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Intermission : The open ended nature of Babbling Brook

In the last few posts we have been looking at the differences between spending money and 'liking' a blog post. In this post we are going to have an intermission from the main thread to explore a problem that I have in explaining how Babbling Brook works.

The aspect of Babbling Brook that is hardest to explain is its open ended nature. Babbling Brook is not simply a new economic system that is more efficient than the free market. It is a new platform on top of which many different economic system can be built. It is perfectly possible to build a free market democracy using it, but it is also possible to build any other system that uses numbers to place value on things. In using analogies to explain how Babbling Brook works I am selling it short. It's not that the analogies are wrong, it is just that they are limited.

All economic systems essentially describe how people interact together to create a society and the technology that is used to do that informs what kind of society can be created. In other words an economic system can only use mechanisms for exchanging value that technology permits. The invention of money provided some very interesting properties, e.g. it made it possible to store a lot of value in a small token. However it also has limitations, such as making it impossible to track the morals associated with work done to create the value.

The interesting thing about the internet is that it makes it possible to exchange value in any way that can be mathematically modelled. This is not possible with money, which is much more limited. The internet makes it possible for society to organise in a multitude of new ways and rather than tightly define a single new method of doing that I have designed Babbling Brook to make it easy for many new methods to arise.

For example, Babbling Brook makes it possible to build a system in which every transaction ever made is public, but it is also possible to make transactions that are private. How much each is used will ultimately be decided by the people using the system. For example, public transactions make it possible to track the morals of work done. Private transactions allow people to obtain things that society considers ok but at the same time can cause problems for the purchaser, such as buying medication.

The downfall of the abstractness of Babbling Brook is that is that it is a harder sell. There is less to immediately grab hold of. The purpose of this intermission is essentially to point out that the examples I give in the following posts are all only part of a larger picture. When I talk about the benefits of something like tracking transactions it is not without being aware of the problems this might also cause. Babbling Brook is designed to let the people using it find the balance between how much is public and how much is private.

In the next post we will get back on track with a post about how you earn credit in Babbling Brook, and how you get stuff for it. (I've also had a request for more curry analogies, I hope you like Thai?)

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