This is an opinion editorial written by Jimmy Song, who has over 20 years of expertise in the fields of “Bitcoin” developing, teaching, and entrepreneurship in addition to programming. Our interpersonal connections are being disrupted by an entity that is not wanted: the government.
People’s connections to one another form the backbone of any society. An advantage should be mutual, and connections should be straightforward, but in today’s world of fiat currency, none of these things is the case. The majority of relationships are characterized by the presence of a controlling authority in the center of the dynamic. That is not always a negative thing to have happen. When it comes to issues of justice or common norms, it is preferable to have a third party who is able to find anything out even in the midst of a fight. When it comes to restricting the flexibility of how people wish to relate to one another, centralization is a concern, even when there isn’t any conflict present.
There is no need for me to defend the significance of having healthy and pleasant connections with other people in this context. That is a fact, and common sense tells us that everyone is aware of it. Even people who are quite skilled at taking care of themselves on their own require the companionship of others, as portrayed in the popular television show “Alone.” It is impossible to imagine a more unpleasant way to spend one’s time than to deprive oneself of any human contact. You can claim to be an introvert all you want, but the reality is that you still have at least a few relationships that are significant. Relationships are, in many respects, the thing that gives life its meaning and purpose and makes it enjoyable to live. Relationship networks are the foundation of civilization.
Unfortunately, our relationships, which serve as the nodes on the network that constitutes civilisation, have become degraded. The uninvited intervention of authorities in the formation of bilateral relationships has resulted in the creation of bureaucracy and the addition of third parties who can be trusted. Although I have talked about this topic in relation to one particular relationship, namely marriage, it is applicable to a wide variety of other partnerships as well. The existence of fiat money has had a significant negative impact on the standard of all types of relationships.
This is something that all of us know deep within. Relationships feel extremely superficial, and there is a strong emphasis placed on one’s own time preferences. Why do initial impressions seem to carry so much more weight in today’s society? What causes it to be so challenging to connect with somebody on a profound level? Is real life becoming more like Facebook, in which we know a lot of surface-level information about people but very little about the complexities of their personalities? Do the majority of people even have the desire to have meaningful connections with other people? This essay is an investigation into the reasons why there is an obvious flaw in the way that relationships are structured.
Strong Correlations Between Time and Preferences
One of the most evident effects of fiat currency is that it encourages high time-preference behavior, which is one of its repercussions. Why bother to save money and make long-term plans when the value of the currency we actually use is constantly decreasing? If the government is going to provide us with a variety of different kinds of safety nets in the future, then there is no reason not to just enjoy life in the here and now. The incentives shift away from long-term planning and toward short-term enjoyment with fiat currency.
As a direct consequence of this, connections are not developed with the goal of maintaining them over an extended period of time. Relationships of any kind, whether they be professional or personal or even familial, are frequently formed with only the most immediate goals in mind. People have the expectation that the relationships they have would provide for them in the here and now in an economy based on fiat currency. It should therefore come as no surprise that birth rates around the globe are falling everywhere. When you really stop to think about it, the bond between a parent and a child is a very long-term investment. Waiting 20 to 30 years is a long time, and waiting for such a lengthy period of time in a fiat economy just doesn’t make any sense.
Unfortunately, a concentration on the short term creates incentives for exploitation. Why not burn bridges for your own good if you aren’t in a relationship with the intention of keeping it going for the long haul?
In addition, the transient nature of relationships contributes to their superficiality. People are more concerned with having a good time, getting access to what they want, or making their lives more convenient than they are with having a good character, being loyal, or being reliable. Relationships with a high time-preference tend to be more turbulent and call for a great deal more upkeep. Your relationship is only as strong as the quality of your most recent exchange, and if it wasn’t enjoyable, fascinating, or make you feel good in some manner, it’s probable that it won’t continue much longer. If you were in a relationship, for instance, and you were to speak some unpalatable reality, it is quite likely that the relationship would end.
People in a society based on fiat currency tend to have a larger preference for time, and those with a high desire for time tend to lack discipline. This naturally indicates that they are more likely to behave based on their emotions and with little consideration for the consequences of their actions in the long run. Due to the fact that they didn’t put much effort into developing the relationship in the first place, many people have a habit of ending partnerships prematurely. This is especially true with regard to those individuals who don’t require anything from you in any way. Many of these individuals are rent-seekers, and in today’s society, rent-seekers are one of the problems that plagues relationships.
