Who decides what something is worth?
When in human history did the exchange of goods become replaced by the storing up of wealth in some kind of symbolic token?
In case you missed it, the progression of wealth-accummulation has moved on recently. What started out with weights of precious metals has long been replaced by bank notes promising that value is held elsewhere. Increasingly this value has been entirely symbolic -arbitary even. Economic systems ascribe and vary value according to mysterious forces that are as remote as the movement of stars in the heavens once were.
More recently, we have seen the rise of digital currencies; Bitcoin and the like. It feels revolutionary, like the wild west. Huge profits, huge losses. A gambler’s paradise. Most recently we have the advent of the deliciously titled non-fungible tokens. Like the tulip bulb bubble (that burst in 17th C Dutch society) NFT’s are a way to ascribe value to anything, in this case mostly to digital creations that then can be traded and stored away as wealth.
It is a reality that I find deeply depressing, for reasons that I can’t easily describe…
After the corn mouldered in the storehouse, and
Even gold was corrupted by baser metal;
After bitcoin bubbles burst like a septic blisters, and
Digital riches turned out to be all-too fungible after all –
How will we know what we are worth?
How can we pay for sunsets, or stars?
How will we afford for rains to still fall?
Will there be a point to life at all?