The 21st century world is connected, but not centered. These are both good things. Connections link people, cultures and ideas. Indeed, all the great advances in human history have been the result of social and economic networks.
Without the trade routes of the Indian Ocean, the Islamic world would never have acquired the numerals of India that now form the foundation of our mathematics of science. Without the coffeehouses of 17th- and 18th-century Britain, the Enlightenment probably wouldn’t have materialized. Genius dies in isolation; connection is the engine that drives human progress.
By contrast, the centralization of power is highly correlated with disaster and suffering. Some say that this is the iron law of oligarchy — i.e., as any institution, private or public, becomes larger and more complex, power will inevitably become concentrated in the hands of a small elite. It’s also inevitable that we’ll experience earthquakes and hurricanes, but this doesn’t stop us from trying to mitigate the damage of such natural disasters.
The incentives of our traditional economies have made oligarchies a practical certainty. We are now at a technological crossroads, however, which will allow us to change these incentives, keeping power in the hands of the people. And blockchain could be a key component of this process. Read More...