Archive for July 23rd, 2002


Tuesday, July 23rd, 2002

We continue with the sixth in our series of excerpts from Barry Carter’s book Infinite Wealth. See: 1) The Rise of a Win Win Civilization  2)  A Personal Journey of Discovery 3) Why Corporations Don’t Work 4) The Emancipation of Capitalism and 5) Mass Privatization: Organizing in the Information Age

“Not since the days of Noah has there been the oppor­tunity to recre­ate society as there is today.”

—Thomas Payne 1775

Decentralized Wealth Creation

Barry Carter

When we synthesize Mass Privatization (changes occurring in work, business and wealth-creation) with historical change, today’s social stagnation and decay, the changes occurring in government, education and the family we see an entirely new wealth-creation system emerging—Decentralized Wealth Creation.

Whereas Mass Privatization is the organizing structure for individual organizations, Decentralized Wealth Creation is the entire wealth-creation system which results from a society made of a mosaic of overlapping and intertwined Mass Privatization organizations—a society with citizens operating as suppliers, customers and partners interdependent upon one another. The organizations or communities are interconnected through the incoming Information Superhighway. They are locally and globally interdependent—all working to help themselves by meeting others’ needs.  The Mass Privatization communities are without boundaries in the sense that one cannot determine where one ends and another begins, since most individuals and teams participate in more than one organization. 

The Age Wave Historical Perspective

Aside from the Third Wave concept there is no effective system of analysis which makes sense of the frustrations and confusion which characterizes politics and government virtually everywhere in the industrialized world. –Newt Gingrich

In charts below, I have expanded upon Alvin Toffler’s Age Wage concept, to show some of the differences between civilizations based upon Localized Wealth Creation, the wealth-creation system for the Agricultural Age, Centralized Wealth Creation of the Industrial Age and Decentralized Wealth Creation of the Information Age.

With the Localized Wealth Creation of the Agricultural Age, most people worked, in bondage, as serfs or slaves. They worked on the land in hierarchical fiefdoms and kingdoms. The power used to created wealth was physical force or violence power. It was the primary fuel that propelled the entire civilization, as serfs and slaves were forced to work on the land. Serfs were compensated based upon a percent of the wealth produced. The only activity that was seen as creating wealth was direct agricultural production.

As we transitioned into the Centralized Wealth Creation of the Industrial Age, most people went from working as serfs to employees. They went from working in hierarchical-based fiefdoms on the land and in bondage to working in bureaucracy-based controlled economies contained within single buildings. They worked as representatives of the owners and were compensated for their time with standardized compensation—wages and salaries. The power used to organize people shifted from brute-force to dollar wealth power. And our view of wealth-creation expanded from food production to include the making, mining and growing of things, with the making of things dominating wealth-creation.

As we are shifting to the Decentralized Wealth Creation of an Information Age, we are at the very beginnings of a shift from people working as employees in single buildings to people working as owning partners via the Information Superhighway. The shift is from people working in controlled economy-based bureaucracies to people working in free-market-based networks of self-directed virtual teams or teamnets. People are shifting from working as representatives of the owners, receiving standardized compensation, to owners that are compensated based on the value they add directly for customers. The power driving society is shifting from finite dollar power to infinite knowledge power. Our view of wealth-creation is expanding from the making, mining and growing of things to include knowledge-based wealth-creation.

Social Era>

Agricultural Age

Industrial Age

Information Age

Wealth-Creation System->



 Decentralized Wealth Creation










& Food

Things & Food








Dollar Wealth













People WorkAs>
Work Where->

On the


In Single

Via Information








People Work In>




Organizing Structure->



Mass Privatization
Free Market Economies

System of Work

Production and Social Organizing

One Piece Customization

Mass Production

Mass Customization


Personalized Made to fit Craftsmanship

Standardized Interchangeable Parts

Personalized Free Market Standardization

Work Division

Whole Work

Division of Labor

Synthesis of Whole Work

Reward for Work

(%  of Wealth Produced)

Standardized Compensation
(Flat Salaries and Wages)

Value Added
(%  of Wealth Produced)

