Economics of Flow vs Economics of Accumulation

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Jean-Francois Noubel’s editorial on the underlying philosophy of the Metacurrency Project:



“Our consumer society has built an ideology of accumulation. This is triggered by the scarce monetary system. Rather than sharing the stuff we need, we accumulate it in our basements, garages and backyards. Skis, furniture, toys, lawnmowers, tools, washing machines, books (ah, books!), DVDs, carpets, dishes, clothes… This stuff doesn’t circulate, nor it is shared. It piles up in every house. How would the consumer’s economy be if we didn’t have to reproduce the same artifact a zillion times? How would it be if we shared? How would it be if everything became a flow?

Today we unconsciously perceive ourselves as endpoints, as final destinations of whatever object or service the world creates if we need it, just like little children at early age. This nourishes an underlying egocentric experience at the societal and cultural levels. This economic infrastructure based on conquering and accumulating stuff by means of harshly conquered money doesn’t help us become systemic human beings. We don’t see ourselves as harmonious beings serving and being served by a wider whole.

We operate exactly the same with knowledge. We accumulate knowledge in our inner basement. Knowledge that was first poured in our heads at school (this is the dominant vision of school programs in most cultures). How much of it do we really make publicly available? How much do we freely redistribute? How trained are we to pass it on, naturally, fluidly? These new social media and free economies are so odd in regards to what we learned at school…

We, at the MetaCurrency group, are building the infrastructure that will help us experience wealth as flows that go through us, be it in material and immaterial form. In the culture of flows we don’t need to accumulate. We need to receive what’s necessary at the right time, then pass it on. The flowplace will be one of the platforms for this.

We shift from owning to flowing.

Having the thing we need at the right time, and pass it on? This is a natural property in small communities (original collective intelligence) that operate in the gift economy. Original collective intelligence provides a built-in synchronistic structure where personal needs are met at the right time, which in return enables us to offer our wealth to the commons. But humanity has not yet been able to scale it up. The only strategy was the market economy within the pyramidal collective intelligence and its scarce currency system.

The evolutionary threshold is that now we can scale up the properties of original collective intelligence (and still benefit from the amazing evolutions of pyramidal collective intelligence). We are now on the verge of inventing the language of flows, so that wealth can flow through us at the right time according to our needs, rather than accumulate in our backyards after a long and exhausting hunt for scarce money.

This new level of complexity requires a new techno-economic infrastructure. Just like the printing press, this is going to create a new culture.

This culture is already manifesting in the open source economy. Sociology shows also that more and more people are leaving the conventional culture (see cultural creatives). They undomesticate themselves (the Vow of Wealth is certainly one of these steps). The coming generations will learn flowing rather than owning. It begins today with knowledge, it will soon apply to the material world.” (