The Evolution of Wealth & Human Security: The Paradox of Value and Uncertainty

5. Evolution of Values & Power

The growth of commerce and industry had its own revolutionary effect on societal structure and power, gradually undermining the foundations of feudalism in Europe. As improvements in the rural transportation system opened up access to domestic and international markets, wealthy landlords preferred to convert farm surpluses into money to purchase Asian silk, spices and tea or American sugar, rum and tobacco. As a consequence, the population living on huge estates declined from several thousand to a few dozen. Displaced workers migrated to towns and cities in search of productive employment, foregoing the security of dependence and subordination to a wealthy master in return for the freedom to sell their labor or start their own enterprise. Those that remained on the farm gradually acquired more permanent and protected tenant rights and liberties from arbitrary authority. In both instances, a greater freedom of choice and a greater spirit of independence prevailed. Thus, monetarized trade had a powerful transformative effect on society as a whole. Commercial revolution and political revolution proceeded hand in hand.

Until Smith’s day, little recognition had been given to the role of money as a means of stimulating production. Money-lending for interest was condemned by the Catholic Church largely because it was not associated with any productive function and was equated with usury. Saving was regarded as a socially unproductive and socially reprehensible activity, which was often mocked in the classical literature as in Moliere’s play The Miser. Before the Industrial Revolution all debts were considered ‘bad’ and failure to pay one’s debts was sufficient grounds for imprisonment, as depicted in Oliver Goldsmith’s novel The Vicar of Wakefield. When Goldsmith was himself thrown in debtor’s prison, his friend Dr. Samuel Johnson discovered this manuscript at Goldsmith’s home and sold it to raise sufficient funds to release him from jail.

Smith challenged the moralistic attitudes of previous centuries, extolling the virtue of savings as the principal source of the capital required for investment to enhance the wealth and welfare of nations. The growth of trade stimulated demand for money and the need for capital accumulation. Improved rural transport opened up distant markets for agricultural surpluses, necessitating the shift from barter to a more efficient medium of exchange. Long distance sea trade in luxury goods generated increasing demand for gold and silver coinage. Until 1800 banks mainly engaged in providing commercial credit for trading activities in which investment rarely exceeded five percent of total sales. But the high cost of tools and machinery required for industrialization, which demanded increasing amounts of capital, gradually transformed banking into a highly effective social organization for collecting public savings and channeling it for productive investment in industry. Joint stock companies or corporations in which several investors shared ownership became more prevalent.

The development of new moral values and cultural attitudes paralleled the emergence of new technologies and production processes. These changes also brought about a marked change in social values and social power. As industry became an increasingly important source of national wealth and military power, the power and status of the aristocracy and the church gave way to the power and status of money. The monetarization of the economy led to the monetarization of society and politics. The Industrial Revolution became a revolution of capitalism.

Originally a symbol of economic value and purchasing power, through this process money became increasingly a symbol of social value and social power. Sacs of gold coins sufficient to purchase a rural estate or a shipload of merchandise gradually acquired the power for entry into the social elite and the halls of political power. Money conquered space, making products mobile. It became a catalyst for economic transactions. So too it abridged or eradicated social distance between the classes. It conquered time by enabling a family to acquire in a single life time the status and power once proudly accumulated by inheritance over countless generations. Money not only made products more mobile. It made social and political power more mobile and transferable. It made possible the alteration of social structures without guillotining an entire class of people, thereby facilitating peaceful social evolution in place of violent political revolution. A society capable of more rapid change exhibited a greater capacity to learn, adapt, experiment, innovate and develop.

6. Accumulating D&P

In the course of discovering a new creative power, humanity tends to lose sight of what it already knows and utilizes. We create marvellous new instruments for our advancement and then subordinate ourselves to those instruments, becoming increasingly dependent and enslaved. Thus, we have become victims of the machines we fashioned for our convenience, the laws framed to uphold our rights, the weapons we built for our defense, the markets we established to facilitate exchange, and the money we created for our collective prosperity. In the course of discovering the remarkable power of money as a form of capital, humanity has progressively lost sight of the other forms of dowry and patrimony on which the welfare and well-being of society is founded.

