Economy in the Age of Chrematistics
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Economy in the Age of Chrematistics
Economy in the Age of Chrematistics
Aristotle established the fundamental difference between economics and chrematistics...
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economy and chrematistics

Economics (from Greek: οἶκος + νόμος; oikos "house" +  nomos, "custom" or "law") is the rule or managment of the household to achieve better quality of life for all those who are part of it.

 

Chrematistics (from Greek: χρηματιστική) is any theory of wealth as measured in money.

 

In Politics, Book I, Aristotle established the fundamental difference between economics and chrematistics. The accumulation of money itself is an unnatural activity that dehumanizes those who practice it. Like Plato, he condemns the accumulation of wealth. Trade exchanges money for goods and usury creates money from money. The merchant does not produce anything: both are reprehensible from the standpoint of philosophical ethics.

 

Economy is closer than ever to being gone. Chrematistics has become what dictates human relations.

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Four Scenarios for the Collaborative Economy | ECC 2013 – Michel Bauwens

Four Scenarios for the Collaborative Economy | ECC 2013 – Michel Bauwens | Economy in the Age of Chrematistics | Scoop.it

Two scenarios are “for profit oriented” and two scenarios are “for benefit” oriented, which one do we choose?


This mini-essay attempts to simplify possible outcomes by using two axes or polarities which give rise to four possible scenarios.

 

THE TWO AXES AND THE FOUR QUADRANTS


The first axis concerns the polarity of centralized versus distributed control of the infrastructure, whereas the second axis relates a orientation towards the accumulation or circulation of capital versus an orientation towards the accumulation or circulation of the Commons.


Luandro's insight:

Very inspiring short talk where Bauwens explains the different economics models that exist, and that will probably exist together in the future. He has a great idea for a open infrustucture system, where all those who participate and help the commons can use the commons, and all those who participate in a profit driven system, pay in order to use the commons. Something that makes complete sense in my opinion.

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Hypereconomics | THE NEXT BILLION SECONDS

Hypereconomics | THE NEXT BILLION SECONDS | Economy in the Age of Chrematistics | Scoop.it

 The future does not look like the recent past, with massive, comprehensive websites offering everything to everyone.  The future belongs to tight, focused APIs of products and services, written to be easy to use, easy to mash-up, easy to share, and easy to roll into other tools.  The future belongs to businesses which can effortlessly accept payment in any currency the customer cares to offer.  The future belongs to the entrepreneurs building tools that make constructing a production value chain a simple matter of dragging and dropping a few icons on an iPad’s screen.  The future belongs to the hyperconnected, learning to skate on this very slippery ice.


As capital migrates from friction-filled national and international finance markets into hypereconomic frameworks, institutions dependent upon those frictions will be threatened.  Banks will not be able to collect interest.  Governments will not be able to tax – customs duties and user fees look to be the only ways governments can generate revenue.  Courts will not be able to seize assets.  The peculiar arrangement of laws and regulations which keep our economic system stable will grow increasingly meaningless.  Governments and courts will try to follow capital flows into hypereconomic zones, only to learn that their mechanisms of control and enforcement are poorly matched to such a fluid environment.

Luandro's insight:

Although a little too fixed on commercial relations, for my own personal taste, it gets very interesting towards the end when the author points out how decentralized future "hyperconomial currencies" will be.

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Ven, by Hub Culture

Ven, by Hub Culture | Economy in the Age of Chrematistics | Scoop.it
Ven is a global, digital currency for everyone; a means of exchange, a standard of value, and a store of wealth.
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Ripple, decentralized transaction network

Ripple is a decentralized transaction network that also contains a virtual currency. The Ripple network is a global system for making transactions of any kind: US dollars, bitcoin, yen, or any other existing currency.

Additionally, Ripple has a native currency called “ripples” or XRP that already exists within the Ripple network. Like Bitcoin, XRP are a digital currency that cannot be duplicated or falsified, and can be sent directly from account to account without any central authority. Also like Bitcoin, there is a known, finite number of ripples: The Ripple network contains 100 billion XRP, a good deal of which will be distributed for free by OpenCoin Inc. XRP also provide an important security feature: every Ripple transactions destroys a miniscule fraction of an XRP, and while this amount will be unnoticeable by even high-volume users, it prevents anyone from overloading the network with abusive transactions.

