This post segues into my topic ‘the blockchain economy’. I briefly discussed the blockchain economy in my post, Two things that could change the world. My ideas about the potential of a blockchain economy requires a much deeper discussion than provided so far. Before I elaborate on this topic further, I have decided to discuss ‘wants and outcomes’. I believe this is necessary to set the stage for what can be achieved or strongly supported by a blockchain economy.
We often focus on the bad things in the world and the things we do not want. I have a darkside of economics series that focuses on how economics or economic motivation can be used in a detrimental way to society; see link at the end of the post. In this post, I want to focus on what we want rather than what we do not want.
We also often focus on outputs rather than outcomes. An output is a possible means to achieving an outcome. Therefore, the outcome is what is desired. A particular output is not necessarily desired if there are alternative outputs that can be used to achieve the desired outcome. For example, building a more powerful engine (output) can enable a car to travel faster (outcome). The car could travel faster with improved aerodynamics. It is also possible that a faster car could also be just an output. The outcome could be a car that wins races. Instead of improving speed (output), the handling and breaking (output) could be improved. Therefore, outcomes should always be clearly defined and understood before any outputs should even be considered.
I have included a few examples of what I believe many would consider desirable.
- Basic needs
- Good health
- Good environment
- Social interaction
- Social influence
- Respect and admiration
Freedom is something that can be considered universally desirable. Freedom can be divided into several subcategories such as freedom of speech, freedom of movement, financial freedom, political freedom, and freedom of choice. However, freedom can be abused. Such abuse of freedom could include harming others, or taking away or restricting someone else’s freedom. If you believe in your own freedom, you should also believe in the freedom of others.
Authorities often restrict freedom claiming to be preserving other things we consider desirable. It is often claimed that freedom should be restricted to improve the security and safety of the people. Freedom and security should not be a zero sum game. Imposing on someone else’s freedom often results in less security rather than more.
For this post, I will define basic needs to be food, water, shelter, and clothing. There are several other basic needs such as sanitation and education but I will cover those in other areas in this post. Basic needs are needed to survive and a first step to being able to have a quality life. Basic needs are required by everyone and therefore should be available to everyone.
Government intervention is often seen necessary for it to be possible for everyone to be able to obtain his or her required basic needs. Instead, I believe everyone needs to have sufficient knowledge to position themselves to meet these needs. I believe society and/or family, without Government intervention, can help people who are willing to help themselves gain access to basic needs.
I consider good health another outcome desired by all. I think it is unlikely people would want to be unhealthy when they could be healthy. Good health depends on many factors. To be healthy we need to stay active (mentally and physically), eat healthy, minimise risks from dangerous activities, reduce harmful stress, live in a clean and sanitary environment, have cures for illnesses and diseases, and have support for those recovering from an illness, disease or injury.
I strongly believe prevention is better than cure and cure is better than treatment. Bad health should be prevented whenever possible. However, regardless of how good preventive measures are, people will become sick, ill, or injured. The next best step is to cure the ailment followed by advice on preventive measures for the future. Treatment should be the last resort if a cure is not possible. However, prevention should be the key focus of any ailment that cannot be cured.
I believe it is essential to maintain a good environment (natural and human). The environment is something that many take for granted. Damage to the environment is not always immediately obvious and the impact an individual can have often seems insignificant.
To maintain a good environment involves people working together to make a difference on an aggregate level. In many cases making a difference means, simply, to stop doing harm. This can be either directly through our own actions or indirectly by not supporting businesses or activities that are doing harm. The latter can be difficult because it is not always obvious which industries and firms are causing harm.
Many environmental events are beyond even a collective effort to stop or change. In such cases, people will need to adapt to the changing environment or relocate to an environment that is more favourable. Such examples include shrinking coastlines (erosion or higher seas levels) and land shortages from desertification.
People need to have positive social interactions with each other. The amount of social interaction each person needs varies from person to person. I am comfortable with a very limited amount of social interaction. However, some people need a lot of social interaction. Not every social interaction is going to be positive but they can be used to create greater understanding amongst people, which can lead to positive interactions.
There are many potential barriers to positive social interactions. These could include culture, religion, wealth disparity, race, gender, political views, and personal philosophy. These barriers become magnified when there is a lack of tolerance and understanding for the above-mentioned differences.
Most people need to have at least some influence on society. This desire to influence can vary greatly depending on the person. Some people desire to be community or expert leaders. Other people are content to have an influence on events only in their immediate life. Social influence is good if it is used to benefit society. It can be bad if it is used for self-serving purposes or is at odds with other desirable outcomes (net or strongly at odds with one or more desirable outcomes).
Social influence is often monopolised by a few individuals or groups. This often results in loss of freedom of many and results in most others having next to no influence. I consider social influence a step up from freedom, which I define as having control over what you do. Social influence enables people to contribute positively to the lives of others with the use of knowledge, expertise, and wisdom.
