Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Deepest Importance of Currencies

The reason I blog is because there are not many people writing about the topic I'd most like to engage people in. Specifically, it is about currencies as social DNA.

You see, corporations, institutions, governments, and nations are in fact living organisms. This is not a lofty metaphor, but literal truth.

They have a survival instinct to self-perpetuate, they breed new corporations and institutions, and even as the cells within them are replaced, their fundamental pattern continues. And we are their cells.

We fail to see this because of our deep assumptions about organisms as limited to bodies with single physical boundaries. Even though we donate blood, graft and clone apple trees, and have discovered huge aspen groves are a single organism, our assumption about what an organism looks like hasn't changed much. This has us fail to see the new organisms we build and are part of, making it impossible to be responsible for them whether a corporation or an ecosystem.

Instead, we act like changing the mind of their cells (people) will solve the world's problems, but the significant problems stem from the systemic pattern of these social institutions which persist at a layer of social encoding quite distinct from the beliefs and behavior of individuals.

Think about it... It is corporations that are wage-enslaving people in sweat shops, pillaging natural resources, spilling oil into oceans, marketing false needs, etc. If one of these corporations happens to get an enlightened CEO who wants to do things nicer, but won't plunder profit fast enough, then the board and shareholders will replace him with one who will.

Until we learn to rewrite the DNA of these social organisms, we truly can’t solve any of the big problems. And currencies are the key to doing this. They are the formal encoding of currents at the social level. And it is currents/flows that make a living system alive.  This is true whether it is a biological organism or social organism.

Learning the power of currencies enables us to re-encode social DNA, rewire social nervous systems, enhance the perceptual systems and upgrade the collective intelligence of our social organisms. Failing to do these things is a fundamental failure to deal with problems at the level at which they actually exist.

The failure of change agents to re-encode social systems (especially ones with as much influence on everything as money has), is what keeps us on this intolerable trajectory of destruction. So far, the biological equivalent to our most "successful" social organism pattern is cancer.  Corporations are structured as a cancer. They use all their resources to grow their own resources even at the expense of their host community or ecosystem.

If we don't want to be cancers on the face of the planet, we have to get much better at encoding social organisms. We need to spawn a huge diversity of new kinds of social organisms with new DNA and learn how to truly co-create collectively. In this domain, our own cells have proven to be much more intelligent than we are. They communicate, adapt to unforeseeable conditions, coordinate collective action, carry blueprints for the whole pattern, and share scarce resources so much better than we do that it frankly makes homo-sapiens look like brain-dead idiots.

However, this kind of intelligence isn't a function of IQ, but rather of having or inventing an appropriate language / expressive capacity / channel for this kind of coordination to occur. Guess what I say that language is? What is the medium that we use for formalizing these very of collective capacities?

Currencies of course.


Dr Ian McCormick said...

“Information is the currency of democracy” (Thomas Jefferson)

"Creativity is the currency of the People." (Ian McCormick)

Sepp Hasslberger said...

Thank you for this article.

You are hitting some very important truths here. Just wish we were further ahead already encoding those flows properly ...

Nancy Boulicault said...

I came to this post via P2P. I'm thoroughly intrigued by it and recognize the validity of the cancer/biological approach. But I don't know anything about currencies - can you explain how currencies can help us change the DNA of our social organisms, to someone who doesn't know anything about it?

Etienne zoupic said...

about living organisms, if you haven't heard about it yet, check Holacracy as a governance tool, it is exactly about making people realise, their organisation is a living organism with a mission and purpose and a role to play that is not the sum of its participant's desire.

Francisco Ortega said...

A complementary currency. Electronic but local.

A currency that can be earned by the mutual approval of good values ​​and behavior among its users. And you can save and spend, of course.

I hope at least you like "Fifty Island" *pps stories.

Thanks, best wishes.