I want to conclude, temporarily, the dialogue we had with Yihong-Ding. Not because the issue is exhausted, but because we have achieved a new clarity in exactly the issues that we converge, respectively diverge on.
Yhong-Ding’s new contribution is here and is entirely recommended for deep reading, as it is somewhat complex.
What it offers is first of all a history of value measurement from land to capital to mind assets, and also a crucial distinction between liabilities (which only represent a cost) and assets (able to create new value)
What I thought I misunderstood earlier is that Yihong-Ding, like us, is not just thinking the present, but also the future, and this future is very similar: one in which value is not capital, but mind. It makes a lot more sense if you read his arguments divorced from any reference to monetary value, as he is talking about an entirely different logic.
This being said, I still see differences, since I do not believe, and think he does, that the digital copyability is something transient, and also, I disagree with the hard distinction between liabilities and assets. For example, Yihong-Ding sees YouTube videos as liabilities. I disagree, and believe that some iideas, may generate tremendous value, thought the whole process is largely ‘beyond measure’.
Time will tell if the solutions predicted and wished for by Yihong-Ding, will materialize to create a ‘mind economy’.
1. Capital vs. mind assets, and the transition to a mind asset value economy
“What we are facing now is the rise of information industry. Information industry is different from the traditional industry. Information industry takes mind as its primary input in comparing to that the traditional industry takes capital as its primary input. This change has been overlooked by many people until now because we have been used to think of mind also as a special type of capital—similar to simply take land as real estates. It is such a narrowed thought of mind that causes the difficulty of understanding the measurement of mind asset.
Mind essentially is different from capital, which is the same as that land essentially is different from capital. We may evaluate both land and mind in their capitalized value only if they are freely acquired with money or financial capital. When they are essentially more crucial in society than financial capital such as land in feudal society, however, they are not capital any more. By contrast, themselves become the scale of measurement about wealth in society.
Capital is not the natural scale of asset measurement and it will not be the scale of asset measurement forever. If the wealth of feudal society was measured by land but not capital, why can’t the wealth of the new coming age be measured by mind instead of capital? We may apply financial capital (money) to measure wealth in any time period. But it does not necessary mean that financial capital is the ultimate scale of asset measurement. There is something money cannot buy, especially within certain particular time period.
Certainly, however, there are many technical issues we need to solve before mind indeed replaces capital to be the measurement scale of wealth. It also took many years for capital completely replacing land being the key asset of society, let it alone that such a replacement be eventually understood and adopted by the general public. (My grand-father-in-law still did not understand it until the middle of last century in China and thus he and his family paid a great deal on this misunderstanding in the rest of their life.)
In the history of capital, the invention of stocks was a landmark. Stock reveals that capital is liquid in contrast to that land is solid. We may look for a similar invention on mind presentation to prompt the adoption of mind asset. Obviously, however, the invention is not ready yet. We still need more patience for the coming new age of human society. (By the way, I will join Adam Lindemann at Imindi. We expect to not only produce novel mind product but also be end up with a few creative improvement on mind asset presentation as the Dutch East India Company did in 1606.) ”
2. YouTube Videos as a liability, not a mind asset
“The difference between my thought and Michel’s thought is that Michel takes YouTube videos to be mind asset while to me they are more about mind liability than mind asset because (as Michel discovered) people can hardly use them to produce more mind asset. In other words, that until now it is still so difficult for mind product to be asset is because the general lack of production line of mind.
We have YouTube videos, and they are at the end of the current production line of mind. If they are not input resources of some other Web industrial companies, these videos can only be liability but not asset. Moreover, their purchasing value is also low because their producing cost is low (don’t count the producing cost of shooting the films).
Such a problem is a generic problem in the current Web industry. The reason that Google makes money is that Google has a well developed production line of mind asset. Google can continuously produce higher quality mind asset by converting the low-quality mind product to be the input resources. Hence Google knows the secret of mind as asset (no matter it is by real understanding or by unconsciousness). By contrast, that many other Web companies can hardly make money is because they don’t understand mind asset and they are also not lucky enough to unconsciously catch mind as asset. To the end, they only produce mind product as liability and they do not have the knowledge to design a production line of mind so that their produced liability might be a new form of asset. If Web industrial companies may learn the spirit of mind asset and learn how to make themselves produce asset but not liability, many of them will start to make money.”