The article below refers to Kojin Karatani’s landmark book, The Structure of World History.

Excerpted from Shaun Bartone:

“Karatani’s analysis of the four types of exchange is one I largely agree with; but I disagree with his suggestion of how Form C: Capitalist Commodity Exchange, will be superseded. He says it will be superseded by a World Republic, an ever-enlarging and all encompassing United Nations, with all it’s organizations and functions: World Bank, IMF, UN Peacekeeping, World Health Organization, etc. that will take over the functions of the State and Nation, and regulate the commodity exchange economy.

But I disagree; I think it will be superseded by the global exchange of information, in a sharing economy that fills the definition of Form D: a Supra-Reciprocal exchange. Karatani said that Form D re-institutes Form A, Reciprocal exchange, at a “higher register”, one that goes beyond household, tribe, band, church.

Information is continuing to grow at exponential rates. Cesar Hidalgo’s explanation of the growth of information (Why Information Grows, 2015) shows that the planet acts like a giant computer that stores and processes information. He says the “hard drive” of the planet is nearly empty. There is so much more space in which information can grow. Furthermore, complex civilizations, like the one we are currently in, are giant computers that can process vast amounts of information, exponentially more than we do already. Hidalgo says that we have barely begun to exploit our potential for processing and growing information.

The growth of information continues exponentially until it exceeds the social processes (institutions) and technological structures (machines) that produced it. The growth of information within a social system is equivalent to the growth of energy within a system. When the energy of a system increases, it shifts the form of the system into a new, more complex state. The attractor (organizational form) of the current social system will shift from money and commodity exchange to information and the sharing exchange. A commodity is scarce, costly to produce, only available at certain places and times. Information cannot function as a commodity because it continuously increases and is ubiquitous, and is therefore abundant, not scarce. The exponential growth of information will disrupt all our current social structures that are based on scarcity and commodity exchange, including Karatani’s Capital-State-Nation.”

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