This article was first published on RChain Cooperative - Medium
When we ask ourselves “What is capital?” different proposals come forward from the community and even from within our own minds. Capital is energy. Capital is information. Capital is a set of beliefs. i want to encourage both a broader and yet deeper and more focused line of thinking. Think about voting. Think about games. Think about the expression of sentiment (likes, emojis, etc) right here on Medium or on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. All of these are coordination patterns for coordinating human behavior that — remarkably — share with capital a common set of features. Now, abstract these features and make them programmable and decentralized. Then you will have a public utility for coordination. This is a view of of both the origin and future of capital i want to hone in on.
As a precursor to this line of thinking, i suggest Yuval Harare’s Sapiens. He makes the key point: coordination is Homo Sapiens super power. Further, he observes that capital is one of the tools for focusing and amplifying coordination. What he doesn’t say directly, but is easy to work out is that in moving from an industrial implementation to a digital one, the physical inequities intrinsic to a physical monetary record (inherited from an architecture of centralized minting backed by armed enforcement of distribution rules and norms) were transferred from the physical to the digital and then accelerated. This acceleration arises because the number of iterations of the distribution rules (e.g., rules for lending and interest, rules for inheritance and tax, etc) and the trends these rules amplify are orders of magnitude faster in the digital incarnation. In some sense, that’s the whole point of using networked computers. The bulk of the physical baggage is gone, and so transactions can proceed at many times the ...
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RChain Cooperative - Medium