Thursday, October 27, 2011

OWS - Occupy Wall Street - The End of Money and Free Museum Visits

Conor Sen of Minyanville gives a new view of a possible OWS output:  

Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Museums' Anti MoMa Protests, And The End Of Money As We Know It | Data As Currency | Museum Of Modern Art Protests | Business News |
"Is the notion of "data as currency" so absurd? We've been paying for products with data for years. Just ask Google (GOOG), Facebook, and LinkedIn (LNKD). Up until now we as consumers have mostly been giving this data away for free, letting companies use it for their own economic gain with very few consequences in cases of abuse (hey, look, there's Facebook squirming over in the corner). This will surely change in the years to come.
"But that's part of what our societal angst and Occupy Wall Street are about -- intangible goods and data are rising in value and power while the pillars of the last century, money and credit, are fading in importance. Policymakers are fighting this because they don't understand the changes that are occurring, and would consider them inane just as the 1920s-era central bankers would guffaw if you told them the world's monetary system would function for decades without a physical commodity-backing currency. This promises to be an incredibly volatile and challenging period, but one that I believe will ultimately be a huge boon for those outside the financial elite.
"It'll be a great time to be an influencer in the world of people and data -- and increasingly a less-great time to be Mr. Burns."

I think Conor makes a fatal leap of faith in his analysis. Many companies that have benefited from giving away data (free or very cheap) have struggled with ways to monetize or raise rates on the data. Somehow Netflix did not make the short list that was presented above. The rise in the importance of data does not diminish the need for currency.

As far as MOMA entrance fees: 
Art is a luxury that is enabled by economic surplus. You don't spend time painting on the cave wall if you are hungry. You shouldn't spend time in MOMA if you can't afford it. 

Bottom Line: 
Data is critical for business success, but currency - capital and credit, and the people and institutions  that control it, are not going away. 

After all, I can state a fact (data) "I am hungry", and that does not make food magically appear...


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