Recently I participated in a wonderful conversation focused on the question, “What will the economy look like in the future and how can we prepare?”
One ‘Aha’ moment I had during the discussion is the realization that when I think about ‘the economy’, often what I think about is the fitness of the US Dollar.
Yet currency does not comprise the economy. It is the resources of the three economic sectors that make up the economy! Currency is merely how we account for the distribution of economic sector goods.
Three Sectors of the Economy
Primary Sector (raw material resources)
* Land capable of growing food
* Forrests and biomass
* Produce and livestock
* Unpolluted bodies of water
* Mined minerals and metals
Secondary Sector (manufactured goods)
This is everything we make, process, manufacture, or ‘finish’ from primary sector resources.
Tertiary Sector (services)
These are all the things we do for each other through commerce, including financial instruments that represent primary and secondary sector wealth.
Envisioning Future Economies
Trying to envision the future of the economy is an endlessly vast category. To narrow my focus, I listened for big thematic concerns.
Concerns about the economy eventually touch on employment trends. Trends such as declining wages in purchasing power and the threat of our jobs being replaced through technological automation often arise. At their core, these are concerns about loss of productive purpose and means to generate income.
Other major themes that usually comes up for me are concerns about the fitness of our currency like: the debt bubble that allows for constant currency creation; the growth in oil production required to reconcile our currency is not possible; and that all global currencies are intertwined so there is no method to preserve individual/regional wealth.
These concerns are rooted in not having established alternatives to current debt based currencies (that require perpetual inflation) in allocating goods from the economic sectors.
Easing these major concerns, I believe we need to envision a future that:
1.) promotes meaningful work
2.) allows for participants to commerce for goods of the economic sector by methods that aren‘t exclusively dependent on the current debt based currency system