What happens in a world, or at least a nation, where most of the population lives semi-comfortably (by historical standards) off a basic income, supplemented by occasional temporary gigs, thanks to the economic output of tomorrow’s technology; a small middle class works at the diminishing number of jobs which can’t be handled by technology; and a smaller-yet minority of the ultra-rich actually design the tech, and/or live off their inheritances a la Piketty? Call it a “low-scarcity” future, as opposed to the full-on Singularitarian “post-scarcity” future.

It seems to me that such a world would be extremely fertile ground for the rise of — you guessed it — a reputation economy. The key is that it wouldn’t outright replace a traditional monetary economy, at least not for some quite considerable time; rather, it would begin to thrive parallel to, and independent of, its capitalistic counterpart. Eventually, though, as I’ve argued before, since we are fundamentally social creatures, in the long run, “at some point it will be better to be awesome than to be rich.”

* this feeds nicely into that Star Trek as LARP idea (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7237395). The Star Fleet ranks as a reputation economy. Social capital etc.

I like to think on a good day that’s what we’re doing in these spaces. Bootstrappin’ the internet into a Type 1 Civ communication system. Negotiating a new culture, a new societal operating system. Eating the old world. Folding in the machines. Neotany on a global scale. Cyborg Gaia.

We definitely need new mythologies, patched out of whatever is at hand.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.