Prelude to A Mutualist Crypto-Economy

(The following is the beginning of a series of articles, building upon the theory of a possible system of mutualism utilizing cryptocurrencies. The following article shall be linked here when publish, for easier navigation. Comments and criticism are wholly welcome.)

A rendition of a Mutualist flag with symbol. Rather uncommon, but still fitting.

In a world such as ours, there is no lack of presented solutions. The current system in which we live is leading to either our mass enslavement or mass extinction. We all know something needs to change: many people have presented their own ideas for a new way of life, through the lens of politics, economics, psychology, philosophy, etc. We have so many theories to try out for ourselves.

Here, then, is another theory to add to the pile, a variation of a theory already pronounced. Perhaps it is not a theory in itself that shall be presented, but a thought experiment in how it may be applied. The inventions we have made may yet be the tools of our salvation — if they do not devastate us first.

My basis for this work, then: how may we use such technologies to bring about the new economy, the new society, one in which people are able to be most free? Such a question in itself is so broad as to be taken up by many thinkers, of many philosophies and ideologies, a task not only too great for this writer to undertake, but would also sink any chance of clarity as well. The future society itself may be a mixture of all these possibilities, coalescing into a bright quilt which becomes more than the sum of its many patches. For this work, however, I must focus on a specific patch.

The system of economy I see as best representing a model for a free society is that presented by the frenchman Proudhon: Mutualism, with its mix of market mechanisms, insistence on the worker owning all of his labour and production, and its pronouncement of justice and mutual aid, leads me to believe it a viable sketch of what the free people of the world yet to come shall practice. A synthesis of the individual freedom of Capitalism with the communal or collective freedom of Communism, into a new “form of society”, one of the greatest freedom, one in which, in the most absolute sense of the word, “we will call liberty.” (1)

An artist rendition of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.

In regards to technology, there are many to choose, but for this experiment, we will take upon ourselves the task of utilizing a recent invention: cryptocurrencies. At its inception, it was meant as a tool for liberation, and its early days on the Silk Road showed the potential it has. Nowadays, however, it has been utilized as another investment, a get-rich-quick scheme, its virtues being squashed by the vices of business culture surrounding it. Still, it is of use; perhaps we may save it from its untimely fate.

With the system and technology outlined, we may move on to the plan of the work ahead: firstly, we will need to discuss the currency itself. Cryptocurrency as it currently stands is confused: it is traded amongst most as a kind of stock, rather than used for actual trade. While there might be some strains of crypto that is used as (or at least planned for) trading goods and services, the overall general use is as an investment, a way to make money via gambling.

We cannot let this stand: not only must we concoct a formula for the creation of a cryptocurrency that will act like a currency, we must also make it so as to be practicable in a mutualist system. In a sense, we must create what amounts to a freed money, in which the monopoly on money is eliminated, and currency is liberated. Such is needed for crypto to be adopted and used for Mutualism.

While bigger projects, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, are more well known and have become investment options, other projects like Monero endeavor to act more like currency. Still, there is much to be done to salvage cryptocurrency as a possible tool for liberation.

After the initial issue of the currency is dealt with, we will need to create a market to utilize the currency. Money is useless if there is nothing to trade. Thus, we must make sure there is something to trade for, either that of work or of products. Physical, real products and work will be needed to give the market any sense of practicality: before we can have artists or businessmen, we must have farmers and contractors. Afterwards, once a market is established, it can branch out and flourish, accepting all forms of work, all kinds of products.

Finally, culture and community will need to be discussed. Without a sense of community, the market cannot sprout and spread: it is via community, through our close friends and neighbors, that freed trade may begin at all. It is with our friends and neighbors, out of respect and love for them, that we practice both reciprocity of action and mutual aid, two central principles not only in mutualist economic theory, but also in mutualist moral theory. Without community, our virtues are left dulled by the vicious practices of our current society; virtue must be regularly renewed with reciprocal virtue.

This feeds into culture as well: in order for Mutualism to succeed, not only the economic, but the social conditions must both be changed. We cannot be free economically if we are not free socially; and we can be freed socially only if the culture and society created has as its guiding ideals the principles of justice and liberty. We must create an anarchist culture to grow along this new society, in order for any form of free society — Mutualism or no, utilizing crypto or not — to succeed and remain free, to bloom into a magnificent world.

Thus is the plan in three parts. Multiple chapters will encompass the second and third parts; the first, while perhaps the most technical, will only need one chapter for the outline. Each chapter will be released regularly, or at least is planned to be. Let us hope that it shall leave a worthy blueprint for those wishing to create the free society in the shell of our current one.

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The Liberty Sentries strives to protect and advocate for libertarian principles and values. Critiquing both those in and outside of the Liberty Movement, we labor tirelessly to spread and defend freedom from all who would slander, deface, or subvert the values of liberty.

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Kant Lonothew

Kant Lonothew

“The crowd is untruth.”

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