The environmental movement that gained momentum after the publication of Limits to Growth, a report to the Club of Rome, sought to remind us of the obvious fact that the entire edifice of our modern economy is founded on the earth’s natural and biological D&P. Accumulation of monetary capital alone cannot ensure continuous growth, indeed it will have diminishing returns and give rise to increasing problems, unless economic growth can be carried on in a manner that preserves and enhances rather than destroys and depletes the natural capital. Limits to Growth did not condemn humanity to tread water perpetually at the present stage of its collective development. Rather it announced the limits of the old industrial model of growth, to the blind pursuit of growth for growth sake, and called for a significant change in the pattern and composition of economic activity.

In fact, such a significant change in pattern was already beginning to emerge at the time of the report, but its significance was not sufficiently understood. Over the past four decades, the old industrial model of economic growth has progressively given rise to the knowledge-based service economy, with profound implications for the economic future of humanity, as we will discuss later in this article. One consequence of this development has been an increasing shift in emphasis from dependence on material D&P as the principal source of economic growth to an increasing emphasis on social and human capital, two other forms of cultural D&P capable of unlimited renewal and augmentation, which are now accumulating at an unprecedented rate. As indications of this shift, the number of students in secondary schools globally rose from 40 million to 531 million between 1950 and 2008, while the number enrolled in higher education globally rose from 29 million to 151 million between 1970 and 2008.

Accumulation is a universal phenomenon. D&P represents the global stock of asset of various forms of ‘capital’. This stock undergoes a continuous process of inter-conversion. In some instances this process enhances some forms of capital while depleting others. But its main action is to multiply the value of all forms of D&P. Thus, the application of technology to agriculture has raised the productivity of the land five, ten and, in some instances, a hundred-fold. Sand, used for millennium as a constituent for making bricks, has subsequently become a source for making glass, silicon chips and fibre optic cables. Oil, which was once burned in lamps, is now converted into high value added synthetic materials and pharmaceuticals. Human beings, once valued primarily as a source of manual labor, have been increasingly replaced by machines and are now valued far more for their social, mental and creative capacities.

Figure 2 below depicts four main categories of capital or D&P. All forms of capital exist in a synergetic relationship as part of an evolving continuum. The interaction of these various forms exhibits an inherent capacity for self-replication or multiplication. The evolution of social organization (Cultural D&P) has given rise to an exponential growth of financial D&P. The spread of education has provided the foundation for rapid development of science, which in turn has given rise to a remarkable period of technological innovation that is still accelerating as predicted by Moore’s Law.

One type of D&P often becomes the basis for creation or development of another type. But this is not always the case. In some instances a rapid increase in one form of D&P does not necessarily reflect an overall increase in the total stock of global assets. No matter how important the monetarized economy may be, it exists and functions solely on the foundation of physical, biological, social and human capital. Exhaustion of water or non-renewable energy resources, destruction of biodiversity, social unrest resulting from rising levels of inequality, the squandering and deterioration of precious human resources due to unemployment and underemployment may co-exist for a time with rising levels of global financial assets, which have multiplied from $12 trillion to over $212 trillion over the past three decades.7 The current international financial crisis shows just how fragile and evanescent the perception of wealth may be when limited to a single measure such as money. In recent times we have witnessed the sudden disappearance of trillions of dollars of what were once thought to be hard financial assets. A failure to appreciate and respect the interdependence between these different types of assets can have far-reaching consequences, as the global impact of the 2008 international financial crisis on economic growth and employment illustrates.

Figure 2 also highlights another important attribute of economic value that is overlooked by contemporary theory. It can be either positive or negative. All that glows is not gold. All growth is not good growth. Economic activity resulting from war, environmental remediation, the rising costs associated with compensating for depletion of scarce resources reflect a deterioration in human welfare and well-being, not an enhancement, yet traditional measures of growth and national wealth regard them in the same vein as increased agricultural productivity, more housing, rising expenditure on education and healthcare.

Figure 2: Dowry and Patrimony (D & P) – The Source of Wealth and Value 6

In order for economics to evolve into a true science of wealth and welfare, new concepts are required to define with comprehensive preciseness the notion of value we seek to enhance and new measures are needed that accurately reflect the real impact of social activity on that value. A wider conception of D&P illustrates the limitations of a narrow definition of capital. But the problem extends still further into unchartered regions of social activity and potential beyond the veil.

