Tag Archives: Economy

what happens without design

HdBGu

our current challenges around government, corporations and the economy are due to a lack of conscious experience design effort

more and more i feel that we need to realize that its all up to us

we need to more actively participate and to quite literally guide the re-design of our readymade, given systems — most of which, at this point, no longer effectively serve our human needs as a society, especially those needs of people living below the most upper of upper classes in this nation and the world

but how do we meaningfully participate? 

and would it be more effective to participate within the given systems or somehow work on designing a more renegade, extra-governmental set of new systems to positively create faster momentum and greater impact for the vast majority of people?

for me its the whole
design or be designed
decision we all need to make

or, i guess, we can all simply continue with our armchair quarterbacking methodology of just sitting back and complaining about the horrific results coming out of the current dynamics { which were, of course, historically guided to where they are today }

 

the good, the bad and the bitcoin®

Bitcoin

i forget when i first heard about this concept of a digital ‘cryptoCurrency’ called BitCoin — but i think the very fact that a made-up, non-government sanctioned and digital form of money can just suddenly appear out of thin air like this — its a telling invention, in fact, and definitely a sign of the times we live in from a multitude of perspectives i mean — we all know the World Economy is broken, and that its been broken for quite some time now — we pretend on a daily basis to live in a successful, or at least semi-successful but somewhat hurting free market enterprise as American citizens, businessmen and salesfolks, and that our Quasi-Democratic, Capitalistic Consumeristic manner of filtering our views and behaviors in the international economic community in some way somehow lead the way

but my big question right now is this: where are these pre-established
and assumedly fair and successful systems really leading us,
The People of the World?

where are we really headed under our supposed Free Market Enterprise Economies?

there are probably numerous ways we can project the trends behind where we might be headed, but being a creative-like dude in general i tend to wanna take the qualitative approach to this examination — especially since the topic we’re discussing is more about our general quality of life due to these dysfunctional, outdated economic systems we’re all dealing with like the dead donkey of a burden it is on the majority of the world’s population so, to start off, in Jarod Lanier’s latest book Who Owns the Future? Lanier talks about Siren Servers for most of the beginning of his look into how The Information Age has changed economics and general monetary survival opportunities for the average person — for those of you not familiar with Lanier, he’s mostly known for coining { no pun intended } the term Virtual Reality and as far as i recall from both this book and his preceding You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto, he’s also from that Silicon Valley area of all things digital and wonderfully prosperous in the world and he’s someone from the early dawn of our wonderful interwebs and all things from the early history of our computing machines and the crazy wild world of the digitalia we all swim in like social media fish or something

interestingly enough, Jarod Lanier is also a musician

so one area that Lanier shows passionate interest for, of course, is the de-evolution of what was once called The Music Recording Industry

Jaron-Lanier-007

before the iPod and iTunes and iMusic in general, rumor has it that musicians would land recording contracts and make money off of studio-produced versions of their original song material — there’s no discussion in Who Owns the Future? of the mixtape or just general bootleg and piracy issue that might’ve existed prior to MP3s, Napster or other means of downloading unpaid-for ditties but basically, we know the big Music Industry story from the 7000 foot view of things and it goes something like this: you used to buy records, cassettes, CDs and other physical products to be able to listen to the pre-recorded music you love in life back at home, in the car, on your Sony Walkman, or wherever you had some sort of music player device to tune in to the sounds — and then the money paid to Tower Records, Newbury Comics, Virgin, Nuggets or other Record Stores would somehow pay all the people some reward in return — the moneymakers included folks and entities like: the record companies; the producers; the sound engineers; PR companies; band and music act promoters; the actual songwriters { if the musicians did not compose the recorded music themselves }; and sometimes even the members of the band or music act

people got paid for a product

and that product was a physical object with copywritten sound information pressed into the vinyl, tape, plastic and other actual materiality of that product