The Reduced Need For Reputation Caused By Fiat
In the past, having a good reputation was essential to making money. Being a good baker, cobbler, or lawyer meant that you did a good job overall and provided excellent service to your clients. A poor reputation was a surefire way to go broke very quickly.
That shifted due to the introduction of fiat currency.
Rent-seeking possibilities are plentiful under a fiat money system, and such opportunities require little to no reputation for participation. Rent-seekers are not subject to the market dynamics of supply and demand; rather, their sole responsibility is to appease the money printer. The only relationship that needs to be kept up is the one with the person or organization that pays the wage. Naturally, the payor of the salary will typically have specific needs and standards, but in order to ensure that these are met, monitoring is required. The person who pays the salary becomes the reliable impartial third party in the two parties’ relationship. People that are looking for apartments will do the bare minimum to satisfy the requirements. The presence of a third party and their assessment lowers the quality of the relationship.
Compare this to the way a market transaction works. People who are interested in purchasing your goods or utilizing your services are far more likely to engage in self-monitoring and make an investment in the connection. As a result of being motivated by profit rather than by the need to please a superior, they have a far longer time horizon.
Because of Fiat employment, maintaining long-term customer connections has practically become irrelevant. Fiat has seeped into other relationships, and just like it has into most other aspects of fiat, it has infected and debased them like cancer.
Possibly Implied Third Party
The most evident form of fiat infection can be found in the interactions between employers and employees. Employment laws are the means by which the government exercises control over the relationship. Taxes are levied on salaries, certain benefits must be provided, and both parties are obligated to adhere to the mandates set forth by the government. Because the government is a third party involved in the relationship, it causes a great deal of conflict.
The relationship takes a financial hit as a result of it, but the devaluation goes far deeper than that. The government dictates how the employer-employee relationship is to be structured, rather than employers and employees engaging in creative problem-solving to figure out what would work best for them. As a consequence of this, the majority of the employer-employee relationships are standardized. Because of the standardization of these factors, there is relatively little room for innovation or competition.
This is the reason why businesses come out as being so cold and impersonal. Because fiat corporations are effectively extensions of the government, they tend to become rent-seeking and less focused on the long term as a result. How many employees still feel a sense of loyalty to the organization they work for? It is currently common practice for individuals to quit their jobs in order to gain advancement at their previous employer. In that circumstance, everyone is acting with a high time preference because it costs both the corporation and the employee a great deal of money, time, and energy, which might be avoided if they had better relationships with one another.
Even those who want to go into business for themselves are not immune to government action because the ties they have with their clients are governed by laws. In spite of the restrictions’ seeming intention to shield one of the parties from harm, they instead stifle inventiveness and ingenuity in the marketplace. It is because of these laws that certain industries, like the aviation industry, have not advanced, and sadly, the majority of the economy is now governed by such regulations.
Politics Takes Priority Over Everything
The only kinds of connections that are affected by fiat money are not the kinds of relationships that revolve around money, such as employer-employee and producer-consumer interactions. The unwelcome intrusion of politics into personal relationships is inevitable in a fiat-money economy since politics comes to dominate every aspect of daily life in such an economy.
Because the privilege of being able to create money is such a valuable reward, everyone competes with one another for the opportunity to do so for the advantage of their own group. Rent-seeking is a lot simpler than catering to the requirements of the market, which is why political action has taken on such a significant role. Politics is a game with an inherent zero-sum dynamic, which means that for one person to gain, another must suffer a loss. As a result, the promotion of the needs of your group is going to inevitably collide with the demands of another group.
The political discussions take on a morally charged tone as well. Every debate over money devolves into a discussion of ethics in the end. There is a significant financial incentive to fabricate a victim narrative in order to strengthen one’s case for receiving financial compensation on moral grounds. The more your position as a victim, the stronger the moral claim you have to newly generated money.
Relationships today are tainted with a sense of victimhood and, in the end, become monetary transactions. The monetary payment for the balance of payment in victimhood is accomplished through the use of fiat currency. As a result, your relationship with individuals who belong to a different political group has an implicit third party in fiat money.
Your group takes on the quality of an echo chamber as a result of the people who are a part of it, and if you say something politically that is in opposition to the group, you run the risk of being excluded from it. After all, you’re causing them financial loss! Fiat currency diminishes the depth of our connections to the level of superficial support for political aims. They are aware of how shallow they are because they are.
