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Friday, December 31, 2010

Current Currencies

According to Bas Reu discussions about new currencies in this age of sharing are not new. Many have done research about other means of value compared to money as we know it. During the rise of the internet, we exchange value more easily without the need of money. And then there is this other characteristic what really differs from money: abundance. Nowadays there is an abundance of knowledge.

We have shifted from an economy based on scarcity to one based on abundance. The control of products or distribution will no longer guarantee a premium and a profit. . . . We are entering a post-scarcity economy in which Google is teaching us to manage abundance, challenging the bedrock rule of economics, first written in 1767: the law of supply and demand.

Sharing knowledge has one distinctive characteristic which is it's value. Knowledge (in every form, such as experiences or market knowledge) has value. Value for the sender and it’s recipients. But real value is created when people come back to the sender with unexpected responses which can lead to new insights, new ideas, or combinatorial innovation. See, for example, what happens in questions and answers sites such as Quora, or in forum such as the ones that Linkedin has. People find each other, discuss topics, and collaborate which is good for all participants and spectators.

Sharing knowledge is not the same as giving up competitive advantages. In an age where sharing is easy, you’d better use it in your advantage. Of course, first things first, you still need enough money to make a living, but on top of that we exchange more and more without the intervention of real money. So you can ask yourself what our currency really is.

44 comments:

guillermo said...

I am still not convinced that sharing knowledge is always an advantage, specially in the comerce area.

ines said...

Very interesting post, I never thought about the change from scarcity to abundance, that is like a new paradigm that needs to be studied in more detail.

Shadow said...

nice post to end the year... got me thinking... happy new year!

the walking man said...

I have to agree Mariana. I would rather trade in knowledge that is truthful (not just honest) and factual than money. Money will buy me goods and services but it will not buy me the ability to gain knowledge you have gained through experience. The latter to me being more precious than gold.

Mariana Soffer said...

Guillermo:
interesting point. All I can say is that in the scientific area it certainly is.

Mariana Soffer said...

ines:
Thank you very much, what you mention is also the most interesting part for me

Mariana Soffer said...

Shadow:
Thanks a lot for your wishes, I am glad you liked the post, and I hope you have a great new year.
Take care

Mariana Soffer said...

the walking man:
I completely agree with what you say my friend, and you put it so clear and with such nice words that I think it enhances the post.
Thanks

Shubhajit said...

Sharing knowledge is obviously more pleasurable than running after money. However, I believe we should have some filtration process in our head so that we can take exactly what actually we need. There are people who glue to social networking sites, though its also a knowledge medium but at the lowest level. even playing video games is better than social networking..

In ancient Greece there were gymnasium where people not only strengthen their muscles but also their brain. The great scholars, intellectual shared and discussed, that was also sharing knowledge, but at the highest level.

Nice post and wishing you a Happy New Year.

Mariana Soffer said...

Shubhajit:
Well let me tell you that I think that humanity is in this decadent state because many people find more pleasurable to run after money.
Very interesting what you say about the filtration, I studied linguistics for natural language processing and our main theory was that the important think was how we filter in our brain.
And you are right I never though that social networking sites provide a low level, I think you are right in most cases.
I did not know about the ancient greece, very interesting, it shows that they had wisdom we are lacking of nowadays. (Progress? what progress?)

Thanks a lot for the wondefull comment, and I also wish you a fantastic new year.

Paul Andrew Russell said...

I hate to spout such a cliche, but 'knowledge is power'. Just look at Google. The product is knowledge but the currency is still the mighty dollar.

Happy New Year to you Mariana. Good to see you back. :-)

Mariana Soffer said...

Paul Andrew Russell:
Do not worry about the cliche, sometimes depending on the context they fit perfectly well and don t sound bad. What an issue the dollar, aint it?
Thanks for the comment, and I also wish you a fantastic new year.

ArtSparker said...

Good to see a post from you before the end of the year. I have mixed feelings about the internet, sometimes I think of Hans Christian Anderson's little match girl, holding up a little light which provides the illusion of warmth and belonging, in regards to the computer screen. It's not an either/or for me, and has the same possibilities for use and abuse as far as exchange (and connection) as other methods of communication.

Jim Murdoch said...

And because there is so much knowledge available it has become devalued. We skim blogs because we have so many others that need read and forget what we have read because we don't give ourselves enough time to process it. I was always fascinated (and repulsed) by the notion of a vomitorium, a room where one could go to throw up so that you could keep on binge eating. It’s a misconception apparently – just an unfortunate choice of a name for an exit – but I still feel that that mentality exists online nowadays: we feed our eyes but no sooner have we seen something than we want to make room for more.

