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futurology

If and when Bitcoin becomes a mainstream issue, it is going to undoubtedly throw a cat amongst the political pigeons… and doves… and hawks.

To show what I’m saying I’m going to use the excellent Nolan Chart depicting the different streams in US political thought as plotted against the axes of “Belief in Personal Freedom” and “Belief in Economic Freedom”:

Nolan Quadrant Chart of the Political Spectrum

The debate about Bitcoin has the potential to align two recent Grassroots political movements – Occupy Wall Street & The Tea Party Movement. It also has the potential to divide the Right Wing

ALIGNMENT OF OCCUPY WALL STREET &  THE TEA PARTY MOVEMENT

Up until now the OWS and Tea Party movements have been united in their belief in Personal Freedom, but divided in their belief in Economic Freedom. In the above diagram the OWS would occupy (pun intended) the top left quadrant (left wing),  and the Tea Party the top right – Libertarian.

The reason OWS opposed economic freedom – as it applied to banks and big corporates – was because it believed that an unregulated environment had led to worsening economic conditions for 99% of the population and unfair gains for the 1%.

The Tea Party movement on the other hand, along with the Republicans and the Ron Paul camp, promulgated less government intervention into the affairs of banks and corporates believing that the dymanics of the pure Free Market would automatically rectify any market inefficiencies for the greater good of all.

My own view is that on a deeper level this surface split between the OWS and Tea Party was based on different interpretations of  how the actual system worked. The OWS believed that the way the US economy is presently structured render free markets nothing more than a hoax. Their belief is that the odds are totally stacked in the 1%’s favour. So actually OWS  weren’t opposed to real economic freedom just the false economic freedom as peddled by the corporate lobby.

ENTER: Bitcoin. With the Bitcoin monetary system in place the OWS can now say “Cool, lets have the real economic freedom – as Bitcoin will really facilitate it!”  and in doing this their position on the above graph shifts from the top left quadrant to the top right Libertarian quadrant where they can join their Tea Party brother and sisters.

DIVISION ON THE RIGHT WING

For the Right Wing Bitcoin is a very thorny issue. True “Economic Freedomists” must surely embrace Bitcoin. If they don’t,  they throw their adrent battlecry of “All will be solved by the Free Market” into a very contradictory position. Either they will have to support Bitcoin and retain their position in the bottom right quadrant (and risk upsetting many of their campaign financiers) or they will be forced to renage on their “Economic Freedom” principles and take one step to the left where they will share territory with the Nazi’s and North Korea – the Totalitarian State.

 

 

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If you haven’t heard about Bitcoin yet – the new “opensource” digital currency – brace yourself, because you’re gonna!

The actual mechanics of Bitcoin are fairly technical to grasp at first but explaining them is not within the scope of this, my first article on the matter. Lots has been written elsewhere and there is no shortage of info for the eager enquirer (with the Wikipedia link above being a good place to start). All that you have to know for now is that bitcoin is a new digital currency that can be converted at a fluctuating market-determined exchange rate to USD dollars (presently approx 90USD to 1 bitcoin) and most other major world currencies. It is not controlled by any one institution or government and its issue and supply is 100% transparent for the whole world to see.

Bitcoin is nothing short of revolutionary. Indeed, the description “open-source monetary system” would be more accurate than just “open-source currency”. And that is exactly where its potential lies. Ever since its beginnings 2 decades ago the internet has totally disrupted the archaic, inefficient, and tightly centralised models of yesteryear’s industires. The first industry to succumb was surely music, with Napster’s peer-to-peer model changing the landscape irreversibly. Then came the movie industry, followed by books and publishing in general. Political systems also fell under the power of grass roots connectivity, changing power dynamics forever. Underway at present is the transformation of education and soon the medical industry.

So it should come as  no surprise then that the most inefficient, costly and centralised industry of the lot  – central banking – would eventually appear in the trigger hairs of the grand decentralised model of the world wide web. Bitcoin is nothing less than the silver-bullet the Occupy Wall Street movement was looking for all along. Honestly, they can put down their “Occupy” placards now, and replace them with “Buy Bitcoins” instead. The 1%, whose ultimate power rests in the fact that they control the central banks, was never going to be wrested away through political action. Instead, the perfect solution to subvert central banks is to bypass them altogether. Who needs corrupt, greedy overlords when there is a new international, decentralised, peer-to-peer, totally transparent monetary system available to all?

To be sure, the road ahead for Bitcoin is not going to be without bumps. Governments and central bankers, who have enjoyed disproportional power for 1000s of years, are not just going to roll over in submission. They will throw everything they can into the fight. So expect smear campaigns, covert government-sponsored hacking of the bitcoin network and every other dirty tricks campaign money can buy. But it is the opinion of this writer that in the long run its a war they can’t win. Its kind of like open-source software I guess, no single entity can control it. In fact the only strategy that may work is if they entered the bitcoin market themselves and started buying up all the bitcoins they could get their hands on. But eventually this would drive the price of bitcoins so high that it will be impossible even for them – the Free Market system doing its work perfectly! So get ready for the biggest revolution the internet has ever ushered in. And buy your Bitcoins today. I did.

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French Postmodern Philosophers Predict Internet

5 April 2010

Hot on the heels of my post about SciFi Author predictions of the internet , here’s a text written in 1972 by two French postmodern philosophers – Deleuze and Guattari. The excerpts are from their book “Capitalism and Schizophrenia”.  The rhetoric is pretty obscure (as is the case with all pomo philosophy) but the gist […]

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Sci Fi Author Predicts Google Buzz

30 March 2010

I’m an avid Sci Fi reader and am always amazed at how many Sci Fi author “predictions” come true. Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash” published in 1992 was so predictive of the Internet (that was still around the corner at that point) it is scary. Recently I finshed Philip K. Dick’s –  “Radio Free Albemuth”  first […]

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