We live in interesting times, to say the least. No one can really agree on anything, yet everyone seems to expect everyone else to agree with them. We may never be able to fully solve that quirk of human nature (and even if we thought we could, should we really even be trying?) but one thing almost everbody seems to agree with these days is that something seems to be broken with the economy. Like really broken. Not even just broken like – will I be able to find a job, will I be able to put food on the table, have I saved enough to weather the hard times kinda broken; no, we’re talking broken like – fundamentally flawed, ready for a reset, let’s just tear the whole thing down and start over kinda broken. When enough people are thinking like that – from all different sides of the political spectrum – it might be time to start paying attention.
One particular “dichotomy” (which may not actually be as much of a dichotomy as you think) is between the Universal Basic Income (or #UBI) camp — those who think everyone should be entitled to a minimum monthly public payment to meet basic needs, regardless of means or contributions to society, and that such is essentially a basic “human” right — and the Sound Money camp — basically, people who really don’t love the idea of “printing” money for any purpose, tend to dislike debt and governments in general, believe strongly in free markets, and feel “liberty” itself is very much contingent upon all three.
Enter the cryptocurrency craze which got its nascent start in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis (likely not a coincidence) and it’s leading brand – Bitcoin ($BTC).
One of the rallying calls for $BTC has been the way it might serve as a “stealth” means of transferring wealth from those who have wronged us in the past (think “Boomers” what with their penchant for Fed bailouts, asset-price inflation, increased inequality, and the like) to those tech-savvy, purpose-seeking “Millennials” who will lead us to a more noble and ever-more-virtuous future. The $USD has been so badly manipulated and bastardized by centralized monetary-policy-makers in recent years they say (and we can’t really argue with that) that it’s time to throw the baby out with the bathwater and move to a new “standard” – one that, like $GOLD in years past (but now easier to carry in your “wallet“) – is free from centralized government control (and thereby all the opportunities for corruption and cronyism) and governed only by the natural laws of math. Hard to argue, right?
Well, it may depend on what argument you’re trying to make.
If a more “noble future” is what you seek (who wouldn’t?) and $BTC is your solution, then of course, that makes the assumption that Bitcoin holders (or hodlers) are all well-intentioned, ultimately selfless stewards of the “greater good” who will, at every opportunity, seek to use their newfound $BTC-denominated wealth to further causes that benefit all. Right?
Kind of like these guys, maybe?
“The rise of cryptocurrency is changing the philanthropic world by causing the redistribution of wealth from old money to visionary innovators and early tech adopters. The new crypto rich invest their donations by supporting scientific research in groundbreaking fields that may one day enable humanity to cure aging, reverse death and completely change the relationship between work and income.”
Or, not to complicate things further, but…
What if I happened to be a right-leaning “free-market libertarian” with contemporarily “conservative” (but maybe classically liberal?) views & values that include my right to believe in an almighty yet unknowable God with at least some kind of method behind his or her (or its?) divine madness? (yes, some believe all these can perhaps even co-exist together!) Might I then suppose that $BTC holders need not necessarily “always be thinking about the greater good” in order to achieve a greater good, because as long as they (just like I) are using decentralized sound money (21 million cap for life!) to further whatever economic activities & causes are of value to them (whether it be trying to reverse death, or simpler things like producing and consuming goods & services with people in their community who are fine with just one go-around if done well), the “greater good” is being served by default through their exercising of individual sovereignty & liberty?
The very idea of self interest and individual sovereignty exists because of Christianity. Individualism was created by judeo-christian culture. You clearly speak from a place of serious lack of understanding of the Christian morality.— Dan Vasc (@Dan_Vasc) October 7, 2019
I don”t know that I agree 100%.— ₿ Michelle Ray ₿ (@RagnarsMate) October 6, 2019
Just because I personally choose to participate in charity ( which I think Rand would be fine with) doesn’t mean I cannot also be a die-hard capitalist.
