By Carlvon Ramsingh
The rise of digital currencies, especially Bitcoin, is an indication of the sentiment of a more deeply rooted issue of the money systems presently usurping the global wealth and well being of people.
There is an increasing awareness, with an increasing amount of resentment about the global distribution of wealth, and by extension personal wealth. Thomas Picketty, a Nobel prized economist, claims this inequality of wealth means the rich are getting richer, and although others have understandably sought to oppose, Picketty’s claim reflects the viewpoint of many. Indeed, Picketty is branded as being distinctively left-wing.
Many people are still poor in this world. Business Insider list of 25 poor countries is insightful because even though there may be various interests who will present counter arguements to protect their interests, as in the case of Picketty, poverty exists, and in large amounts.
The rich would have undeniably taken risks, invested and brought opportunities to others for a better life. However, considering the amount of hours worked daily, the stress and hardships that most ordinary people must endure, wealth creation becomes an issue, and equitable wealth creation more so. The question has to be asked : Can this poverty be reversed and eliminated? Professor Jeffery Sachs, The End of Poverty : How We Can Make It Happen In Our Time, thinks so. Systemic change is required undoubtedly, so as to afford this chance. Democratic systems, financial systems, technological systems play an important part in eliminating poverty. Corruption, greed, self-interest are the scurge of poor people globally, especially in poor countries, and many other rich countries too, but it’s the poor who are affected the most. These systems are unwell, serving only the interest of those whom it serves.
In Trinidad and Tobago, the issue of interest rates and bank charges is at such a fever pitch, business are suffering a great deal, while society rants about the barriers banks erect for financing entrepreneurs and small an micro-businesses. Globally, its much the same. Rather than help and develop, the sentiment is financial systems, especially are a source of poverty, as the rich become richer according to Picketty.
In India, the Prime Minister has sought to de-monetize by removing from circulation, the large 100 rupee bills from circulation, claiming it’s a source of corruption. It was done clandestinely, overnight, with a select group of technocrats and trusted associates, so as to eliminate any pre-emotive moves by the rich.
There is a clear need for new systems, aimed at making people’s lives easier and better.
To a very large extent, capitalism and democracy as practiced today, has played a significant role in poverty. The good news is that it can also play a great role in eliminating poverty. Democracy in its purest form is equality and access for all. Equality in treatment, and equal access to resources for an equitable return for both investor and investee. The democratization of society and its resources is pivotal in creating the equitable distribution of wealth, but as alluded, the systems have become closed and unrelenting in pursuit of profit taking.
Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, specifically refers to the “Democratization of Technology”. The Democratization of Technology acknowledges the role of development and growth when access and equitable distribution is practiced. The world has become an exciting place because of the availability of technology to all. Can anyone imagine a world without internet access today?
Technology is now beginning to play the equalizer role. The role of money, hard currency, as we have identified, is a source of corruption because it relinquishes control to those who have large sums, a la Picketty. Technology, can and will democratize the role and control of money.
Blochain Technology, will revolutionize the money system, which is precisely why Wall St., is investing heavily in its development. Wall St., recognizes the implications of Blockchain Technology, and the technology is being rapidly developed and adopted. This is a very good sign and as a technologist, it is nice, but the question of control still arises. It is my opinion that Governments and society must come together to ensure that, amongst other things, Wall Street in kept in check. People must become knowledgeable about Blockchain. It can have such a great impact on poverty by curbing, dismantling and eliminating the culture of greed and profiteering.
Today, crypto-currencies, especially are becoming more accepted, as Blockchain becomes more adopted itself. Bitcoin is rapidly gaining in popularity, as currency issues become more severe. In Trinidad and Tobago, Blockchain is a key technology to stamp out the scurge of corruption and make accountability easy and more implementable. Bitcoin has hit an all time high as of now.