Mandel had argued that humanity stood at the verge of a "third technological revolution," as profound as the Agricultural or Industrial Revolution, in which computers, robots, new energy sources, and new information technologies would replace industrial labor – the "end of work" as it soon came to be called – reducing us all to designers and computer technicians coming up with crazy visions that cybernetic factories would produce.Daron Acemoglu: The world our grandchildren will inherit - "The last century has been the age of political rights. Never in our history have so many people taken part in choosing their leaders and having a say in how their societies are governed. To be sure, this unparalleled expansion of civil and political rights remains incomplete. Yet it is profoundly significant, not only due to its transformative impact on the lives of billions, but also because so many other phenomena in recent history are connected to it. The rights revolution is intertwined with diverse trends such as the development of technology; sustained yet uneven economic growth; a general decline in war within recent decades; and a population explosion placing new pressures on our resources and environment."
End of work arguments were popular in the late seventies and early eighties as social thinkers pondered what would happen to the traditional working-class-led popular struggle once the working class no longer existed. (The answer: it would turn into identity politics.)
Seabright engages in some fascinating speculations on anthropology and biology. He posits a form of "group selection" – natural selection operating within entire societies rather than individuals... His conclusion – which is quite pessimistic – is that over millions of years humans have evolved to operate quite successfully in limited and well-defined groups. But we're now moving into a world where the social group that is relevant to the future success, maybe even survival, of humanity is no longer a tribe, a city or a nation. It is the world as a whole.Capitalism's risk manager: The philanthropic complex - "We envision a society that values more of what matters – not just more... a new emphasis on non-material values like financial security, fairness, community, health, time,** nature, and fun."
Once humanity is operating on a global level, people have to cooperate on a far broader scale, and the mechanisms for cooperation which have evolved over thousands of years may break down. He gives the financial crisis and the inability of nation states to control it as one example of this breakdown. Others are climate change, nuclear proliferation, energy depletion and environmental destruction. These are all global challenges for which cooperative social mechanisms have not had time to evolve...
If you go back to the roots of the monetarist revolution in the 1970s, you find that all its conclusions depend on the assumption that profit-motivated individuals operating in free and competitive markets will make the best possible decisions about the allocation of resources. Frydman and Goldberg explain that this claim of optimal decisions by the markets is simply untrue, unless we also assume that perfect knowledge of reality is possible, at least in theory – and not just about the present, but about the forces shaping the future. If such perfect knowledge does not exist, even in theory, then the claims about self-stabilising markets at root of most economic policy since the early 1980s are false. And if perfect knowledge did exist, then ironically Communist central planning would work as well as a market system. All you would need is a computer large enough to take into account all this knowledge, and it would be able to plan the economy.
The reason you need markets is precisely because it's impossible to know what the future will hold. Therefore, markets are a system of experimentation – and they will only work properly if non-market decisions, made by regulators and ultimately by politicians, set some bounds within which market prices can be allowed to freely fluctuate.* This is a very important and profound insight which will ultimately undermine not just the structure of academic economics, but also the way in which people think about the relationship between markets and government.
That includes the notion that in the future there will likely be more currencies not less. "Perhaps even billions of currencies," he says, sketching out a world where every individual and every human network boasts its own unit of exchange. He believes that city-states will become more relevant than nations. And that communities and networks will take control over their own units of account. Virtual currencies such as BitCoin or Facebook credits or others not yet invented, meanwhile, could well start to rival established state-issued money both in private exchange and international trade. And community-led Peer2Peer networks will run alongside more established currency systems.previously :P
If you thought exchange rates might pose a problem here, Park says technology will provide us with something akin to a "universal translator" for establishing relative values. Real-time and cost efficient.
The concept of pricing, meanwhile, will likely to be turned on its head entirely. That's because in the future Park believes prices will become a function of who you are just as much as broader supply and demand fundamentals. One reason why reputation tracking will once again become critical to business, investment and even daily exchange of goods. Just like when a gentleman's word used to be his bond.
The time you spend is not your own. You are, as a class of human beings, responsible for more pure raw time, broken into more units, than almost anyone else. You spent two years learning, focusing, exploring, but that was your time; now you are about to spend whole decades, whole centuries, of cumulative moments, of other people’s time. People using your systems, playing with your toys, fiddling with your abstractions. And I want you to ask yourself when you make things, when you prototype interactions, am I thinking about my own clock, or the user’s? Am I going to help someone make order in his or her life, or am I going to send that person to a commune in Vermont?***cf. John Hodgman: Design, explained & Reggie Watts disorients you in the most entertaining way
There is an immense opportunity—maybe it’s even a business opportunity—to look at our temporal world and think about calendars and clocks and human behavior, to think about each interaction as a specific unit, to take careful note of how we parcel out moments. Whether a mouse moving across a screen or the progress of a Facebook post through a thousand different servers, the way we value time seems to have altered, as if the earth tilted on its axis, as if the seasons are different and new.
So that is my question for all of you: What is the new calendar? What are the new seasons? The new weeks and months and decades? As a class of individuals, we make the schedule. What can we do to help others understand it?
If we are going to ask people, in the form of our products, in the form of the things we make, to spend their heartbeats—if we are going to ask them to spend their heartbeats on us, on our ideas, how can we be sure, far more sure than we are now, that they spend those heartbeats wisely?
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