While chatting about the recent, frequent, turbulent world-wide events with a few close friends, our conversations veered towards political theory and ideologies. Before we knew it, a close friend and I decided to start a book club based on political readings. In the grand scope of things, crypto can be seen as political by some, as financial instruments by others, or even as privacy tools for the most pragmatic and fundamentalist enthusiast. Regardless, I think it best not to disclose my personal political views, at least not on my first post.
This post will go over a few quotations from The Communist Manifesto, and how they can be viewed in the scope of cryptocurrency.
"Modern bourgeiois society... is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells... It is enough to mention the commercial crises that by their periodical return put the existence of the entire bourgeiois society on its trial, each time more threateningly."
The rise of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is compatible with this quote, in the sense of cryptocurrency being a by-product of a faulty centralized and regulated financial system. A great example to back up this claim is when Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin, he himself made note on the "genesis block" about how the government bailed out big banks. The bourgeois (in this case the banks) created the vacuum that needed to be filled, and the "commercial crises" that were conjured pre-Bitcoin was the Great Recession caused by the housing crisis. Eventually, they recovered, but it didn't absolve them of the grassroots cryptocurrency shockwaves that they had already started (e.g. Bitcoin didn't just go away after the economy recovered.
"The lower stata of the middle class... all these sink gradually into the proletariat, partly because their diminuitive capital does not suffice for the scale on which Modern Industry is carried on... partly because their specialized skill is rendered worthless by new methods of production."
I understand here that Marx meant if you stay in the same enterprise without advancing or growing, the bigger and more tech-savvy fish will essentially corner you into a small and smaller piece of the pond. However, I do see a monetary value factor in this as well. If you owned a large amount of cash in say the 1970s, and kept that cash in a vault or tucked away in a bank for the last 50 years, perhaps as a retirement savings, and relied solely on that for your later years of life, then through inflation your few thousand dollars will be pretty much a microscopic amount of what that used to be worth. With crypto, if your labor over a few years amounts to about 20k, and you put that in a reliable crypto fund until retirement, then the work you'll have done today is proportional to what you have at retirement. Possibly even worth more if Bitcoin takes its awaited blast-off to the moon!
"[The ruling class] assumes such a violent, glaring character, that a small section of the ruling class cuts itself adrift, and joins the revolutionary class, the class that holds the future in its hands."
Cryptocurrency tech is not being developed, nor was it initially, by those laborers out in the fields, or by the workers in sweatshops (though now through Proof Of Staking protocol, they could invest and join to help block-chain develop). It is primarily developed by people who grew up with a computer at home, those that have a shot at education and studying in developed nations; in other words, it was developed by the middle class. Perhaps those people have seen how the financial struggles affected their lifestyle and sunk them and their families a few steps down the social latter, which could be their motivation for reacting and developing crypto against the more equipped and ambitious elite at the higher rungs. Marx himself points this out later in the text, and defines them as "conservative" or "reactionary" who are pretty much defending themselves against sinking into the proletariat, as mincemeat for the elite.
I personally do not endorse any political ideologies at this time, and find interest in drawing parallels between this 20th century text and the future of FinTech. Thank you for reading.
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