The necessity of a token economy in terms of social progress
I'd just like some opinions please.
We generally moved from barter to token economies employing physical tokens - coins and such. However, it's entirely possible that we may do away with physical tokens entirely, and rely completely of units of data as tokens in a global computer network.
Do you think there are other intermediate steps which might be taken, between barter and a data-economy, without using physical tokens as we did/do?
The immediate preliterate economy of the ancient Near East relied on a form of credit, sustained by clay "checks" sent from one city to another, and calling for the payment of so much in kind (grain or whatever) to the bearer. Complex seals were used to provide the secure signature function this required, and some scholars think that this was the origin of writing.
Also see the quipus of the Inca empire.
Yes, I know quipus. It's very interesting stuff, and still used in a limited form today.
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