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Adam Smith's Lost Legacy: Adam Smith on Poverty

Adam Smith's Lost Legacy: Adam Smith on Poverty | Economy in the Age of Chrematistics | Scoop.it

“What if Adam Smith was right about poverty?
Don Arthur, 22 June 22

"Well-being isn’t just about our relationship with things, it’s also about our relationships with each other. Poverty hurts, not just because it can leave you feeling hungry, cold and sick, but because it can also leave you feeling ignored, excluded and ashamed. In The Theory of Moral Sentiments Adam Smith argued that all of us want others to pay attention to us and treat us with respect. And "it is chiefly from this regard to the sentiments of mankind, that we pursue riches and avoid poverty."

Luandro's insight:

In my search of someone to blame for what economics has become, Adam Smith has always been my main target. I used to blame him for making popular the sense that man were self-interest agents of society, who seek only effiency, profit and productivity.

 

But as it turns out, in his least known book “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”, he discusses how poverty is a lot more profound than just the lack of food, health or shelter; and social exclusions can be as painful, or more painful than those. He understand the notion that people naturally have a tendency to care about the well-being of others, for the pleasure of seeing them feel happy.


In summary, Adam Smith thoroughly understands the concept of empathy, that which economics has come to slowly destroy inside us through our everyday profit driven relations of exchange.

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Peter Joseph on Resource Based Economy

"The bio-social pressures that will emerge that will inhibit your life, the lives of your family, inhibit the lives of everyone in this planet through time as this system completely deteriorates; will make you question what you value in respect to what you like to do. It's not an issue of what any of us like. It's an issue of what is right and what is sustainable for the human species. What will actually work for us as a society, without causing conflict, and all the deprivation and problems that continue to deteriorate our standard of living, and create much less safety through society."

Luandro's insight:

Peter Joseph is a filmmaker and founder of the Zeitgeist Movement. Back in 2008 his first documentary opened my eyes to question the values of contemporary society.

 Since than I've learned to question some of the believes held by the movement, and I've turned to more academic understandings on the subjects of economy, society and politics (although I don't believe the academic to hold a monopoly on truth).

But watching him speak again reminded me where I got my strong certainty that money is the very root of the general problem, and that there are better options available with today's technology.

Although most of the academia theorists I study believe that a reform in monetary system is the solution, and money is absolutely necessary for a complex human society to survive; I could argue that with enough creativity and collaboration, a system based on human needs and not market driven numerical values is not only possible, but inevitable.

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David Graeber & David Harvey Discuss the Right to the City

David Graeber & David Harvey Discuss the Right to the City | Economy in the Age of Chrematistics | Scoop.it

David Harvey is the Marxist; David Graeber is the anarchist.


Harvey’s is a georgrapher; Graeber is an anthropologist.


Harvey’s masterpiece is The Limits of Capital; Graeber,Debt: The First 5,000 Years.

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New Economy, New Wealth

We are entering a post-industrial age with a very different economy and needs for a different view of wealth. What does this mean for us? (Original prezi by Arthur Brock)
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BitCrash: Down 50% In Massive Sell Off: Over $1 Billion Vaporized In a Few Hours

BitCrash: Down 50% In Massive Sell Off: Over $1 Billion Vaporized In a Few Hours | Economy in the Age of Chrematistics | Scoop.it
Touted as a safe haven store of wealth and a gold standard of the internet age by Forbes, tens of thousands of investors bought into the hype.

 

Bitcoin has become a casino. It is almost a perfect reflection of the tulip bulb mania of 1637 in these two ways: 1) Most people buying bitcoins have no use for bitcoins (just like tulip bulbs), and 2) The rapid increase in bitcoin valuations cannot be substantiated in any way that reflects reality.


During times of financial and economic stability BitCoin may function just fine as a suitable mechanism of exchange. But these are not ordinary times. Interesting, yes. Stable, no. And thus, exchanging one’s assets and turning them into digital Bitcoins may not be the best choice of asset protection during periods of financial, economic and political turmoil and uncertainty.

