Which way will blockchain go, and is it invincible? A look at Buckminster Fuller gives us a fascinating look at one man’s idea for changing the world for the better.
Wicked problems overrun the world.
Because of their size, scope, interconnectivity, and the constant absence of knowledge that renders it impossible to look at all of the complexities and consequences, the world is ridden with problems.
Some of those issues are environmental problems, securing people with food, politics, the coronavirus… When faced with huge problems, what should we do to resolve them? What kind of social structure and tech will provide a solution?
Thomas Kuhn coined the term paradigm shift in his seminal work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions to explain the science and tech progress. Big changes in consensus thinking aren’t simple, as innovative concepts that radically question the world frequently face extreme opposition by status quo maintainers prior to being widely adopted after further research and debate.
An important moment in tech or scientific transition is the time of instability in which mainstream theory cannot cope with problems or weaknesses within the predominant paradigm, giving way for a new approach to replace it. The crisis is literally understanding stuff as they really are. For instance, the Copernican idea changed our knowledge about the planet’s standing in space forever.
A growing amount of people believe that cryptos and their data blockchain tech will eventually cause a transition and move towards the world’s political and economic shifts. When the 2008 financial crisis hit, the crypto-currency model was formed with BTC’s coming and the prospect of an economic system shaped by cryptographic facts rather than confidence.
Instead of radical global changes, though, we have experienced 10 years of unprecedented wealth transfer that is very different from its real consequences. Can the crypto economy mature before mistakes are replicated and becomes a weirder form of centralized banks? Can the government co-opt it?
Changing the world requires addressing many issues, but blockchain tech will take an overwhelming and relentless commitment to change.
A 20th-century revolutionary technologist who worked on his revolutionary ideas to steer society to a bright future set some of the blockchain industry’s possible principles. His story is a cautionary one for a self-identifying technology revolution that is sure of its inevitableness.
A Modern-Era Da Vinci
Buckminster Fuller was an inventor, engineer, machine theorist, futurist, and self-named “comprehensive anticipatory architecture” expert focused on creating the systems needed to mitigate suffering and cater to the core things needed for all people to survive. He was born at the end of the 19th century. The goal was to form a coordinated effort to make the world suitable with a new tech framework, which he dubbed a design science revolution.
Following 1927, Fuller truly dedicated himself to developing new structures for positive social improvement utilizing a 1st principles way to address food shortages, housing, transit, and energy deprivation. Fuller recognized that for him to resolve such questions, we must see them.
Fuller’s fascination with statistics is abundant. From 12 until his death, he preserved what could be the most detailed record of an individual’s existence, which he called the “Chronofile.” Each text, guide, and analysis put in an archive of 737 volumes of 300-400 pages each.
Early on, Fuller saw that we are not effective in managing the little resources we have. Fuller disagreed with Malthus’s theory that we, as humans, will grow so much to go over our capacities or our planet’s. This would then lead to more violence and lack of food, so Malthus favored restricting the growth of the population.
Fuller was dismissive, too, of the pervasive trend of Social Darwinism that emerged when everybody from business pros to governments interpreted Darwin’s initial theory of evolution that just the powerful would prosper, with rivalry winning over working together at all times. He viewed all of these as hollow justifications for prolonged acts of evil.
Fuller thought of that as a structural design issue. A comprehensive re-engineering of civilization with detailed information and distribution of the globe’s wealth will let humanity reach stability and regain our world balance — an unprecedented equitable view of the future.
One of his theoretical constructs was to see our world as an exploration mode of transport with countless crew members operating with minimal resources, which Fuller dubbed Starship Earth.
Fuller frequently utilized this framework to deal with worldwide problems concerning the distribution of resources and alternative energy supply.
Utilities for a Design Science Revolution
Here are the tools Fuller proposed we used
Fuller would look at systems as a whole and analyze them as interconnected parts of separate ones that cannot be looked at alone. This holistic stance assisted him in understanding critical systems and some side-factors like labor conditions and pollution.
This is a combo of several words – dynamic, maximum, and tension. He utilized the word to gain maximum benefits from the smallest energy input to rid the world of waste.
Fuller was obsessed with doing the most with the smallest or no input. This is correlative to the notion of Moore’s law – giving computers to do more and more with less.
The main idea is to distribute power within one system to achieve having no central basis and have structural integrity. This can be used in biology, economy…
The Game of the Globe
Near the end of the sixties, he launched a research and engineering program organized internationally, which he coined the World Game.
