I am fascinated by decision points. For instance, in the 1950's hula hoops were popular. Why hula hoops and not something else? Society went down a subsequent path in which we had a history that contained hula hoops. It could have been something else. We may never have heard of hula hoops. I have chosen a silly example, but when you think about the terms and names of things we use every day, they could have been called something else, or some other product might exist, or, well the possibilities really are infinite. What if instead of figuring out that crude oil could burn, another energy source was utilized that was non-polluting? Would capitalism be something else? How many other things/products/lives would be entirely different? Would we have a cellulose based economy? Would the digital revolution have happened? Can we undo "Numa Numa?"
So many members of society never realize that everything is choice. They go along never challenging the way things are. They are disempowered. They do not understand that imagination is everything. They do not know that not deciding is a decision, one that supports the status quo. We have a monetary system because we believe it exists. It doesn't. It's all fake. There is no there, there. If we ALL woke up tomorrow and said that paper money no longer represents anything at all, and instead we're going to trade our produce directly for someone else's pottery, etc, etc, then the institution of money would no longer have a hold over us. The dying of the illusion would have mass consequences, beliefs can kill in so far as there are those willing to enforce the illusion, or by the scarcity that would come about because resources have been allocated in reliance on the illusion, but the illusion itself is a paper tiger.
I'm not advocating rejecting the institution called the economy. I am saying to be aware that it doesn't really exist, except as we give it power to exist by believing and acting as if it exists. Money is an idea.
This idea of forking history has been talked about many times in science fiction and other speculative genres. Some of the earliest science fiction dealt with alternative universes that split off when decision points were reached, and alternative history fiction continues to be written. We have many fine examples here at SOL.
When you/I/a culture make(s) a decision, all the other possibilities are reduced and perhaps terminated. The moment of decision dies, the decision nodes become dead and gone. Maybe they could be discovered again, or perhaps they persist as memories or thought potentials that could spring back to renewed life. I'm not pontificating here, I'm exploring thought paths. I wonder how this line of speculation could lead to a story.