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What is money and profit, and should we use something better?

These might seem like daft questions. I can see you now, wrinkling your brow, thinking: well how else can the world work except with money, currency, markets, profit and all the rest of it (you closet pinko liberal commie)?

Exactly!

That's the question to ask. How else can the world work? Can it work better?

I'm not motivated by ideology to ask these questions, by the way, but by curiousity, and compassion. Because money and profit are not necessarily bad things (they're just inventions of human culture after all). But yoked to medievally-dumb theories of economics (which is sadly all we have at the moment) and the kinds of perversities inherent in current Bretton Woods-inspired flavours of global trade, they're self-evidently bad news for (a) the overwhelming majority of people on the planet, and (b) for the planet itself.

So, how else can the world work? Well, it's acquired something of a sleazy, phoney air of late, but molecular manufacturing - or nanotechnology - could be the basis for thinking about a solution.

Twenty years away, some like the Foresight Institute say, that's all. Then we will have, in principle, molecular manufacturing where any consumer object (clothing, houses, communications, food, medicine - you name it) can be assembled (one molecule at a time) by tiny machines you can't even see.

The Prince of Wales doesn't like it. Not surprising, when you have the "grey goo" scenarios being given the fuckwit Hollywood treatment by people like Michael Crichton.

But nanotechnology will change everything when it arrives. The fabulously exciting and scary question is in what direction that change will occur. And, for perhaps the frst time in our species history, we have the opportunity to shape how our culture evolves by direct, intelligent, considered intervention.

We can choose freedom, abundance, equality, empowerment and excitement for all of us, across East and West, First and Developing worlds.

Or we can have more of the same as we have now.

One of my current NIPs (novels in progress) Bleeders takes place in a fictional society where nanotechnology is real and very much part of people's lives, for both good and bad, and attempts to answer this question about "how else can the world work?".

Lots more to say about this, but haven't written it down as yet, but have a look at Choo Institute for an entertaining bit of futurology. Or is it real? Woo...

 
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