand, we have people that have knowledge of money. Take people that run the lottery, for instance. If you don't believe that these people are running a tax on the stupid and/or ignorant, you probably aren't thinking from a point of view with knowledge of how the system works on a mathematical level. Without the knowledge of what your money is and how to use it, you are nowhere with it. To summarize it in one sentence: Money is not power; Without knowledge humans will just waste it, and those with the knowledge of how to convince others to blow their money on things will subsequently have your money.



    Power really is only half knowledge. The other half of power is action, not only physical but mostly mental. There is the preliminary action to assert and direct yourself towards goals, action to persevere, action to stick to the principles you set out in your goals where it matters and action to change goals (Also determined with flexibility in mind to take in account this rule of action towards power) when necessary for advancement.

    Money, very basically, can be defined as a system of abstracting worth, putting it into terms of wealth. Wealth is defined as (from a definition from the princeton.edu wordnet online dictionary):

    Noun

    * S: (n) wealth, wealthiness (the state of being rich and affluent; having a plentiful supply of material goods and money) "great wealth is not a sign of great intelligence"
    * S: (n) wealth (the quality of profuse abundance) "she has a wealth of talent"
    * S: (n) wealth, riches (an abundance of material possessions and resources)
    * S: (n) wealth (property that has economic utility: a monetary value or an exchange value)


    The interesting thing here, however, is that what we are looking at is wealth represented and controlled by an abstract system. While this is not the problem itself, the problem with this abstract system is that it is run by those with the knowledge and who also take action and therefore seize the power over the abstract system. The problem lies in our very human nature, and how certain humans have taken to the practice of manipulating systems for individual gain. Many systems have been compromised this way, but the one system that helps most to compromise other systems, including social, environmental, educational, and perhaps most painfully, individual psychological systems, is the one that is the focus of this article.

    In order to cause more change in these other systems, which is the focus of this site, the simple solution that may come to many people's minds is the destruction of money. However, destruction by its very nature not the simplest solution - Destruction leads to chaos, and chaos is the antithesis of ordered simplicity. To use a quote from the late philosopher and architect [definition of architect: one who creates plans to be used in making things)] Buckminster Fuller that I found on the spacecollective.org gallery: "“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete". There's an even more pertinent quote from the same man: "Don't fight the system. Rather, create a new one".

    When a new system of abstracting wealth is introduced as not just an alternative but the norm, I believe that we can finally start flying into the future at warp speed. We may be telling ourselves that we are going fast now, yet the issue of how we manage worth has been in the way of achieving full human potential and even, as studies have shown, are beginning to throw us backwards. The late scientist Carl Sagan makes a very good point in a paragraph from his 1970 book "The Cosmic Connection" [Available for somewhat further reading here or at your local library/bookstore]:

    "There are many viewpoints on the present and near-future costs of space science and astronomy. Because of the annual costs of ground-based astronomy are only a few percent of the costs of the scientific space program, I will concentrate on the price of the latter. It is customary to compare expenditures on space to annual expenditures in the United States for ethyl alcohol or bubble gum or cosmetics. I personally find it more useful to compare the costs with those of the U.S. Department of Defense. Using a report of the government's General Accounting Office (The New York Times, July 19, 1970), we learn that the total anticipated cost of the Viking mission to land on Mars in 1976 is about half that of the cost overruns in the so-called safeguard anti-ballistic missile system for fiscal year 1970. The cost of a Grand Tour exploration of all the planets in the outer solar system (Canceled for lack of funds) is comparable to the 1970 cost overruns on the minuteman III system; the cost of a very large optical telescope in space, capable of definitive studies of the origins of the universe, is comparable to the 1970 cost overruns on the Minuteman II missile, and a major program of Earth resource satellites, involving several years of close inspection of the surface and weather of the planet, would cost approximately the fiscal year 1970 cost overruns on the PC-3 aircraft. A decade-long program of systematic investigation of the entire solar system would cost as much as the accounting mistakes on a single "defense" weapons system in a single year. The scientific space program is small change compared to the errors in the Department of Defense budget."


