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There is a definition of neoliberalism that has stuck with me: "neoliberalism is optimising for the wrong thing because it is the only one that we know how to measure". I.e. we built a system that maximises shareholder returns because those are easy to account for, damaging far more important social institutions along the way.



IMO the economic system is actually a reinvention of nature. However, our rendition of nature does not actually follow nature, but is a monster created by systems that totally don't mirror nature -- i.e. hierarchical systems. If we want an actual functional economy we should model nature as closely as possible because we know it actually works. And it works without any management. Our system is a bastard child of natural economics and hierarchical structure. It's for this reason it needs constant management, usually to benefit those at top of the hierarchy who constantly break it and pass the bill to the people at the bottom.


By what measure does nature "work"? The only thing nature optimizes for is survival until reproduction. This is just as arbitrary as shareholder return. Besides, the entirety of the economic system is part of the natural activity of the natural animals homo sapiens, driven by natural desires priorities. It is not a reinvention of nature as much as it is a subprocess.


That's not what it is. It's not a subprocess. Nature is exactly what the economy is, limited resources and optimizations to utilize those resources. Each company in our system is an animal. That uses finite resources to continue to survive, as a by-product think of shit, it produces goods that we desire. It also has smaller entities like humans and other companies that feed off the energy that it acquires and consumes, like employees. These companies fight for survival in the market place where they gather more energy by producing things. Energy in our system is money, it's the most basic form that can be consumed by all entities. In real nature, you can't consume energy directly you have to go through other organisms, acquire them, to get energy. Anyway, this is not some sort of thesis, it's just an observation, that I want to throw out and maybe someone will read it and be inspired to formulate a thesis.

Another observation, the reason people are so miserable in the economy is the same reason people are miserable in nature. Civilization was a means to escape nature, but we have recreated nature in a completely different domain on top of abstractions. The economy, Capitalism, is nature that's recreated. That's also why people want Socialism and Communism, to escape from this new brutal "nature" again.


That is a nice and tidy analogy. However, economies are not nature. Private property rights do not exist in nature, might makes right.

An economy does not work without the creation of a collective fiction. Its rules, its laws, and especially the concept of value simply do not exist. It is faith in the system, that same faith we all accept when we look numbers on screens and find that as an acceptable way of determining ones wealth.

Economies are religion. If there is no confidence or faith, then we have effectively killed something that never existed in the first place


Alternately, if economies are "like nature", they occur on a very different level than the raw cycle of predator and prey, and something closer to mating dances and dominance games. Behaviour that arises within a species for itself.


I agree with most of what you wrote, assuming it means what I think it means. But you're dead wrong when you imply that somehow private property rights liberate us from "might makes right" when it in fact is simply another form of it.


Point taken, but it is not another form. The idea of might in this example in the modern age has become more diffuse. With barely any effort, a squatter can obtain private property rights


bitcoin is interesting in this regard. no one is 'in control' of bitcoin but anyone can contribute to its production according to a set of rules and it has value. it's the bittorrent of money.


I still don't understand this argument.

It is possible for an alliance to form between large mining pools, and then what do we have?

I'm no bitcoin expert, so I just googled some random words and found this[1] which claims the 5 largest pools mine 57.5% of all blocks in the past 6 months.

Also, the idea that "anyone can contribute" could do with a few qualifiers: anyone with access to a computer, electricity, and the internet - and all the associated infrastructure required to support running those.

Bitcoin also has carbon emission externalities[2]

1. https://www.hobbymining.com/bitcoin-mining-pools/

2. http://www.coindesk.com/carbon-footprint-bitcoin/


> If we want an actual functional economy we should model nature as closely as possible because we know it actually works. And it works without any management

To the people and institutions who currently hold power, that's not a feature, that's a bug.




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