The Future of Money

Tomorrow it’s time for the first Swedish CC Salon which will be held in Stockholm and focus on the topic The Future of Money. The main speakers are Gabriel Shalom & Jay Cousins but I will also have the opportunity to speak on the topic. The Future of Money is part of a Nordic CC Salon Tour, which is being held between 3rd – 7th of May 2011. This Nordic tour is very intense: May 3 is Copenhagen, May 4 Aarhus, May 5 Stockholm, May 6 Oslo and May 7 is Reykjavik.

Right now I am working on my part of the presentation which is being inspired by the fascinating work of Georg Simmel called The Philosophy of Money. My basic idea for the presentation is that the move from the barter system to the monetary system creates a major change in fundamental human relationships.

Where the barter system is a relational system, building by necessity on long term trust and relations. But along comes, by necessity, the monetary system. The long term relational trust is no longer necessary. All focus is now on the transaction and the human relations are changed from the relational to the transactional. Long term trust in others is not necessary, all efforts could be focused on trusting the abstract system of currency.

Our focus on the transactional system has been honed to the point where we dislike (or mistrust) the concept of relational trust in attempting to understand economic relationships. So when we attempt to understand why people spend their time in not for profit work or working without pay, in for example developing Free and/or Open Source Software or writing long articles in Wikipedia or assisting in non-profit organizations, we often struggle to understand the motivation that drives them.

A common explanation used is the idea that people work for reputation – but the flaw in this seems to be that we are simply replacing cash for reputation credits. In other words we are replacing one abstract monetary system for another. What this does not take into consideration is the long term relationships created by the social relations created through work for a common goal.

Well that’s where I am now. Lots of hours left before the actual event and I am looking forward to the feedback. If you are in Stockholm tomorrow please drop by Stallet on Stallgatan 7, we begin at 7pm.

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