Bucketized vs. all in one currency

So, why would you want to go to all the work of tracking individual resources needed to achieve goals? I will be the first to admit that it would be a lot of work to figure out all the intricate details of how many hours of each skill, how many grams of each metal, how many watthours of energy, etc go into building things.

Well, the first thing that I think would be a improvement is that we could have meaningful discussions about what we could afford. With the current system, all information about what actual resources go into a product or goal get thrown away. So, for example, nationalized single-payer healthcare – all the dollars in the world won’t make us able to afford this if we don’t have enough man-hours to get it done. This is also true for a number of things – if we don’t have enough platinum to put a fuel cell in everyone’s car, we can’t do fuel-cell-powered cars, absent a breakthrough in technology, no matter how many dollars we have.

So, one thing I keep harping on, and I’m going to harp on it again because I still think you all don’t get it. Economists are none too bright. Dollars have no value at all (well, they have a tiny one related to their intrensic worth). They are a *pointer* to value. You C programmers out there already know what I’m talking about here, but let’s try to figure out how we can get this idea to the rest of the people. The value isn’t in the dollars, and when we run into problems with the “money supply being scarce”, for example, we are demonstrating just how impressively stupid humans with firmly held beliefs can be. Money isn’t value. It’s a metaphor that *represents* value. Did that help any? It has worth because we imagine it to have worth, because we imagine that it’s a IOU that says “give the bearer one apple”. Or whatever. Bucketized currency is based on the same ideas as conventional fiat currency, except that it’s a new spin on a old idea. The gold standard, except that instead of just having a bucket for gold and a bucket for silver, you have buckets for every thing of value we make or trade. And the idea with bucketized currency is that when you run out of, for example, gold tokens, you’re also out of gold. As you mine more gold, you put more gold tokens in the gold token bucket. As you train more doctors, and as they agree to work, you put more tokens in the doctor-hours bucket. Bucketized currency is not fiat at all, it is based either on current resources on hand or a reasonable estimation of what resources will become on hand. You also, of course, can convert one bucket to another – for example converting tons of coal to kwh of electricity.

The gold standard was fatally flawed because most of the things we want to do don’t require a lot of gold. Having buckets based on resources on hand, on the other paw, is not a flawed idea at all and is how most *individuals* do budgeting (as opposed to governments, banks, and corporations). Bucketized currency is something you can only do once you have fast, powerful computers – the number of man-hours it would take to implement such a system by hand would be prohibitive.

This isn’t a tool the end consumer needs, but when the government talks about whether we can or can not afford to do things, and whether it’s a good idea, it would be smart if they were counting with actual apples and not with a hypothetical number of apples or indeed sometimes no idea about the state of apples in the world at all, and just a idea about how many dollars we’ve got.

You also have to remember my end goal is different than most people’s. I want everything for everyone. I think it’s possible, with judicious use of automation, to have only those who want to work have jobs, and still have everyone get their Hiearchy of needs met. But in order to determine whether that’s really true or just what my intuition is telling me, we need some way to measure what resources we have on hand, or can have on hand, that goes beyond what we’ve currently done.

My hunch is that by using bucketized currency, and some other more advanced measuring techniques such as a index of happiness and index of misery, we can find out how many places we’re being stupid, and be smart instead. For example, in terms of actual resources in the global bucket pool, evicting a non-paying tenant is almost certainly a net loss for everybody. In capitolism, you kind of have to do this, because of the inherent flaws in it, but in terms of measuring what’s a winning answer for the human race, this probably isn’t a good thing.

We also may find it desirable to develop some new technologies, including the ability to create software that represents physical possessions in our minds, possibly the ability to directly link humans and computers, and there’s a whole passel of other things that might be neat. But before we run off and do that, let’s see where we’re at right now.

You see, the 1% aren’t that much richer than the rest of us. A billion dollars still won’t buy you a resource that doesn’t exist. (well, it will if you can convince a programming team to mine for it, but that’s another story) And if we were all spending our time creating new resources instead of doing makework (capitolism has left us with a whole lot of makework) we’d all be far wealthier than we are.

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