Re: SCI and ECON Nanotech

Dan Clemmensen (
Mon, 30 Sep 1996 20:55:30 -0400

Lyle Burkhead wrote:
> In response to my post on the Gradient Theorem, Dan Clemmensen
> says:
> > Your argument is intended to cover both goods and information,
> > I think.
> Yes.
> > With respect to goods, your argument make the assumption that
> > the cost of transportation is negligable, or at least that the cost is
> > less than the difference in cost between the buyer's manufacturing cost
> > and the seller's manufacturing cost of the good the seller is attempting
> > to sell.
> Yes.
> Genie machines have, along with their many other nifty features,
> the ability to move things -- or to make trucks (or other devices) with
> which to move things. Some people will find that they are better suited
> to this task than to anything else, and they will specialize in it. They
> will use their genie machines to move things... in more mundane
> language, they will work for UPS. The cost of transportation will be
> comparable to the cost of everything else in genie-land.
> The cost of making somthing in a large-scale genie machine (a factory),
> putting it on a truck or train, and shipping it somewhere, will be less,
> in many cases, than the cost of reprogramming a genie machine to make
> the item at home. Just like now.
I don't understand this assertion. There are irreducable costs in matter
and energy associated with the production of an item, based on the laws
of physics. There are additional costs in energy associated with
transportation. There are also capital costs associated with a
factory, and probably large capital costs (in real estate) associated
with transportation. These costs give my poor little home-brew MNT
thingee a large initial advantage that your economy must overcome.
Since neither of us really knows the actual efficiencies versus the
costs, we are just stating opinions. But that's OK as long as we're
having fun.

> The basic argument here is that you are trying to escape from the
> economic system, and I'm saying you can't. You can make any
> assumption you want, consistent with physical reality, and I can show
> that even with that assumption, you will still be in an economy.
> I will give you SI, I will give you software that replicates itself,
> I will give you diamondoid materials: and given all that, you will
> still be in an economy. There is no escape! <evil g>

Robin keeps saying that I can already drop out and become a mountain
(In my day, we more frequently dropped out and became hippies in the
but you get the idea.) I only have to participate in the economy if
I want to. My decision to participate depends on whether or not the
has something I want badly enough that I will participate rather than
making it myself. Currently, there are a lot of things in this category.
It's not clear that this will continue to be the case with MNT. The
to drop out is not "econimically ratinal." Rather, it depends on my
personal decisions about how I wish to spend my time.

Note: a desision to drop out of the economy is not a decision to drop
of society. I can still contribute to the general discourse, or just
have fun
interacting with others.

I actually believe that an MNT-based economy will arise, If there is
than one intelligent entity left after the singularity. However, I do
believe that the existing economy will evolve into the MNT economy. I
believe that the existing economy will undergo a meltdown.