Trust is the glue of human existence, and perhaps animal existence. Or all of existence. I don’t know what a tree feels as it’s being uprooted, but I bet it’s not a nice feeling.
We can interpret many of our institutions as “technologies of trust.” The nation state is an important example, offering both carrots and sticks to keep us together. Not everyone gets the same security as others and nations are adept at turning some communities into villains, destroyers of trust - that’s the first step in the long arc towards genocide.
There’s also the root of all evil, i.e., money, which is arguably the single most important technology of trust. Don’t believe me: think about this fact - you are willing to press a button and go back to playing Fortnite, knowing that a package will be at your door in an hour or a day or a week. Isn’t that something else?
Money makes that trust possible. It tames risk, allowing us to take a chance on new ventures knowing that uncertainty can be quantified. Here’s the paradox though: the expansion of risk also expands the scope of exploitation & competition, bringing the commons into the circle of exploitation.
Money and Mathematics are closely related and as far as I can tell, they are the only tools we have invented that have a recursive character to them, spawning towers of speculation in both senses of that term. Finance is the outcome of the recursive character of money, while computing is the outcome of the recursive character of mathematics.
Cryptocurrency brings money and math into one package!
We will need ever more trust to address our planetary challenges and there’s no escaping money as a medium of trust. I am fascinated by what cryptocurrencies and blockchains etc will do and the new instabilities they will bring.
PS: check out the Five Books
site for other book recommendations.