    Wow. Does that not blow your mind when you extrapolate with the fact that the cost overruns of military, destruction-based projects is probably the highest in human history right now? Where does that leave humanity?

    Now, there are a few problems that I can point out with my idea of starting a new system of abstracting worth. I don't have solid ideas to propose involving such essential points for reworking such an essential system such as checks and balances. I realize that such a system would take a lot of time and energy to complete, and I also realize that lots of time and energy is something that many people believe is worth their time and, well, money. I realize that my math is stuck in grade 11 high school math and I couldn't really begin to start constructing a system like this at the point where math is a requirement, I also realize that so far I'm not much more than a somewhat lazy 18 year old who spends too much time dicking around. However, how things have been going in other ways give me a lot of inspiration and hope. Other systems, such as those for operating computers (BSD, Linux), delivering catalogues of information (Wikis), or the very web server that is delivering you these words (Apache running on CentOS Linux), have been developed under principles of open source. I'm thinking of starting this as an open-source project, and inviting mathematicians, scientists, thinkers, maverick spirits, programmers, and the entire world to build, review, and implement such a system.

    First, though, if this is going to be an open-source project, I will definitely need input on what I've just written. What do you have to say?

    ( edit / delete )  Wed, Dec 26, 2007  Permanent link
    Categories: money, wealth, systems, worth, future, everything
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    Comments:


    sjef     Tue, Mar 25, 2008  Permanent link
    I think this needs to be done, but I too have no idea as to how specifically.
    Surely others have already done groundwork for such a system, perhaps start by compiling their ideas for discussion?
    Coming up with a new system may not even be that hard, devising a way to transition from the current one would be the big problem. You'd need an absolutely diabolical marketing scheme to sell it in the current environment. (Or a massively powerful dictatorship of course).
    Perhaps this project would be secondary to Obvious' idea of creating a mythos for science, as once a culture of logic & rationality is more widespread this idea would have a lot less trouble gaining mainstream acceptance.
    connor     Wed, Oct 22, 2008  Permanent link
    Have you seen this?

    http://thevenusproject.com/
    dragon     Sat, Oct 25, 2008  Permanent link
    Among the bigger problems will be overturning the strangehold of those with power obviously. Where bankers, lawyers, politicians, media-moguls and genii use money as a system of control to shape the world to their design. The point that they have massive armies and intelligence corporations dedicated to maintaining their desired state of affairs, more than happy to spill blood for their cause.

    It's a great idea, but along with the plans for the actual system one will need to be created for integration (and probably kept off the internet and away from the public...)
    sjef     Wed, Oct 29, 2008  Permanent link
    To comment on the Venus Project, all I've ever seen of it is that site, the 'Future by Design' documentary and the interview with Jaques Fresco that got turned into the second half of Zeitgeist Addendum. With relation to this specific problem, I think their solution of moving to a 'Resource Based Economy' is slightly too simplistic.
    The idea is good in that we should move to a system in which goods are traded by their true worth, but simply swapping goods cannot make up a modern economic system, there needs to be what dimitridb termed a system for the abstraction of wealth.

    The next economy should be energy based, as the true cost of any material good can be calculated in terms of the energy required to produce and distribute it. We also have the technology for there to be an abundance of available energy, more than enough to supply all inhabitants of the earth with a base allowance of energy 'credit' (if you will), which should be enough to provide them with the basic human needs for survival and a modest degree of comfort. Any extra credit could then be earned on a basis of merit/supply&demand.

    The general idea is easy enough to map out, and for someone versed in economics I'm sure a detailed theory couldn't be too hard either, but I have yet to find anyone actually working on it.
    Buckminster Fuller has a bit to say about it (as always), but because of his massive scope also doesn't really go into specifics. (At least not in anything I've read yet.)
    So to parallel Megans question in the other thread, anyone have any ideas?
         Wed, Oct 29, 2008  Permanent link
    You'd need an absolutely diabolical marketing scheme to sell it in the current environment. (Or a massively powerful dictatorship of course).