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Re-thinking Progress: The Circular Economy

There's a world of opportunity to re-think and re-design the way we make stuff. 

'Re-Thinking Progress' explores how through a change in perspective we can re-design the way our economy works - designing products that can be 'made to be made again' and powering the system with renewable energy. It questions whether with creativity and innovation we can build a restorative economy.

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The Bitcoin Bubble and the Future of Currency — Money & Banking

The Bitcoin Bubble and the Future of Currency — Money & Banking | Economy in the Age of Chrematistics | Scoop.it

"The commodity value of bitcoins is rooted in their currency value, but the more of a commodity they become, the less useful they are as a currency."

 

"For anybody who’s ever suffered the incompetence of a bank, or bristled at the fees involved in just spending money, either domestically or abroad – that is to say, for all of us – the promise of bitcoin is the holy grail of payments."

Luandro's insight:

As the creator of Bitcoins describes it, the currency is “completely decentralized, with no trusted parties”.

 

I've certainly a lot more to learn about this currency. But from the little knowledege I have on the workings of this system, although it's a huge step towards "economic" independence from private and govermental intitutions, Bitcoins continue to serve a chrematistic system , where the currency is still at the center of human relations. By completely ignoring the human trust factor in an exchange, the dependency on a currency and the institutions behind it are still present, and with it the problems, such as theft and speculation, as the digital currency is experiencing at the moment.

 

I believe a new economic model should have human trust and dependency on each other at it's core. As institutions grow they become easily corrupted and become too centralized and distant from the people they were once created to serve.

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Chrematistics are masquerading as economics

Chrematistics are masquerading as economics | Economy in the Age of Chrematistics | Scoop.it

"Oikonomia is the science or art of efficiently producing, distributing, and maintaining concrete use values for the household and community over the long run. Chrematistics is the art of maximizing the accumulation by individuals of abstract exchange value in the form of money in the short run. Although our word “economics” is derived from oikonomia, its present meaning is much closer to chrematistics."

 

"In replacing chrematistics by oikonomia we not only refocus on a different reality but also embrace the purposes served within that different reality—community, frugality, efficiency, and long-term stewardship of particular places."

Luandro's insight:

As Wendell Berry points out, economy has been replaced by the banking system of “selling a bet on a debt [as] an asset”.

 

The way a words meaning is played with by governments and institutios sure reminds me of how Newspeak, from George Orwell's 1984, was used to control people's thoughts. Economy is not the only example.

 

Democracy also comes to mind, not only in our own political systems, but most obviously in North Korea's official nomeclature: Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

 

What other words have had their meanings changed in order to control people's thoughts?

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Envisioning the future of money

Envisioning the future of money | Economy in the Age of Chrematistics | Scoop.it

EnIs your organization prepared for the intelligent, autonomous and interconnected future of money?

Luandro's insight:

The guys at Envisioning made a great presentation covering one of the most complex, and relevant, themes of our time: the future of money.

 

In their Slideshare presentation, they explore the various alternatives to value creation, exchange and centralization.

 

Definitely a great presentation with a lot of great examples of emerging economic technologies that will shape the future, with more and at the same time, less, use of money.

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TheIU.org - Who Controls the Planet?

"Fewer than 10% of the world's population own and control all our land and natural resources. I believe that is a fundamental injustice. And should we be surprised that we run the world economy with such a basic injustice, that when a little boy grows up, he reaches for a crowbar and becomes a thief? Or that he reaches for a riffle and becomes a terrorist? Because, if you're going to have a society, an economy, based in injustice, you have to expect the consequences." Dave Wetzel

 

From http://www.theiu.org/

Luandro's insight:

Today I investigated what was to me a new school of economic theory called Georgism, derived from late 19th Century economist, Henry George.

 

In a nutshell the Georgian philosophy is that there should be a single taxation, and that it should be over the land. Although I disagree with some aspects of the idea such as: it is the only solution to all economic problems, although they completely ignore the internal contradictions of capital (http://goo.gl/vGVp7); the whole notion that land should be the only thing taxed makes complete sense.

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The collaborative economy is destroying jobs. So what's next?

