Jun 30, 17 / Leo 13, 01 18:49 UTC
Ditching Traditional Currency ¶
I was reading an interesting paper on some of the unique problems that humanity will face as we eventually become a space-faring species. Probably the best item in that paper was something that I almost never see talked about- the inevitable crash of the Global Economy. Now, that sounds like an alarmist prediction, unless you stop and think about the way that money and the global economy work. Money works best when it represents a fixed and limited amount of something, whether it represents resources, debt, time, or something else entirely. Now, imagine that the fixed amount of "something" that money represents doubles- only one of two things can happen. Money is either
- suddenly worth half its original value because the overall assets of a country suddenly represent a much smaller share of the world economy.
- suddeny worth twice its original value because the country sponsoring the currency now has a much larger share of the global economy.
Either one of these scenarios would create enough market instability to crash the economy of entire countries. In scenario 1, extreme poverty is immediate and the consumer market crashes almost instantly. If left unchecked, inflation spirals out of control and the country in question would bear a striking resemblance to post- World War 1 Germany.
In the second scenario, something similar to a "hot money" influx takes place. The price of domestic goods and services rise, and consumption of foreign goods by the middle class increases. Eventually, investors move their money to foreign companies and the domestic market crashes (similar to the US automotive crash). Eventually the artificial growth of the economy implodes, leading to the devaluation of that currency and a serious economic recession.
The point is- currency can be very unstable. Bringing home a valuable enough space object could easily crash a portion of the world economy. As long as any currency with a fixed value is being used (including bitcoin and other crypto-currencies), it's vulnerable to the major market fluctuations that will happen when space mining becomes a reality. The only form of currency that seems to be impervious to these sort of fluctuations is trade. During all of the biggest economic depressions of the last century, people have resorted to bartering in order to procure food and other necessities they couldn't afford. In some cases, it's evenl documented that companies would pay employees for their labor with food.
So, if trade is a historically depression-proof "currency" and we hope to all be useful, contributing members of Asgardia.... wouldn't it make sense to at least talk about some kind of system where we trade work with each other?
I propose an experimental system called Wirkzeug, or Works for short. Basically, it'd be a numeric code that communicates a range of information. It would be completely incompatible with world currencies. It would only be useful between Asgardians unless a product is made and sold for traditional money. Everyone would begin as equals at 0.0.00. Over time, you would be rated by your peers for your willingness to help, how skilled you are, and the last digits would be your lifetime accumulated credits from working on and completing tasks for other Asgardians. The beauty of the system (if it caught on long-term) is that would also allow for a penal system- taking away a person's percieved usefulness (at the discretion of a judge) in response to crimes. It would take quite a bit of thought to figure out the finer points of exactly how it would work (particularly the rating system), but it's a novel idea that I haven't seen proposed before.