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The token economy The token economy
by Joseph Gatt
2020-01-12 11:51:03
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When you build the biggest tower in the world, you need to at least consider that no one wants to work on the 72nd floor. When you reevaluate your currency, you need to at least consider that people's savings will be wiped out. When you hire an “Oxford graduate” you need to at least consider whether he'll help you get good deals.

So before you believe in tokens, here are a few case studies.

toke01_400Passage of a book report on Karl Marx's the Capital by an Ivy League student:

Karl Marx famous Communist. Karl Marx Communism dangerous for the world. The book by Karl Marx say capitalism is bad. Capitalism is free. Communism is bad, I think. Communism thinks harmony good. But for economy's future, harmony not good, but competition good.

Now you're not going to tell me this Ivy Leaguer would do a great job at anything. Yet, when confronted about the gap between this Ivy Leaguer's education and skills, the Ivy Leaguer becomes aggressive and bestial for you questioning his skills. Too many Ivy Leaguers like this one running your country, and bam, you just hit that recession wall.

So here are the case studies on tokens.

Education tokens. Education was invented so people could be trained and assimilate concepts. Concepts such as reading and writing, accounting, general knowledge about the world, general knowledge about the laws of science, problem-solving, and practical knowledge such as coding, fixing machines, or building industrial machines.

Many countries have this problem. HR director is a pathological narcissist who does not want to be lectured by a Harvard graduate. Almost all HR directors are pathological narcissists who don't want to be lectured by Ivy League graduates. So HR directors hire Ivy League graduates without testing the depth of the Ivy Leaguer's knowledge. The Chinese, Japanese, French, Algerian, Canadian, you name it, will realize that he can sleep his way through his Ivy League education, and land a 6 figure position at a fancy company where he will lie and manipulate his way to career progression. That is a lot of today's Ivy League graduates use their colleague's pathological narcissism to their advantage, by bluffing their way to promotions without their knowledge and skills ever being tested.

Construction and city planning tokens. If Manhattan was built the way it was built, it was a supply meets demand kind of arrangement. That is there was a demand for buildings, and promoters met that demand by supplying buildings.

Now you have leaders in many countries who want their equivalent of Manhattan, without the demand for a Manhattan. That is Manhattan was, and still is, all kinds of life insurance companies, banks, stock brokerage firms, financial firms, some tech startups, and the HQs of several big brands who wanted to use the easy access to financial services to their advantage.

But many countries don't have a single financial firm, maybe have a couple of state-owned small insurance companies, maybe a dozen state-owned banks, yet the want to same skyline Manhattan has. Buildings are built, they remain empty, and that's when you get ghost towns. Anyone who took a walk in Dubai will tell you how scary it is to walk alone surrounded by skyscrapers. That's just one of many, many examples.

The token welfare state. Welfare states tend to have more or less competent bureaucrats and automatized procedures to help widows get their pensions, the unemployed get their pensions, people get their healthcare, and workers get their subsidized healthcare.

But then you have countries who want a welfare system. Those countries draft 400 pages of rules for each welfare incentive, when administrators make 300 dollars a month and have trouble reading a newspaper, much less a book, much less 400 pages of rules. Procedures are not automatized, administration is understaffed, staff is constantly taking “toilet breaks” (and if you wait long enough those “toilet breaks” will become meetings.) Soon enough, you are entitled welfare that you will never get.

Finally, token management styles. Each country has its cultural specificities. When I show up for work in the morning in the US or Israel, we spend one or two hours chatting about work and life. When I show up for work in France in the morning, I get that “what the fuck are you doing here?” stare by some of my colleagues. When I show up for work in Korea or Japan, I get greeted by a “do this, now, quickly, and also do this, and this, and this.”

Yet you have countries who want to use American or French management techniques, when they don't have the cultural codes that go with those techniques. American-style meetings will never work in Korea or France. French-style militarized tasks will never work in the Middle East. And when companies adopt those management styles, they often quickly collapse.

So many other tokens I could discuss will save that for another day.

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