Modern cryptography against capitalism

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Jared: To start I'm repeating the books I just wrote onto the recommended book list: Debt: The First 5000 Years by David Graeber and Governing the Commons by Elinor Ostrom. David Graeber is professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics, and Elinor Ostrom was a professor of Political Science and Indiana University who won the 2009 Nobel-associated prize in Economics for her work on commons management and game theory. I find it telling that neither of them held the title "Economist", but together they wrote the only books you need to read to learn about the real economy. They debunk neoliberal capitalist "Economic axioms" which were completely made up without any evidence or scientific study. In particular, Elinor Ostrom thoroughly debunked the unproven premise of "The Tragedy of the Commons" hypothetical argument for private property division, and David Graeber debunked the false assumption that capital replaced barter. Barter has never been proven to exist as a widespread tool of economic transactions among humans. The use of numerical mnemonics in mutual credit-like systems like tally-sticks and beaded strings, in contrast to these false neoliberal "axioms", has historical and anthropological evidence from multiple societies and continents. Violent Religions and City-States used capital tithes, taxes, and seigniorage as tools of war mongering and violent forceful expansion. Capital didn't replace barter -- capitalists violently forced themselves on mutualists and matriarchal-communist tribes.


Ray:

  • Suggested reference is to read 2 books on list, "Debt: The First 5000 Years" and "Governing the Commons".
    • One of the authors won a Nobel prize in Political Science for game theory.
  • Tribal commons are better able to govern themselves and resources much better than any outside resource coming in (government, corporate, etc.). Bureaucracy is bad.
  • David (author): Anthropologist. One historical finding is that there is no proof that barter ever existed. Capitalism didn't replace barter. What it did replace was local systems of mutual support.
  • Closest system to numerical coinage was mutual credit.
    • e.g. You would mark notches on a stick, string shells on beaded string which would indicate that you were exchanging 1 thing for another.
  • The concept of trading chickens for pigs was ridiculous. All aggregate systems require some period of developing and growth. People would work together to get the things they need.
  • Crypto: As a prefix means hidden.
  • Where hiding things is useful is from government, bullies, bad actors. You can use that in a numerical system by recording it on a shared ledger. You, other party and quasi trusted 3rd/pseudo party. The point is, you don't need a bank or a government to record things for you.
  • Shamir's secret sharing where data is split. No one can know what is in data set unless all parties who have the bit, get together.
  • Question: Isn't the vulnerability about currency the ability to counterfeit it?
    • It's the "excuse" for government to step in on currency.
    • Because the ledger is shared, the idea is that it can't be cheated and thus no need for government.
  • Block chain is a linked list of data where the hash on the links when processed the right way, if the number changes, can be seen immediately.
  • How we create micro economies using some form of crypto, that in specific domains we can foster a sense of community/accountability and scale, that's broader than the actual social network where it exists?
  • With mutual ledgers you're always trying to bring the ledger back to zero. With other currencies you're constantly trying to build it up by holding money, using interest, etc.
  • Books: "Capital and the Debt Trap", "Debt: The First 5000 Years"
  • Capitalists like to expose the magic of compound interest. A trap set by the people in power to then enrich themselves while doing nothing. If you look at Federal Reserve they only need 10-12% of deposit.
  • Neo-classical model encourages growth. It's embedded in it. The point is to keep the labor population in constant debt.
  • Extraction comes from more hours and more people working. They are able to mask a lot of that with Bitcoin and Wall St. This amounts to speculative gambling on the future as to what's being worked on next.
  • If that excess money supply goes into oil or something such as oil, it's an inflation index but if it's the stock market it's called growth.
  • The Treasury makes money (literally) but bank's money.
  • Question: Can we talk more about how mutualism will work?
  • No interest in talking about how interest isn't earned on savings account.
    • No one is earning it anyway.
    • The bank earns interest but it isn't shared.
    • Federal Reserve doesn't have reserve and isn't federal.
    • When there were problems with mutualism, there were buffers.
  • How does mutualism look like when it's exploited by capitalism?
  • How do we flip into mutualism from capitalism?
    • There needs to be trust.
    • Key signing party. We trade public keys and confirm each other's identities, values, wants for the future. There is a human to human process for confirming that process, people meeting people and vouching for them.
    • Trust is then extended from the direct contact to extended contact. The theory is, 6-12 degrees max covers the entire world.
  • Someone heard of people in local communities making their own currencies, tied to specific work or exchange. What's missing is setting up the infrastructure is costly. Each community, each issue area/economy is a hurdle that is insurmountable.
  • Are there more broad based platforms that would allow distinct groups to come to an agreement about a currency mechanism without having the huge overhead cost of having to roll their own tech?
    • You would want it to be a vetted and preexisting open source software. Working name is "Made from Scratch", working on supply chain. Individuals can setup supply chains.
    • e.g. Making hardware, one person has a CNC mill, fabrication is outsourced to them. Another person does circuit board design. Each one of people has added value to that final product so when it's sold that when it comes back, the idea of selling something becomes a much broader term. The idea is that it flows quickly and readily between people instead of flowing upward.
    • Not a very viable way of making a living right now. There should be more options of doing various jobs for each other. Currency doesn't flow very well between people.
  • Group called Value Flows also working on something similar as "Made from Scratch".
  • Most corporations today are internal Communists. They're very dictatorial Stalinists and Leninists. The CEO can fire anyone at anytime they want. It's not mass layoffs, it's purges.
  • How can this be complemented in the Bay Area where it's really expensive to live?
    • Goes back to avoiding exploitation of mutualism by capitalism.
  • Things could become more fragmented. We're already seeing separate Internets. It may be we need to worry less about universal instance.
  • Part of it is what is the actual value given. Is it more of a collective process?
    • Looking at it as more of a collective labor process. It's about thinking more about things in a collectivist way. e.g. people pitching in to purchase something like property.
    • It's useful to think about things like this that are building capacity. Maybe land is not the first place to start given entrenched power. Create models that absorb crisis. Capitalist structure can be replaced by collective structure.
  • We don't know what path that is going to take us, the transition from capitalism to mutualism.
  • Initially you can lock mutual credit to the dollar. You can build into the system the assumption that whatever the current tax rate is, will be converted to dollars and given to a tax person.
  • Labor currency: They base it all on labor so you don't have to be taxed on it. It's an exchange of labor without taxation. Time dollars or hours are usually what the currency is called.
  • Part of the base ethos is that everyone is equal.
  • There is a parallel seen between open and closed source software.
  • We've become less dependent upon closed source software.
    • e.g. Living off rich people's trash. Taking their Windows machines and recycling it by putting Linux on it.
  • Everything started out as being open. It took people like Bill Gates with lawyers to try and close that off.
  • Wondering if in the future if mutualism is going to be based in the digital realm and how is it going to look for people right now who don't have Internet access.
    • It's important to explore ways of building systems that people can rely on that give them alternatives. Thinking about housing, working with other people. Not necessarily monetizing a time or labor unit but how do we secure means of mutual aid? What are other kinds of costs where certain burdens fall on some groups more so than others?
    • Trying to create projects where rich people will buy this thing because it's more than what the Internet is capable of now. Buy 1, give 1. Secretly buy 1, give many.