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Tag: Professional Engineer

The Mother of All Hedge Funds

Money is supposed to represent human productivity; otherwise nobody would work for it (think about that for a second).

Today, money is created from future productivity in the form of debt;  when you take a loan, money is created out of thin air and posted as an asset on the banks ledger.  Unfortunately, the money required to pay interest is never created at all, which drives eternal scarcity.

What Happens Next:

Through the miracles of the fractional reserve system and high finance; money gets thrown into a blender where it is then divorced from the productivity of those who create it, and is converted to exotic financial instruments that bet for or against the future productivity of the future productivity of the future productivity, etc – in both Calculus and Finance, these are called derivatives.

Why does it still work?

So the question becomes; if money does not represent productivity, then why do people still work for it? Well, there is no other alternative to money as we know it.

Then came … and went … Bitcoin;

Bitcoin is all the rage because it behaved sort of like a currency – it had many of the desirable characteristics for the storage, exchange, and unit of account for value. But something about it didn’t sit right with society in general – most people aren’t willing to work in exchange for it.

Bitcoin has 3 fatal flaws:

  1. Bitcoin does not represent human productivity.
  2. The total available Bitcoins were highly concentrated among a very few people.
  3. Bitcoin are speculative in value.

Many words have been committed to these topics so I’ll leave a deeper understanding to the reader to research on their own.  However, we can now ask the question;

What if a virtual currency could be designed that does represent human productivity, is widely distributed among the users, and empowered by those who interact with it?

 

Consider an Engineering Backed Currency:

Let’s consider an engineering backed currency and the existing institution of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)

 Condition 1: Engineering works increase human productivity in the form of roads, bridges, machinery, energy, clean water, sanitation, and generalized problem solving.  A currency backed by engineering would invariably be backed by human productivity thereby satisfying condition #1.

Condition 2:  Suppose that upon paying their 300 dollar dues to the National Society of Professional Engineers, the NSPE Knowledge Bank issues 3000 NSPE Bucks, a virtual currency, to the member so that any member can trade with any other member for the purposes of learning, teaching, and collaboration (don’t worry yet about the technical challenges of doing this).

If any member gets stuck on a project, or they need to understand new technologies, or are looking for complementary knowledge, they can compensate another engineer in the NSPE Technical Network using NSPE Bucks.  Young engineers can teach seniors about new tech, social media, hot mobile apps, and seniors can teach young engineers about nuances of engineering practice, etc., all in exchange for NSPE-Bucks.  NSPE bucks will become evenly distributed thereby satisfying condition #2.

 Condition 3: The NSPE Bucks act as a form of insurance.  If an engineer gets stuck on a project or needs a review of their work or intersects another discipline, they can get rapid and effective support across a vast network of knowledge assets in the profession.  An engineer may be empowered to interact with their peers and innovate in their careers knowing that the wisdom and experience of their peers is mutually accessible.  As such, condition number 3 is met.

Hold on to your seat – this last point will blow you away:

Innovation is the domain of engineering – the two words are synonymous.  People innovate today for the purpose of increasing productivity in the future.  Remember, debt is also a currency backed by future productivity.  Therefore, when you have two currencies that are backed by the EXACT same underlying asset, they are fully convertible on an open exchange.  So NSPE bucks can be easily converted back to dollars or simply traded broadly in a market.

The Mother of All Hedge Funds

As the dollar weakens in scarcity, the NSPE Buck will strengthen in abundance, value will be preserved in the works of engineering that are created. In fact, an engineering backed currency would hedge the dollar as it weaken in it’s ability to maintain infrastructure, build schools, solve climate problems, and provide for the safety health and welfare of people and property.

There is no shortage of work to do and there is no shortage of innovation – there is only a shortage of money.  If Banks can print money out of thin air, why can’t engineers?

 

 

 

 

The Fundamental Flaw of NAFTA

Leading into 2010, The Ingenesist Project will release a series of videos that specify the construct of the Next Economic Paradigm.  We begin at the beginning.

The following video discusses the flaw in modern globalization market economics that started with the failure of an obscure sub section of NAFTA – the free trade of services. The objective of the Ingenesist Project is to correct a tiny little flaw in market economics. This simple adjustment will result in dramatic change.

Social Clipping and the Amazing Disappearing Economy

In the early 1990’s, the NAFTA Mutual Recognition Document (MRD) for engineering professionals was the first modern attempt to treat knowledge like a financial instrument. Unfortunately it failed because of a tiny little flaw that I call ‘social clipping’.

Most trade agreements that followed were modeled after NAFTA and, as such, inherited the clipping flaw.  The flaw is that ‘products’, but not the knowledge assets that created them, are mobile in a global economy.

The MRD handed the knowledge economy to Mexico on a silver platter; but they turned it down.  The government did not want to give their engineers “wings” because they were afraid that they would fly away.  Instead, Mexico chose to sell their extraordinary young engineering talent off cheap to meet quotas promised to Asian, European, and American companies to relocate huge manufacturing plants to the country. Today, Mexico competes with China in a race to the bottom of a manufacturing economy and almost no indigenous design industries.

Two-way street:

Back then, the protesters raged about an influx of cheap foreign engineers to the US.  But many US engineers saw that Mexico needed everything that engineers make – roads, bridges, infrastructure, etc. The needs were endless and the objective was clear; to increase human productivity in Mexico was to create real and sustainable wealth.  Maybe then, the citizens would not need to fly away.

These infrastructure projects could have been funded because the Professional Engineering License behaves like a financial instrument mitigating project risks (so that nothing “disappears”). Only then banks would lend and insurers would insure.  The transfer of knowledge and accountability to Mexico would have been extraordinary; the relationships, profound; their development progress, astonishing.

The Disappearing Economy

But the MRD died by clipping.  Mexican Engineers would have been required to take the same engineering examinations as US engineer.  The government refused citing concern that they could not pass. So, in 1994-1997, this author directed a large comparative education project sending over 250 engineers to the US professional engineering examination (EIT).  The Mexican Pass rate was extraordinary – they were easily comparable to the US pass rate in most subjects and flat-out superior in mathematics.  There was nothing wrong with Mexican engineers, or the culture; there was something wrong with the financial system that keeps them invisible.

Knowledge is Power

As the story goes, Mexico has a family oriented culture where hierarchy is often based on seniority; a common examination may favor recent graduates.  It would be inappropriate for a young engineer to have authority over a more senior engineer.  Dig a little deeper and the real problem was power. In Mexico, power is concentrated among very few people.  It would have been unacceptable for transparency to exist.

We are facing a similar situation in America today.  Power has been steadily consolidating over the years.  A huge and fast stimulus package will enter a financial system with a shortage of vetting institutions. There is a strong pull toward ‘business as usual’ – creating J-O-B-S; not necessarily more entrepreneurs, engineers, or mentors, and certainly not empowering whistle blowers.  In the knowledge economy, Americans salaries are pegged to off-shore outsourcing. This is a game that we can no longer win playing by the rules.

Social clipping

As we have seen with less developed nations; when people are held below a certain economic level, they fail to organize for innovation, social change, entrepreneurship, and value creation because they are too busy trying to pay off debt and feed their families.  Social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital are muted; that’s when the magic of innovation disappears. That’s social clipping.

America must move on to the next level of economic growth.  The Innovation economy is a game we can win playing by new rules. Government must trust the people, empower social media, and not clip our wings with an outdated economic model.

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