Re: a free replication economy

James Rogers (
Tue, 28 Apr 1998 15:25:53 -0700

At 02:29 PM 4/28/98 -0700, Paul Hughes wrote:
>James Rogers wrote:
>> A person whose only skill in this economy is labor (or begging) is
>> worthless. If replication is truly free (or cheap enough that everyone
>> else doesn't mind picking up the tab) then they will likely get fed,
>> sheltered, but largely ignored. Fortunately, most people have value beyond
>> their labor. I expect an inability to adapt to an information and
>> creativity economy to be a major "impoverishing" factor during the
>> transition period.
>Point taken. But you still haven't risen to the challenge I set forth in the
>beginning of this thread:
>Is there a free-market mechanism (incentive) w/o coercion that would
alleviate the
>poorer segment of the populace through this transition period?

Off hand, I can not think of a free market mechanism that would serve as a
solution given your criteria. However, in this scenario, giving someone
everything necessary to survive comfortably (but nothing more) would likely
be an insignificant cost, even in the aggregate. It would only take a
small inkling of altruism to spare the scraps of energy required to sustain
the transition era impoverished. The impoverished add no value to the
economy, but cost very little as well.

However, I think the scenario will play out a little differently than as
you describe. The transition of marketable skills may happen somewhat
prior to the transition of the production economy, creating a very
uncomfortable gap for those who cannot adapt and whose skills are no longer
valued. Information/knowledge economic transitions are happening now,
while strong nanotech is still decades off. In this case, it may be far
too expensive to support those who cannot adapt, since the difference
between skill value and cost of support would be large enough to be a very
significant burden on the productive segment of society, far more than
altruism is likely to support.

This transition may not have a "feel good" solution.

-James Rogers