Before I can tell you what Face Value is it will be necessary to explain the reasons why I began to envision it in the first place. I began my political philosophy very young as an anarchist and as I went through the growing pains of critical thinking I drifted into the stateless left until I could find no way in which those ideas did not necessitate a state of sorts. So eventually I began to adopt the ideas of an free market voluntaryist, individualist anarchist and/or libertarian. In the recent past I have disregarded the leftist idea that money is a social curse and stuck close to Austrian economics and free market ideology. Recently this began to bother me. No matter how I tried to reconcile the rest of the ideas about liberty with the idea of money, I could not make them stick. The problem itself is not political one, I realized, but a human one. Money itself rewards immorality. It is easily hoarded by those most willing to step on their fellow humans for it. And at the same time I can not believe that humans are themselves evil. Of course a small percent of them have psychotic or sociopathic tendencies, but overall humans were better than money disparity could account for. So I looked at money itself as the cause of the strife and suffering that it brings humanity. If the fatal flaw in money was that its acquisition creates immoral behavior then indeed the old saying was true. Money is the root of all evil.
Now, lets take a look at a snippet of the history and mechanics of money. During the dawn of the Agricultural Age humans began to specialize. In doing so it often became necessary to trade indirectly for a few reasons. First, commodities like carrots grown by a farmer would not be available to trade in the middle of winter. It would be convenient to tally the farmers contribution to his community in his time of abundance so that he could still purchase goods in the off season. Secondly, direct trade would mean that trade was only possible when both parties wanted each others goods or services. In order that everyone could trade their own production for that which they chose, the market created money as a sort of placeholder for production.
At first it was simple enough to trade with abstract items chosen by the society to represent wealth. As communities began to trade with one another it was necessary for a currency itself to carry the value which it was intended to represent. Therefore money soon became commodities itself, like gold or silver. Things whose scarcity gave them a sort of universal value. While this guaranteed that the money was of permanent value, it also opened up a new game. If commodities like gold could be used to exchange for the production of others, then one could expend effort simply in collecting the exchange commodity without the need of producing things of practical human value, which is far more work. So slowly a few clever humans began collecting money itself and with it they bought power and influence and eventually they created the state to protect their money and to gain more power. Eventually the state just issued abstract currencies which represented the sum of its own vast wealth. And so the production of the average man became just a way of growing the markets to collect more wealth for the state and the elites who control it while the average man was left to fight over the meaningless and intrinsically valueless pieces of paper the state issues us to create the illusion we are not just doing their bidding while we spend their pretend money in their company stores.
Yet if this seemed dishonest, the next step in money was even more delusional. Realizing the limits of commodities to back up money among growing populations, yet under its spell, the elite began to issue their own currency apart from the state. This new currency was based purely upon speculation. The bankers provided the speculation and in return charged interest on the usage of their currency. When populations soared and more money was needed they simply devalued the currency already in circulation to lend its value to newly minted currency and charged interest. The more the bankers speculated on the amount of trade and the necessary amount and value of currency, the more interest they collected. But they had speculated nothing, because if you haven’t guessed, this game is rigged. So now the elite not only had most of the worlds wealth in assets, they had also figured out how to steal back even the fake money they issued us. Yet we are forced to toil harder all the time just get some more of that bogus money to pass back to them in order that we might have food, shelter and fuel enough to survive. Even amongst the riches of our world. Think of a slave master who would issue his slaves money, let them compete over the easiest jobs and leave them no choice but to make all purchases from the masters very own store. This is where we are at.
And what of all these jobs? Today the politicians cry is jobs. The people beg for more jobs. Yet these jobs are often meaningless and unfulfilling. They are busywork. An economic shuffle to keep us in our place. To keep us from creating our own lives and our own purpose so that they would not interfere with theirs. And jobs themselves are becoming obsolete. Even today most work is unnecessary, and quickly becoming more so in due to technological innovations which lead to automation and at home production. Jobs are finite because there are far more humans alive today than there are necessary things to be done. The elite have created an endless menu of meaningless labor that destroys the very soul of the individual forced into the elites economic system through means of aggression.
