Whether or not the metaverse becomes a reality, we’re not talking about the current metaverse here, it’s really nothing more than a MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming) platform, but the idea of the metaverse and Web3 is the following That’s right. An interesting and valuable thought experiment. My last article, here, where I explored how the metaverse can be viewed as a metaphor for humanity’s biological imperative and sociocultural survival traits, here explores the metaverse and his Web3 thinking, We look at it as a longstanding sociocultural debate between socialism and capitalism.
The Metaverse and Web3 have become controversial and polarized for good reason.
Humans have played with different ways of organizing society for hundreds of thousands of years. In today’s world, we are most influenced by Western European thinking and capitalism. Socialism is seen as a dirty word on a par with communism and bad things. But that’s too narrow a view, and it’s debatable. So what does that have to do with the metaverse?
Personally, I am not convinced that there exists a metaverse that is universal and accessible to all of humanity, regardless of socioeconomic status. We still do not understand equal access to the Internet. Norway is the only country that recognizes internet access as a human right. A dictatorship provides access, but under strict rules. Democracies are much more open, but the information divide is also widening. If the Metaverse were to actually exist, the ideas put forth by its proponents would only be suitable for those who could afford to access it.
Proponents talk about using NFTs, blockchains, social tokens and other mechanisms to create equality and make money accessible to all. They advocate tectopian or utopian ideals. This is inherently flawed from the start. It costs money to play in the Metaverse today. You’ll need high-speed Internet access, a fairly powerful computer, ideally expensive VR goggles, and a good knowledge of how all this works, as well as the ability to purchase the games and entertainment offered there. Low and middle income people are not allowed to play in this space.
Proposed by VC firms such as Meta (Facebook), Roblox and Andreeson-Horowitz, the Metaverse and Web3 concepts are purely capitalist in nature. There is nothing wrong with that. Capitalism is good when done right. So is democracy. But these companies and venture capital firms are not driven by a sense of social responsibility. They simply won’t play if they can’t see a path to profit. Again, nothing wrong with that.
Then we discuss what all the other small businesses and online communities see as a vision for the Metaverse and Web3. Often it veers in the direction of socialism, with a bit of capitalism mixed in. This could be the best idea, if the Metaverse can come to fruition.
The Internet itself is a prime example of the tension between socialism and capitalism as operating models. The same is true for the metaverse. in our current way of thinking. Governments around the world are increasingly working to provide universal Internet access, which is great. However, with the price of connectivity and the ability to enjoy everything the internet has to offer comes a digital divide. Government-provided programs usually negotiate a lump sum rate with the carrier and his ISP, so that means slower speeds, but if you want faster internet, you have to pay the ISP/carrier directly. Yes, and many more.
Proponents and idealists of the Metaverse outside of established centralized corporations discuss traits and desires more recognizable as socialism. Equality of access, rules of law and play, fair compensation, decentralization and experimentation. Capitalism prefers a defined system that provides her one important measure of such a system. profit. Again, that’s perfectly fine.
Today, the Metaverse and Web3 are primarily discussing how different segments of society view human alternate realities. Many mini metaverses exist. Like I said, they’re just rebranding MMOGs now, and they’re highly centralized. Web3 is touted as the answer to this, but even the idea of Web3 is as messy, confusing and undefined as the metaverse. That’s okay too. Web3 is still just a discussion.
But neither the Metaverse nor Web3 can exist without acknowledging the underlying centralized systems that make their functionality possible. Someone has to pay for the energy (not very “green”) to power it, fiber optic cables, routers, data centers, laying and launching satellites. So there it is.
If we want a truly open metaverse, a truly decentralized Web3, it needs to be run by some kind of structure that is inherently more independent than by companies. Perhaps the Governing Body? Maybe the United Nations? Perhaps it’s not a viable idea?
Even if the Metaverse never emerges and Web3 becomes something else, the point is that we are having a massive, near-global debate about what these ideas mean for humanity. The Internet has fundamentally changed human culture and society, and is steadily changing socio-cultural systems around the world. Metaverse and Web3 are just layers of effect.
Cultures and societies around the world have already opposed the current capitalist system. The cat has emerged from the bag and in that fight for his life is scratching the fabric of our global system.
Talking about the Metaverse and Web3 is a debate between old capitalist ideals and new ideals that call for a better system. They are signs of massive change underway. It becomes a mess. We humans are always adapting. It’s what we do to survive. The Internet reflects humanity and our many cultures. As other animals use genetics, we use culture as a survival tool as a means of adaptation.
We have had this kind of discussion all the time. They’re happening again, except they’re more technology-driven and on a much larger scale than ever before.