The year is 2020, no burning cities, no mass hysteria, no bread lines; the economy is on an exponential growth curve. The financial crisis of 2008 ended in an anticlimactic sort of way. Sure, lots of hedge fund bankers were unemployed for a while and many companies once deemed titans of industry have disappeared, but nobody seemed to notice much.
Government debt has been eliminated and Wall Street has become the steward of what has become an Innovation Economy rising from the ashes of debt economics. The transition, in fact, was surprisingly smooth. Social Networks figured out a way to make knowledge tangible outside the construct of Wall Street, the central banks, and the traditional corporations.
When the dollar started to fall, people began trading a different currency called the rallod. The rallod was backed by future productivity resulting from innovation rather than future productivity supporting debt. The vicious cycle of debt economics was reversed just in time. When the dollar finally crashed, it pegged to the rallod and the economy began to grow again with an astonishing, yet peaceful, transfer of wealth and power to self-regulating communities, society is general. It’s still hard to believe what happened.
Today the engines of economic growth are millions of hot new start-ups that exist in the form of “Communities of Practice” related to specific technology areas rather than the old corporation model. They automatically cluster around a technology and spin off other start-ups at an incredible rate in a strange nesting arrangement called the “tangential innovation” market. Most innovation is open sourced because the “Patent” (and protectionism in general) is no longer the center of the innovation finance universe, rather, the “secret sauce” of social, creative, and intellectual capital is the most valuable player today.
About 10 years ago, something resembling the human genome project mapped all knowledge in the form of social, creative, and intellectual capital that exists in society to a very high granularity. A programming language was invented to represent knowledge assets like packets of code that are processed by a community algorithm (The CV/resume is a bar joke now). Thanks to a visionary government, 1st amendment protections were built into this inventory with anonymity laws.
Part of Google was democratized in a public takeover and spun off to design an open source percentile search engine to help entrepreneurs build unique collections of knowledge assets and predict the probability that various combinations of these assets could successfully execute a business plan. These unique combinations then induce hyper-innovation around a technology and the resulting innovations get spun off to be reabsorbed by different and diverse communities of practice in continuous iterations forming a virtuous vortex of new systems, methods, and solutions. Sketched out, these arrangements looked like electrical circuits. Wealth creation is intense.
Instead of having jobs, many people in a geographic area are pinged by a Percentile search engine which calculates the likelihood that their interaction together will increase the probability of successful execution of a business plan when combined with other knowledge assets. Instead of earning wages, people are paid with micro-royalties specified by contracts on capital asset sub-sections. These micro-royalties add up to substantial residual income enjoying a multiplier effect as their work continues downstream. The government funds social security through it’s own innovation ventures. Service workers such as police, teachers, fire fighters, nurses, local merchants, etc., are key beneficiaries because of their impact on the community is directly associated with productivity.
Many of the senior knowledge workers have determined that they can earn more money by taking an equity position in their students, and the students of their student – such pyramids are in fact sustainable and generate astonishing returns. Mentors have entered the landscape in vast numbers and apprenticeships have become abundant. The income potential for the “creating creators” boggles the imagination. Again, a virtuous circle has formed between the mentor and the student. In aggregate, wisdom is being retained, refined, and transferred efficiently throughout social networks. Universities have begun doing the same forgoing tuition in exchange for an equity position in students.
University “degrees” have disappeared in favor of unique combinations of knowledge assets that are continually SEO’d for best Percentile Search Engine Placement. People do not compete directly, rather, they compete with the Percentile Search Engine in the local market place – although virtual work is becoming popular again. As owners of their knowledge assets, the entrepreneurial spirit is ubiquitous. No individual has either a monopoly or an identical knowledge set as anyone else. Everyone has perfect information about the knowledge assets in a market. People are pinged for different reasons at different times for different rates depending on supply and demand. Continuous education is a social event in itself often mistaken for recreation!
Since the knowledge inventory has mapped all knowledge and the Percentile Search Engine calculated probabilities and scenarios, the Innovation bank formed to make most worthy and optimal matches between knowledge surplus and knowledge deficit in a community. Since the probability of innovation success has become predictable, innovation risk is now diversified away. Innovation insurance products abound. With near-zero innovation risk the cost of venture capital has approached 5-7 % instead of 500-2000% of less than a decade ago. Banks now issue innovation bonds on the public market to finance innovation in society. For an investment of such high return and such little risk, participation is near universal. This created another virtuous circle; the more innovation that occurs, the more money is created. The more money that is created, the more innovation occurs.
Even the poorest areas of the planet are getting into the action because, by definition, parts of an economy with the highest potential for technological change are the same places that return the highest dividends in an innovation economy. Arbitrage opportunities between master and oppressor have disappeared worldwide.
Like a neural network, the economic system of tangible knowledge is self-correcting, fault tolerant, and self-regulating. Governments across the globe tried to stop the social network driven innovation economy – but they eventually gave up. It was like water; it flowed between the cracks and simply eroded the barriers. China learned to show it’s sense of humor exporting some of the funniest jokes ever conceived.
Oil production has been replaced by superconducting wind turbines, global temperatures have stabilized, all cars are electric or “water leakers” (as the hydro’s are affectionately known), many diseases have been cured, and the list goes on. It is hard to believe this happened in only 12 years. Then again, the Internet had only been widely used 12 years prior to 2008. Did I mention, we’re finally sending a multinational expedition to Mars…