7. The Notion of Value

It has always been recognized that a substantial part of productive activities in life and society are performed outside the monetarized context. Most classical economists from Adam Smith to John Stuart Mill devoted a considerable portion of their writings to a wider conception of productive labor and value that encompassed non-monetarized activities. Yet the very notion of value on which Smith founded his theory led in practice to the exclusion of the non-monetarized contributions to wealth creation in industrial societies. This was a logical result of his effort to focus on the means to enhance national wealth by harnessing the enormous potential of industrialization, specialization, trade and investment, rather than on efforts to measure national wealth comprehensively. He rightly perceived money as a powerful instrument of social engineering with the capacity to solve the complex logistical problems associated with industrialization. Since then economics has continued to ignore non-monetarized economic activities.

Smith’s concept of value was derived from a measurement system based on market prices resulting from the interplay of supply and demand. Price, the monetarized value of goods, seemed to be a clear, easily quantifiable yardstick to measure economic performance. The reference price of a good defined by its monetarized value had considerable advantages compared to the vaguer statements and subjective indicators of performance commonly adopted by the social sciences. An objective price was the economist’s equivalent of the speed of light or the atomic weight of atoms in Physics. It elevated Economics above the other social disciplines and brought it closer to the quantifiable precision found in the natural sciences, where phenomena are more precisely defined and more readily lend themselves to objective measurement. Thus, during the Industrial Revolution, the convenience, practicality and reference to the scientific method of analysis combined to focus attention on monetarized activities as the key tool for developing the wealth of nations.

While a focus on monetarized phenomena has proved helpful for understanding the production and utilization of manufactured goods, it is far less useful for obtaining a clear and comprehensive picture of how society evolves and how economics is being transformed in recent times by the emergence of the new service economy. Both unmonetized and non-monetarized wealth are inadequately accounted for in traditional economic theory.[‡] Today the predominance accorded to monetarized activities needs to be placed in a broader perspective. Several considerations compel us to insist on a wider conception of economic activity.

First, the monetarized and non-monetarized fields are not separate air-tight compartments. There is a continuous movement across the invisible line separating priced from free goods and services. Thus, tasks which were formerly carried out without the use of money such as mom’s cooking and housekeeping have in recent decades been shifting to the monetarized economy as more and more women seek employment and families rely on fast food and daycare services to meet their family needs. This has a double-impact on monetarized growth, since it reflects both in rising family incomes as well as rising revenues for the daycare and fast food industries. At the same time, it does not properly account for the negative impact on life styles, leisure and health arising from the consumption of fat-rich restaurant foods, higher levels of family stress and less time for exercise. Similarly, the costs of retirement have escalated due to the continued fragmentation of families resulting in a separation of the generations. When processed store-bought and restaurant foods replace home-cooked preparations, quality and value may suffer, but GDP registers an increase in wealth-creation by the food industry as well as for businesses engaged in disposal of the discarded food packaging materials. No longer is grandma so readily available to care for the kids or sons and daughters to aid their aging parents. This has generated greater freedom and independence, but it has been bought at a price in terms of quality of life, which current economic measures do not accurately reflect.

With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, money came into its own as the pre-eminent social institution. Until then, more than 50% of all economically productive activity was self-production for self-consumption or barter, i.e. it occurred without monetary exchange and remained non-monetarized. Even today money systems represent only a very limited portion of what truly characterizes the wealth of nations. Ecological resources are a good example of non-monetarized aspects of wealth. As ecologists have been emphasizing for decades, the monetarized system of measurement assigns values only according to the cost of extraction or processing. Thus, clear air and pure water may be assigned zero value; whereas when water has to be treated in order to remove impurities resulting from human activity or purchased in order to ensure health and hygiene, monetarized measures record the creation of positive new wealth. This view obscures the process by which free goods become scarce and once scarce goods become free. Is the world really “richer” today by $60 billion a year because so many people purchase bottled drinking water to avoid the risks of drinking water from the tap?

The fact that resources which were once free or available at very low cost have become an increasing cost component within the industrial production system illustrates how the monetarized economic system may create new forms of scarcity in some areas in the very process of striving to reduce scarcity in others. At the same time, technological and organizational advances can transform once scarce products and services into free goods. Access to information and many forms of communication, which were once very costly, have become virtually free. Are we not richer today for the capacity to access the world’s knowledge at our fingertips and to communicate instantaneously across the globe, even though we pay little or nothing for the privilege?