    I'm sure anyone with the guts to try could find some artistic solution to sell it in the current environment without it being too hard. Or, as wildcat put it in that other thread:

    I am not certain that there is a consensus as to the idea that painting a clear picture overcomes the system, what I can state for certain is that history has proven time and again that there is no force in the collective called humanity that is stronger than "an idea whose time has arrived".

    The Venus Project pisses me off a little, it seems like just another almost purely commercial venture. It's not practicing what it preaches and that kind of bums out its integrity, at least for me. If they really cared, wouldn't they put those videos they sell online to watch for free on the site? Information in a resource-based economy (Or any economy, really) should be the most freely available thing there is, of course considering the protection of any individual's private information and interests to a proper degree.

    I think the next economy should be based on a lot of things, a holistic economy. Energy and resources both fit in to it but I'm sure there's more.

    I'm also sure that there would be a lot of disagreement on the whole matter as to how exactly to go about it, and I can imagine things taking off and then going into a bunch of different competing schisms which conflict the goal of getting things done. Countermeasures to that kind of pattern seen in the past with many things should also be key.
    sjef     Wed, Oct 29, 2008  Permanent link
    I'm sure anyone with the guts to try could find some artistic solution to sell it in the current environment without it being too hard.

    I don't know, the trouble being that due to the highly subjective nature of 'real' art, there is no way you can create something that appeals to everyone, few things gain real mainstream acceptance these days based purely on artistic merits, there is always a marketing element involved.

    This is of course changing with the way our world is networked and the means by which memes spread, and it may be that a large range of projects on various levels do produce the required effect. (That in fact even seems to be one of the core reasons we're all here in first place.)

    With the Venus Project you have to consider the fact that they have been at it for decades already, the times have overtaken them. The guy is a great engineer & visionary but by the looks of it he sucks at making money. Their 'research center' is old (check out the interiors), and it's now even up for sale. Given the fact that he devoted his life to it you can hardly call him out for being commercial because he's trying to make a buck off selling videos.
    connor     Thu, Oct 30, 2008  Permanent link
    sjef: I think that an energy based economy is a very realistic stepping stone from where we are at right now. In fact, we already are in an energy based economy. The problem is that there are few, large companies that have a monopoly, and thus control much of the innovation. They will continue to throttle innovation in areas of free energy because it will never benefit their position.

    It is not the long term solution, though. Energy needs to be free for everyone.

    Since we are kind of doing this anyway in the other post and this, why don't we try to figure out a framework for creating this system.

    For starters, we should try to define all of the problems or hurdles that we are facing. We could then organize them sequentially (roughly) and create an easily digestible visual for people to view and understand. If we could clearly map the problems that we are trying to solve, then it would allow more and more people to help come up with solutions.

    We won't be able to market any idea if nobody can understand what the idea is.

    problem: energy companies have a monopoly on providing energy.

    problem: no actual value put on the trade and consumption of resources.

    problem: large part of the global population is complacent towards the future.

    problem: large part of the global population isn't thinking critically.

    Please argue these problems or this idea as you see fit. I am just trying to take this conversation to a level of 'doing something'.
    Spaceweaver     Sat, Nov 1, 2008  Permanent link
    It seems that a future economy will not be based on energy, and probably not on information (mostly because its easy duplicability). These commodities, I believe will become free commodities sooner than we think. What seems to be the basis of a future economy if there will be an economy at all is computation power. In a future where core technologies such as nanotechnology, robotics, clean energy technology, and biotechnology will become mature, computing something will also amount to actually manufacturing it. In an abundance scenario material costs, energy costs and even design costs will be marginal (given we have AI). So, what we are left with is computing power. The economical growth, and economical wealth will be measured if so in computronium mass, that is how much of the stuff around us we managed to transform into optimized 'thinking matter'.

    I know this sounds a bit far reaching but if we look at the on going trends today we already see the first hints: The stock market can be seen as a huge computing machine integrating humans and silicon engaged in continuously calculating our economy according to given models most of them open source. In the future, being able to compute something will become the only sense of owning that something. But this becomes even more complex if we consider that conscious agents (i.e. future persons) are realized as computations as well which might mean that the depth and quality of being will also become economically measurable in terms of computing power. I will try to further explore this direction in a separate post.

