Category: Economy


“Frankenfood” and Futuristic Farming

GM crops are commonplace in the developed world. Across the USA, they account for more than 80% of all maize, 86% of cotton, and 92% of the soya bean crop grown (according to the US Department of Agriculture, 2008). In the EU, a handful of species have been approved for sale, although, in practice, almost no permission has been granted yet. 

GM crops are likely to become commonplace in the EU within the next few decades. There is debate about what specifically will trigger GM to pass the political threshold that currently motivates opposition to this biotechnology. I think acceptance will probably happen when food prices rise beyond what the general public will accept. This may be a result of climate change or increased population and demand. 


The Smarter-Than-Human AIs Won’t Rule the World but More-Than-Humans Will

From implants and brain-computer communication to genetic therapies to brain enhancement, Ramez Naam’s 2005 book, More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement was one of the most lucid and accessible tours of the then-latest developments in transhumanist related sciences and technologies.  I interviewed him after the publication of that book for the (deceased) NeoFiles website and much of what he said to me has remained with me since. It seemed like it was time to catch up. What’s his perspective on more than humanism seven years hence?


Peoples’ Capitalism: A Pathway to Abundance

Abundance is a condition where everyone has enough to eat, a decent place to live, a steady income, good medical care, a good education, a safe neighborhood, a clean environment, and a secure retirement.


From Ginko to WaMu

A similar but much less sweeping series of bank failures occurred about a year earlier in the computer-generated virtual world known as Second Life.


Space-based Solar is Coming!

The company proposes to build power plants using solar panels in Earth orbit and convert the generated electricity to radio-frequency transmissions to beam down to a receiving station in Fresno, California.


The Mighty Morphin Mortgage Meltdown

The poster for 2008’s zeitgeist-defining comic book movie The Dark Night invited us to “imagine a world without rules.” Its box office was second only to the 1997 blockbuster, Titanic.  At the time, the Dow Jones (DJIA) averages were over 11,000.


Has The Death of Money Been Greatly Exaggerated?

In 1994, Joel Kurtzman wrote an alarming book titled The Death of Money: How the Electronic Economy Has Destabilized the World’s Market and Created Financial Chaos. Kurtzman reported that the digitization, or virtualization, of capital was causing a disconnect from reality that threatened financial anarchy… with possible positive and/or negative results.


Why Whuffie Is Wiser: Hacking the Economy Blues with Social Capital

I can hardly stand to listen to the radio or read the news these days. Seems that every bit of news tells me that there is no money left anywhere. Companies are laying people off and cutting back their budgets, the state of California can’t afford to pay the counties who can’t afford to provide services to the citizens, taxes are squeezing the middle-class and non-profits are suffering big losses in donations, which is leading to cutbacks in aid to the people who need it the most.


Hacking the Economy

Hacking the economy is easier than it looks. The first step, of course, is to remember that the economy itself is just a model. It’s a way of understanding the world as a series of transactions made by rational, self-interested beings working to maximize value for themselves. That’s supposedly the given.