J said...

And enjoy your new year, you have been a great freind of ideas for the one just disappearing and we will see how the next goes
:)

Harlequin said...

wonderful year ender and thought-provoking as usual.
i sometimes wonder about the authenticity and safety of some of the knowledge that is "shared" , however, i am also reminded of the other currency that seems to me to be one that accompanies sharing knowledge and that is trust... supposedly the ultimate reducer of complexity.
cheers and happy new year!

Janet K said...

The thing I am interested in having an abundance of is TIME. I have to have a minimum of money - just must. I am not willing to trade any of my time for money I do not really need just for that minimum. I am willing to trade my time for knowledge although I think there is a limit with this. But in the back of my head there is a nagging doubt - am I addicted to information that I don't really need, like some people are addicted to more and more money? Time is my basic currency.
Thanks for the interesting links.

Simon Edhouse said...

Mariana, you say: "Nowadays there is an abundance of knowledge." I think the correct word here is "information" not knowledge. Although we often talk of the 'body of knowledge', being collective human knowledge, to extrapolate this concept to the internet's vast over-supply of information, and to assume it is "knowledge" is a stretch. ~ There is, (for instance) a clear difference between knowledge and belief, and many people do not appreciate the difference. Put simply, information does not equal knowledge. To qualify as 'knowledge', theoretically one must 'know' and that ultimately must past a personal test, although collectively humanity has always seemed to crave the objectification of knowledge, what was accepted as knowledge often turns out to have been 'belief'. From my perspective, "knowledge" is personal and based on the experience of the individual; or shall we say "in the eye of the beholder".

Also, even in apparently abundant times, there are things of great value that are still scarce and becoming more so, i.e. clean drinking water, clean air, pure uncontaminated foods, good health care, fair governance (the list is huge) and as Umair Haque says, in this information economy, it's our attention that is becoming scarce.

What really has 'value' in this new context? Are you sure that (so called) "knowledge in every form" qualifies?

Mariana Soffer said...

ArtSparker:
I am happy that you like to see my post. What I think (most of the time) in respect to what you say is pretty simple: Internet and everything surrounding it are just tools, the important thing is how us humans uses. It is like a hammer it can be to nail a nail or to break somebodie's finger.

Take care my friend

Mariana Soffer said...

Jim Murdoch:
Because there is too much knowledge we need better intelligent tools to help us deal with it, to help us filter what we probably woudn't care about, to help us make a summary of the information, etc.
I also think that we have a limited capacity to incorporate and process knowledge, and even dough we might try to force it, it wont respond to more than what we are capable of, therefore therefore like when we binge eat (as you said) we can not digest it properly.

Mariana Soffer said...

Harlequin:
I am also happy that you find my post thought provoking, thank you.
You are right about the issue with trust, you can not belive everything just because you read it, you have to learn to discern between the belivable and the not so. There are nowadays websites about questions and answers (which are very trendy such as stackoverflow), and they have a reputation sistem for their users, I think that is an interesting solution, well always knowing the background of who the information comes from is a good indicator.
Also it is very interesting the idea of what the ultimate reducer of complexity is, I think is brillant.
Take care my friend.

Mariana Soffer said...

J; thank you very much. Happy new year for you too, and you also have been a source of encouragement for me to write.

Mariana Soffer said...

Janet K:
Well that is a fantastic wish, I would love to have it too, nowadays specially for sleeping and seeing more friends.
I do think that you are addicted to information if you do not use it to form knowledge or do not process and it does not broaden your horizons otherwise you are not.

I think that the saying time is money is pretty inaccurate in many many cases.
Very interesting about time being your currency, you left me thinking about that.
Thank you very much for your intersting comment
M

Mariana Soffer said...

Simon Edhouse:
You are right about my wrong choice of words, it is information not knowledge, good point. Also interesting what you say about belief, it is true and I never thought about it.
I guess what you mean to say about knowledge has to deal more with wisdom than with any other thing. Which is an interesting idea, I have to deepen my thoughts about that. But isn't in the end everything a belief? I don't know. How do you differentiate believing something from knowing something?
I agree with what you say in your last paragraph also.
In reply to your last question, my answer would be that true knowledge and not in every form do has value, but other things do to.

Thanks a lot for your time and such an interesting comment.

A Cuban In London said...

Our currency is social interaction still, but the posts have moved and now we engage more on virtual grounds than real-life ones.

A very thoughtful post, as usual.

Happy New Year!

Greetings from London.

Uncle Tree said...

