Augmented/Participatory Freed Markets

April 23rd, 2003 | Posted by paul in Uncategorized

Augmented Markets

A new post over at Headmap makes some interesting insights:

the internet is doing some disturbing things it is creating currencies and ecoonomies with no money intermediary

link economies, peer two peer file sharing economies and software development and exchange economies
this seems to suggest that in the absence of friction money makes less and less sense

in fact in the current climate many things are starting to make less and less sense

and these network economic anomalies will soon slip into the real world

destroying huge industries based on friction difficulty seperateness and centralisation

as exchange without money becomes more efficient and reliable

money won’t disappear but will have to start living in parallel with vibrant, aggressive efficient parallel economic forces

the moves towards hardware level copyright controls and crippling copyright legislation

seem more and more like attempts to artificially introduce friction into a system that by its nature is able to remove it entirely

there seems to be the fear that money itself may be on the verge of collapse and that only a radical lockdown can save a civilisation with money at its heart

capitalism is being augmented at a frightening speed.

Indeed. It is my  strong feeling that the real war afoot has nothing to do with Iraq, Oil, WMD, etc. but is instead the beginning moves of a new war between the old guard and the new, powerful, democratic and participatory freed market forces emerging in the trenches of cyberspace. What is perhaps frightening and disturbing about it, is its immediate threat to the power elite, and more specifically the drastic and scary measures they may resort to maintain their power in the face of ever decentralizing forces. Things like the DMCA, the PATRIOT Act, etc are just the first salvos in this war of the ultra-rich against everyone else. Interesting that Alvin Toffler predicted just such a war in 1991 in his book Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century.

Perhaps I’m just having one of my paranoid moments, but I suspect the ultra-rich’s real agenda is the creation of a slave-society where people are more easily controlled, subverted and eliminated as needed. I think our best chances lie in the emergence of wide-spread decentralized democracy and total transparency, rather than top-down surveillance and centralized state backed corporatism. As long as governments/corporations hold the upper hand on surveillance, secrecy and control, I’m not optimistic about humanities chances. Besides, if they’re truly serious about fighting terrorism, then decentralization and transparency are vastly more effective in dealing with it. No, all this secrecy and draconian legislation serves only to make the rich and powerful more so at the expense of everyone else.

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