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Crypto-crash: graph

Source: Forbes

  1. Meta Capitalism
    May 29, 2022 at 3:05 am

    Reference List

    1. Shiller, Robert J. Narrative Economics [How Stories Go Viral & Drive Major Economic Events]. Kindle Edition. ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 2019; pp. 37-39.
    Notes: Bitcoin and Anarchism

    The anarchist movement, which opposes any government at all, began around 1880 and followed a slow growth path, according to a search for anarchist or anarchism on Google Ngrams. But the term itself dates back decades earlier, to the work of philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and others. Proudhon described anarchism in 1840 as follows:

    To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so.4 (Shiller, Robert J.. Narrative Economics (p. 37). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.)

    Proudhon’s words clearly appeal to people who feel frustrated by authority or blame authority for their lack of personal fulfillment. It took about forty years for anarchism to reach epidemic proportions, but it has shown immense staying power, even to this day. Indeed, the Bitcoin.org website carries a passage by anarchist Sterlin Lujan, dated 2016:

    Bitcoin is the catalyst for peaceful anarchy and freedom. It was built as a reaction against corrupt governments and financial institutions. It was not solely created for the sake of improving financial technology. But some people adulterate this truth. In reality, Bitcoin was meant to function as a monetary weapon, as a cryptocurrency poised to undermine authority.5 (Shiller, Robert J.. Narrative Economics (p. 38). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.)

    Most Bitcoin enthusiasts might not describe their enthusiasm in such extreme terms, but this passage seems to capture a central element of their narrative. Both cryptocurrencies and blockchains (the accounting systems for the cryptocurrencies, which are by design maintained democratically and anonymously by large numbers of individuals and supposedly beyond the regulation of any government) seem to have great emotional appeal for some people, kindling deep feelings about their position and role in society. The Bitcoin story is especially resonant because it provides a counternarrative to the older antianarchist narratives depicting anarchists as bomb-throwing lunatics whose vision for society can lead only to chaos and violence. Bitcoin is a contagious counternarrative because it exemplifies the impressive inventions that a free, anarchist society would eventually develop. (Shiller, Robert J.. Narrative Economics (p. 38). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.)

    The term hacker ethic is another modern embodiment of such anarchism. Before the widespread availability of the World Wide Web, sociologist Andrew Ross wrote, in 1991,

    The hacker ethic, first articulated in the 1950s among the famous MIT students who developed multiple-access user systems, is libertarian and crypto-anarchist in its right-to-know principles and its advocacy of decentralized technology.6 (Shiller, Robert J.. Narrative Economics (pp. 38-39). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.)

    In his 2001 book The Hacker Ethic and the Spirit of the Information Age, Pekka Himanen wrote about the ethic of the “passionate programmers.”7 In the Internet age, people’s willingness and ability to work together with new technology—in new frameworks that do not rely on government, on conventional profit, or on lawyers—have surprised many of us. For example, wikis, notably Wikipedia, encourage cooperation among large numbers of anonymous people to produce amazing information repositories. Another success story is the Linux operating system, which is open-source and distributed for free. (Shiller, Robert J.. Narrative Economics (p. 39). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.)

    But among the many examples of viral economic narratives, Bitcoin stands supreme. It is a narrative that is well crafted for contagion, effectively capturing the anarchist spirit; and, of course, that is why most of us have heard of it. It is part bubble story, part mystery story. It allows nonexperts and everyday people to participate in the narrative, allowing them to feel involved with and even build their identity around Bitcoin. Equally appealing, the narrative generates stories of untold riches. (Shiller, Robert J.. Narrative Economics (p. 39). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.)

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