Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Deeply Engaged

I am deeply engaged with exploring ideas and theories of
value and how they relate to our system of money and the creation of
wealth and economic development. I have been exploring a concept of
"infinite" value. The goal of this approach, is to get our economy to
recognize that which is abundant but valuable - rather then the
reverse, the economy only valuing that which is scarce.

My classic example is the case of clean air. It is an abundant
resource, but holds infinite value - there is no way we can put a
price on it as without it we are dead and any reduction of the
"value" of this resource (eg. pollution) is a loss of value for all.
Currently our economy only values these type of resources from the
negative side - you can pay for the right to pollute via carbon
credits or fines. This to me is only a band-aid and will not solve
the ultimate problem.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Comment on openmoney.ning

I have been exploring the writings and conversations on the network and came across an article by Eric Harris-Braun

"But what our current monetary system cannot structurally decide at all is what wealth itself is. That question is not decidable within the monetary system, it takes it as an axiom"

I think this is the most critical element to understand. And this is where the meta-system concept really becomes clear. Part of what this talks to is the fact that people are not empowered in this money system. Value is a product of a reflexive relationship between all the members of society.

Hegel, the German philosopher, talked about how the concept of private property (which is used as the root of wealth creation in this current system) is only private property because others choose to recognize it as such. This is where the collective consciousness comes into play. If I say something is private property (or public property) and no one recognizes it as such then well - no matter how loud I yell - it still will not be private property until others recognize it as such.

I believe this same concept holds for value. Our monetary system does not have the ability to recognize value in things that we, as a society, have not yet created a viable value structure for. A system that includes and recognizes these sets of values. For me a concept of "infinite value" - a value that encompasses that which is so valuable as to prevent the possibility of ever actually putting a price on it, you can't buy it, you have no right to destroy it and it is non-tradable - is a critical part of the process.

The idea is to create a value that recognizes things that are abundant but critical - elements that are not driven by a concept of scarcity value. I believe the work of a new monetary meta-system is critical to this process as the current system does not have the capacity to incorporate this value structure.

I am excited to participate, watch and collaborate with all those that recognize this critical element in our society and economy.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I think one of the most fundamental issues here is a concept of value. If we use Hegelian thinking we can come to the conclusion that most of our concept of value has been derived from its "recognized" value. In other words much of what we buy and consume only has a value - and a price point - in part because others want it or said another way, recognize it as having value.

This is where our value system, as currently theorized, breaks down. Our environment has a value that our current value system - and hence our monetary system - has no way to identify. It is because the value system is based on a concept of scarcity - we have theorized that which holds more value is in greater scarcity.

How then do we deal with that which is abundant but incredibly valuable? Like clean air or clean water? How do we create a value system that recognizes this? So, that our monetary system can represent this value and ultimately give us the ability to protect and rightfully share that value? Which, will lead to a continued "wealth".

I propose an idea of "infinite value". Infinity is a number, a mathematical variable that we can use and incorporate into our "writing/language". If we can theorize a value system that knows how to contain everything from the "zero" value to the "infinite" value then we can start to invest a concept of a recognizable value that has meaning to our monetary system and apply this to our clean water and air.

I believe this approach will bring us closer to being able to protect and "grow" our wealth that is most clearly stored in that which is abundant and holds infinite value.


This is a quick post - but I just watched this very short video on CNN about pollution in China. This is a story that we have heard a few times and it is one of great concern with such rapid industrial growth.

My question ultimately is how do you build a different incentive structure into the economy so that there is no reward for pollution and the destruction of something as important as fresh water. I think that laws and policies are always just a band-aid and as long as there is incentive - monetary - that you gain from polluting and "reducing" costs then these things will keep happening.

This is why it is a much deeper question, a question that we have to truly explore and understand why our economy rewards this behaviour when it is so obvious that it is the last thing that should be rewarded.

I continue to explore this in a deep way through understanding our monetary system and our concept of value that our monetary system is set up to represent. I have been exploring such organizations as The Transitioner and other such groups. I think this is a very, very fundamental question we need to answer.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Africa Image

As someone that grew up in Africa, poor but not abject, and have traveled to some of the poorest parts of Africa I agree that "happiness" is experienced often regardless of your "material" conditions.

This said - there are basics that we all need, to feel a sense of "humanity". They are age old things that the great philosophers have talked about for eons. In modern terms they are things like - fresh water, food, clothing, security and a place to sleep.

In America we think that this means - Gucci, 3600 sq foot houses, every imaginable food and more. We have excess but think it is what will get us closer to satisfaction and happiness.
Africa needs to build up the basic necessities - this is what leaders in Africa are starting to talk about.

The image of Africa in America is sooo distorted - but this is true for the image of America in Africa too.

We all come up with easy to grab soundbites. It is our challenge as citizens to change those views and challenge those perceptions.