capitalism hasn’t failed, but its hardly succeeded either
it needs augmenting
– from The Headmap Manifesto
I’m not saying that money doesn’t matter – it has way too many meanings and implications in reality to not matter. But I will say that I really don’t like how the field of economics reduces people’s motivations to pure monetary terms. Or rather, I’m fine if they do that within their field, to build interesting models, but I feel that meme has taken over. It reduces humans to mere rational beings, looking to maximize money. But we are far more than our bank account and what we own. I feel the profit motive has gone too far, that it has taken over other, more noble (and just as valid) motives, as the only way of interpreting the world. Some argue that without the protection of patents and the promise of large sums of money, nobody would be motivated to innovate. This is simply not true, it’s like saying that artists would not be motivated to paint if they weren’t going to become rich.
We as humans want to express ourselves, we have innate curiosity and desire to create things in the world. Granted, to build technology, or to make music, or to do anything creative, money is needed to support the effort. But I feel the current model of limited liability corporations and absolute ownership are not the apex of how to best encourage human creativity. I believe another route is being shown with the open source model, where the motivations are varied, but the primary one is not money. Money plays a role, that can not be denied. People have to pay their bills, many (including me) get paid to work on open source projects. But no one has the potential to make millions from their contribution to open source software – they do it for a wide variety of other motivations. I’m very interesting in exploring how to set up and propagate motivation mechanisms that more efficiently encourage human creativity and innovation.
I feel that the current set of motivations as epitomized by the limited liability corporation, have played a huge role in getting us to where we are today, but that they are past their prime. Corporations as their own legal, self propagating entities, are wreaking destruction by their very logic.