The collaborative economy is destroying jobs. So what's next? | Economy in the Age of Chrematistics | Scoop.it
A massive number of jobs are being replaced by free contributions from people. If we consider alternatives such as basic income, this could be a great step for us.
Luandro's insight:

When I had my own personal "enlightment", I was reading a book by Italian sociologist Domenico De Masi entitled "The Creative Leisure". The author states that in, what he called, the post-idustrial age jobs would be less like jobs and more like occupations, where we would have leisure, be working and at the same time be learning. A perfect mixture of fun, productivity and study.To me that sounded so logical and realistic, that I gave up on the idea of getting a job. And I've been seeking alternatives since.


This article updates the ideas De Masi had written about back in 2000, of how we must start thinking on these new creative alternatives to occupations, and how these occupations will be rewarded.

 

 

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Emergent Networks as Distributed Reputation System

Emergent Networks as Distributed Reputation System | Economy in the Age of Chrematistics | Scoop.it

Every node in a network are cooperatively connected.

 

David Hales is a senior research fellow at The Open University in the UK. He does research at the overlap between computer science and social science and is interested in open distributed systems that include both machine and human agencies where the imposition of central control is not an option and one can't rely on the "invisible hands" of orthodox economic (or game) theory. A synthesis is required between new kinds of social theory applicable to the artificial domain and distributed self-organising systems programming. Such a synthesis could transform,not just technology but, human societies in profound ways.

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Basic Income, a new human right

Folks in Europe are currently campaigning for a basic income, which would provide a livable income directly to everyone as a human right, paid for by taxing the rich, financial transactions, carbon pollution etc. and eliminating old fashioned, expensive welfare programs.This video provides a good explanation.

 

For more info check: http://binews.org/

Luandro's insight:

I just ran into this very interesting movement by the European citizens. In my home country, Brazil the poorer version of such program has existed for the past 10 years.

 

"Bolsa Família currently gives a monthly stipend of 22 reais (about $12 USD) per child attending school, to a maximum of three children, to all families with per-capita income below 140 reais a month (poverty). Furthermore, to families whose per-capita income is less than seventy reais per month (extreme poverty), the program gives an additional flat sum of 68 reais per month. This is called the Basic Benefit, and has no conditionalities." Bolsa Familia on Wikipedia


Although I have never really looked into it that much, it's a direct form os socialism, that tends to lead to "giving the fish" instead of "teaching how to fish", although I think European population would be more prepared for such programs, although I realize that is a really elitist thing to say form my part. 





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The Next Big Thing in Crowdfunding? Kickstarting People | Wired Opinion | Wired.com

The Next Big Thing in Crowdfunding? Kickstarting People | Wired Opinion | Wired.com | Economy in the Age of Chrematistics | Scoop.it
What skeptics fail to realize is that the motivations of crowdfunding “investors” are different: These are not quant investors looking to maximize financial returns while minimizing risk and volatility.

 

Put another way, it’s more about cause than cash

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The Benefits of Slow Life

Manfred Max-Neef says that we need to live slowly. Everything in life is a matter of choice but all too often we give up the joys of slow living in the name of efficiency and rushing and hurrying and time.
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A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse | David Graeber | The Baffler

A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse | David Graeber | The Baffler | Economy in the Age of Chrematistics | Scoop.it

"What is debt, after all, but the promise of future productivity? Saying that global debt levels keep rising is simply another way of saying that, as a collectivity, human beings are promising each other to produce an even greater volume of goods and services in the future than they are creating now. But even current levels are clearly unsustainable. They are precisely what’s destroying the planet, at an ever-increasing pace."

Luandro's insight:

David Graeber is one of my greatest sources of knowledge when it comes to Economic Anthrpology. His book "Debt, the First 5,000 Years" is a mind opening journey through human history. 

