by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright March 2017
One of the big changes the 2050's will bring is how money is acquired and spent. First off, this will become a cashless world -- transactions will be conducted using biometrics and eletronic accounts not paper, plastic or coin. This is just the beginning of the changes.
I envision three kinds of money emerging: Necessity Money, Luxury Money and Investing Money. These forms will be used for purchasing different styles of goods and services and will be difficult to interchange.
Necessity money will be the medium of exchange used to acquire goods and services offered by the Total Entitlement State (TES) system. TES will be providing basic food, housing, health care and dignity to everyone in the community. But this doesn't mean everyone has to be getting the same stuff or in the same quantities -- people will still be able to make choices. They will do so by making purchases. The medium of exchange will be necessity money.
Necessity money will be an evolution from the 2010's SNAP, food stamp and welfare systems. The money will be handed out on a regular basis.
There will be lots of monitoring going on in this necessity money environment. Many of the community will be paycheck-to-paycheck lifestylers and the system will be watching to make sure what they are purchasing is not going to cause a run out of money crisis. There will also be lots of suggestions coming from the monitoring system. Ideally, the suggestions will decline as the person accumulates a surplus of unspent money -- their "rainy day" fund is large.
One way of balancing between the desire for goods and the money allocated to a person is to have the person wait longer to get things when their money supply is low. A person goes into a restaurant and orders lunch. If they have lots of money in their necessity money account the meal comes out quickly. If they are scraping the bottom of their barrel the food will take two... five... ten minutes to arrive depending on how close to the bottom they are. This won't be as inconvenient as this sounds because waiting is something that will be part of the TES necessity lifestyle environment. Think of waiting in line for rides at Disneyland. Instead of an inconvenience this will become a signaling device for many people to indicate the status of their money supply.
Luxury money will originate from doing ambitious class activities -- the 2050's version of "real job" activities. It can be used to purchase anything people or cyber choose to make -- anything that is not purchasable with necessity money, that is. The two systems will be distinct and independent. This will be so to keep the goods and services provided in the necessity environment stable.
Luxury money can buy dilettante-created goods and services. And this will be one of the pillars for engaging in dilettante activities. If someone wants gourmet style vegetables grown by a dilettante farmer, they will pay for them with luxury money. If they want to vacation in an exotic locale they will pay with luxury money. Conversely, if they want to go to a Disneyland equivalent that will take necessity money.
Investing money buys factories. Since cyber is doing the factory designing, building and buying in 2050, the money that does this will flow through cyber hands -- humans will rarely have contact with it. It will exist because it is a convenient way of handling prioritizing the projects that cyber will be engaging in to provide prosperity to humans.
Humans won't see it, but it will have a strong influence on the prosperity that humans experience.
Saving is part of human instinctive thinking. It is a recent part but, like exploring, it is something that some people in the community will want to engage in. It will make them feel good.
How to stroke this feeling is going to take some inventing. If you don't have physical money, how can you put it under a mattress? What will having a "fat bank account" mean in the 2050's? For necessity money this will be growing the rainy day fund, but there is a limit to what makes sense to have in this fund. Beyond that limit, growing it is just stroking some instinct in the person that is doing it. For this reason large savings accumulations will probably be a luxury money activity, but what it will be beyond that isn't clear.
Gambling and investing are powered by similar emotions. Gambling will be a lot more popular, but both are going to be activities that people will want to engage in.
Gambling games are simple to organize. Casinos are likely to be around in the 2050's. The challenge is coming up with what can be gambled? A person who gambles money is going to run out of it at some point. One answer is providing gambling money as part of the necessity budget. A person can gamble until that runs out, then they must stop until the next paycheck comes along.
Another answer, one that exists in the 2010's, is computer gaming. Playing games is a form of gambling that doesn't require either necessity or luxury money.
Investing is not going to be as simple to organize. This will be done with luxury money, but the details of how to do this in the 2050's are not easy to forecast. It will likely center on dilettante activities, but how it will be organized with be different than 2010's investing is.
Money is something that will be transforming dramatically over the next few decades. It will divide into three general categories and each of those categories will be used to pay for activities that are distinct in the lifestyles of those living in the 2050's. Necessity money will buy the goods and services provided by TES. Luxury money will buy goods and services that are offered outside of the TES system. Investment money will be handled mostly by cyber and will buy the tools that cyber use to produce goods and services for humans.
All-in-all, handling money is going to be quite different than what we experience in the 2010's.