Re: playing catch-up

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Fri Dec 28 2001 - 20:18:02 MST

On Friday, December 28, 2001 8:11 PM Samantha Atkins wrote:
> The interesting question though is whether there is a
> significant migration of jobs available toward requiring a level
> of skill and intelligence that only a small minority of the
> population has. If this is increasingly the case then there is
> a real problem of how the rest of the population will have a
> reasonable standard of living and dignity. As we near the
> Singularity I am certain we will eventually need to deal with
> this question. I am pretty sure we already do need to deal with
> it.

The best solution, absent a Singularity and the plenty it might bring,
is to adopt free market policies throughout the globe, including a
respect for individual negative rights, especially property rights.

> Query: As we reach hyper-abundance and most manufacturing is
> near totally automated, exactly why would you require every
> adult to have a normal job in order to have a stake in and
> access to that plenty? It is quite easy to see there would be
> no meaningful work for them that anyone would care to hire them
> for not far down the road at all. What then? In a world of
> plenty why is scarcity based thinking concerning "earning" a
> living appropriate?

I think if such a period of plenty comes about, then a lot of things
will change and it will be hard now to predict the exact course. Plenty
is also a relative term, since what is plenty to one person might be not
enough to another. I think, however, economic concerns might switch to
other areas, but see below.

>> I think the thing holding the Third World back is not the lack of
>> World foreign aid, but the lack of respect for property rights (see
>> Hernando De Soto's -- the Peruvian economist NOT the Spanish
> In a world where all material items (except fixed land resources
> and so on) can be had simply by asking the local nanobots to dig
> up the pattern and produce it, what exactly would property
> rights apply to and why would you care?

First, we're not there yet and free markets work right now. No need for
much R & D on that front, just implement them and the benefits will

Second, given nanotech, scarcity will not necessarily disappear, but
move to other areas, such as information. (Of course, nanocomputing
might make it less and less necessary to get good new designs from
others. If that's the case, as trade declines, society will probably be
less and less society and more and more just a bunch of loose
affiliations. Or so I speculate!)

Also, the Lockean-Randian justification for private property is that
humans need material resources to live. In other words, property is
grounded in life. Nanotech does not erase that need. You can still die
or be denied things. It will be much harder and the incentives for
crime and conflict will definitely shift -- probably eliminating a lot
of rivalries and the like, but not all of them.

Okay, I've got a lot of studying to do -- unless that Singularity gets
here quick!:)

Daniel Ust

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