The initial idea is about flipping economic incentives on their head such that some of the things from say the bottom two rungs of something like Maslows hierarchy would generate money. The closer to a need it is the more money it would generate. Those needs would not be commodities, not bought and sold, but everything else would run capitalistically.

We already basically have that. We all choose to spend money on stuff within Maslow’s hierarchy, we individually value some things over others, we do our best to provide those to others within that value marketplace, and we are rewarded for those efforts by the payment of other individuals who seek to meet those needs by using our specialized labor.

We need garbage men. Being a garbage man doesn’t take a lot of specialized skill. They get paid a wage. They spend the wage on food. Etc.

Sure you get food, water, shelter, education perhaps, at no cost to you. But if you produce food/biodiversity, water/healthy watersheds, shelter/habitat for biodiversity etc, in a necessary dialectic of regeneration and the meeting of needs, then you get the crisp new bills for the bling and delights that tech artists and gustatory maestro’s cook up to get your crisp new bills.

Well, these are a simpler thing to solve than making new money. Consider for instance wetland mitigation banking. I do these professionally. Al Gore said “no net loss of wetlands!” and we coded that into law, and now there are companies which build constructed wetlands, apply for permits through the Army Corps, turn those new wetlands into “banks” that sell “credits” to land developers who want to fill in a wetland. So that sort of thing already exists. You can get at a lot of that within the current framework.

Where your idea might have legs, though, isn’t at that layer, it’s at the interpersonal behavioral layer. Jordan and I talked a lot about “enculturation,” (I say indoctrination) of positive behaviors. Religion used to do this for us, but we’re abandoning it and there’s nothing there to plug the hole of abandonment. If you had a currency that could track the essentials of whether you were a good or bad person interpersonally, and you earned NewMoney that way, then it could serve as a way to get people to behave properly.

Lots of bugs i know, and i’m not tied to a particular iteration, but something along the lines of actually intrinsically valuable things ONLY get encoded. You see, for the most part that can integrate with any other moral system. Water, food, and shelter are valuable and everybody knows it. Then we have to sus out what else must necesarily be included as an intrinsically valuable generator function, for the sort of world were aiming toward, and what would be system breaking if it WERE included as a generator function, and those are some of your ‘shalt’ and ‘shalt nots’.

The main problem with this is that if one person or one group of people is putting together the shalts and shalt-nots, that becomes gameable. I find “thou shalt circumcise your daughters” abhorrent, but others don’t, so who decides? Some people probably think the top of Maslow’s Pyramid is of no value. Who decides that?

How close to the bottom of the causal chain of the embedded necessity of growth do you think interest bearing debt based money is, considering interest bearing debt has been going on probably since some of the first granaries were invented?

It’s in Hammurabi’s Code. Hell, insurance is in Hammurabi’s Code. I only discovered that last night while dicking off on Wikipedia. Ancient cultures tended to have stopgaps to prevent interest bearing debt from running away from them, such as debt jubilees or prohibitions against charging interest to the in-group. Muslims and Jews still have that rule. Our modern American stopgap is bankruptcy, which then is tied to a credit score.

It might be possible to overlay a credit score concept to society as a way of adopting the current system. China is doing that right now, but then again you run into the problem of who gets to establish the credit criteria. If a nation establishes it, your credit is going to be based on how nationalist you are. And further, the credit score is gameable. If I were a tech entrepreneur, I would develop a black market app that will run Chinese people’s social media accounts with AIs to maximize their social credit scores.

So China is experimenting.

I wouldn’t mind seeing a credit score concept applied to dating apps. Ashley Madison even tried that for a bit, as a way to sort out the scammers. I don’t know if they’re still doing it.

Conscientious objector to the culture war. I think a lot. mirror: www.freakoutery.com writer at: www.opensourcedefense.org beggar at: www.patreon.com/bjcampbell

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store