The chain of blocks (blockchain) is a technology that can guarantee the distribution of economic goods among all, instead of deepening inequalities and political conflicts.
One of the most outstanding technological news of 2017 was the widespread knowledge of cryptocurrencies, especially due to the incredible increase in the prices of two of the most important, bitcoin and ethereum.
There is much speculation about whether this increase constitutes a bubble, if it is announcing the bankruptcy of the traditional currencies of the States or if the real driving force of the demand is the need for liquidity for the transactions of the black markets.
But the craziness generated by bitcoin hides the fact that the block-chain, on which it is based, is a technology with a much wider tool, which can revolutionise many more things than the markets of foreign exchange.
The revolutionary possibilities of the blockchain lie in its ability to register, monitor, subdivide and transfer wealth safely through the Internet. In short, if the Internet is the essential technology that makes social networks possible, the chain of blocks is the same for the possibility of a truly collaborative economy.
From China to the United States, from Europe to Latin America, and independently of the political system, capitalism has conquered the world.
Productivity has grown to such an extent that, for example, between 2003 and 2013, world per ca-pita income doubled.
The world is close to achieving the necessary wealth to benefit everyone.
But we have not yet resolved how to make an equitable distribution of that wealth. Two of the biggest problems of current capitalism, with its globalization and high technology, are the relentless increase in inequalities and the lack of stable and well-paid employment, particularly for people without technical qualifications.
Globalization makes the middle classes grow in China and Mexico, but it eliminates employment in the United States. Until now, in general, technology has accentuated inequalities.
Artificial intelligence and robots threaten to sharpen these tendencies. Although the second era of the machine is incredibly boosting productivity, a 2016 IMF report says that the robot revolution can have “profound negative consequences for equality”. With our current political-economic configuration, many jobs will be eliminated, and the benefits will be for the companies that manufacture these robots.
It is a matter of who are the owners: if the robots are capital, as productivity increases, capital will gain, and workers (both those who remain and those who are laid off) will lose. Even if the dismissed workers find new employment, the inequalities will worsen.
Historically, we have allowed production to create inequalities and then we have taxed the rich to redistribute wealth. Unfortunately, it is very possible that this system is no longer enough.
Some proposals to remedy it, such as universal basic income (RBU), do not work: they perpetuate the distinction between “those who act” and “those who receive” and, although they provide a minimum income, they do not really resolve inequalities.
A world in which the vast majority subsists with a minimum income, while the owners of capital swim in abundance, is not exactly a model to aspire to.
What is needed is a system that guarantees that everyone is part of the future because they benefit from economic growth by the mere fact of being members of society. For example: Why not give a part of everything to everyone? Imagine a world in which one third of the goods is from society; one third of the workers and one third of the capital.
In other words, instead of redistribution (which, in reality, is postdistribution), we should talk about predistribution: instead of smoothing inequalities posterior through taxes and benefits, reduce them by making them all stakeholders and have opportunities and dignity.
This model would continue to stimulate innovation and investment and make the future of everyone.
The predistribution proposes a moral economy in which each citizen receives a “share” in the income and productive capacity of their country from the beginning. It is not an unrealizable utopia. In fact, such systems already exist (on a small scale).
In Norway and Alaska, for example, each citizen receives a share of the benefits derived from their rich natural resources. So far, this moral interpretation of the distribution has been applied to mineral wealth. But, if applied to the fruits of technological activity, it would introduce a totally new type of collaborative economy.
It can be said that digital wealth is the oil of the 21st century, with the difference that it is not generated exclusively where there are buried minerals.
At the moment, the notion of collaborative economy consists of companies such as Airbnb, Uber and Lyft,