Sometimes, us futurologists (or whatever the nom de guerre of the day is) sound like batshit crazy people. We wave our hands in air, clothed in only a bath-towel as we scamper through the streets exclaiming about how our digital saviour is going to make everything whole, and then get affronted when we get called on our shit.
The thing is, in a continuation of yesterday’s post, our expectations are… realistic. We’re not saying there will be some magical beard in the sky that will come down, wave a magic wand and the worthy will ascend, we’re saying that through a set of logical, carefully thought-out steps, any creature powerful and smart enough really can completely overturn our way of life.
Take, for example, the absurd idea of money. It’s nothing but an agreement between people that this or that set of tokens has intrinsic worth beyond its base components. Gathering up as much of those tokens as possible has become, therefore, the raison d’etre of our entire society… but yet we say such things as “money is the root of all evil”.
And you know why? Because it is. It’s fundamentally unfair; a system built on control of power (money) which is itself built upon control of power of a more brutal, less available sort (brute strength, “justice” from the barrel of a gun) started off unfair and will continue to be unfair.
I’m not saying that the idea of value exchange is unfair, just that when a system exists that creates value from essentially nothing and can change that value at will, and when that ability to give and take that value from others resides in the hands of those who already have far more than enough of it, then the deck is stacked against the vast majority.
Note: the website above looks old, very old. I don’t know if it’s just because the coder is using old styles, or because he/she just hasn’t updated the look to newer standards, but I can tell you that the data, if anything, is even more stark. The thing to point out here is that one family owns more wealth than the bottom 40% of Americans. You can take a short trip to wikipedia to see statistics from 2007, but again the takeaway information here is that since the recovery started in 2009, 95% of all gains have gone to the top 1% of the population.
The situation has deteriorated so far, and the rich have got so out of touch, that it led one person to comment that if poor people dislike being poor so much, they should just stop being poor.
Wouldn’t that be great?
Well, if lack of money makes somebody poor, maybe we should give them free money?
Crazy idea, I know, but when we’re spending real cash on spikes to get rid of vagrants, why not just stop wasting money on things that don’t work, and spend less to achieve more?
The ideal, of course – currently unobtainable, because communism doesn’t work (just look at North Korea) – is to do away with the need for money, which is one reason the rich and powerful are afraid of the digital god which we will create, because it threatens to do away with the source of their power, control over our fiscal reality.