Blockchain… The best of both worlds?
The 20th century was a very important century in the history of mankind. It was by far the most war-torn century of all time. Why is that one might ask? Well, many answers could be given to this question, but it is not my purpose to explore them now. What I want to do is analyze the big picture of what happened and relate it to the current state of the world.
The past century had 2 world wars and one “cold war”, all of which ended before the end of the century. A lot of things happened during these wars, and for a lot of different reasons, but what I would like to shed the light on is the last one, the cold war. The cold war started right after the second world war ended. The Nazis, national socialists and all the other minor forces had been defeated (and their ideologies along with them), and the world was left with two major forces competing to see who will win, and therefore gain dominion of the entire planet. These forces were the Allies, led by the USA, the head of the “Free world” (as they like to call themselves), and the Soviets, led by the USSR. The goal is simple, “gain as much power and influence as possible over the world so that one day you can eliminate the enemy.” But the question begs itself : Why are they our enemies? Why do we hate them? Well for one thing, we want to dominate, and they won’t recognize us as their leaders, but we can’t tell that to the people who fight our wars, we have to sell them a story. I hope you like stories because I, now, will tell you the stories of the past century, and then, well… keep reading to find out.
Imagine a world where people are free, where the government guarantees freedoms, opportunities, and safety. Where people can change their economic state, own their own business, provide value to society and consequently rise through its ranks. Imagine a world where everyone, even immigrants can create generational wealth and provide for their families. Imagine a world free from oppression, where free speech is protected, where human rights are respected, where democracy is implemented, a world where you get to choose who represents you, where the people decide the fate of the country. In short, imagine a world where anything is possible. A world without limitations, or at least without limitations from the law. Imagine a world where you can do anything provided you do not impede the freedom of others. Would you want to live in such a world ?
I’d expect your answer to be yes. Well, this is what the “Free world” was selling. They were selling freedoms, democracy and opportunity, they called it the American dream.
But what if I told you that in this world, inequality would be rampant ? Because when you tell people that if they work hard they can achieve greatness, then those who do not achieve greatness would have themselves to blame for their lack of hard work. Ideally, capitalism does not focus on solving social issues like poverty, or at least that is what the other party — the communists — want people to believe. By the way I’m not here to condemn or defend any one of these 2 systems, but generally, what we can all agree on is that capitalism has its flaws among which the unjust exploitation of workers, also called corporate slavery. In such a world, even though you “can” legally do whatever you want, unless you have money you won’t be able to do much, which renders capitalism a favorable system to those who can afford it, at the expense of those who can’t (the poor and the working middle class). Another flaw of capitalism is that unless you are productive to society, or unless your lifestyle is economically viable, you will not thrive, which basically translates as “do what makes money, not what makes you happy”. I could keep going, but there is no need to, you get the picture, capitalism has its pros and cons, now let’s look at the competition.
Now imagine a world where there is no rich and poor, upper, middle or lower class. A world where everyone owns everything, where the state takes care of things, and we all helped each other. Imagine a world without homeless people, or struggling people, a world where everyone is taken care of. Imagine a society that is beyond money, a society where everyone would offer their services to everyone, without anyone having to pay anyone. In this world, your basic rights are guaranteed, you do not need to be a money-making machine for your existence to not be miserable.
Would you want to live in this world ? My guess is this: The people who don’t think they have a chance to win at capitalism, or the people who are experiencing economic hardships, or are on the losing end of the system would give this ideal world a try. They would choose the system of no competition because they can’t lose in such a system. But the thing is this: This world cannot be implemented. Why? You may ask. Well, there is a multitude of reasons but for the sake of not digressing, I will only highlight two main ones.
The first reason why communism does not work in the current state of the world is this: The impossibility of tracking ownership of public property. If “the people’’ own everything, how exactly does an individual benefit from their share of the pie ? In the previous century, when communism was at its peak, it was impossible to track ownership, which means “we own everything” actually translated into “no one owns anything”.
The second reason communism failed is a natural consequence of the first reason. When no one can track anything, power gets concentrated into one entity, and as we all know “absolute power leads to absolute corruption”. In other words, under communism, instead of the promised “everyone is equal, no one is better than anyone”, people got a system where leaders had access to unlimited resources and the masses lived under miserable circumstances. Do you see the pattern ? It’s the same problem that capitalism had except that under capitalism, everyone has a chance of improving their state in life, something not available under communism.
All this to say one thing: Both systems have their flaws, but they also have things that make them desirable in some way. Yet, historically speaking, capitalism is still standing (despite its many flaws) while communism not so much. But what if there was a way to get the best of both worlds ? What if there was a way to prevent corruption through transparency and distribution of power ?
You’ve heard the past’s stories. It’s time to hear the story of the future.
Imagine a world where everyone has a share of the pie they help cook. A world where power is distributed, where democracy exists even within business organizations, not only on the political dimension. Imagine a world where “public property” actually means that every individual, as member of the public, owns something. In this world, workers wouldn’t be exploited, because they are not workers, they are stakeholders, they would be interested in the success of the project as much as the founder / manager would be. This world has both fairness and opportunity. The thing here is that this world was not possible 20 years ago, but now thanks to the invention of the blockchain it can see the light. Since this world is so new, it is not even complete yet, it is only a prospect. I cannot speak about its shortcomings because this system has not been implemented on a large-scale yet, I can only speak of the hopes it brings to a world torn between two major systems where each system compromises essential values to honor other values that are equally essential. A blockchain-based socio-economic system would allow people to have both fairness and opportunity, which is why I believe conducting such an experiment is going to happen sooner to later.
In conclusion, despite all this hope being based on something that’s very hypothetical for now, I believe that exploring the possibility of using blockchain technology and web3 culture to invent a new political system that honors as many positive values as possible will drastically change the dynamics of how humans interact with each other. Yet, I can be wrong and all this could just be a hopeless attempt to change the dynamics of the world that are maybe hard-coded into the system: Life is a zero-sum game, and natural selection will root out weak individuals. As far as we are concerned, all we can do is observe, and maybe try to bring this vision into being, but whether or not it is a good vision, only time will tell.