In episode three, Gatchaman Crowds brings crowd-sourcing to bear on the problem of contaminated milk distribution.
What a techno-utopian vision of post-scarcity anarchism. It’s a combination of massive central planning (the simulations the GALAX system was running, optimizing the allocation of crowd-sourced resources against probable outcomes) and anarchist pay-it-forward gift-economy pitching-in.
It’s sort of the opposite of Psycho Pass‘s Sybil system (and not just in its candy-coated color-scheme): here, it’s the older, pre-Sybil adults who are disempowered while the younger Sybilites feel empowered to act and solve problems on their own.
Or maybe it’s what the marketing brochures for the Sybil system looked like before the reality set in: the too-cheap-to-meter phase of atomic power before Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, the Declaration-of-the-Independence-of-Cyberspace phase before Amazon.com turned the Internet into a 21st century Sears Roebuck catalog.
Friedrich Hayek must be spinning in his grave. His contribution to economics was that it was impossible to gather the information required for the kind of resource-allocation that the GALAX system is doing, even leaving aside the fact that the GALAX system is working with resources solicited from the crowd. Markets win because prices can carry that information. But it’s tempting to wonder if technology might be nearing the point where it could provide an alternate mechanism to markets and prices. See Down and out in the Magic Kingdom, and “whuffie”.
I wonder where they’re going to go with this. I suspect the GALAX system has its darker side (or that there are people in Gatchaman’s world who will figure out how to exploit it for its darker side).
Update: corrected name of GALAX system, link to alternate view on whuffie.