    Having said all that, I hardly believe we can transform or replace our economical system without undergoing a very deep and all encompassing conceptual transformation regarding the human phenomenon and life at large. Economy as we know it is a representation and manifest of very basic patterns, we cannot change it without changing the patterns
         Sat, Nov 1, 2008  Permanent link
    connor said:
    problem: energy companies have a monopoly on providing energy.

    problem: no actual value put on the trade and consumption of resources.

    problem: large part of the global population is complacent towards the future.

    problem: large part of the global population isn't thinking critically.


    first: I think a more pertinent problem is that the economic system has a monopoly on providing energy.

    second: Value isn't actual because it's all in the eye of the beholder, just abstraction. It can never be actual because we can never really know everything. What we're looking for is something to abstract worth that's closer to the truth. However, since it's all abstract, and since there's way over a million beholders, we'll also find ourselves running into conflicts. This ties in to the fourth problem, though, that of how critical thought needs to be more present in the popular consciousness.

    third: I don't think that a large part of the global population is complacent towards the future. Last time I checked something more than half of the world's population lives in total hell with nothing to be complacent about at all. I don't even think that most people I've talked to about complacency towards the future here in the western world are really all that complacent about the future... They just sort of pretend that everything is going to be all right most of the time, but they'll acknowledge that everything is going to shit if you ask them.

    fourth: I think that one potential solution which sticks out in my mind to getting more people to think critically is some kind of major cultural movement. Now I just want to figure out how exactly you get one of those going in this day and age :)

    spaceweaver said:

    For the neolithic mind reflection and thinking are recreational activities at best. We need to depart from this path and put much more emphasize on reflecting and thinking. This might bring us the increased collective consciousness which is necessary to the emergence of the next phase of a sapient civilization. Again, as I wrote elsewhere, I believe that transforming our economical system from the root amounts to not less than achieving an higher state of collective consciousness.

    Having said all that, I hardly believe we can transform or replace our economical system without undergoing a very deep and all encompassing conceptual transformation regarding the human phenomenon and life at large. Economy as we know it is a representation and manifest of very basic patterns, we cannot change it without changing the patterns


    Thanks for concisely putting these ideas I've sort of had in my head fuzzing around for a while into clear terms :)

    However, I wonder how exactly the relationship works between the economic system and all individual's psychologies... Which exerts more influence over the other? I think that the economic system has shaped all of our developmental psychologies from the moment of our births until now to a point where the very major majority of us hardly affect any influence on the economic system. For example, right now, most of us aren't thinking about how this might be a problem. Most of us even able to have the opportunity to even get all we're writing in the first place, right this second, are spending money on things that none of us really need, choking us all out without any thought except that of short-term individual gain through, say, a canister of pringles munched on and littered into the ocean where it eventually photodegrades and makes it way through plankton that can't tell the difference between plastic and real food, up the food chain into the tuna fish sandwich I'm eating right now. Try to bring this up to this example individual (the litterbug), and they'll probably just give you a weird look and blank out before you're finished explaining.

    So, how exactly can we immanently actualize this very deep and all-encompassing conceptual transformation regarding the human phenomenon and life at large before the snowball effect towards total hell becomes too strong for us to do anything at all?
    Alan Smith     Mon, Nov 3, 2008  Permanent link
    I've been doing some thinking about this too, and spent some time trying to work out the basics of a new system that doesn't require the destruction of the old one, but one that we can slowly transition to.

    http://spacecollective.org/AlanSmith/4436/Commoncy-Ecommonies-The-Future-of-Money

    Let me know what you think, I'm trying to flesh this idea out some more, and it's going to need this collectives help. I'm also serious about implementing it inside of a real world collective that does work and starts trading it in different ways, and the company I work for and co-founded is going to be one of the first to take these steps. ( themovement.info is that company, and if we are lucky, it won't be a company or a collective, it will be something new ).

    Best,
    -Alan
     
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