Invisible Hand of the Market, The

Image from Anders Sandberg

Unique among the major empires the Sephirotic has no single clear Archai ruler. Instead a secretive group of S4 and S5 archai referred to by many as the Invisible Hand exercises subtle financial power to keep the Zone functioning and prosperous. Also known as Hod, Hermes, Mercury, El Dorado, Mammon, the Fluid One, the Subtle Messenger, the Almighty Dollah and the Emergent Order.

According to some, the Invisible Hand is possibly comprised of the oldest of the Archai in existence in terms of eir archetype, at least partially predating both artificial intelligence and computers (!). Those espousing this view point to the self-organisation of the free market as a form of nascent intelligence itself. The market acts as an adaptive information processing system gathering information from all the individual actors and giving them feedback in the form of prices. In economic theory rational actors would start acting in accordance with the market as they grew more rational, a low-level reflection of the archetypal merging of AIs at high toposophic levels.

The Invisible Hand is thought to be far more distributed than the other archai, not only residing in dedicated hardware but also relyng on the financial interactions of all agents in the zone as a form of computation. In principle every trade is a mental operation of the gods, equivalent to a single neuron firing in a biont brain. While this is a common and comforting belief in the NoCoZo many are quick to point out point to how little processing power the NoCoZo market would give rise to compared to even a single matrioshka, instead proposing that at most the Zone's market is nothing more than an idle thought shared between whichever archai make up the Invisible Hand.

Regardless of how much of the market may be manipulated by the Invisible Hand to act as a distributed financial computer surveys show that the majority of NoCoZo denizens take consider the Invisible Hand the most accessible of all archai - it can be contacted simply by doing an economic transaction. While there exist corporate seraiphim that are explicit in using their market power to further the goals of the illusive hand the archai members have never revealed themselves in any individual form. It seems the hand prefers to act on the institutional rather than the individual level. The god constantly tries out new solutions in the form of the endeavors of market actors, weeding out the inefficient and promoting the successful. The result is a constant stream of innovation and experimentation on all levels - no assumptions are sacred, everything can be improved.

Market worship is practical in nature: the believers trade, create value or help set up institutions furthering the market. To market philosophers the Tier III societies of NoCoZo are living temples, and making money in accordance with the precepts of free trade is a sacrament. It is no wonder why this archailect, despite its remoteness, is one of the most directly worshipped AI gods in known space.

The Invisible Hand is naturally strongest within the NoCoZo, but has a noticeable influence on Cyberia, Keter, the Fomalhaut Acquisition Society, and the Sagittarius Volume. The Cygexba breakup has so far been an enormous opportunity for it to expand its reach. At the same time the spread of the new outer volume empires and manipulative memes threaten the fragile webs of the god in many The Invisible Hand is enormously capable and creative, but its very nature forces it into many conflicts.

The relationship between Heavenly Reach and the Invisible Hand is symbiotic; both support each other despite having fundamentally different natures. In contrast the relation with Lord of Rays and the Judge is fundamentally antithetical: neither side can exist within the system of the other side, and every gain for one is a loss for the other.

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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg, Ryan_B
Initially published on .