Any ambitious person wants to feel as though their life is progressing and any intelligence person who participates in society does it because it makes sense to work with other people to benefit from the synergy that it bring. Human beings are generally social animals and need to feel loved, appreciated, and have their efforts witnessed. Without other people, there is only only the internal abyss of the mind (all very well to explore but you wouldn’t want to stay there forever).
Humans are limited - limited in time, space, and efforts. There is a drive to achieve some outcomes in one’s lifetime, whatever they may be. Everyone has difference drives and ambitions so there is the need to be able to get other’s help and give something in return that has some well defined parameter that we all agree on. This is one definition of an economy. One way of looking at money is that it is an IOU where other people either owe you their time, or you owe other’s your time (or equivalent value).
The generation of value is clear when you are exchanging lets say a piece of furniture for money, or groceries, but less clear when it comes to services, investments, interest. There was a reason why charging interest from loaning money was banned in some religions; its potentially sticky territory. Add in digital technologies and you start to create some rather more complex financial systems. Recent crisis in 2008 and ongoing economic turbulence underpins the presence of debate and need for critical analysis.
Reading articles when searching ‘alternatives to current economic system’ it is clear it is an emotional topic and the most outspoken people have a strong agenda. Discussion is often polarised around the morality of unequal resource distribution under a Capitalist system which is an attribute of a Capitalist system. Occupy movement says the Capitalist model of resource and labour management is unfair, environmentally unsound and unsustainable.
Many suggest banks and individuals that caused the financial crisis have not been sufficiently penalised and it was wrong for the tax payer to bail them out. More recently the banks are working their way back into a position of power.
People who have time to think and act on these issues are rarely those in touch with everyday people.
People who have time to think about these issues risk ‘losing' the world by going deep into ideas and theory
People who try to think through these issues are dealing with incredible complexity and levels of abstraction. It is different for discussions to remain in the same domain.
There is a huge amount of information available about these issues but it doesn’t necessarily help because the majority of people do not want, or cannot engage or take action based on this information.
There are a lot of experts which emerge to interpret the complexity and make a good living out of it.
Digital technologies have enabled new economies and are transforming all areas of the economy. The financial crisis in 2008 was caused by deregulation of financial organisations, activities and ever more complex ‘innovations’ in financial products. This allowed the reality of the situation on the ground to not reflect the market. Economic activity shifted from ‘real’ things to complex digital financial products. The concept of a ‘recursive’ function comes to mind where the financial products were able to keep creating new ones by gambling on themselves. New product opportunities emerged due to the nature of the technology itself.
Capitalism is spoken of as global and yet ‘universal’ systems are not a good idea for many reasons - loss of local relevancy, diluted, complexity, impossible to control or make sense of.
If non-business organisations are required to help and develop society in a free market economy, then the market cannot be relied for this. If the market is not ‘pure’ free market then its impossible to tell.
Fractional reserve banking system is so scandalous that no one really believes how it works or that it exists even if they know.
Living standards have improved since medieval times. Industrialisation and consumerism have afforded many benefits.
If popular culture presents ‘saving the world’ as good, critical feedback can be interpreted as bad.
Traits of new strategies for prosperity:
- A heterogeneous approach.
- People who aren’t in a position to do anything about these problems shouldn’t be expected to, or have the burden on their shoulders of, solving these problems.
- Talk and act on concrete issues.
- Local stakeholders acting locally in collaboration not competition.
- Understanding of how digital technologies afford new kinds of products and opportunities. Reflection on concepts of programming ((OOP - polymorphism, encapsulation, classes etc), functional, procedural) and how they shape reality and affect existing systems.
- Understanding money better is useful.
- Alternative systems of trade and exchange.
- Reject primitivism.
- Should work effortlessly and invisibly.
- Open to criticism.
TED Conversation Archive. What alternatives are there to the current economic system? Website. Available at: http://www.ted.com/conversations/6863/what_alternatives_are_there_to.html . Accessed 10.10.15.
Confino, J. Rethinking prosperity: exploring alternatives to the economic system. The Guardian Website. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/sep/15/rethinking-prosperity-credible-alternatives-ecomonic-system. Accessed 10.10.15.
Bishwapriya, S. The myth of Development from Below. Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT. Available at: http://web.mit.edu/sanyal/www/articles/Myth%20of%20Dev.pdf. Accessed 25.2.16.
Pye-Smith, C. (1988). Travels in Nepal - the Sequestered Kingdom. Penguin Books.