A nucleus of an idea whose time has come
In a previous post entitled Is our credit creation system the father of all pathogenic human interferences?, I endeavoured to compare and contrast the delocalized mitochondria that sufficiently powers our cells in our bodies via ATP production (without debt and interest production), and our centralalized banking system that insufficiently disempowers our communities in our nation-states via debt-producing compound-interest bearing credit that then distributes as our money supply. As less money is created than what is needed to cover the principal plus interest payments, insufficiency and scarcity is a necessary property of our banking system. Consequently, in order for this insufficient system to be sustainable over time, only projects such as investments in financial instruments such as stocks, bonds and equities that allow monetary returns over the short term to cover the shortfall in creation of interests are selected for in our globalised competitive market place. As a result, long term investments in the productive economy of societal and environmental projects are sacrificed, hence the tsunami of societal and environmental destabilizations we have left in its stead.
Seeing money as embodied energy was inspired by an article I read earlier entitled Solving the Crisis in Capitalism by Elisabet Sahtouris, Ph.D in which she wrote:
“For humanity to follow the lead of Nature herself will require that we look to Her values as much as to Her intelligence in evolving mature living economies. In your body, resources are equitably distributed and every cell has some 30,000 recycling centers operating 24/7 to keep you proteins new and healthy. No organ in your body fails to respect the essential need for diversity (NO monoculture) such that it tries to get other organs to be like it. No injury in any part of the body goes without immediate aid, in the recognition that an injury to a part is an injury to the entire system. No cell goes without nourishment and none is indebted to others. A thousand banks per cell issue the free ATP currency spent into its economy while regulating the amount issued carefully to avoid both inflation and deflation. Is all this ethical behavior decreed from a central authority, a Big Computer in the Brain? No! There is no benevolent brain dictatorship; the brain is a clearing house for information from everywhere in the body and transparently shares the information freely so that every part can do its job with the greatest efficiency and resilience! Does all this not add up as much to a love economy as a material one?”
I have since then been studying public banking, complementary and blockchain-based cryptocurrencies to find how I can use this insight of money as embodied stored energy similar to how ATP is embodied energy stored in its chemical phosphate bonds, and use the wisdom of nature and our bodies to guide the design of the credit flow architectures to better serve society and the planet. But each step of the way, I have hit upon a mental block, which for me is a sign that I may once again be preying (pun intended) in the right pew but wrong church. What I am beginning to realize is that money should not be viewed as embodied stored energy that empowers certain projects over others, but should be viewed as embodied stored information that in-forms all projects that can be regulated by monitoring and feedback (both negative and positive) to ensure that money is always produced in sufficient amounts to allow us not only to survive but thrive in our societies and on our planet.
And this suggestion was confirmed for me recently after reviewing a recent blog article entitled Coming Out of the Shadows into the Light in which I quoted a passage from Section 15.3.1 of Transformation Management: Towards the Integral Enterprise by Ronnie Lessem and Alexander Schieffer:
“Money is one of those cultural forces that has remained mostly invisible to the conscious ‘western’ mind. It is therefore to a civilization as the DNA code is to a species. It replicates structures and behaviour patterns that remain active across time and space for generations.”
And then it hit me! The banking system do not function like power stations but more like information clearing houses! And the analogy of DNA is more apt to understanding and helping us to redesign our credit creation system so that it is no longer anachronistic but now more fit for life-purpose by funding long term as well as short term projects in a more sufficient and sustainable manner than we had previously imagined.
The information flow in biological systems can be summarized as follows:
Adapted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein_biosynthesis
The information is initially stored in the nucleus in the form of double-stranded DNA. This DNA code is replicated in all nucleated cells. The sense strand is then transcribed to RNA when induced to be expressed and then migrates into the cytoplasm of the cell where it is translated into a protein that serves a structural, enzymatic, information transmission or regulatory function.
By envisioning money as embodied stored information, we can now interpret credit creation in a similar light. The DNA for money creation is replicated in every banking institution in the world where it is used to in-form many life-goods and life-services that serve infrastructural, catalytical, information transmission or regulatory functions within the community. The DNA of the banking process is double-stranded and involves double-entry bookkeeping where a loan is created as an asset on the bank’s books and is recorded as the borrower’s monetized promise to repay over a given time period and at a certain interest rate, and as a liability as the credit recorded in the borrower’s account. This credit is then transcribed as part of the money supply which then leaves the banking system and recirculates in the community where it is then translated into the diversity of life-goods and services mentioned above. Please note that as each gene is transcribed and translated for a specific protein, each loan is transcribed and translated for a particular life-good or life-service.