as the actual materiality of that product evolved more and more to the virtual-digital realm of files that could be downloaded, stored and played on a computing machine, the monetary worth of that product dropped all the way down to zilch … at least for those netizens in the world that choose to Limewire their collection for no money or for next to nothing — right now, as i type this blogPost, i’m listening to a ‘Radio’ station on Spotify that i started called Funky — i don’t know where the money part comes in at all with Spotify, Pandora or other app-driven or browser-based services like these, but i pay nothing to listen to this music — and i totally believe in purchasing CDs from artists and really never illegally download music from Torrent sites or any of the myriad other means of pirating the creative, expressive art of really talented musicians — but right now there’s no CD or physical product involved in listening to My Feet Keep Dancing by Chic { well, besides my MacBook Pro and my lousy Verizon FiOS home connectivity — these are the objects and services i pay for ultimately to keep the post-Jobs Apple economy and the invisible monopoly-like FiOSness of life alive and well } for the most part now, musicians do not get paid for their recorded music — or they’re paid rather nominally for that part of the moneyStream they’re engaged in — live gigs, for those that get paid to play live, seems to be the biggest income revenue for the big acts — independent musicians might need to work a regular 9 to 5 gig and then record and play music because its in their blood and they love and just need to musically express themselves — there are tons of visual artists, too, that get by this way and i see nothing wrong or debilitating in not counting on being discovered by an industry that probably never even appreciated the true art of the acts they signed, promoted, marketed and paid their own salaries with { sound vaguely familiar by the way? hmmMMmMmm } anyhow, people still sometimes pay for music, even MP3s and digital recordings from sites like Bandcamp and CDBaby, but there’s no guarantee and it seems like most of the undiscovered or lesser-known acts out there need to just fucking figure out the mix of shit they need to do to get by just like the rest of us in Who Owns The Future Lanier starts to build the case that our economies are cool, but could and should be updated to support a sort of generalized royalty revenue model based on all sorts of information-based output people are involved with — sounds cool to some degree, but what i don’t get so far { and yes, i’m not completely done with the book yet } is where the actual money is going to come from — if everyone is making a fraction of a fraction of a penny everytime they just Like something on Facebook or whenever they contribute some sort of digital information of value to the webz and somehow, through 2-way linking originally envisioned by Ted Nelson for the pre-Internet conceptualization of the information superhighway that he developed called Xanadu, somehow that mutual link would put some jing in your account, who even determines the relative value of these data-products of the general public? isn’t this even the very reason people might consider paying for an eBook? there’s structure behind the information, there’s thought and editing and there’s an actual product involved, as virtual as it may actually be the nature of its very eNess after reading about two thirds of Who Owns The Future and anticipating this sort of whacked subscriptiony set of virtual economic systems Lanier is implying — i have to say its sounds a bit far-fetched and actually just a little bit uninformed as far as the business and laws around creative expression or any design-based work goes — who would legally defend each and every netizens’ data-royalty revenues when somehow the new version of piracy continues in its re-invented form? surely not the government, right? and i personally don’t want to see a world where there’s a ratio of one-to-one between lawyer and the lawed peoples of the world, we already have a nightmare set of systems set up around justice and fairness and judgment, we don’t need more bad crooks … er, i mean, cooks … to spoil the legality stew that’s been simmering on the table for far too long but that’s another case for huge redesign consideration to be covered by another visionary blogger on a different website that nobody will read or pay attention to

