December 11, 2003


Alan Atkisson wrote a piece in the Worldchanging blog about a book "The memory Bank" by Keith Hart, which describes an interesting view of the future of money & virtual capitalism.

In Hart's view:

Humanity is caught between the institutions of agrarian civilization and a machine revolution whose implications we barely understand. In consequence, the world is becomingly rapidly more unequal as we grow closer together. Inequality of rich and poor results in the followings:

- Inequality undermines democracy.

- Inequality makes us feel bad. Human compassion struggles with indifference.

- Inequality is a threat to world peace. Resentment of historical wrongs fuels terrorism and ultimately war.

- Inequality reduces market demand. Economic growth in the modern world comes from increasing the purchasing power of the masses. Everyone benefits from redistribution of wealth.

He suggests:

The world today is as much the offspring of agrarian civilization as of modern machines, government and money. The obstacles to progressive change are thus twofold: the need to democratize the age of money, to bring capitalism under control; and the need to break down "natural" structures based on territorial monopoly, to foster mobility at the expense of being tied to the land.

The internet may confirm a trend which liberals have often asserted and socialists once denied, that economic power is being transferred from producers to consumers, from centralized bureaucracy to flexibly specialized markets in which individual consumers carry more weight than we ever did in earlier days.

The issue is whether borderless trade at the speed of light will permit governments still to extract revenue from markets and whether every internet user in the world will pay rent to Bill Gates or his equivalent, whenever they switch on their computers.

Read more here from the summary of his book.


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