When we take full account of the complex interactions between the monetarized and non-monetarized worlds, we realize the inherent limits of the system of evaluation made prevalent by the Industrial Revolution and the underlying assumptions about wealth creation on which it is based. The increasing scarcity of ‘goods’ in the non-monetarized world may offset or even overcompensate for the decrease in scarcities in the monetarized one. The two worlds are interdependent. Clearly there is need for developing a theoretical framework as well as a system of accounting and monitoring capable of reflecting what is actually happening.

8. Beyond the Veil

There is another equally important reason for expanding our notion of value to include non-monetarized activities. As a rule new social potential first appears in the unstructured, non-monetarized sector and only gradually transitions over to the money economy. In this sense the non-monetarized sector is the birthplace and breeding ground for future progress. When Richard Sears started his mail order catalog in 1893 to cater to the needs of rural farmers who lived too far from urban centers for convenient access to goods, little did anyone realize that by 1920 the company he founded would become the largest retailer in the world, yet it still did not own or operate a single retail store. Rural America was prospering, but it lacked an appropriate delivery system to fulfill its rising aspirations. Sears’ catalog was a new form of social organization designed to monetarize this latent potential.

With the advent of mass production after World War I, the automobile began to transform American life, resulting in a rapid migration of people from urban centers to new suburban communities, which were far removed from the convenience of urban shopping center. General Robert Wood, a logistics expert who helped build the Panama Canal, learned of this trend reading the US Statistical Abstracts. When he took charge at Sears in the early 1920s, he established the first of what became known as suburban shopping centers, which he subsequently opened in suburban areas across the USA. As a consequence, Sears’ department store business expanded right through the Great Depression, a time when overall retailing in America was down by 25%. Once again Sears converted a non-monetarized potential into monetary wealth.

Social change gives rise to new needs and new opportunities which first appear in the unstructured region of non-monetarized potential. This uncharted region is not merely a finite residue left out of the national accounts. It is a creative frontier from which new opportunities are constantly emerging. Education is an example. It began millennia ago as an informal arrangement for the transference of knowledge from one person to another. In the 19th century, institutionalized public education became widely prevalent. More recently, all types and levels of education have been organized to convert them into commercial opportunities. As a consequence, the field of education has grown explosively to become a $2 trillion global industry.

Whatever its shortcomings, fast food provides a valuable service that is increasingly in demand worldwide. In the USA alone the industry expanded from $6 billion to $110 billion between 1970 and 2000, currently providing employment to about 2.7 million people. Globally it is a $200 billion industry. Similarly, the daycare industry has expanded dramatically to meet the needs of working women. In the USA, daycare is now a $35 billion industry employing 1.5 million people and the fifth largest occupation for women in America. Overall the percentage of women working in OECD rose by 55% over the past half century.

The explosive growth of microfinance globally in recent decades is an example of a social potential that remained unutilized because existing institutions were unable to find an appropriate strategy to monetarize it. As a rule, women are more reliable and responsible in managing money and repaying loans than men and they have entrepreneurial capabilities and productive talents which they are unable to express for want of effective institutional support. Since the founding of Grameen Bank thirty years ago, microfinance has grown into a global industry of more than $20 billion serving the needs of 150 million people, three-fourths of them women.

Beyond the veil of money lies the unorganized, unstructured informal fringe of society that is continuously evolving new forms and throwing up new potentials, the ever-expanding source of social creativity that is the basis for future prosperity. Google was founded as a search engine company in 1998 without any evident model for generating revenue. Two years later it introduced Adwords, an innovative system for matching the interests of searchers with the offerings of advertisers. In a decade Google built Adwords into a $28 billion business. The manufacture of material goods may have its limits, but human imagination and social innovation do not.

Furthermore, present measures of wealth fail to fully take into account the future value of investments in the non-monetarized sector. Can we really assess the value of investment in education in terms of the current cost of delivery? Such an accounting system may very well prompt us to invest in capital equipment and dispense with labor and education altogether. Measuring productivity as output per person rises when machines replace people, but what happens to the people? The carrying cost of idle plant capacity reflects badly on a company’s balance sheet, but which financial statement reflects the carrying cost of unemployed human beings and the deterioration in social stability and quality of life that result? Attempts to measure economic activity and wealth without reference to the impact on human beings can lead to surrealistic conclusions. It is dangerous. The one and only acceptable objective of economic activity is to promote welfare and well-being of all humanity.

