The heat is on to discover a new currency
Obviously, money is supposed to represent productivity otherwise why would people work for it? But, everyone is pretty much resigned to the fact that the dollar – and indeed most global currency – is irreversibly divorced from actual productivity.
No Alternative Algorithm?
The reason why people must trade dollars is that there is no other alternative, and the computer algorithms that control the value of the currency have yet to tell us otherwise. That’s it, really. The questions remain, how, why, and when will people stop working for it and what will they work for which can replace it?
This will not be as simple as living in yurts, trading cheese cultures and tweeting about it. Complex infrastructure like a judicial system, transportation, medical care, clean water, energy and food production rely on a financial system that can capitalize and securitize whatever the replacement currency may be.
Influence vs. intention
The latest twist in the new currency movement is the idea that on-line influence can be used to support a currency. There is no shortage of noble leaders aspiring to “define the standard” in their own image as a service to the lesser masses who seek their respective place in the great new economic void. PeerIndex and Klout are the two main players that promote a social score based on influence, obstensibly to mimic the credit score upon which all currency depends.
Bad Influence is worse than no influence
Unfortunately, influence is a flawed measure. Marketers are the target beneficiaries of such influence which is clearly defined as the ability to get other people to take action on a marketing message. My ability to influence others to buy Twinkies does not an economy make. In other words – influence is a consumption currency, not a production currency.
A far better marker is “intention”
For comparison; today, money is conjured into existance by banks based on the signature of a loan candidate who states in writing their intention to produce enough value by their future words and actions to exceed the value of the currency being borrowed (created from thin air) plus interest. That’s how debt works. That “intention” is then capitalized, combined with the intentions of others, and securitized into bonds that finance important social services and institutions that support those intensions.
Likewise, a social currency may be similarly conjured into existence – based on a person’s promise to increase human productivity in the future, not however, to increase human consumption in the future. The social marker for the next currency must be an intension to produce something, not an intension to consume something. The real danger, of course, is if we define the next currency as just another consumption currency or whether it can truly be married to productivity.
Obviously, it would be helpful to have an inventory of what value an individual is willing and able to produce in the future since this is the best marker of intensions. It would be even more helpful if there were a public knowledge inventory of what value people in a community are able and willing to produce together. I’ll stop here because a knowledge inventory for communities does not exist – and curiously, none of the great minds in Social Media are clamoring to define that standard.
Likewise, that is where the great opportunity for the future resides.