Transition to abundance: a two currency model
Submitted by Anonymous on Mon, 12/05/2011 - 18:06
Benefiting in a world of plenty
Essential and desirable currency
Having been fascinated with the impact of the technological revolution and its potential and predicted future for a number of years now I have wondered if there is anything that can assist society take advantage of exponential technological growth. Most individuals who seem capable of deeply appreciating the tech story as it unfolds are clear enough in how much of a paradigm shift this is generating - there is a gap between the optimistic and the conservative estimates, as always, but even the conservatives outline a wholly different world.
In answer to my own question then I have fairly embryonic idea I would like to add, I think in the context of reaching technology advances at any pace like that which is predicted by some very serious minds such as Ray Kurzweil over the coming decades then ideas that are conscious of a world of plenty are worthy of pursuit. I think when we look at recent trends in areas such as newspapers, music, film we see industries looking for new business models, baffled by how they can produce materials that are enjoyed by so many for free - and, of course, there is the growing argument as to whether open-source approaches with little financial interaction but mutual gain are viable in the current paradigm.
What, if anything can economics or a new economics – and governmental macro economics management do to accommodate and generate the quickest and most equitable transition to the undoubted benefits of a society with so much more control over its environment, a society of plenty that developments such as the web, the semantic web, the web of things, 3D printing, improvements in genetics, robotics, nanoscale technologies are allowed flourish and become available to all. What impact are there on business models already that allows all those online to read free newspapers, download free books listen to free music, watch free movies and TV (at the very least delayed on YouTube with only 3 years of video uploaded daily!) What about 3d printing ‘objects’ at home, what about the next generation of Honda’s ‘asimo’ working in millions of relatively low-skilled jobs and massively reducing production costs. What, also, of the incredible unemployment this will bring in our current societal and corporate context bearing in mind that we should not be suffering with these developments that have such potential for positive circumstantial benefits for humanity.
In any case accepting that in some time frame these are massive technology enabled shifts that societies will have to accommodate.
What I have seen debated by these 'exponential tech advancement' proponents is whether or not in a world evolved with advanced forms of 3d printing etc there arrives a post-supply demand era where there is no shortage of goods. Others disagree, and I believe the argument I find most credible is that for, at least, a very long time monetary weight will be applied to the products and services that are most sought after. So there are many things now that would at other times in history have been scarce and so costly, but now are free - but, our attentions switch elsewhere and other items become sought after and expensive. With advances in food and medicines, and robotics and nano-tech, etc; certainly ideas, entertainment, innovation and other potentially 'scarce' concepts may replace much of the physical material we still pay for in this shifting realm.
With all of that in mind then and with deep dissatisfaction at how basic physiological needs still remain out of reach for so many could the monetary system be split in two to represent that which will be traded effectively with the minimum access for all individuals as being self-sufficient and the luxuries in fact coming from a whole other pool. The very non-technical query at this juncture then is could one have two currencies, one of which forms the core of a basic income across society which will allow for many items deemed necessary for a desirable baseline standard of living to be easily acquired; the second currency could be traded down to the first (however the other trade would not be possible), and would look more at luxury goods. In effect we could ask how is it different then having two denominations say a 50 and a 100 note. Well the difference is the weighting that governments could place in terms of essential goods being very 'cheap' in one currency but expensive in another and vice-versa. So there would be a fundamental government intervention in keeping essentials available to all, and so basic healthy foods near total availability for example as all individuals take in something akin to 1,000 euro per week in the essential currency at current prices for these products only.
Eventually a way must be found for people to produce items that are free to consume while of course these people are not disadvantaged for working on these free to consume goods, the 2-currency approach is then a first step towards this.
Companies might be forced to produce 20% of their products and goods at a minimum within the ‘essential’ category as assigned by government. Areas such as housing and so on could certainly look at combinations of payments in both currencies. In effect, an e-euro and d-euro then to represent essentials and desirables would be introduced. The d-euro could be exchanged for the e-euro by individuals but not the other way around, for corporations, however, this exchange would be possible allowing them to justify their 20% essentials production.
The ‘d-euro’ currency would be the externally traded currency and, in Ireland’s case we assume would be the standard Euro. The e-euro then would also be a mechanism for an element of domestic job protection and domestic production but within the broader global traded reality.