Saturday, May 24, 2014

Rifkin's new book continued

Continuing from this post.

Chapter 14 addresses how the Commons applies to other paradigms. After the financial crises other means of banking have been explored, crowdfunding being one. Capital is raised from the general public for one's project and a specified minimal amount must be raised for the funds to be collected. Companies like Kickstarter that organize the funding get a small cut, as does Amazon for collecting it. There are different forms of investor compensation, from future goods by the provider to shares in the profits to interest on the loan. It eliminates the banks with their usurious interest rates.

Alternative currencies is another expression. Instead of monetary exchange there is social exchange. Goods and services can be exchanged in labor time banks. One provides a good or service to another and his time is updated to a database. When that provider needs a good or service he can look up another provider and use his stored labor to obtain that service. Some of these banks do not differentiate the type of service or expertise level but others do, so not all types of time deposits are equivalent. Some even keep the time banks confined to their local or regional community, thereby keeping it 'in the family.'

The build-out of the IoT infrastructure will create a lot of new jobs in the short to mid-term. Granted when fully implemented it will have little need of jobs to maintain it, but in the interim there will be plenty. Of course many will need to be retrained to tackle the new tech, but that of course can be handled by the sort of commons education previously discussed. All of which will “give birth to a new economic order whose life force is as different from market capitalism as the latter was from the feudal and medieval systems from which it emerged” (269).

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