Kicking the box on the road, instead of capturing parts of immutable rarity. This is the choice Bitcoin brings to the table.
This is an opinion editorial by Maxx Mannheimer, a former commercial account manager with a background in industrial and organizational psychology.
The economy can be viewed as a complex orchestra. Industry sectors are represented by choir, strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion. These areas all work together as seamlessly as possible to create a seamless experience for listeners and for themselves. Each individual uses the instruments at their disposal to add value to our collective experience.
In a classical orchestra, we usually see a conductor waving his arms, which puts on quite a show for the audience, but also tells the individual players in the orchestra when and how to play. Many orchestral musicians prefer the comfort of having the cues of a conductor. Others argue that after enough practice they can play perfectly without the vigorous hand fidgeting. In Indonesian gamelan music, there is no such conductor. All participants play together.
The parallel I am making here is between a centralized economy and a laissez-faire approach. Is it possible that the man in front of the audience isn’t as critical of the performance as his final salute might suggest? Egalitarians who have a distaste for central planning might be inclined to say “yes.” I’m not here to insert my opinion into this argument, but rather to introduce the first metaphor as a supporting illustration for my second.
Hot potato and musical chairs work on a similar mechanism, but in reverse. In a hot potato game, the objective is to get the potato out of your hands as quickly as possible so you don’t find yourself holding it when the music stops. In a game of musical chairs, the objective is to sit on a seat as soon as the music stops.
Many of us have fallen into the illusion that we are incapable of fully understanding the current hot potato economic game. The best players, of whom few remain, have developed very sophisticated movements and terminology to describe how they pass the potato from hand to hand. Quantitative easing and credit default swaps are prime examples. As the game increases in dizzying verbal complexity, we are merely spectators with minor bets on the outcome.
What I witness from US President to US President and from one Federal Reserve Board Chairman to another Fed Chairman is undoubtedly a game of hot potatoes. They pass their responsibility for the potato with vigor, but they surely know that one of them will stay with the potato. The potato in the metaphor, of course, is debt. The national debt of the United States is currently approaching thirty trillion dollars (30,000,000,000,000) and that’s just one of many balance sheets involved in the mess. Writing or saying the word “trillion” just doesn’t have the same effect as looking at the zeros, does it? Trying to actually visualize what a trillion of any physical object looks like can help understand just how hot that potato actually is. Unfortunately, the player holding the potato when the music stops isn’t the only one having to deal with the absurdity of this situation. Every living human being on this planet will carry the weight of the crumbling tower of debt that our political and financial establishments have fabricated.
Every presidential administration and every political party points the finger at its opposition, claiming that it is the root of our current dilemma. The truth is that they are all responsible for the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Fans of either team will be biased one way or another, but if one looks objectively at the legislative and tax history of the United States, one finds massive fault on both sides. from the driveway.
Some will disagree, but I’m of the opinion that hot potato is no longer fun. The rules have gotten very convoluted, the number of players determining the outcome has gotten progressively smaller over time, and frankly, I don’t care much about the original concept.
Looking back on my playing years, I remember situations where most of the kids in the sandbox were playing a game that didn’t interest me much. I had options at the time. I was free to be on my own and not interact with anyone, but it really dented the interest of going to the playground to begin with. I could reluctantly play the game with others even though I didn’t enjoy it. Or I could start a new game and show others why it was more fun than the previous one.
Clearly, the global economy manages risk far beyond what is considered the most “fun”. We also consider standard of living, individual freedom, life expectancy, infant mortality, war and famine to begin with.
For now, we’ll just take a look at the grim reality and refocus on the fun. Today’s global economy maintains a state of affairs where a vast majority of the world is watching a game that is not fun for them. A simple measure of this might be that of inequality tracked over time. Currently, a very small percentage of participants have realized that there is an alternative game available. This percentage does not include all bitcoin users, only those bitcoin users who truly understand the potential of what they are holding.
21 million chairs have been placed in a circle and the music is playing. Luckily for us, we didn’t have to wait for the music to stop before we sat down. In our current version of the game, having an entire chair isn’t necessary to succeed, but not having access to a chair at the end would be a bad outcome. These chairs can be divided by 100 million and each player has a chance to access a part of the chairs. Having more than one chair can allow you to seat other people you care about, or you can accumulate them for yourself. Such is the nature of the game.
Many people today have no idea how musical chairs work and are still obsessed with the hot potato game. These are the non-moneymakers. Some people have one foot in every game wondering if they want to keep playing hot potato or if they want to dedicate themselves to musical chairs. These are the “cryptocurrency” enthusiasts. Some people are well focused on musical chairs, but are still trying to collect more chairs while risking the chairs they already have. Anyone who trades bitcoins or tries to earn interest on them falls into this category. Naturally, using a cold wallet locks the chairs down so no one else can sit in them. These are the players who have already won.
Part of the fun is that while the international economic orchestra plays, we don’t know exactly when the music will stop. Some will say that the music should not stop. There are those who say that the hypothetical debt ceiling is infinite. They never heard the music stop or thought about how events might unfold if they did.
I made up my mind about which game I wanted to play some time ago because I think the music will inevitably stop. It could have happened in 2008, but maybe we’re getting an encore. There are no absolute limits to reminders and technically the debt ceiling could be infinite, but does any rational human believe these things can go on forever?
Right now it seems like the conductor is pushing harder and harder, fidgeting and sweating. The musicians fall from their chairs of exhaustion and the semblance of harmony turns into an avant-garde nightmare. Labor shortages, commodity fluctuations, extreme speculation, price inflation and overwhelming anxiety are the result of a global system pushed to the brink.
Who else is looking forward to some peace and quiet?
This is a guest post by Maxx Mannheimer. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.