Money as rupture in the flow of consciousness

Consider the situation of loaning a spade to a friend or associate. Imagine further that you are away from your home for some time. In that time the loaner of the spade then loans it out to another person. When you return and need the spade back you may not be aware of where it currently is - that is you don't have total knowledge of the entire chain of transference - but you have the first link in the chain and a reasonable expectation that each link will either lead to another or, if the chain is broken, accept responsibility for replacing the spade.

Such are the relations of loaning - they create an accompanying chain of knowledge that, although distributed throughout the nodes of the chain (i.e. no node has complete knowledge of the chain, complete knowledge is stored in no central, canonical node) can be traversed and has basic built-in self-repairing function (i.e. the responsibility of the last link in a broken chain to replace). What's more there is the possibility of more information to flow along that chain (e.g. what each user actually used the transferred item for or other, possibly unrelated information - e.g. interested in buying a share in a JCB? etc.).

Let's look at the role of money in a chain of transference. By money here, I'm using that as a proxy for both exchange and private property. If you were to sell your spade to a bloke in the pub, there is no longer the beginning of a chain of transference there. If the buyer of your spade then goes on to sell the spade to someone else or throw it on a fire or whatever, there is no obligation by him to tell you that information if you ask him what happened to your spade, the next time you see him in the pub. This is a consequence of exchange such that once the object becomes the private property of another, the right of the previous possessor to information about it is severed.

It is this effect of rupture of information that leads to the mystification of us the producers from the world we produce around us. We have no information about where the vast majority of the things that surround us came from, who made them and under what conditions. Further, we don't even know who owns the vast majority of the things and built environment around us, other than it's not us. The end result is a world that appears to us as alien and external to our will and power.

One of the features that a dis-alienated economy will have to provide is the restoration of that information chain through the passages of circulation, such that the users of goods or services can find their producers and vice versa. Naturally this raises questions of privacy in some cases. But privacy needs to be managed as agreed exceptions to the default of transparency and traceability, not the other way around if we are to understand our production and manage it for our own needs.

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We easily lose sight of

We easily lose sight of everything, even ourselves today.

  


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