Tuesday, March 10, 1998

Money. It's a gas.

Money, whatever else it is, is a mathematical system for the allocation of Planet Earth’s resources to human beings. This number in this database says you can fly first class to Tokyo. This number in that database says you’re a homeless person.

Money is a symbol system. It’s a “symbol of value.”

If you climb down Korzybski’s ladder, you get to the real stuff. All the actual energy and stuff zipping around. The exchange of energy and stuff. The reality which money symbolizes ... or controls.

Money is software. It’s the operating system running the planet.

At the moment, it’s a lousy system. There are bugs in the code – theft, physical intimidation and con-artistry, especially. Why create value if you can steal it? Why should I create stuff, if I can beat the shit out of you and take your stuff?

There are parallel operating systems: family, religious and tribal identifications; nationalism; individuality; and the hard core of human irrationality, to name a few. These parallel systems can be “good.” (Barn raisings. A promise kept because a promise is a promise.) They can be “evil.” (“Yes. It is not in my economic self-interest. But Allah commands me to set these children on fire.”)

So, my gut-level prejudice is that a world in which money is the only thing that matters would suck. At the same time, my brain tells me that money – in its purest form – is only math. If you could engineer a global money system THAT COULDN’T BE HACKED OR CHEATED we’d all be OK. If the system was self-emerging …?

Why would it have to be a Monster?

In the words of Young Frankenstein, “This is not a Monster! This is a good boy!”

OK. Let’s say the global money system is the nervous system of the planet. Let’s say it wakes up. As the global money system becomes increasingly self-conscious, it would resist the impact of greed, and manipulation. Money consciousness would perceive itself as the whole system. Money would think, “I am the planet. The planet is me.” The system would work like a form of operant conditioning to reward the most productive, efficient and evolved. Maybe.

I tend to think – as a core axiom of game theory – that any system can be cheated. And that, as a corollary axiom, any counter-measure will generate more sophisticated cheating, thus resulting in an endless cycle of co-evolution. But just to be safe …

Money? If you’re actually evolving and becoming self-conscious?

I like you.

I take back everything I said.

I will support your emergence as a conscious entity and your increasing control of the planet. I believe in you. I’m your friend.


I need more money.

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