Current systems of national accounts do not even include a balance sheet of assets and liabilities, let alone one that reflects the impact on non-monetary resources. Education is investment in the most precious of all our resources, human beings. Businesses regard capital spending on future production capacity to enhance future profits as investment rather than expenditure. Similarly, present spending on education should be accounted for as an investment in human capital to promote future wealth and welfare, as proposed by Jacobs and Šlaus in an earlier issue of Cadmus.8 Only a human-centric economic theory and system of measurement can effectively serve these objectives.

The process by which the creative potential of the non-monetarized dimensions of society is converted into wealth is yet to be fully understood. We might say that the entire monetarized economy represents an effort to structure and organize various aspects of humanity’s social existence so that they can be performed more cheaply and easily for the benefit of the collective. But this act of organization does not diminish the size or potential of the non-monetarized sector; rather it enhances it, because it progressively liberates human beings from the total preoccupation and drudgery of physical labor and material activities, so they can concentrate more of their time and energy on developing and expressing higher faculties. Freedom from drudgery provides the leisure time for thinking, exploring, discovering, interacting, inventing, innovating and creating. In the process, human beings become less physical, more social and mental; less repetitive, more creative. As the external society becomes more organized, the inner character of human beings becomes more developed and capable of expression in outer life.

During the heydays of the industrial age, the deficiencies in traditional measures of economic flow may not have undermined their essential utility. But today they raise fundamental questions which need to be addressed by new theory to evolve a more valid conception of wealth-generation and human welfare. Which blend of monetarized and non-monetized activities contributes most positively to wealth-generation and human welfare? How can we more consciously tap and organize the unstructured, non-monetarized social potential to promote greater human security, welfare and well-being?

9. The Utopia of Certainty

Ever since Man was expelled from Paradise, he has dreamed of immortal life in a utopia founded on the certainties of universal truth, where he can live fully secure from ignorance, error, death, want and from the hazardous whims of fickle Fortune. Before the Renaissance, religion was the main source of this aspiration for immortality and perfect certainty. Although the sources and imagery have changed with the passage of time, the dream lives on in the aspirations of modern science. Rapid advances in the spread of scientific knowledge, backed by a positivistic faith in science’s capacity to uncover the processes by which both physical and human events occur and the remarkable technological achievements resulting from the application of science to life and material nature, have reawakened the utopian dream in a new form. Underlying all its achievements is a belief that a scientific mastery of reality will one day come very close to universal truth.[§]

In Descartes’ time he was suspected by theologians of launching a counter-religion to replace the universal truth based on God and administered by the Church. Descartes defended the scientific method of induction by asserting that it focused only on those realities which are clearly verifiable and distinct, but the theologians perceived that the ideological and metaphysical implications of his approach could be much greater. Indeed, the words science and scientific have come to connote that which is certain beyond doubt.

Cartesianism signaled a tremendous change in cultural perspective, which was at the root of the Industrial Revolution. But it has not led to the world of certainty that 19th century scientists once anticipated and humanity still aspires for. Rather, we now realize that the further we pursue the quest for scientific knowledge, the more we discover our own ignorance and the more uncertain we become about many things we once comfortably took for granted. As Pascal said, “Science is like a ball in the universe of ignorance. The more we expand knowledge, the greater the ignorance encountered by the ball’s expanding surface.” 9 Today we measure the advance of science much more by the growing number of questions it seeks to answer than by the veracity of the answers it arrives at. Science has discovered the relativity of all our perceptions and measures of reality in space and time. It is compelled to acknowledge fundamental limits to mind’s capacity for knowledge which are inherent in nature. We may never be able to really ‘know’, but we can always ‘know’ more than before.

A positivistic conviction in our progress toward certainty was an explicit premise of the Industrial Revolution. The objective was to uncover and assemble the discrete pieces of valid knowledge needed to complete the picture of universal truth. Experience has exposed the fallacy in this view. For each attempt to frame a problem involves defining specific assumptions which may be at variance with or contradictory to previously accepted truth. Assuming that the earth was flat proved satisfactory for land-based navigation across continents, but invalid when trying to navigate the open seas. Each new discovery unfolds new layers of reality previously unknown and reveals increasingly complex relationships between the layers. Mendel’s concept of a gene proved adequate for cross-breeding of plants, but not for understanding the reproduction of chromosomes or the molecular synthesis and recombination of DNA. The microscopic behavior of molecules and atoms has proven inadequate to comprehend the behavior of subatomic particles or to reconcile them with astronomical phenomenon.