As human civilization evolves again, as it has in ages past, we are coming upon a time in which information itself will be the most valuable commodity. Information itself is infinite, so it leaves the ability for every individual to create information and thus value infinitely. But value itself is still vague. If value is not represented by resources, commodities or labor, then what? To answer that question I must ask another. What gave resources, commodities or labor any value to begin with? The answer is simple. Consent. Consent that is not manufactured by an outside agenda is created through interactions between individuals in the form of morals, ethics and social values. In the final perspective it is human morality, ethics and morals which creates all economic value. How strange then that money led us astray from its very foundation.
So what then if moral and ethical behavior was in fact currency itself? How then could a few psychopaths and sociopaths prey upon the majority of us if their immoral and unethical behavior intrinsically prevented them from gaining any economic value with the rest of us? Why then would anyone ever collude with their evil for personal benefit if there were no benefits but were strong economic repercussions for inhumane activity? If good deeds created economic prosperity not only would it require moral and ethical behavior, but it would cripple the avarice and hubris created in others by the trap of money.
Now before I tell you what Face Value is, let me be very clear about what it is not. It is not the means to the end itself. It is not a final solution. It is not a new master.
Face Value is simply a means towards a society without money and the state. A beginning of the journey into the future of humanity. A tool using the best current technologies to open us up to the idea of doing future human economic interactions via morality and ethics by playacting them first in a purely social environment. Face Value is a new social networking site turned upside down. Instead of you telling everyone about yourself, everyone else uses it to tell everyone else about you. In this way, much like the rating systems at Amazon, Angie’s List and Rate Your Professor, every user would build up a rating based on a number of criteria and on their interactions with others online and in real life. This is essentially putting both individuals and human morals, ethics and values on the free market to determine the kinds of traits and activities human consensus finds worthy of rewarding us for.
Now before you begin to point out all of the awful ways this will inevitably be used at first, let me remind you that the plan is a long term one. Along the way we will work out the bugs and hopefully others will create similar systems to compete with Face Value and push the forward more quickly with more great human minds working on the problem. But to ease your mind just a bit let me explain some of the measures we have already thought of. First of all, you could not ever delete another persons rating or review. Should you choose to dispute it then it would go into a disputed section and the two parties would be forced to seek out a third party mediator which they both agreed upon and whose ruling they agreed to follow, who would then make a ruling on the case and the disputed rating or review would then either be deleted by the posting party or it would go on permanent display on your Face Value profile.
Everything in your profile will include specifics so that you may be judged not on merely an average of responses but also on the content and context of them. And even though Face Value would rely most heavily on ratings and reviews you could still list personal achievements, ideas or attitudes for others to help determine your character. In time, we hope, this would weed out not only immoral and unethical behavior; but it would also decide which morals and ethics are important.
We do not think that bigotry, hatred or greed could survive very well in such conditions. We do not think that the authoritarian state could survive very long if those interested in administering such a thing were prevented the ability to act improperly. Why would power or protection or war be needed when every individual and action was being judged and those who acted inhumanely were sanctioned for it? We do not believe that the vulgarity of excess created by human markets in which wealth and power for the few was the main agenda could survive for long. These processes destroy our world, our humanity and civilization itself. And if they are not curtailed, they will eventually destroy our species and much more. The destructive force of money combined with the exponential growth of human populations is a recipe for disaster. In order to survive this transition from the Industrial to the Information Age we must rethink economies that enslave and pillage. We must begin to drift away from a medium of exchange predicated upon a currency which invites our destruction and towards one based upon the value of each individual based upon their deeds and contribution to their community. Not on whats in our accounts or in our pockets but by the Face Value of the very lives that we lead.