Once a person has satisfied their basic needs, comfort becomes an important desire. Comfort can be physical and psychological. Comfort can involve having a nice place to rest or sleep. Comfort can involve having sufficient space and privacy. Comfort can involve the absence of financial stress. Comfort can involve the absence of social stress. Comfort could even involve having a clear conscience. Comfort could mean many more things to different people. In essence, we are comfortable when we able to relax.
Physical comfort generally appears easier to obtain than psychological comfort. We live in a world where we are surrounded by stress. The complexity of our lives adds more stress. Most stress is created by minor daily events that have little to no lasting effects.
Alternatively, there is also a risk that the pursuit of comfort prevents the achievement of other outcomes. Therefore, it is important to have a good balance of the extent a particular outcome should be pursued in order to achieve a high quality of life.
Entertainment is something that many people constantly crave. The variety of entertainment available is very impressive. The portability of entertainment is also very impressive. Thanks to technology, people can access entertainment any time that they like. It appears the more entertainment people have, the more entertainment people want. It is good that people’s needs and want for entertainment are fulfilled. However, entertainment could be consuming too much of our time. As mentioned in regards to comfort, a balance of our pursuit of outcomes needs to be achieved.
The pursuit of acquiring knowledge is both an input as well as an outcome. Knowledge has value as an input into improving almost all aspects of life. Pursuing knowledge for the purpose of making better decisions, improving use of resources, or improving the quality of life can be considered a good use of time.
Acquiring knowledge is considered by many to be valuable even if it is not intended to lead to a constructive output. Acquiring knowledge can be considered a form of active entertainment as well as provides a sense of achievement. This is different from passive entertainment, which brings little value beyond the time in which it is consumed.
The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see.
Alexanda K. Trenfor
A good education should provide people with the necessary skills to acquire knowledge. Education should be focused on providing direction, stimulation, inspiration, critical thinking and problem solving. Instead, it is often the case that education is focused on teaching selected facts and ideology. A good education should fundamentally include the teaching of life skills before focusing on academic subjects or grooming for the workplace.
People generally want to feel safe. They do not want to be physically or emotionally harmed. They do not want their property and personal belongings damaged or destroyed. They do not want the people around them hurt or killed. They do not want to live in fear of any of the above mentioned.
There does not need to be a trade-off between achieving greater security and freedom. Security can be achieved by obtaining good relationships with those around us. Security can be achieved by respecting the values of those that are different from us.
Respect and admiration
People generally desire the respect and admiration of those around them. They want their achievements to be recognised. They want to be respected for their contributions. The desire to be recognised for good contributions is a driving force for people to succeed. Recognition can be as great, if not greater, a driving force to pursue a particular action as monetary rewards. Therefore, it is important that respect and recognition is given to support desirable behaviour.
The presence of family, in some form, is desired by most. The presence of family is often taken for granted by those that have close family. It often requires the absence of family to understand their value. Family offers security, comfort, entertainment, social interaction, and many of the other desired outcomes I have discussed in this post. Family also offers a sense of belonging and love. Family cannot be clearly defined as a particular group of people but instead, simply as those closest to us, which could turn out to be anyone.
In this post, I have described 12 areas or outcomes that I believe are desirable. Based on my experience, many others also perceive them to be desirable. This list is not exhaustive but I believe it contains the general gist of what people want and why they might want it.
I have not included monetary wealth and material aspirations, as I believe these to be a means to an end and not desired outcomes. The accumulation of monetary wealth is often sought to achieve the above discussed outcomes. Even obtaining items of prestige is often for signalling success rather than desire for the item itself. I believe people spend too much of their life acquiring monetary wealth, when they could have a higher quality of life by pursuing their desired outcomes through other means. This is especially true for people who choose to spend large proportions of their lives doing something that provides them with very little pleasure or enjoyment.
So how do we obtain the outcomes that we want?
There are many ways we can we can reach a particular outcome. Many of the above can be obtained by making good decisions. Many of them can be achieved if the right opportunities are provided. Many people believe Government intervention is required for people to have a reasonable opportunity of achieving their desired outcomes. I believe Government intervention gets in the way of people achieving their desired outcomes. Likewise, if the world relies purely on market forces, I also do not believe that everyone will have the opportunity to achieve their desired outcomes. I believe the blockchain economy will be able to fill that gap for many people. I will explain more in upcoming posts.
If you want to read any of my other posts, you can click on the links below. These links will lead you to posts containing my collection of works. These posts will be updated frequently.
Guide to the Steem Ecosystem (Udemy Course)
I have launched my Udemy course ‘Guide to the Steem Ecosystem’. This course takes you on journey through the Steem Ecosystem. The course consists of 6 sections. These sections are as follows:
- Getting Started
- Navigating Steem Frontends
- Becoming a Steem User
- Behind the Scenes
- The Wonders of the Steem Ecosystem
- Additional Content (SteemFest 4, SMTs, Communities, etc.)
The course contains 56 video lectures (about 13.5 hours of viewing), 56 multiple-choice questions (10 to 12 at the end of each section), and 59 downloadable resources (presentation slides and additional material such as white and blue papers). The course is free-of-charge. Click the link above to access the course.
I also have an economics course, titled Economics is for Everyone, which contains about 4 hours of video content.