Decentralized currency of the internet: the Bitcoin

The Bitcoin protocol is based on a fundamental critique of the world’s monetary system: that it demands undeserved amounts of trust from us. Nakamoto thought that it would be better to place trust outside the monetary system itself and back into social life
Bitcoin Digital Currency (quoted from The Stream, starting @ 24m00s)

The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that’s required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust. Banks must be trusted to hold our money and transfer it electronically, but they lend it out in waves of credit bubbles with barely a fraction in reserve. We have to trust them with our privacy, trust them not to let identity thieves drain our accounts. Their massive overhead costs make micropayments impossible.”

(Source: aljazeera.com)

“We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living.

We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors.

The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.

– Buckminster Fuller: architect, inventor, systems theorist, futurist.

Symbolic

Korean sculptor and installation artist Do Ho Suh created this awesome installation, entitled Floor, that might not look like much until you get good and close to it. Glass plates rest on thousands of multicolored miniature plastic figures who are crowded together with their heads and arms turned skyward. Together, they support the weight of the individual visitor who steps onto the floor.

Imagine a society that subjects people to conditions that make them terribly unhappy then gives them the drugs to take away their unhappiness. Science fiction is already happening to some extent in our own society. Instead of removing the conditions that make people depressed modern society gives them antidepressant drugs. In effect antidepressants are a means of modifying an individual’s internal state in such a way as to enable him to tolerate social conditions that he would otherwise find intolerable.

Theodore Kaczynski

Entrepreneurism just got more expensive

This article from The Economist talks about the perils of mandatory licensing in classically mom-and-pop industries, for example second hand bookselling and haircutting. They are right to point out the social divisions created by these regulations:

The burden of regulations falls most heavily on ethnic minorities (who
are less likely to have educational qualifications) and on women (who
might want to return to work after raising their children). States that
demand that funeral directors must also qualify as embalmers, for
example, have 24% fewer female funeral directors than those that don’t.

These laws benefit primarily those who can afford to put down the large upfront costs for these licenses. The same people who have enough (resources to obtain) political influence to successfully lobby for the establishment of such regulations. It’s probably unlikely that international training would be recognized, another hurdle for immigrants trying to enter the the service industry. Administrative costs, supervisory costs, inspections and legal fees for this thing are unnecessarily high without any kind of benefit to society at large. Another great example of the small print under the American Dream.