I cannot help anyone else if I am not in a position to help.
Can’t wait for government power to diminish with the rise of BTC. And then with individual sovereignty. People can then donate tax money for services we wish to pay for. #btcactivism— Mooping (@Ridesmonster) December 21, 2018
And continuing with the complications…
What if I happened to be more of a left-leaning “humanist” with contemporarily “liberal” values, a tendency to appreciate at least some form of “socialist/collectivist” thinking, and a belief that all humankind has a natural right to the assets of the planet that bore them (a reasonable & logical view, if slightly dogmatic in its own way) because as far as we know, “we’re all part of the same compost heap“, so why should some (pieces of organic matter?) get a man-made head start right out of the gate? Might I then suppose that $BTC holders are just replacing “old” arbitrary aristocracy with “new” arbitrary aristocracy – winning the battle of generations maybe, but doing little to put to bed the perpetual war between haves and have-nots? What would one who believes we have a right to “natural inheritance” say about how Satoshi Nakamoto himself obtained his first 980,000 BTC (even if he wanted to spend it on cryogenics) and whether he should pass it on to his children and grandchildren after he’s gone? (well, again, that is, if the whole “eternal life through freezing” thing doesn’t work out)
With the enclosure of commons, people are deprived of this natural inheritance and forced to serve others for their very life. This is unjust. A UBI is one way to compensate for that unjust loss while retaining the benefits of ownership.— Scott Bowles🧢 (@Scott2145) May 15, 2020
I also find his analogy of property owners to buyers of stolen bikes helpful. It shows that the system, is wrong, but also that it’s complicated. We don’t want to just take away all the property someone’s paid for and call it good.— Scott Bowles🧢 (@Scott2145) May 16, 2020
Even the most rugged, lone wolf outdoorsman only survives on account of acquired cultural knowledge, NOT primarily on firsthand experience. A human forced to learn everything on their own is a dead human. Culture is a thread of interdependence that suspends us over danger.— James Treakle 🚀 (@JamesTreakle) May 12, 2020
Once again, we don’t assume any easy answers to any of these not-so-easy questions. We’re not totally sure if the questions even make sense – and you might be wondering the same thing. But we’re pretty sure they do get to a larger point, if even in a dreadfully roundabout way.
Sound money (in some form or another) is a big step in the right direction, probably. The #UBI-ers have a point, too.
The #UBI-ers basically want a “reset” to a fairer baseline, while the #soundmoney camp wants the right to preserve the risk-adjusted relative value of what they feel they’ve earned (and might seek to earn in the future) while playing by the rules of a system they were born into.
Could the two ideas somehow be combined to make a greater percentage of the world “happy” at least in relative terms? It seems like whenever we try to force the dialogues apart, we end up with stupid results like this one. There’s got to be a better way.
Ever hear the saying “when the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing” or vice versa? Hint: There’s a double (maybe even triple) meaning, both of which might be relevant here.
Another possibility: We don’t really know right from left in the first place anymore (another case of potential double meaning). And it might be in our interest to forget that we ever did. Although, that’s not to say we should all just start moving in the same single direction either – that would be boring, if nothing else.
In continual search of the system that works the least badly…
Or maybe we’re all still just missing that larger (and probably simpler) point?
We have quoted “Tweets” from select “Twitter Users” in this story because we thought the views & opinions expressed by those “Twitter Users” were relevant to the topics being discussed in this story. These “Twitter Users” have no affiliation with the Economorals blog, and we make no assumptions about any particular political, religious, or other affiliations of any kind that may or may not be held by any of the “Twitter Users” quoted, nor the specific validity or credibility of what they say. Again, we just thought a few “Twitter Users” had some genuinely interesting words & ideas to share in the context of this story’s main themes, and since they’ve already shared those words & ideas in the public domain, we wanted to share them again here too. Because if there’s one “market” we can all hopefully agree on, it’s the “marketplace of ideas”.