"It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4

Earthly bread, imaginary bread, and Heavenly bread
Money, Maya, and Mana

The Tree Of Life, the Tree of Knowledge, and last, but not least, The Money Tree

Personally, I see nothing wrong with wanting it all. W. Blake said, "The only way to get rid of temptation is to give in to it."

So, what am I saying? I eat, I read, and I play the lottery. :) Peace to you, sweet niece! Take care, Keith

Mariana Soffer said...

A Cuban In London:
Nice to see you arround my friend!
I agree with what you say about what our currency is, but I woudn't say yet (at least in countries like mine) that virtual interactions has outgrown real-life ones. It certainly seems it is moving that way, but not reached it completelly yet (luckly)
Thanks to you for your interesting comment.

Mariana Soffer said...

Uncle Tree:
very nice comment uncle, thanks a lot for posting it here.
And I like what you say about last but not least the tree of money, because that is still a big factor, not to be taken for granted.
I do think it is a sign of good mental health to want it all, why not? the problem comes when we can not tolerate even a tiny bit frustration by not getting all that we want. Great saying by blake, excelent.
It is so cool what you say in the end, because it is true, and it is also not following a logic thread of thoughts completelly, but life is like that, we are like that.

Love to you dar uncle.

kierstyboon said...

I think I might be a prime example of this - thanks to my knowledge, authors ask me to edit and set up their books on a publishing website for about a tenth of what it would have cost them from a 'pro' company. Then I use those funds to purchase equipment I need online without ever seeing the money. There is also the 'viral' gossip that companies find so useful which is how I get online preview tickets for all the latest releases, music, etc. The whole point is, it is power to the little people - especially authors. No longer can the print publishers dictate through their nepotistic ideals as is shown through the many writers who have published their work for free download and who have then been picked up my print/film companies. This is the age of the people - where the world is beginning to be run on information and every voice being equal (wikileaks being one of the huge examples) and a big part of me is just holding my breath waiting for a Chinese governmental attitude to slam down on the Western World. I hope it never does. Third world countries are becoming educated away from customs and religion to make informed choices for the good of their health and their reputation, which will only help the levelling of international co-operation.
Now, if we could just banish the trolls, haha, we would be schmokin'. I suppose there always has to be a bad guy though, eh?

Brian Miller said...

an intriguing piece...knowledge is power, unfortunately often power corrupts...there is a tenative balance between taking care of your own needs and exploitation...

Mariana Soffer said...

kierstyboon:
What a coincidence, I just commented to uncle tree (the comment before yours, how to publish books in a cheap way, but maybe you know a better one, if so let him know.

Excelent comment, What you said is really smart and hopefull, I kind of think that way most of the times, but others, I get down thinking that still the powers that be are the ones who rules, I guess there is a little mix of both, but we are moving towards the better option.
Thanks a lot for you cool comment.

Mariana Soffer said...

Brian Miller:
You are right about power corrupting, but knowledge is available for everyone in this case, so I hope/tend to think that it self regulates better this way, don't you?
Take care

Rayuela said...

gracias por tus saludos,Mariana! que tengas un buen año vos también!
besos*

human being said...

.


i have learned much
from lies
dishonest people shared with me

i have found much
in the hearts
masked people hid from me

i have lived much
in the moments
of doubt


.

Mariana Soffer said...

Rayuela:
De nada rayuela, es un placer leer tus poemas.

Mariana Soffer said...

human being:
What a beautifull poem, so wise, and I can completelly relate it to this post, but also to many other things.
Thanks for living it here.

PS:Please give me the address of your new blog, and access to it, I would love to read what you are writting.

Lucy in the Sky said...

Knowledge is priceless and it is a crime not to share it. A crime against the human race.

Happy New Year, Mariana!

Mariana Soffer said...

lucy in the sky:
Thanks a lot lucy for the wonderfull comment, it is really great, I like to see you arround here. Take care

Pisces Iscariot said...

"In an age where sharing is easy, you’d better use it in your advantage"
-It follows then that the currency we are trading is Time.
(That cost me a few minutes)

Mariana Soffer said...

Pisces Iscariot:
Excelent comment I really liked it, thanks.
I might say dough instead of use it in your advantage, use it in our advantage, cause that is the idea, sharing.
And the last sentence is brilliant!

SY said...

very interesting post.. I've never thought of value of sharing information..
Universal Progress
very cool
-Sy

Mariana Soffer said...

SY:
Thank you very much, it is great to see new people leave comments here, and I am glad you found the article interesting.

Anonymous said...

Did you see this about online gaming currencies?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/25/china-prisoners-internet-gaming-scam

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