Because of the political and rent-seeking nature of partnerships, status takes on an extremely significant role in the dynamic. In a currency-based system, it is impossible to become wealthy without first advancing in social standing. In a fiat economy, the ability to make a good first impression, having the right opinions, and having the right political skills are what get you in with the money printers. In a market economy, innovation, creativity, and useful goods and services are what make you money. In a fiat economy, however, having the ability to make a good first impression is what gets you in with the money printers.
This is evident in the connections that we have with other people. People are lobbying for your vote or seeking your support within your in-group in order to advance up the social hierarchy. With all of the backstabbing, gossiping, and shallowness that characterize organizations, they become larger versions of middle school. Even worse, relationships are severed the moment they are no longer seen as strategically useful for a given group. As a consequence of this, their lifespan is typically not very long.
In contrast, market economies place a considerably greater emphasis on the commodities and services that they produce. In the end, the impression that is left is determined not by the political abilities of the person selling the goods and services but by the goods and services themselves. In addition, the typical duration of market transactions is quite a little longer. There is a cost associated with switching, and over time, consumers typically desire products with higher quality. In a free market system, it is not possible to have relationships that are transient. Burning bridges will always come with a financial price tag attached to it.
Unfortunately, playing political games among friends is all too prevalent, which causes them to have a significantly larger preference for time. Because of the political structure of the group, status inside the group is more significant than any bilateral relationship, and this results in a much higher turnover rate of members in a friend group than would otherwise be the case. Because, after all, who wants to be at the very bottom of a social ladder when they have the opportunity to try their luck somewhere else?
One of the most disheartening things that I’ve witnessed over the years is the rise of multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes on Facebook, in which users sell products to their friends in exchange for a commission. Friendships are increasingly being viewed as a potential source of income, and individuals have no problem taking advantage of these relationships for financial gain. This kind of behavior degrades the relationship because it brings financial considerations into the picture, yet most individuals are too polite to confront persons who behave in this manner. The upshot is a significant number of broken relationships and bridges that have been burned as a consequence of the rent-seeking attempt.
Relationships of Authority and Obligation
The peculiarity of democracy is that in order for the authorities to function properly, they are supposed to have the agreement of the people they control. It is desirable for those who are ruled to provide their consent. However, when fiat money is introduced into the picture, dishonest government inevitably follows in its wake.
At this point, we are subjected to incessant propaganda that leads us to believe that everything is going swimmingly, or at the very least that the authorities are doing a decent job, but in reality, neither of these things is true. Because the prize of newly generated money is so large, the authorities have strong incentives to win our support and get their way. They will use falsehood, bluster, and propaganda to win our vote if they can do so, even if it means cutting themselves off from 49 percent of the people. Since it is unpleasant to take in the truth, there is a strong motivation to tell lies and spread false information. That’s not really the best way to start a romantic relationship, is it? This is reflected in the scepticism, mistrust, and downright animosity that many have against the political system.
Bitcoin Is the Answer to This
My experience with Bitcoin has afforded me the opportunity to cultivate meaningful connections with a diverse group of people, which is one of the most fascinating aspects of this trip. It’s a blessing that I’ve been able to form friendships with so many of the wonderful and intriguing folks who inhabit this area of the internet.
Bitcoin’s incentives are considerably different from those of traditional fiat currencies. My observations have shown that those individuals who place a high value on their time will present themselves. In point of fact, many individuals have recently broken bridges by criticizing Bitcoin Maximalists and the harsh realities they have presented. In my view, these individuals are still subject to the impact of fiat currency. The people that have remained, however, are quite a few in number, and they are not likely to leave quickly for the simple reason that this particular group possesses a higher overall level of morality and faithfulness.
Bitcoin is unique and has the potential to alter the incentives present in relationships. Because we have money and are able to make plans for the future, we give a higher priority to the long term. Relationships are critical, and maintaining the healthy ones while severing the toxic ones is equally as vital as maintaining the healthy ones. Bitcoin users intuitively understand this because to the large number of affinity-scamming altcoins operating in our area. Self-selection plays a role in maintaining long-term relationships. It’s a lovely model for how connections should be structured in the world.
Let’s dig deeper into our connections again.