Work Relationship

Independent Work

Dependent Work (jobs)

Interdependent Work





Worker Status

Bonded Servant

Employed Representative

Partnered Owner

Market Control

Producer = Consumer

Seller’s Market

Buyer’s Market

Other Social Systems

Government (System of Social Order)


Minority Rule through

Representative Government Representatives Govern through Majority

True Democracy


Individuals Self-Ordered
through Alignment


Extended Family

Nuclear Family

Varied Families


Formal Religion

Newtonian Science

21st Century Science


Barter/Real Currency

Symbolic Single Currency

Super Symbolic Currency


Local and Regional


Local and Global

Human Needs-

Lower Order Needs
Food, Shelter, Basics

Middle Needs
Safety, Security, Stability

Higher Order Needs
Emotional and Spiritual

Knowledge Levels

Family Centered Learning

From Home
Mass Ignorance

Mass Production Education
From Factory Schools

Mass Basic Education

Personalized Learning Via
Information Technology

Mass Learning

Wealth Level

Mass Poverty

Mass Stability

Mass Affluence


As Goes Wealth-Creation So Goes Civilization

Wealth-creation is the driver of all human civilizations, propelling everything else. All civilizations are built around and rest upon the wealth and wealth-creation paradigm and system of the period. In turn, the wealth-creation system is based upon the current worldview and this is based upon the latest science of the day.

Built upon this foundation are all of the social institutions of the period: work, family, spirituality, justice, government, education, commerce. These social institutions must be compatible with the wealth-creation paradigm and system of the era. As that wealth-creation system and paradigm changes so too must all of the institutions.

The institutions of an era must also be compatible with each other.  Institutions from different eras cannot effectively be mixed and matched. The social institutions for Agricultural Age did not work for an Industrial Age. Serfdom and slavery did not work with representative democracy. Likewise ownerless employment is not effective in a knowledge era where workers by default own the knowledge producing equipment, thus the means of production, in society. To change one piece we must change it all. The different eras require institutions, thinking, science and a worldview that synthesizes and to some degree matches one another to form a whole society. Since every part of every civilization rests upon its own wealth-creation foundation, as goes wealth-creation so goes civilization.

We not only see the company being replaced or transformed but all of our controlled economy-based institutions: non-profit and charity organizations, public and private schools, government agencies, universities, hospitals and more. All controlled economies, like companies, are in the business of meeting human needs.

The Shift to a Family Centered Civilization

We, in essence, live in a bureaucracy-centered society where our family members look to various bureaucracies, focused on specialized fragments of life, to meet our various needs. It has been an era of the bureaucratization of the family. This was not so in the Agricultural Age. It was a more natural time where most people got their needs met through the family. Children learned at home what they needed to live. They participated in the family business from a very young age learning as they worked. In fact, working on the land was not even considered a business, it was merely part of family life. Work, learning and family life were one undivided whole.

As we shift to Decentralized Wealth Creation we are shifting back to a family-centered civilization. One where the meeting of our family members needs for learning, work and trade, social order, emotional growth, recreation, rest, retirement and spirituality is integrated back into our family’s daily life. With Decentralized Wealth Creation, we see the family being put back into a position of direct responsibility for the needs of family members.

From Schools to Knowledge Creation and Knowledge Flow

With Decentralized Wealth Creation we can expect to see schools and the notion of education replaced with a new system based upon the broader concept of knowledge creation and knowledge flow. Education is externally driven and done by one person to another. As in all controlled economies there is one person in control. Knowledge creation and knowledge flow is internally driven, self-directed and fun. The concept of knowledge creation and knowledge flow is naturally interwoven into every aspect of every person’s life everyday. This is as opposed to the concept of education being confined to the younger years of one’s life.

With Decentralized Wealth Creation children get a large part of their learning from home through advanced information technology. Parents will have full and direct control of and responsibility for their children’s learning. Many people will work from home or a combination of home and office. Parents will be able to merge their children’s learning with their own work because much of children’s learning comes through information technology that is very much aligned with the parents’ work.

