Re: Cheap/Free replication (was: Erik's Fallacy)

James Rogers (
Mon, 27 Apr 1998 15:33:35 -0700

At 11:15 AM 4/26/98 -0500, ChuckKuecker wrote:
>Today, of course, it does not exist due to government rules and corporations
>who control production and much technology. But, will this status quo
>continue in the future?
>I conceive of a world without corporate entities, in fact, where these
>creatures could not survive. The key to this revolution will be the
>universal availability of self-contained manufacturing systems that can be
>self-replicating and can use the raw materials present in the local
>environment to create anything the operator desires, in whatever quantity.
>The only limit would be power input, and here I must postulate easy access
>to cheap energy from an as yet undiscovered source. Okay, so it's science
>fiction right now, but...
>Commerce would be by trading, buying, and selling the templates for
>controlling the manufacturing machines. Any individual could publish these
>templates. Again, there needs to be a universally availible communication
>net. Advances in RF technology could make such a net possible without any
>'infrastructure' other than the terminals themselves, if only they were
>sufficiently many.
>If everyone can instantly communicate and trade templates, there would be no
>market for transportation as we know it, and large factories would become
>I see huge resistance to the start of this system from existing corporations
>and governments, but once the first 'replicators' were built, their
>dissemination to the world would be inevitable..

I have a couple comments.

1) I don't want to rehash an old topic, but you are demonstrating a lack of
understanding as to the function and legal ramifications of corporations.
The power, impunity, and immunity of corporations is popular myth,
generally set forth by people who do not understand the corporate legal

2) Your model economy does not make a corporation non-competitive.
Templates are essentially software. Companies that spend a lot of time
designing and marketing useful templates will be able to make plenty of
money. The only thing that may change is the definition of money. In this
free replication scenario, I would expect intellectual property, like
Templates, to be the medium of exchange. Generating original Templates
would be roughly equivalent to minting your own money.

Also, depending on how far things go, raw mass may also become a commodity
of finite value. However, I would expect mass consumption to be balanced
by the ability to obtain more mass through application of your replication
technology. I will assume moving mass will be accomplished via your
infinite energy source.

-James Rogers