Blockchain, Public Service, Wealth Concentration – joining the dots

I went to hear Michael Mainelli talk about blockchains (actually Mutual Distributed Ledgers) at Truphone this morning.  Michael brought the voice of reason and long-term comprehension to the some of the excitable bubble-watchers in the audience.

Over coffee beforehand, the vox populi was excited by the efficiency possibilities inherent in this technology.  The ground I covered a little in “Eaten by Code, Replaced By Robots?” but from the perspective of financial services firms – ie the Banks have all got to do this, because: previously unimaginable productivity.

All that productivity and efficiency also means potential unemployment for a swathe of white-collar paper-pushers/keyboard-jockeys who make up the mass of our Financial Services industry.  But that’s not the Private Sector’s problem, that’s something Government needs to deal with.  This is the view criticised by Mariana Mazzucato at the John McDonnell #neweconomics lecture last week – that Government shouldn’t only be seen as a means to fix things that markets can’t (or won’t) deal with.

But we’ll give public services the problem to solve even though we’re simultaneously taking away the money they have to spend.  Have a look at Evgeny Morozov’s piece in The Guardian on the relationship between tax avoidance and private investment in services like Uber:

To put it bluntly: the reason why Uber has so much cash is because, well, governments no longer do.

 

Follow the money…

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