Socialization will take place daily through small, local and global learning communities, clubs and organizations. Rather than mass production-based factory schools with hundreds and thousands of children in single buildings, the local privately- owned, for-profit learning communities meet in small buildings equipped with the latest in advanced information technology. In addition, there will be global learning organizations that meet through the virtual-reality Information Superhighway.

In regards to socialization we must ask ourselves, why do our children have to be socialized with hundred and thousands of others in a single building? When and where in society do people have to interact in large numbers like this on a routine basis? This only occurs in factories.

Perhaps factory-style schools were needed for the Industrial Age.  Children were taught rote memorization, they were not taught to think and be creative, but to follow the rules, to obey authority, to be on time, to fragment through analysis, to adapt to routine, tedious work, and to conform, all the while maintaining low emotional and spiritual intelligence. These are the things that our factory style schools teach in order for people to work successfully in “controlled” and stable factories. However, today we need a new learning model that socializes our children to thrive in a New World of collaboration within small groups, relying heavily on self-direction, creativity, and synergistic relationships.

In the New World, our children’s learning comes from a variety of sources, unlike the standardized schools of the Industrial Age. Some learning occurs in small, specialized learning communities, while other learning comes from children working with their parents in their businesses, helping meet other people’s needs. A third source is from children’s play as they go online and play learning games. A fourth comes as children operate their own businesses trading their ideas, knowledge, goods and services with other kids and adults.

In addition, children will be traveling and exploring the world, and universe through the infinite Information Superhighway. This all sounds a bit scary because it lacks the control-based standardization of our current Industrial Age school system. However, we must have confidence in the invisible hand of the free market, chaos theory, to provide far better order in complex system. For example, as we look at the PC industry, we see global standardization and order without any authoritarian controlling standards.

As children become adults there will no longer be tangible graduate degrees and cut-off points where we get a certificate, and learning stops. People will be working and learning all of their lives. With the advent of Decentralized Wealth Creation in education we see the unification of learning, play, spirituality and work into one undivided whole.

The Shift to Holistic Living

 As demonstrated throughout this book, one of the trademarks of the Industrial Age has been Newtonian fragmentation. Life itself could not escape this fragmentation.  For two hundred years we have witnessed the bureaucratization of life into separate cubbyholes. Because of fragmentation we do not see work as a part of life, but something we must do so that we can live in our time off—we, in effect, sell part of our lives. We do not see the need to learn very much after graduation from school since that life-fragment is over once work starts. We do not see the need to practice our spiritual values in work and business because business and spirituality are two separate fragments that we assume simply operate upon different principles. And last, we have a separate cubbyhole for retirement and relaxation. The reality, however, is that all of the above is part of life and should operate based upon the same principles and all should be occurring throughout life, not in separate cubbyholes. All of life was one in the Agricultural Age and will again be one in the Information Age. Life was not whole in Industrial Age because of our fragmented view of life and separate, incoherent institutions.

As we shift to Decentralized Wealth Creation, we are shifting to a system where we learn, work, grow emotionally and spiritually, govern, recreate, create wealth, trade, retire and live all of the time in virtually everything we do. To do one is to do them all. It is to live!

A Natural Shift

Many people, upon seeing the Age Wave chart, comment “You mean, we’re going back to systems of the farm days; barter, home and family-based education, owning one’s work, income and reward based upon what one creates and trades with others, home-based work, production based upon individual customization? That’s nuts!” However, when one steps back and looks at the big picture it makes sense.

We see natural systems in an Agricultural Age and through all of human history. In order to move from the primitiveness and separateness of an Agricultural Age, to a civilization where things worked on massive scales, mass production, mass communications, mass marketing, mass work, mass government, etc., artificial, machine-based, command and control systems were needed to organize people and mass work. Today we are developing the information technology to enable mass work in the more natural ways.

Copyright 2000 by Barry Carter

Next: The Infinite Wealth Potential of Liberated Humans

About Barry Carter.  

Infinite Wealth is available at the author’s website, and can be purchased in bookstores everywhere including Amazon and Barnes & Nobel. There is also an abbreviated free online version.

Reason Wilken’s Review of Infinite Wealth