i think Lanier is ignoring the fact that
the economy itself is extremely broken

our current world economies can barely keep food on the table for people today, i don’t see how a bandaid subSystem we invent to attach to the current planeCrash of an economy could possibly get the world to fly again — not sure what you’re smoking, but it won’t work — sorry — its just not cutting it in fact, if you pick up and read a bit of Critical Path by the futurist R. Buckminster Fuller — there’s a lot more background information and research revealed to explain the United States and World economies and why we’ve arrived where we are today — Fuller explains in a rather decent amount of detail the way that the income tax came into being early on in The Twentieth Century here in the US due to the need for the government’s need to pay down its own debt as accumulated by wartime contracts to produce the supplies and necessities for our involvement in World War I — our transition from a previously agrarian economic culture to a forerunner of The Industrial Revolution through purposeful economic emphasis to factory work, manufacturing and the like moved the large population of our farmers off and away from the actual lands and properties they were politically and financially persuaded to leave behind for these exciting, new opportunities in the new technological advances of the day — on top of that, in a weirdly parallel space-time continuum sort of dynamic situation, banks that bought up the farms and properties now falling into default eventually needed government bail-out due to a real estate market to resell the farmlands back to a workforce that no longer felt passion or ties to an lifestyle and industry that had literally been devalued by the larger forces pulling the strings into the future

but our government and the economic systems we live under here in the US
follow a free-market economic Capitalistic paradigm, do they not?

i would assume that when the government gets involved in this business of bailing out banks or automotive manufacturing conglomerates during the tough times — at points where the failing corporations and institutions of this fine nation have basically made poor business decisions and started to remain wickid unprofitable and turned to bankruptcy or some other financial disparity, that business of providing monetary support to Save the Club falls under a different category of economic system most people call Socialism — and Socialism, like Communism, has been cleverly marketed over the years as Public Enemy Number One to The American Way

now these thoughts are not exactly the thoughts Fuller discusses in Critical Path

Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller 5

i have certain points to make here, obviously, and certain observations and opinions that put all of our ruling systems of governance and sovereignty under quite a critical magnifying lens of investigative discovery — i think we’re dealing with something quite corpse-like, a spiritual death of The American Dream we all were smoking at one point, right? work hard, obey the law, live on the straight and narrow path and do what we tell you to do and you’ll earn yourself a comfortable and happy life of freedom and justice for all — but this is NOT the case nowadays — we’ve been living in a land of illusion and public relations propagandistic exploitation of The People for quite some time — and frankly i would LOVE to keep the government accountable for our founding fathers’ mantra of ‘no taxation without representation’

i do not feel i have been properly represented at all
for quite some time

and i know its a quite unrealistic expectation, but i’d love to get a refund for the complete lack of representation as a government-provide and tax-funded service as so philosophically but only theoretically advertised as a false promise from The Big Boys in DC

but that’s beside the point

according to the real words of R. Buckminster Fuller he describes a peculiar economic-social dynamic we’re all submersed into whereby we all need to earn a living to survive — our current system of Capitalism, which is really a form of economic and social Darwinist approach, seems to deliver certain Socialist survival benefits when the financial pain is felt at the level of major superpower corporations but very little, if not absolutely NO support, at the individual citizen level of our social caste system

how fair does that sound when you take a moment
to re-read that fragment of thought?

seems a little off now, don’t it?

now, i don’t want you to get confused — and i really hope you’re all still reading this blogPost — because i don’t want you to think after reading all of my observations and critical qualitative analysis of where our preset configurations are failing that i’m some sort of anti-American force in the world

i am an extremely proud and patriotic US citizen

and i believe this is a fantastic country that still has the potential to do truly extraordinary things for the world and for our greater global humanity

but i do need to admit i’m disappointed

and i believe we have vast opportunities to turn this ship around

but we no longer have the luxury of wasting energy and time

Fuller wrote Critical Path and much of his works regarding his vision for the world — a planet he oftentimes referred to as Spaceship Earth — he wrote, invented and consulted for various organizations from the 1950s to the 80s and beyond — and i think, unfortunately, we’ve made very little progress as a cohesive world humanity { the Global Village that Marshall McLuhan spoke of } since that more utopian vision of what the future and our technological advancement would supposedly offer the peoples of the world

operating manual bf

Fuller speaks of wealth — a sense of real wealth — as something that cannot be quantified, measured or valued in a financial manner at all

corporations and Big Business in a supposed free market quantify and scrutinize every line in the spreadsheet and make rather cold and inhumane decisions much of the time based solely on the ups and downs of their profit margins

