The WelderDestiny Compass

A World in Chaos - Issue #022

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Perth Australia / By Niekie Jooste

In this edition of "The WelderDestiny Compass":

  • A World in Chaos
  • Defining Civilized Behaviour
  • Trust and Centralised Societies
  • Technology of Trust

A World in Chaos

The world seems to be “on-edge” lately. Have you noticed, or is it just me?

People don’t seem to trust their leaders. Leaders don’t seem to be trustworthy. Terror attacks seem to be a daily feature on the news.

To try to make sense of all this, we consider what we would consider civilised behaviour to be, and explore whether technology could possibly help us achieve more civilised behaviour in the long run.

If you would like to add your ideas to this week’s discussion, then please send me an e-mail with your ideas, (Send your e-mails to: or complete the comment form on the page below.

Now let's get stuck into this week’s topics...

Defining Civilized Behaviour

"The greatest happiness is to vanquish your enemies, to chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth, to see those dear to them bathed in tears, to clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters." – Genghis Khan

This quote from Genghis Khan does not resonate with me as the model of civilized behaviour. While I am singling out poor Genghis, history is littered with societies and leaders driven by a similar ethic. When we look at this ethic, we instinctively feel that it is “uncivilized”. But what is it that makes this ethic uncivilized?

At its heart, we notice that in Genghis getting what he wants, somebody else loses out. At its centre, civilized behaviour is when parties are able to enter into win-win deals on a voluntary basis. If a deal does not result in a win for me, then I should be able to say no, and turn my back on the deal.

This win-win nature is the hallmark of a civilized society in general. The idea that being civilized is having all kinds of “airs and graces” is fundamentally incorrect. Some of the great criminals and oppressors of this world had very polished manners in public, but their pursuit of the win-lose deal has branded them as rather nasty people.

There will always be criminals and others that try their best to get ahead in life at the expense of other people. These are just bad people. The more win-lose deals there are in a society, the less civilized that society is. At a point, the crime and corruption becomes so prevalent that the entire society becomes uncivilized.

This is particularly prevalent when the political leaders themselves use their positions to force win-lose deals on those they are supposed to be leading. Unfortunately, this situation has been more prevalent in our history, than leaders that care for their people, and “citizens” that care for each other.

Trust and Centralized Societies

In ages past, where people lived in small groups, everybody pretty much knew each other. They knew who to trust and who not to trust within their group. Outsiders would typically be treated with low levels of trust in any case.

With larger, urbanised societies, the situation has arisen that we cannot possibly know everybody that we have dealing with. This has given rise to the trust dilemma. We need to do “deals” with people we do not know, so every time we deal with strangers, we are opening ourselves to possible win-lose deals, where we may end up on the losing side!

Legal systems have arisen, to deal with these situations. At their core, societies have turned to their leaders to provide frameworks to protect them against people that try to take advantage of them.

Typical ways of achieving this is to require people in certain industries to get licenses, or to require certain people to “register” to do certain jobs. In short, the answer was central control by the state.

The invention of currencies was one of the big breakthroughs in allowing “trust less” financial transactions. In a barter economy, many deals relied on trust, because the transactions were not completed in a single place or time. People could therefore easily renege on their agreement, leaving their counterparty in a lose deal. By paying for a product or service with something of agreed value, like a gold coin, this counterparty risk was largely removed.

Unfortunately, the way that these “government” based system work is that those governing are given the power to apply win-lose deals of their own, almost indiscriminately. This is easily seen by considering the power of the state to imprison, punish and tax their citizens as they choose. The best systems limit the power of the state to concoct and implement such win-lose deals of their own.

Can technology help us in the future to deal with the trust issues in a “peer to peer” system rather than using a state controlled system?

Technology of Trust

To have a decentralized technology base for trust between parties that do not know each other, there are 4 requirements:

  • Decentralised communications: This is provided by the internet, associated with cryptography to make the communications secure.
  • Decentralised law: This allows us to choose what law, legal system and enforcers will apply to our transaction.
  • Decentralised production and energy: Typically provided with 3D printing, or other “local” production facilities that are not constrained by national borders. Renewable energy systems such as solar along with battery storage also allow decentralised energy provision.
  • Decentralised financial systems: Typically, these could be cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or similar.

We are speeding towards a world where all of the above conditions will be met relatively soon. The greatest winners in such a decentralised trust based system will be people living in countries where their governments are unable or unwilling to provide the necessary frameworks for allowing strangers to transact with each other safely.

In societies where state legislation surrounding safety critical welding operations are not present, or effective, these transactions of trust using technology platforms will become important.

We have previously discussed blockchain technology. In the new technology of trust, blockchain technology will be central. I for one can’t wait!

Yours in welding

Niekie Jooste

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