Bitcoin Is Venice: Bitcoin Will Make Us Think Long Term, Whether We Want To Or Not

We do not throw around the word “civilization” lightly. This profound ignorance of what agriculture is and is for touches on a seminal feature of its link to civilization. 

Much as we cannot have liquid derivatives markets without the foundation of real productive capital, we cannot have culture without agriculture. 

Arguably we can’t even have productive capital, hence liquid derivatives markets depend on the soil also. Savory laments this loss of foundational knowledge in hyper specialized, degenerate fiat modernity.

The root of the essentially communitarian tradeoffs of all capital, be it liquid derivatives markets, culture, or whatever, is in the tradeoffs inherent in adopting agriculture in the first place. David Montgomery captures this well in “Dirt: The Erosion Of Civilizations”:

“For over 99 percent of the last two million years, our ancestors lived off the land in small, mobile groups. 

While certain foods were likely to be in short supply at times, it appears that some food was available virtually all the time. 

Typically, hunting and gathering societies considered food to belong to all, readily shared what they had, and did not store or hoard — egalitarian behavior indicating that shortages were rare. If more food was needed, more was found. 

There was plenty of time to look. Anthropologists generally contend that most hunting and gathering societies had relatively large amounts of leisure time, a problem few of us are plagued with today.

"Farming’s limitation to floodplains established an annual rhythm, to early agricultural civilization. A poor harvest meant death for many and hunger for most. 

Though most of us in developed countries are no longer as directly dependent on good weather, we are still vulnerable to the slowly accumulating effects of soil degradation that set the stage for the decline of once-great societies as populations grew to exceed the productive capacity of floodplains and agriculture spread to the surrounding slopes, initiating cycles of soil mining that undermined civilization after civilization.”

The overbearing interference of fiat money has drowned out the local signal of received wisdom with malign incentives driving degenerate modern culture toward the delusion that it can have the benefits of both the hunter-gatherer lifestyle and agricultural civilization, and the costs of neither. 

Which is to say: we want the product of a fully-built civilization but not the work of building and maintaining it in the first place. 

We want to be able to live moment to moment, carefree, conflict free, tradeoff free, like nomadic hunter-gatherers for whom “time” means next to nothing. 

We don’t want to have to think long term to make interpersonal compromises or personal sacrifices.

But, of course, we do want medicine, plumbing, literature and leisure. We want air conditioning and TikTok and soy chai lattes. We just want to consume these things without having first produced them.

But we cannot. We have to make a choice. If we continue to strip mine every source of capital from which every consumable good emerges — tangible, cultural, spiritual, whatever — this choice will be made for us. 

Civilization will collapse. We will be the farmer who ate all the seed rather than planting even a little; the agricultural society who maximized flow instead of stock and stumbled into desertification when the stocks ran dry.

It is a peculiarly modern fantasy that civilization makes life easier; that it frees us from the shackles of a state of natural oppression and allows us all to find and to be our true selves. 

This is juvenile quackery. Civilization certainly makes life better, but earned at the cost of hard work. Civilization is proof of work. 

Civilization is the choice, as a community of individuals opting into voluntary cooperation to defer gratification: to invest rather than to consume. 

Individuals are perfectly free to opt out of these hard choices by returning to a pre-civilizational state, but it would be preferable to all if, in doing so, they had the decency to in fact remove themselves from civilization rather than skimming its consumable surplus while contributing nothing to its maintenance.

There is nothing easier than gaily wandering in the wild and wondering whether one’s imminent death will come at the hands of illness, starvation, predation or some even funnier, more easily-preventable affliction.

We need to start thinking long term. Bitcoin fixes this. Bitcoin will make us think long-term, whether we want to or not. 

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