What shapes the future of money

04.12.2017 | The Future Of Money

It looks like whenever we think about the future of money we must also, or perhaps even first of all, think about something other than money. Power, creativity, innovation, intention, greed, generosity, justice, social relationship and control – this is what comes to mind when we evoke the concept of money.

The powerful aspect of the future is that we all – or at least most of us – love to dream about it, and make plans and hope for a better life. A much better life! The challenging aspect of the future is that we are not able to predict it. We don’t know any algorithms or methods that enable us to determine what the future will certainly bring. In the 21st century, we can’t guess what the future will look like much better than our ancestors in ancient times.

That’s why it makes sense to follow a provocative and at the same time very rational assertion made by Peter Drucker, that the best way to predict the future is to create it.

And a lot of organizations, businesses, influential circles, governments, officials, influencers, dreamers and individuals who literally want to change the world make attempts to create the future without bothering to predict it.

It is so much more effective to focus on what we can control instead of pursuing the phantasms of future events.

A very careful analysis and interpretation of public data shows us that there are a few visible tendencies, concepts and factors that attempt to intensively and diligently create the future of money.

The Euro is a significant example of the tendency to centralise finance and replace national or local currencies with one general currency, because as a political and institutional concept it goes deeper with its global ambitions than – for instance – the still influential US dollar.

The problem with centralised currencies is that they are very susceptible to abuse of power and can become the means by which governments and only the biggest corporations achieve their goals.

Which is why a second strong tendency has arisen, to completely decentralise money. Local currencies, blockchain technology and other digital finance projects are very appealing. At the moment this is a much more interesting tendency in finance than attempts of centralisation.

Of course, centralising or decentralising tendencies are not the only point of view on the future of money.

Universal Basic Income is an interesting idea and a good answer to the challenges of the automated, AI-dominated future of our world. At first glance, this project looks better as part of a centralised world of finance, but it can also work very well as part of local systems of currency. Providing a minimum income for everyone is not a new idea in human history. The first attempts to popularise the concept in modern times were made in the 16th century by Thomas Moore and Johannes Ludovicus Vives.

Ubiquitous money scandals and the constant danger of corruption regularly brings about brings about utopian ideas of a world without money.

The money system could be replaced by bartering. Although it is easy to understand the disappointment caused by money, the idea of money elimination as way to prevent our world from corruption is totally irrelevant, for it is our intentions behind money that produce corruption and not money itself. However, a very specific system of money can be a trigger for moral or immoral decisions and behaviours, and fruitful or disastrous consequences. An example of this is usury or extremely risky, speculative transactions (that are, in fact, the same in nature as trivial gambling).

It looks like whenever we think about the future of money we must also, or perhaps even, first of all, think about something other than money. Power, creativity, innovation, intention, greed, generosity, justice, social relationship and control – this is what comes to mind when we evoke the concept of money.

From this perspective, it is not important whether money is centralised or local, digital or physical, ultramodern or old fashioned.

The only things that count is how money can help to improve the multidimensional nature of our lives, stimulate growth and accelerate positive changes. Everything else seems to be futile.

Andrzej Manka

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Andrzej Manka

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