The point is to have the world work for humans, all of them, and not inflict damage during that time.
The World Game had an idea to shift human productivity to those made for better living, instead of using it for weapons.
Early on, Fuller realized computers would be better suited for his idea. Even though the Internet was in its early stages, he talked about a satellite-connected computer system for real-time handling of resource allocation.
Some of the World Game’s fundamental findings over the 20 years it was simulated was the need for an internationally connected electricity grid.
This would be connected to the energy system and have a digital coin in kilowatt-hours connected to the planet’s productive capacity, instead of being connected to banks.
The Game was supposed to be a relentless R&D project that would deliver the solutions needed to fix challenges that existing power forces can not handle.
This didn’t take place… yet. In his last published work, Fuller talked about a profound science shift in effect by 1989 and will implement global accounting by the new millennium.
Those who came after Fuller talked about his energy-efficient world view and how useful it would be, as well as how marketable.
Naturally, the product-market fit is not compatible totally with global struggles.
Adapting Narrative of Cryptocurrencies to World Change
Narrative drives a lot of things – tech movements, too. The free and open-source software revolution was successful because it created great software that clashed with bureaucratic, industrial growth. It was motivated by a common dream of a more free and equitable future achieved by universal tech access.
This offered constructors a guide in the face of difficulty and confusion, even though the path had not been programmed. A central group of narratives has guided the new crypto-currency revolution that aims to lend the tech sense throughout the years. The industry is still attempting to put in place its identity and purpose. For instance, Bitcoin’s early years were motivated by a CTA to destroy the Fed to disrupt the traditional bank system and the country.
This narrative is prevalent in the crypto world and still widespread. It was Fuller who initially talked about it.
Years prior to the first digital cash tests, Fuller envisaged a fully global economy reengineering enabled by a coordinated accounting system coupled with a worldwide energy network.
The US dollar, the world’s reserve currency, will be replaced by an energy-efficient digital coin operation. Price discovery on the marketplace would be measured in kilowatt-hours as the standardized accounting system will weigh in the exact amount of energy (or work) that went into each function or object being made.
Fuller thought that a time-energy global accounting system might end dysfunctional monetary systems that are vulnerable to banks and governments’ changing ideas. The world’s finance could be connected to development directly and less vulnerable to manipulation and speculation.
Every person worldwide would access their part of the world’s balance by using small computerized credit cards.
For him, a system like that would need to be located outside of governments and existing banks.
Why didn’t this take place still? First, any potential change in the structure would be faced with extreme opposition from the powers and the same people these campaigns are attempting to rescue.
Radical ideas that change the world are often discussed as too forward-thinking, even though many issues need to be addressed soon. How do we put these systems in place before a crisis strikes?
The blockchain sector could push the world to cooperate with no eco-damage and work for the people. This way, it would also be based on Fuller’s basic ideas.
Blockchain: Corporate Finance’s Geodesic Dome?
From 1998 to 1999, financial crypto-pro and Cypherpunk Robert Hettinga wrote articles that talked about a novel way of accounting utilizing a digitalized bearer transaction settlement set of rules (a blockchain) that may make for powerful, non-centralized capital marketplaces with a map similar to Fuller’s Geodesic dome. That novel era of digital, limitless, –P2P financial tech will allow us to better upgrade current Internet age financial instruments and realize novel and exotic structures.
Although Hettinga was an ardent promoter of this transformative transition to the world financial system, he was suspicious of the ludicrous goods that could emerge just since they were feasible.
Quick forward two decades later and in the blockchain space, and there’s no lack of such nonsense products. While Fuller’s work is characterized by doing more with less, the market seems to lose consistency about where money and resources should be distributed for the bigger good.
The 2017-2018 ICO phase was a transfer of wealth (we are talking about) with little social influence. If the World Game ideas were to implement themselves as rules for the blockchain sector, then all marketplace players (the builders, investors, and consumers) would have to face the value generation and face the effects.
The triple bottom line accounting (TBL), which counts in not just returns but also eco and social consequences, was discussed for years. Still, there isn’t a usual way of work that institutions can utilize.
Blockchain could lead to adopting such a way of work since there are many efficient things to gain from it via safe records of transfers that can be verified and via worldwide profit settlements. All of this doesn’t sound huge, but it could really push life for the better.
An open-source version of Fuller’s idea with protocol, blockchain accounting of corporate and regional supply chains, and AI learning would imitate marketplace shifts, nature shifts, and allocation handling.
This would make cryptocurrencies a basis for the survival of humankind and the resolve of their issues.