Our Money is Distorting

March 23, 2021
Steven McCormack
2 mins

Last week I had commented on Bitcoin Urbanism, a fantastic publication that explores the relationship between money and construction;

Our money is distorted, and thus our environment is distorted. The [construction] industry is highly motivated by margins, and I totally get that, especially in this era of currency debasement. But it drives the high time preference I frequently see in design decisions.

It never ceases to disappointment me when I see traditional buildings, some over a century old, torn down to be replaced by structures that will barely last 40 years. Look at the combustible polystyrene facades that have replaced solid, long-lasting masonry. It is a tragedy, and I do firmly believe that Bitcoin can realign our motivations to create beautiful, healthy spaces.

At a minimum, we can start with consultants, designers etc. who are financially secure enough to drive this change. For me, that means Bitcoin on the balance sheet!

It is worth exploring a little further. I have not spent very long in Australia, but already I can see the legacy of rampant fiat. High rise apartments, sprouting up with little regard for the local streetscape or adjacent historic neighbourhoods. Artificial glass cliffs, shimmering in the sunlight, but providing little else aesthetically. When we first arrived here we spent some time in these modern apartment blocks. The experience was stale, soulless; skin deep.

It ties in with thoughts I had articulated some time ago about business, real estate, and life. Bitcoin was the keystone that brought it all together.

I do wonder what will become of our flimsy constructs of the last 30 years. Little loved and quickly out of fashion, they may well suffer the same fate as the concrete blocks foisted upon communities in the post-war era. Yes, they had modern plumbing. Yes they were better insulated. But it did not take too long for the enduring qualities of aesthetic, beauty and a sense of place to be sorely missed. Not many tears were shed when they were toppled with explosives.

That being said, I feel fantastically, utterly optimistic. As you can perhaps gather, I am very pro Bitcoin. I am also supportive of the many other projects in the digital asset space. It is an exciting time to be alive, for sure. And early days too! In 2-5 years, we will find out who received gold, silver and bronze in the crypto marathon.

At the same time we can consider the second and third order effects. Motivation can be recalibrated. Humanity can be restored. And I firmly believe this is most important for the physical space we inhabit. The cities we build. The infrastructure we aspire to. Hence when I put on my other hats, as a Chartered Surveyor and Project Manager, I view from Bitcoin first principles. That we can explore on another day.

Signing out, Steven.

Cover photo by Kamil Rogalinski on Unsplash.


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