Depending on how gene expression is regulated, two fundamental categories of genes have been identified as being constitutive (housekeeping) and facultative (inducible) as explained in the wikipedia article below:
“Regulation of gene expression refers to the control of the amount and timing of appearance of the functional product of a gene. Control of expression is vital to allow a cell to produce the gene products it needs when it needs them; in turn, this gives cells the flexibility to adapt to a variable environment, external signals, damage to the cell, and other stimuli. More generally, gene regulation gives the cell control over all structure and function, and is the basis for cellular differentiation, morphogenesis and the versatility and adaptability of any organism.
Numerous terms are used to describe types of genes depending on how they are regulated; these include:
- A constitutive gene is a gene that is transcribed continually as opposed to a facultative gene, which is only transcribed when needed.
A housekeeping gene is a gene that is required to maintain basic cellular function and so is typically expressed in all cell types of an organism…
- A facultative gene is a gene only transcribed when needed as opposed to a constitutive gene.
An inducible gene is a gene whose expression is either responsive to environmental change or dependent on the position in the cell cycle.”
Interestingly, in a recent article entitled “Hail The Maintainer: Capitalism excels at innovation but is failing at maintenance, and for most lives it is maintenance that matters more”, one can divide human services into two fundamental categories, maintainers and innovators, reflecting the constitutive/facultative or housekeeping/inducible dichotomy:
“Innovation is a dominant ideology of our era, embraced in America by Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and the Washington DC political elite. As the pursuit of innovation has inspired technologists and capitalists, it has also provoked critics who suspect that the peddlers of innovation radically overvalue innovation. What happens after innovation, they argue, is more important. Maintenance and repair, the building of infrastructures, the mundane labour that goes into sustaining functioning and efficient infrastructures, simply has more impact on people’s daily lives than the vast majority of technological innovations…
We can think of labour that goes into maintenance and repair as the work of the maintainers, those individuals whose work keeps ordinary existence going rather than introducing novel things. Brief reflection demonstrates that the vast majority of human labour, from laundry and trash removal to janitorial work and food preparation, is of this type: upkeep. This realisation has significant implications for gender relations in and around technology. Feminist theorists have long argued that obsessions with technological novelty obscures all of the labour, including housework, that women, disproportionately, do to keep life on track. Domestic labour has huge financial ramifications but largely falls outside economic accounting, like Gross Domestic Product.”
This new cognitive map helps us in connecting many disparate ideas such as:
- having a state-owned/public central bank being the nucleolus of credit creation within the nucleus of the banking system in each nation state, as proposed by the Positive Money group;
- provisioning of universal basic income for constitutive-housekeeping-maintenance activities as explained by Chris Agnos in a compilation of his articles reproduced here;
- allowing for regulation via expression or inhibition of loans that are life-enabling or life-disabling respectively, using valuations based on the upkeep of the life-giving and life-supporting systems of society and planet, now using this life-ground as equity and collateral in their protection and rehabilitation (based on Prof John McMurtry’s Collective Life Capital: The Lost Ground of the Economy),
- fostering an ecology of vocations of maintainers and innovators to solve our local and global life-problems as we co-operate as a community to produce sufficient amounts of life-goods and life-services to meet everyone’s life-needs within the means of the living planet, as explained by Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics,
- incorporating Raine Eisler’s Caring Economics and Capital Institute’s Regenerative Economics and Johan Galtung’s Peace Economics into a unified framework of partial differentiations into a integrated fully life-coherent whole, and
- implementing blockchain technology at the level of the state-owned central banks where a) the mining of the digital currency can occur given the state resources available, b) a copy of the ledgers of each is shared with each other in a globalized network to ensure the trustworthiness of each transactions, and c) interest rates on the loans are not used for profit-rent seeking and speculation by private bankers but are dynamically adjusted for the upkeep of the mining and collection, storage, retrieval and transmission of monetary information. This would serve to decentralize the central banks. (Please see: Blockchain: The New Technology of Trust and Prof Richard Weiner’s contrasting missive entitled Shifting from Central Planning to a Decentralised Economy: Do we Need Central Banks?)
It is hoped that by this nucleus of an idea, of seeing money as stored embodied information as opposed to stored embodied energy, we would now be able to resolve many seemingly unresolvable societal and planetary contradictions. This we hope to do as we endeavour now to stabilize the destabilizations that we have inherited over the millennia as we no longer destroy the life-ground of our livelihood based on manufactured competitive scarcity. We can resolutely now go forward and rebuild our societies and rehabilitate and maintain our life-supporting systems from the ground-bottom up. This now based on an authentic co-operative sufficiency now grounded, anchored and steered by a creatively evolutionary designed information flow architecture from without; now confidently modelled on the same information flow architecture from within already naturally selected for by evolution over the billion of years of nature’s research and development life-supporting project.
I sincerely hope that this is a nucleus of an idea whose time has come and is worthy of spreading to enlighten and inspire us during our precious individual and collective life journeys.