individual citizens — the workerly contributors and so-called human resources in our wonderful system of making a living for the average person — however don’t have the luxury of doing much more than manage their own hard-earned income and budgetary outflow of expenses — there’s no board of advisors or venture capitalist forces out there to support and guide families in their day-to-day lives and there’s certainly no layoffs or downsizing at the level of real people, right? homes survive or they’re broken — family values might’ve been a great campaign marketing buzz-word, but show me the esteemed valuation our nation puts on the hard work of raising, supporting and maintaining a decent family life for your average citizen in the US — 40 hours of the punch-in, punch-out slips to 60 to 80 hours a week for the most successful Types As we encourage in through the current system dynamics and that sort of time leaves little left to actually participate in anywhere near a valuable family lifestyle

the real wealth Fuller spoke of has more to do with how we take care of each other by actually contributing something meaningful and helpful to our technohumanic ecosystem and the greater of humanity — according to Bucky, about 90% of the actual workforce back in the 1980s actually contribute nothing of any real wealth or value to society — we simply show up and cash the check at the end of every pay period and focus on making a living but never get to step back, think bigger and start making a better life for the world — and it wasn’t until Buckminster Fuller stopped worrying about making a living and started to dream up the ways in which he could uniquely contribute to the world at an entirely different level that his life began

most of us are stuck with no wealth, pre-real-wealth paradigm — we’re kept busy and entertained enough by making a living to survive to never even get a chance to discover how we can really, truly contribute our unique and valuable talents to the world for the betterment of all of humanity

imagine if we could take back that 90% of wasted workforce energies and re-invest it in a more committed and focused way to better the world and solve not only our monetary economic issues, but global crises like hunger, thirst, disease, war, abuse, exploitation, pollution, dwindling natural resources, climate change and other aspects of inhumanity and suffering of our fellow men, women and children of the world — what if our focus shifted from the wartime good economics of purely destructive energies to a less-monetarily-based, creative and constructive set of energies that actually help as many of the people living together in our world community? why have we lost that original vision of what progress can promise and deliver us? what’s the distraction about?

well — interestingly enough it all now comes back to this interesting new development of the BitCoin

yes, i do have a point to make here

it just takes a little more effort and time to get to that point when some exploration of qualitative logic might be involved, but anyhow …

i see this new BitCoin Economy as extremely telling and actually rather enlightening

our traditional economy has essentially crumbled

as a global community, we’ve been bleeding by the seat of our pants now since The Industrial Era, and this new Information Age revolution is totally starting to nail the coffin on the way we think of and govern our current and established economic systems

the worth of what we make quite naturally declines as we move more and more into the virtual realm of work and the kinds of artifacts that result from that work from the digitally-driven workspace

seeing this grand-theft failure of these traditional systems, we now see a desire to create, quite literally, a new economy based entirely on digital systems

how can that even happen?

does the concept and systems around this new BitCoin Economy spring forth from our desires and a sort of active imagining and designing for a better economy — is this a valid economy? after all, no real government issues anything of value or any regulations regarding what it means to trade BitCoinage — i mean, we’ve now become accustomed to a world being totally stripped of any sense of government regulations whatsoever with more and more services and support for the people and their families being basically devalued, underfunded or even privatized, to be put into the financial jurisdiction and management of the actual citizens sans previously regulations, rules and assistance { which i think is typically called, uhm, government } — but besides all that …

is this economy — this new BitCoin Economy — something real now?

and if so

how did that happen?

and if that happened, if its happening, why do we even bother with the established, traditional economy at all? is that economy even real?

are our established, traditional economies even valid anymore?

why bother?

