The future of Bit­coin min­ing appears to be in the hands of a small minor­i­ty of users who can afford ASIC equip­ment, mak­ing the “dis­trib­uted” nature of Bit­coin some­thing of a joke. In addi­tion, the Bit­coin net­work now must use vast amounts of pow­er just to main­tain itself, pow­er typ­i­cal­ly gen­er­at­ed by fos­sil fuel plants and in amounts far out of pro­por­tion to its actu­al use­ful­ness. It is a tremen­dous waste of actu­al real-world resources that could be bet­ter used on some­thing impor­tant (like, for exam­ple, watch­ing cat videos).
If your work­space is as leg­i­ble as, and aes­thet­i­cal­ly con­sis­tent with, your busi­ness card, you should sus­pect your­self of liv­ing a frilly life. If it is sig­nif­i­cant­ly more illeg­i­ble and aes­thet­i­cal­ly inco­her­ent, there’s a good chance your work­space is a space of real work.
A frill is nei­ther an obvi­ous­ly non-func­tion­al aes­thet­ic touch (that would be a flour­ish) nor a clear­ly unnec­es­sary func­tion­al capa­bil­i­ty (that would be wast­ed func­tion­al­i­ty). Rather, it is a func­tion­al capa­bil­i­ty you want to sig­nal as being a part of your life, but not actu­al­ly use.
Gov­ern­ment researchers have tagged 338 sharks with acoustic trans­mit­ters that mon­i­tor where the ani­mals are. When a tagged shark is about half a mile away from a beach, it trig­gers a com­put­er alert, which tweets out a mes­sage on the Surf Life Sav­ing West­ern Aus­tralia Twit­ter feed. The tweet notes the shark’s size, breed and approx­i­mate loca­tion.
Mis­tak­ing cap­i­tal­ism for a blue­print as to how to build a soci­ety strikes me as a real­ly dan­ger­ous idea in a bad way. Cap­i­tal­ism is a remark­able engine again for pro­duc­ing wealth. It’s a great tool to have in your tool­box if you’re try­ing to build a soci­ety and have that soci­ety advance. You wouldn’t want to go for­ward at this point with­out it. But it’s not a blue­print for how to build the just soci­ety. There are oth­er met­rics besides that quar­ter­ly prof­it report.
I’m utter­ly com­mit­ted to the idea that cap­i­tal­ism has to be the way we gen­er­ate mass wealth in the com­ing cen­tu­ry. That argument’s over. But the idea that it’s not going to be mar­ried to a social com­pact, that how you dis­trib­ute the ben­e­fits of cap­i­tal­ism isn’t going to include every­one in the soci­ety to a rea­son­able extent, that’s aston­ish­ing to me.