This is a preview of the introductory section to my book:
Our generation of human civilization was sired by the radical transformation of feudalism into capitalism, and developed into maturity through financial sorcery and the explosion of industrial technologies powered by the greatest windfall we will receive on Earth. The enclosure of land by the emerging corps of centralized industry, the state, forcibly expelled peasant farmers from their land, allowing them to accept free contract as their new way of life. Since then, our civilization has grown from a feral child into a petulant god.
Technology has turned a proud species of intelligent apes into a humble force of nature. This unprecedented, unacknowledged power demands a social system that is self-aware and intelligent. The “invisible hand” of human demand needs a brain to point in the right direction. The technological infrastructure has entered the realm of possibility and is becoming ubiquitous today: Sensors, computers, and digital networks are permeating the world.
Society is having an identity crisis: We have the potential to steer our culture back in the direction of connectedness, dividualism, and ecology, or continue along the individualist, egocentric path we have followed for some time now.
This turn demands a study that is capable of deciding and plotting its course. Transferics is a framework for new resource distribution systems with more generalized axioms than those of economics. In either a scarce or abundant state, using either two-way (trade, exchange, undirected) or one-way (gift, donation, directed) resource transfer, with or without money, it encompasses economics of all “schools”, as well as the obscure study of agalmics. Transferics provides a way to radically expand the range of possibilities for social systems into territory far beyond what is possible in economics alone.
Transfer systems (an “economic system” being an example class of transfer systems) can be defined by their basic properties, which are ordinarily taken for granted. For example, the basic properties of our most commonly-used transfer systems include (in transferic terms): Trade (two-way transfers), money as a unit of account (deferred completion of transfers), control of resources based on private property (solitary and indefinite access), actions are between individuals and individually owned and managed organizations (agent-based action), and the primary constraint on action is money (an artificial maximum flow constraint).
Transfer systems can likewise include agalmic systems (gift-based transfer systems that exist in abundant states) or systems which are neither totally economic nor totally agalmic. The latter are of particular interest in the age we are approaching. A transfer system could be conditionally economic or agalmic at different times or even simultaneously. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we can construct transferics systems that are highly adaptive to changing conditions while providing a reliable, high quality of service.
In this book, I will argue that our economic system must, in the near future, adopt to the reality that resources are both scarce and abundant. Not only do we have to restrict our consumption to strict limits of ecological and physical scarcity, we also have the ability to create an abundance of the materials needed to live good lives. Scarcity and abundance should be better thought of as maximums and minimums, simple logistic limits within which we can freely live. Each limit requires a different mechanism because of their opposing nature. Most importantly, the way we think about our relationship to things is completely backwards:
We need to impose limits on things to improve the quality of people’s lives, rather than imposing limits on people’s lives to improve the quality of things.