it all seems pretty Surreal to me, even cyberSurreal to me at this point

these broken economies and invented economies and the struggle to make sense out of the dead donkey on our backs — they only weighs us all down and prevents us from actually being happy and useful and contributing to the fullest in life to the larger world we live in — they’ve been weighing us down for quite some time now and they’re only the perpetuation of what some folks are calling a neo-Serfdom — we’re still talking Dark Ages shit in 2013 if you ask me, but its all been a frikkin illusion, the ruby slippers kinda metaphoric stuff of Dorothy and having the solution to all of our worldly woes right there in front of us, right there on the ground, right on our fucking feet for ChrisSakes!

we all need money to survive — but what is the real value, the real wealth, actually, of that paper in my wallet? who determines what its worth and what { or who } that wealth actually used for? and why do we need it at all anymore?

can i just start printing my own version of monetary economic artifactual trading products from my own HP PhotoSmart C6180 All-in-One right here from home and start to invent value in some new self-invented system? all i need to do is run down to Staples and pick up a Cyan and Pink cartridge now and go to town, right? and if enough people start to trade with it i’ve made my own incredibly valuable new system of economics that circumnavigates the Stock Market, the US Treasury and all the bullshit we’ve been living for for goddam centuries

well, that’s preposterous, right?

but just think about it, okay?

like Lanier, i don’t have the answers, just some implied suggestions — but like the big challenges we have with the dysfunction and failures of our current governments of the world, i think the answers do not reside in solutions provided for or created by the actual government

this ones for The People of The World to work on

i think we, as citizens of the world, in our ample free time, need to start contributing in a far different way

we can’t afford to wait for the government any more — they’re too embroiled in their own bi-partisan bureaucratic political shit to contribute anything of any positive, constructive value for The People — the business they’re running, the services they’re providing as our government { as our governments } are completely disconnected from the real needs of The People at this point and The People know it and realize the sort of exploitation of The People we’ve all been dealing with for decades upon decades upon decades — we pay taxes, they get paid, we get less and less and finally absolutely nothing in return — or at least nothing of any real value for the world — not even a feeling of being decently guided by true leaders that even might actually care about The People of The United States of America and The People of The World — turn on CNN, you’ll see a totally incompetent nest of board member-like suits designing the world by committee and a thousand papercuts, most of the suits really only sitting there to defend their own self-interests and the interests of the lobbyists and corporations they’re really representing for this great nation

thanks for that

i appreciate it, but as we all know now, the government itself is trillions of dollars in debt and essentially bankrupt — the US has been bankrupt on and off since who knows when, but at least since World War I and the kind of wacky, imbalanced debt our nation accumulated to support war efforts

i personally am quite tired of destructive enegy and incompetence

you can’t just punch a card everyday to star on CNN as far as i’m concerned

where’s that accountability that, interestingly enough, the George W Bush Administration seemed to suddenly get all Freudianly vocal about during those 2 illustrious terms?

all that aside — i think its up to The People now, despite the government and the sort of total tax-exploitation systems they operate and fund themselves with, its up to The People to rise above the bullshit and just start imagining and developing the solutions we need all on our own

instead of re-imagining and re-inventing economy — i still participate in the current systems as best possible and earn a living with the government financial assistance typically devoted and invested in Big Science and Technology efforts to push our beloved progress along — i think the real progress needs to come from us, in our ample free time — we need to all be more like that independent musician down the street that totally shows off the genius of his/her vision on the stage, through the craft of her/his songwriting and composition and through the active practice of her/his world while simultaneously figuring out the means to make that life even survivable amidst these imbalanced and broken economies — we need to invent — and we need to invent beyond the BitCoin, beyond new fictional values to throw into the bullshit arena of our digitalia — we need to ask The Actual People of The World what would make this world a better place for them, what are the actual needs of The People? and then, we all need to do what we can — in the uniquely talented ways that we can individually contribute to the causes of bettering humanity and actually helping people and meeting vast, complicated challenges — we need to do what we can to change our behaviors from reticent and frustrated spectators of our own demise to behaviors and activities that foster a creative, positive, collaborative and truly innovative means to contribute real wealth to the world we live in

there’s SO much we need to do

how will you contribute to the cause?

Whole Earth Back Cover 1969