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A New Set of Economic Principles – Five Principles for the New Economy by 2020 | New Economics Institute

A New Set of Economic Principles – Five Principles for the New Economy by 2020 | New Economics Institute | Economy in the Age of Chrematistics | Scoop.it

Principle 1: Designed to meet human needs to improve quality of life


Principle 2:  Economy is bounded by ecosystem limits


Principle 3:  Equity for present and future generations


Principle 4:  Reverence for life


Principle 5:  Flexibility, innovation

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This Guy Took Out a Gigantic Loan to Destroy the Financial System | VICE United States

This Guy Took Out a Gigantic Loan to Destroy the Financial System | VICE United States | Economy in the Age of Chrematistics | Scoop.it
In 2008, anticapitalist campaigner Enric Durán borrowed €492,000 ($642,306) from 39 different financial entities with absolutely no hope or intention of paying it back.
Luandro's insight:

When in the 30's Ghandi began to teach us about how to achieve social change through Civil Disobidience, I was confused on how that could be applied today, since I had no idea what it was I wanted to fight against.

 

As I began to find out where the rotten core of the whole political-economical system was, I still had no idea on how to apply Gandhi's teachings to fight it.

 

Eric Durán shines a light on how, if we can someday find the courage, we can all be a part of change for a better world.

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Marshall McLuhan - The World is a Global Village

"Everything we've observed from the media points in direction of tribal man, away from individual man. Individual man being the literary man; and the tribal man the one created by the new electronic medium.

 

We're re-tribelizing, involuntarily we're getting rid of individualism. We're in the process of making a tribe.

 

For just as books and their private point of view are being replaced by the new media, so are concepts that underly our actions, our social life, are changing. We're no longer so concerned in finding self definition; with finding our individual ways. We're more concerned with what the group knows, a feeling as it does, acting with it; not apart from it."

Luandro's insight:

What does Marshall McLuhan have to do with economics you might ask?

 

My formal education background is in Cinema and Media studies. And so, we had to read McLuhan in the first semester of school for communications class. Need-less to say it was a pain. But like every other line of thought it took some time to sink in all the futuristic predictions McLuhan pointed out.

 

Besides his most famous "the medium is the message" phrase, the other very popular concept that immortalized this scholar was that of "Global Village". A point in human history where we would go back from being an individualistic society created by the book culture, to a more communistic society created by the electronic medium. Although far from nowing anything about the Internet, he was talking exactly about it.

 

As David Graeber pointed out in his book "Debt, the Last 5000 Years", and I've personally observed as well; in tribal socities, where the concern for the group is above that of an individual, human relations of exchange are quite different from what we take as the only way.

 

Like many others, I felt Capitalism was unsustainable and self-destructive, but there were no other options, sice Communism, as they called it, had proven to be as destructive as our own. But what Anthropologists found out long ago was that Adam Smith's understanding of history on human relations of exchange was not only wrong, but completely backwards. He thought that commercial trades, using money, arose from the natural incovinience that came from bartering products.

 

Anthropologists were never able to find such societies that relied on barter as their main mean of exchange. So what did we do before money?

 

In tribal societies, survival relies on communal and gift exchanges. Since trust is an important factor inside the community, people relied on the Marxist "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs". When people weren't exactly family, and didn't trust each other that much, still they relied on gift exchanges, where one would give a gift and expect something of similar value in return in any time-span.


As McLuhan pointed out 50 years ago, we're in the process of making a tribe, "the size of a planet and as small as a village".  Nowadays Social Media make's trust among complete strangers a reality, such as one can observe with CouchSurfing. And so I think that it should be organic to starting shifting our relations of exchange back to communal and gift ones, natural among people who trust each other.


The system will fight this as much is it can, like any other system would. But the change is inevitable.

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Open Source all the Things! | Code for America

Open Source all the Things! | Code for America | Economy in the Age of Chrematistics | Scoop.it

"DIY.org – an amazing group of people who have created a network of kid-makers. These makers complete challenges to earn skills and share with each other how the process went – you know, being all open source about it."

 

"The backbone and goal of the challenges in Open Sourcerer is to have each maker fork a copy of a repo on DIY’s Github with a story in it. They’ll each add a part to the story, push it back to their fork and submit a pull request to add it to the DIY original. There is no coding involved – just pure collaboration and learning the basics of Git and GitHub."

Luandro's insight:

There's no doubt that open-source and free education plays a huge role to bring back economy.  In a chrematistic system free education is harmful to the desired systematic growth.

 

https://diy.org/ is a great community for learning not only for kids, as it's meant for, but even for anyone who is curious about the various topics offered.

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