Re: a free replication economy

Damien R. Sullivan (
Tue, 28 Apr 1998 16:15:58 -0700 (PDT)

On Apr 28, 3:30pm, James Rogers wrote:
> At 02:29 PM 4/28/98 -0700, Paul Hughes wrote:

> >Is there a free-market mechanism (incentive) w/o coercion that would
> >alleviate the poorer segment of the populace through this transition
> >period?

If by poorer you mean lacking anything worth trading, then I'd say 'no'. We
could go back to the rich having lots of servants, a la the 19th century. As
someone said, a use can probably be found for any sufficiently cheap labor.
Part of current Western unemployment is said to be native poor people being
unwilling to take janitorial jobs which immigrants come here for.

If automation was really really cheap the capital to survive might be cheap
enough to purchase out of wages. I don't know if that's plausible.

> 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

I think this depends on what is considered adequate support. Food,
alternative housing in rural places, and simple clothing would cost a few
thousand dollars a year, I think. Federal poverty level for one person is 6-8
grand, I think. Supporting 100 million Americans at $4000/year would require
$400 billion/year, which is less than half of what we spend on retired people
now. I suspect the West is perfectly capable of supporting huge portions of
its population at a low level, at noticeable but not self destructive cost;
the catch is in competing with societies which do not impose such a cost on

This is not within the free market, of course.

Earlier Paul said that solar energy would suffice for the transition period.
This seems to assume that while a nanotech economy could use arbitrary amounts
of energy ours could be saturated. I doubt this is the case, even in the
short term. I can conceive of society having a practically infinite supply of
water, where all uses are fulfilled and there's not a damn thing to do with
the excess. But not energy. There must be plenty of activities which would
become profitable if energy was cheap enough. Low-grade mining; landfill
mining and recycling; carrying the extra mass of parachutes and other safety
features on planes; checking for defects; creation of industrial quantities of
diamond, corundum, and other high-energy materials; spaceflight. Give me
cheaper energy and I'll use it. Say that I don't need that much to maintain
my current standard of living, and I'll say that's an arbitrary peg, and those
who don't work can be supported now (see above.)

-xx- GCU Mangyn of Chaos X-)

Death is for animals; immortality for gods. Technology is the means by
which we move from one state to the other.