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Re-Establishing Altruism As A Viable Social Norm

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Single-Value Scoring = Inherent Conflict

Single-value scoring means that a single number is used to represent the value imbalance between two parties in a transaction. This is the amount of money transferred between them. In a traditional buyer-seller situation, the buyer wants the price as low as possible, the seller wants the price as high as possible; the interests of the parties are in direct opposition to one another :(

This conflict is inevitable because whether it uses a competitive or a cooperative metric, no 1-dimensional evaluation properly represent the feelings of both parties. Single-value scoring is perhaps the major flaw in the mathematics which underlies otherwise innovative community currency systems such as LETS and Time Banks. Although members instinctively know that community currency trading is a non zero-sum system, their trading is built on a mathematical system that continues to misrepresent it.

Single-value scoring entails price negotiation, which encourages the more powerful to exploit the need of the other. In community currencies, social factors play a much larger role than in the globalised corporate economy, so this is not such a disasterous failing. However, particularly in the information economy, a multi-dimensional pricing system of self-evaluation is helpful to overcome the limitations of traditional money, allowing for effective distinction between value created and value transferred.

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