It’s no secret that as we’ve been progressing technologically, we’ve been getting further and further separated as a species and more and more detached.
Along with this not only comes illnesses in our minds and bodies (depression, anxiety, cancers, and other stress-related ailments), but also illnesses in our society and our economic systems (corruption, fraud, embezzlement, and other forms of stealing and exploitation).
But the tide is turning, and it’s turning rapidly.
The internet was the first broad scale decentralization that happened within the information and communication aspects of life.
Now, we’re seeing an explosion of decentralization in the financial world, and soon in many other industries.
These aren’t technological changes per se, but rather philosophical changes executed through technology.
But to fully explain where this is headed, we have to start by understanding why decentralization of our money system is so powerful.
Money: Value or Debt?
At its core, we can say that money is a “store of value”, in that it signifies that you did something of some value for someone else, and they gave you “stored value” in return, in the form of money.
It’s important to note that this isn’t based on “objective value” (of which doesn’t truly exist), but rather “perceived value.” As long as the buyer perceives the value, they will make the trade of their money for the good or service.
Similarly, if I perceive something to be of more value than someone else does, I would potentially pay more for that good or service than someone else.
For the most part, however, our society has collectively determined the price of certain goods and services, and the value that a dollar holds.
Note: This is, of course, unless the government steps in and “tells us” what a dollar is worth. In the best money systems, and the only money systems that stand the test of time, like gold, the people collectively decide the value based on the free market, with no authoritarian intervention.
But while we see money as “value”, because it holds the energy of “value” from some previous transaction, we often don’t see that money is actually simply debt – an IOU.
If someone gives me a good or performs a service for me, I give them an “IOU” note (a dollar bill), which they can then use when someone else gives a good or performs a service for them.
We’re all trading debt back and forth in order to get the things we need or want in this world.
But this “trading of debt” is not the only way.
By looking at a deeply ingrained aspect of human psychology, we can start to see some other alternatives.
In many persuasion and influence studies, they’ve shown that when one person freely gives value to another person, that person feels the need to “reciprocate” that value back to the person.
This stems back to tribal days, when tribes didn’t use money, but simply gave freely for the good of their collective tribe, knowing that they would be taken care of and given back to. If someone in the tribe only took and never gave, their social value in their tribe would decline, as they essentially trade their social value in exchange for “not giving back”.
Similar to how money used to be less accurate and more of a guessing game, this tribal system of value exchange was less accurate.
But with decentralized cryptocurrencies, we now can take the step into an accurate version of this community and value-based system.
Social Value And Personal Coins
One very interesting idea about how the economy might look in the future, that we first heard about from Andreas Antonopoulos, is based around the idea that we might have very specialized coins for different businesses, and even down to the level of having personal coins for individual people.
In other words, Starbucks might have a “coffee coin” that you use when you buy coffee at their stores.
Similarly, we at GCA might have “Tim coins”, “Austin coins”, and “Trent coins”.
At first this might seem like an odd concept, but when merging it with the understanding of our deeply ingrained tribal culture, along with the understanding that our debt-based monetary system of exchange is not the only way, we can begin to see how this form of economy might make a lot of sense.
In this way, our community becomes our “tribe” and our contribution to our collective community is seen and rewarded with social value, much in the way that tribal days would have worked.
We wouldn’t do things for “money”, but rather the understanding that what we give to the collective, we get back (and this is a concept that is very philosophically and spiritually relevant).
Because our contributions would increase our social value, the value of our individual coins would increase, and we would hold more value and clout within our community.
The technology of cryptocurrencies would allow this to be highly accurate, as the price of our individual coin would accurately reflect the value we give to the world, allowing us to get more back from the world.
This is more of a value-based system, in alignment with our tribal psychology, as opposed to the debt-based system we currently use.
At the same time, this wouldn’t detract from technological advancements, but simply add to the quality and closeness of our interactions and our identification as part of the collective.
All for one and one for all.
Other Implications Of Tribal Technology
Another important piece of tribal culture is that humans evolved with a community of 100-150 people, and today’s culture expands this tribe almost to the 2 billion people that are connected through the internet.
This is certainly not a bad thing per se, but it does mess with understanding our purpose and value.
For example, if you were a chef in a tribe of 100-150 people, your skill as a chef would be recognized and you would feel value in being an amazing chef for your tribe. But in today’s culture, you’re now comparing your skill as a chef to the best in the world, and you can easily feel lost amongst the 2 billion people and all the great chefs within that big of a tribe.
This all points to the fact that humans work best when both the individual and the collective are appreciated and taken into account.
Right now, we seem to be very polarized into either serving the individual, or to serving the collective.
But the truth is, neither of these works to well on their own. There is a better way.
Serving ourselves (pure capitalism) leads to corruption and abuse of the systems we use, so that those at the top benefit at the expense of those at the bottom.
But only serving the collective (socialism/communism) is also a losing proposition, as people will only act because they feel that they “should”, rather than being personally motivated to do so. And if you don’t feel personally motivated, you won’t do as good of a job as you would if you felt that drive and passion towards it, and you won’t innovate because there is no personal incentive to do so.
There is, however, a middle ground that we often refer to as the “individual-collective”, which appreciates both, and allows the positives of both without the negatives.
This is where bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are ushering in a new era – you get both personal incentives and the collective good. You get to be a part of the collective while still fully being an individual.
The individual-collective is truly the best of both worlds, as you realize that you are a part of something much bigger, and yet each individual part is special, unique, and important.
Becoming The Individual-Collective
If and when we begin to move towards this structure of society – something cryptocurrencies and the concept of decentralization will help massively with – we will operate in much tighter knit circles that are still a part of the whole.
If each individual makes up a community, then on a higher level, each community makes up the state. On this level, the community acts as the “individual” that is a part of the collection of communities (the “state”).
Then each state acts as an individual within the nation, and each nation the individual within the world (and maybe one day, each world will act as the individual to the galaxy).
But at each step along this path, the individuals are the ones with the power to choose for their whole, not a small majority of people in power that make all the decisions for all of the people.
If we unify to a single entity power within the world (as has been attempted with the UN and EU), then the people will truly lose all power and we risk slipping into the dystopian worlds that we’ve been warned about in novels like 1984.
Instead, we can decentralize, and allow the individuals that make up the collective to be the ones that ultimately decide what happens.
Everyone will truly have a voice, based on their true desires expressed through behavior and not simply their words or what they “say” they want.
Truly, each person will have a voice, and that voice will be heard.
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