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June 23, 2009

What has value today??

Produce and the land that produced them used to be very valuable. Back then land was scarce, and so was farmers who could produce what was needed by the population.

Science and the free market turned agriculture on its head. It is no longer scarce, in fact it is abindant. Sure there are quibbles about quality and so on, but farm produce today is essentially a commodity item. 

Then it was the turn of products, and factories became the wealth creators that would drive forward several generations. Free market strikes again and suddenly there are billions of people in low wage economies who can be exploited for a tenth of the cost of those who originated the technology.

No longer scarce, no longer valued, no longer market controlling..

As we entered the information age we saw that information would be the new currency, the new engine of wealth generation. But alas, all too quickly the internet has put an end to that. I can find out pretty much anything I need to know, on a regular basis, with a few taps of a keyboard. And I can do it almost anywhere on the face of the plant...

A lot has been written about the idea economy. "Ideas that spread" etcetera...While this is true, there is nowhere near the level of IP control that used to exist when markets were closed. Drugs, software, music, films... all of these can be knocked off within days of appearing if not sooner. 

So it's not IP either... what then is valued in todays economies?

For me, with all of the hyper connected people in the world, it is personal relationships. Sincere people who are able to build and hold relationships built on trust.

This is what is valued, what sells books, supports a brand or destroys a nation. 

Ideas that spread do win it is true.... but if you have many relationships built on trust, you have a lever big enough to move the world. 

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