Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Blockchain Crypto-economics: The Actualization Economy of Immanence

Phase I: P2P Economies
There is considerable room for exploration in defining what the new possibility space of personalized, self-defined, emergent economic systems might comprise. Opening up economic systems could have different stages and phases. The first position could be having the same structure of current economic systems, but opening up the parties, interaction types, and business models. The idea of ‘decentralized reddit’ is an example of one such first position. It is still the same Internet pipes, providing the same news items to consumers. What could be different is the hosting, pricing, and business model. The web property reddit could be hosted in a decentralized manner, p2p-hosted by community peers, as opposed to being centrally-served by the company, reddit, Inc. Once the content is hosted by peers, the business model too can change. Instead of indirect advertising-supported centralized models coordinating the serving of eyeballs to vendors, direct pay-for-consumption or freely-contributed content models could go more naturally with a p2p-based content community. This means perhaps leaner economic models with greater price rationalization and value assessment of consumption by users.

Phase II: Rethinking Economic Systems as Coordination Systems
However, what is possible is not just different economic systems from a business model perspective, but something more fundamentally radical, a blueprint for a new economy. All of the first position, ‘decentralized reddit,’ no matter how decentralized, is still in the same structure, in the traditional structure of how economics has been conceived – of some parties producing goods of value consumed by others for some price (including for free in gift-economies). Extending this, the fully-fledged second position challenges and redesigns what is meant by economic systems, and claims that the purpose and value of economic systems is much broader. Markets have been the only application of economic systems, but the concept is more extensive.
Economics is a coordination system, of resources, but more broadly, of reality. 
Economics is a mediating and coordination system of our interactions with reality. Elements of economic theory might still make sense, like inputs, outputs, and resources, within this broader conceptualization of mediating reality. Resources could be more expansively defined, such as 'what resources are needed as inputs to brains being able to have ideas' as opposed to 'number of units of lumber sold.' Economics, instead of being defined as the production and consumption of scarce goods and services, could be reconceived more generally as a facilitation response to reality, concretized as a discovery and interaction process where something is discovered and valorized by a party, possibly in acknowledgement, interaction, and exchange with another party.

Phase III: Crypto-economics Facilitates the Shift from the Labor Economy to the Actualization Economy
Reconceiving economics as the more generalized form of (ontologically) what it is, a coordination system, allows its purpose to be substantially opened. The primary focus of what economics is about can shift. The locus of focus can change from how scarce goods are produced and distributed to instead, something much more generalized, to what our experience of reality is, and therefore to what kinds of responses to reality we would like to facilitate and enable. The notion of reality mediation design is so greenfield that the first question is 'what is important?' Economics can become a greenfield design frame about what might be possible in general in the world.

Yes-and! Abundance Economies of Immanence expand Reality
There are arguably two levels of ‘what is important’ – sustenance and actualization. First, certainly one dimension that is important is a post-scarcity situation for the material inputs required for healthy, flourishing human lives. The blockchain automation economy is making great strides towards this. Second, once basic needs are met, the focus can become one of immanence: open-ended expansion up from baseline survival to actualization in terms of growth, learning, creativity, collaboration, and contribution. True abundance is having these two levels; not just having survival-level needs met but also and more importantly, entering more fully into an existence of immanence, of open-ended upside potentiality - the actualization economy - and spending more cognitive time in this space. Abundance Theory Studies recognizes both of these dimensions: the immanent potentiality upside of existence, together with the baseline-attaining post-scarcity situation for material goods. True Abundance Economies focus on expanding the position of yes-and improvisation energy directed to self-expression, creativity, and novelty; expanding reality in ways that matter.

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