What People Have Used the Computer For

This is an easy question – they have used the computer to make money.

Or, to put this another way – to create a global economy.

Let’s begin with a consideration of money – that very handy stuff everybody wants more of. What the heck is it?

My definition would be – a unit of trading value. The basis of any economy is Trade. And money is whatever people accept in their trades with other people. At one time, Venetian glass-makers manufactured colorful trade beads that Africans would accept for the goods Europeans wanted – such as ivory. Gradually, they learned to accept gold or silver coins – and eventually paper money. And to sell slaves for money also.

America fought a Civil War over trading slaves for money – and this issue was not resolved until the 1960s.

Now, everything is paper money – based on nothing but promises, that can be broken, all too easily. As the Financial Crisis of 2008, showed. Money is based on human valuations, on human emotions – that are unstable.

Huge efforts have been made to overcome this – to base money on something else, but if people lose confidence in their economy, it contracts. And there is no way around this.

We have a global economy, without much of a global way of regulating it.

How does the Computer, or actually Computer Software – deal with this tricky subject?

It has created the concept of objects – things that have properties (such as color and weight, that can be quantified) and functions (operations it can perform on these properties).

Object Oriented Programming (OOP) took the software world by storm in the Nineties – and is still the basis for much programming. And our new concepts of money – as something that can be quantified, and can operate on its own.

As it certainly can – and this is the basis for Capitalism – a very big deal!


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