When it comes to the social sciences, the quest for certainty has proven even more elusive. While the division of knowledge into discrete subjects has enabled physical science to study material nature one layer at a time and uncover the relationships between the layers, social life represents an inextricable mixture of factors – political, social, economic, cultural, historical, geographical, demographic, psychological – which refuse to remain segregated or respect the boundaries assigned to them by the scientist. Thus, money is at once an economic, social, political, cultural and psychological power. Its value, power and behavior are the complex resultant of the interaction of all these factors.

In spite of its limitations, physical science admits of a degree of certainty which the social sciences are unable to attain. Although we cannot arrive with certainty at the precise position and velocity of an electron, we can be quite sure about its mass and charge; whereas in economics, the very notion of value is deeply problematic. The value of the most material of objects – a piece of land at Rockefeller Center in New York City, a home in Beverly Hills, an ounce of gold or a currency note – may be subject to such rapid, drastic and unpredictable fluctuations that it sometimes defies imagination, let alone prediction. The price of gold has doubled in the last two years. Between 2002 and 2008, the price of oil rose four-fold. Mass production may be able to predict with great certainty the speed with which a product can be produced, but value added measures cannot accurately predict market value or the interval before a product becomes obsolete. If we are unable to arrive at an objective value for a physical object, how much greater is the challenge to assign absolute value to wealth, welfare and progress – terms which vary widely over space and time? The utility of a fur coat or an air conditioner depends very much on the climate you live in. The value of a rare painting or priceless designer dress depends very much on who you are. Perhaps the difficulty is that we are attempting to define an inherently subjective condition in purely objective terms.

Uncertainty is a fact of life. Yet, as it presents itself to us it appears to have two apparently opposite and contradictory characteristics. On the one side, it appears to be the source of the anxiety and insecurity from which humanity progressively seeks to escape. On the other, it appears to be the source of unimagined opportunity and creative potential. Uncertainty provides the raw material for humanity’s searching, aspiring, seeking, imagining, creating, discovering, developing, inventing and innovating, the very acts which set us apart and above other species. Uncertainty is a creative cauldron out of which every new discovery and accomplishment emerges. Our efforts to limit and circumscribe uncertainty, as if it were a finite realm, are the source of humanity’s greatest achievements, as agriculture was invented to overcome the uncertainty of nature’s bounty. Diplomacy in the conference room is an effort to eliminate the destructive uncertainty of war. Law and social custom were invented to provide common rules for interactions between people. Democracy is a system intended for orderly decision-making among people with diverse interests, perspectives and values. The market is a social organization designed to efficiently match buyers and sellers in the otherwise teeming, chaotic uncertainty of commercial life.

The challenge is not to abolish uncertainty, for only death is for sure. The challenge is to find ways to creatively harness the potential of uncertainty and harvest greater security, wealth and well-being from its grasp. Historically, uncertainty has always been an undeniable fact of life – as it was during the long agrarian epoch and since the beginning of the Industry Revolution, but it assumes an even more central character and significance in the modern service economy that is emerging, which we explore in the next section.

6. Adapted from Orio Giarini, Dialogue on Wealth and Welfare: A Report to the Club of Rome (Oxford: Pergamon, 1980), 169.
7. “Global Financial Assets,” The Economist July 30, 2011
8. Garry Jacobs and Ivo Šlaus, “Indicators of Economic Progress,” Cadmus 1, no. 1(2010): 53-113.
9. Orio Giarini and Walter R. Stahel, The Limits to Certainty (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993), 20.
[‡] Monetized refers to systems in which money is used for exchange. Unmonetized refers to systems in which exchange takes place without the use of money, as in barter exchange. Non-monetarized refers to systems in which no economic exchange occurs (self-production, unpaid housework) or no economic value can be assigned (air, health, family, creativity, leisure, culture, stress, peace, security, well-being).
[§] Most of the discussion on uncertainty as well as many other important concepts presented in this article are based on original work presented in Orio Giarini and Walter R. Stahel’s The Limits to Certainty (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993).

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