ETCon and friends
Down in San Diego today to see my pals James Crabtree and Will Davies who are giving a talk about a skyhouse project they'r doing with big architects Marks Barfield (the London Eye ones).
A mini-diversion arose silently in small segments of the audience as Will claimed that money is a Top Down concept, requiring authoritative control. Will thinks emergence is bollocks, and posited, quite persuasively, that at least some kinds of arenas require that if social software is to be useful, it must be managed, not emergent or bottom-up. For example, public works, or public good projects where you are looking to stimulate social capital. Trust is paramount, says Will, and this is where an authority and at least some degree of centralised control is necessary.
I'm not so sure, since most social agreements emerge from convention and social practice, especially in smaller societies. It's only a) when societies get too large, and b) there's a class of more powerful people who want to solidify their control over the means to acquisition that money becomes either deisrable or necessary to be organised by a central bank. ie. Money is mostly only top-down because some rich people want it to be. Oh, and it makes going to Safeway that much easier.
Also ran into old acquaintance Matt Jones from Advance for Design days in London, though he's now in Finland with Nokia (and looking healthy for it). Also good to see IRL Tom Coates, a partner-in-crime of Crabbers, and occasional emint inhabitant, where, thanks the the famous Oink, this online social network networking thing all started for me back in the old days...