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a plot-device for saving the world

In modern storytelling, a MacGuffin is a sort of catalyst around which events unfold. There is usually some supposed value attached to it, but generally what actually matters is how it motivates the characters in the story.

Fiat currency (i.e. most modern currency) is kind of a MacGuffin. It doesn’t have any intrinsic value. You can’t eat it, you can’t make anything with it, you can’t wear it. It’s really kind of useless… but its agreed-upon role as a medium of exchange gives it value in dealings between people.

Money is basically a story we tell ourselves and our children – a purposeful story that helps us work together and (ideally) live better lives through cooperation.

The entire system on which that value depends, however, is broken beyond repair. Bad actors are finding more and more ways to game it to their advantage, to hoard that value for themselves, while those who actually produce the value get to keep less and less. New and remodeled buildings stand empty, while homeless people sleep under bridges and in the woods next to highway off-ramps. The wealthy exploit scarce natural resources for their own benefit, while fighting sustainable alternatives.

It’s a rotten game, and we want to change it.

Who Am I?

My name is Tessa, and I'm a space pirate. (No, really. Eventually. I’ll get back to this.)

I’ve watched as a successful business I co-founded went rotten from the inside -- taken over by people who clearly believe that might makes right and any sign of weakness means you deserve to be squashed. (I am now reluctantly squashing them, but that’s another story.)

...just as I’ve also been watching the world slowly taken over by that same mindset (the current US regime is just the most obvious example).

And I’m not having this.

My new organization is called Assorted Tech, and my team and I – we outcasts, we tool-users, we superheroes of wire and silicon – are plotting to save the world, via open source technology and a community-funded safety-net (with priority on vulnerable folks who are the current system’s favorite targets and scapegoats).

As technologists, we of the Assorted Tech team have a perspective not shared by many in our field in that we personally are also struggling against disability, health issues, harassment, housing, and general economic elitism. We too find ourselves more and more pushed to the edge of the fiscal cliff... and it’s hard to save the world when you’re in danger of becoming homeless, or of being unable to pay for your internet access or repairs to your equipment. Even superheroes gotta eat, and structural change takes time and resources.

Here’s what we want to do.

Let’s Change the Game

The old MacGuffin of fiat currency has been so completely gamed that there’s just no way to fix it. We need a new game, a new MacGuffin.

MacGuffinCoin is a financial framework designed to support all human life and sustainably / sensibly manage natural resources.

The main problem with money-as-we-know-it (let’s call this GreedCoin) is that it can be accumulated in arbitrarily high amounts for absolutely no good reason at all (and often for very bad reasons).

MacGuffinCoin prevents this by being usage-specific.

Another problem with GreedCoin is that you can easily end up without any at all, or even negative amounts of it (debt), even if you did nothing wrong, and even though (in the GreedCoin economic system) you have to have it to survive. The board game “Monopoly” was invented specifically to demonstrate how unfair and unsustainable this is -- but even “Monopoly” is more fair than real life, in that every player gets a bit of cash whenever they make it around the board.

MacGuffinCoin will do exactly this: everyone gets paid just for living, and debt is impossible.