The Millennial Project 2.0

The GreenStar Free-Market Exchange Network would, in simple terms, be TMP’s answer to NASDAQ. It would be a digital financial exchange network, established when one or more Aquarius colonies moves to fully international waters and achieves political autonomy and sovereignty. Consequently, it is likely to be a very late development of the Foundation CIC. The GSFMEN would function much like other digital trading systems except it would be designed to be inclusive rather than exclusive, combining many types of financial instruments including commodities, underwriting, and loans into one market system and allowing direct trading by individuals without the hierarchy common to established financial markets. Despite its attempts to adopt a high-tech veneer, the financial systems of the present day really haven’t changed much since the 18th century and this failure to evolve has long been exploited by an elite community to their own exclusive benefit. Emerging at a time when the cutting edge in information technology was the printing press, organized western style financial markets evolved a hierarchical structure to compensate for limited communications and a need for human-mediated transaction. We have not been limited in this way for nearly a century but the systems have retained their original structure because it made some people extremely wealthy serving as an exclusive interface to the market. The GSFMEN would eliminate this completely, creating a virtual market with a virtually unlimited number of players having direct access and allowing for an unlimited number of increasingly diverse instruments to be traded –and it would NEVER ‘close’. It would be on-line 24 hours a day everywhere on the globe. This would make it one of the most powerful economic engines in TMP –perhaps the most powerful economic engine ever created by human civilization. And it would be one of the safest markets in the world owing to the fact that its diversity would preclude the possibility of ‘crashes’, which tend to be predicated by a lack of sufficient scale and diversity in an established market. Barring catastrophe of biblical proportions, the world market cannot ‘crash’. Individual markets and national economies crash because they aren’t sufficiently integrated to the whole world market and so create a ‘yeast colony in a bottle’ type of effect where many kinds of global market conditions are effectively invisible until they spill-over into the narrow portion of the market spectrum an individual exchange actually encompasses –and by then it can be too late to do anything constructive in terms of shifting money out of the path of the avalanche.

The GSFMEN would also form the basis of a unique system of currency –a Foundation Credit Unit– which would be entirely digital in nature and whose currency value would be indexed to this globe-spanning market. It would also be deliberately non-fungible. In other words, you could not trade this currency for others, only for goods and financial instruments on this market, even though the GSFMEN itself would include currency trading in other currencies. The point to this is sort of counter-intuitive until you realize that taxability is contingent on fungibility. Governments have no use for goods and if that’s all a currency is exchangeable for outside of Foundation CIC communities then it effectively becomes a kind of tax shelter –one that everyone on the globe as access to via the Internet. Consequently, the GSFMEN and Foundation Credit Unit are probably the single-most politically provocative enterprise TMP is likely to be involved in short of its academic research in nuclear energy.

However, the GSFMEN also anticipates an eventual evolution in global economics toward that of a resource-based economy as a consequence of the emergence of a Post-Industrial culture. Today the value of money is indexed largely to non-renewable energy and human labor/time. It has no inherent value, as in the case of precious metal coinage of the past. This is premised on the Industrial Age paradigm of centralized mass production and the need to make labor/time a fungible commodity. Essentially, one is always trading time for money and money for goods. But this assumes that labor is only fungible for money –and undervalued because profit is ultimately a margin on the value of labor– and that money is only fungible for goods. If labor becomes fungible for goods without money –in effect, if you can barter for goods– this system breaks down. Industrialization precludes this by precluding personal production. You can’t make for yourself what gets made in a factory. That quality and convenience is not available through personal production –or at least it wasn’t until now… In the Post-Industrial future, the cost of labor will escalate as personal production competes with, and eventually supercedes, centralized mass production. Increasingly, people WILL be able to make for themselves (and sometimes preclude the need for altogether –as demonstrated by the digital evolution of media) what they used to have to buy from a store. A steadily shrinking amount of labor thus becomes directly fungible for an increasing diversity of goods without money, and the cost of labor skyrockets as people find they need to work less to live better. Everyone makes their own goods and nobody needs a salary. What then do you use money for? As a medium of exchange for commodity materials. Thus in the future the value of money will be indexed to the commodity spot-value of renewable energy and a large spectrum of materials while the world market evolves into commodity barter exchange. This, of course, is just the sort of situation were a system like the GSFMEN makes most sense. It becomes a kind of global resource bank for commodities generated and consumed with their exchange value based on a spot-value according to rates of production/recycling/consumption. Currency thus turns into a unit of credit on this bank.

In this way the GSFMEN may ultimately realize the dream of a resource economy Buckminster Fuller embodied in his World Game vision.

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