ECONOMICS: 101 ways to spread transhumanist memes.

Eric Watt Forste (
Wed, 15 Jan 1997 16:35:27 -0800

J. de Lyser writes:
>In order for a commercial exploitation of bodyelectronics, you need
>a market. Markets for new products are usually created (especially
>in hi-tech) by just manipulating peoples feeling of scarcity, by
>convincing people they need it. The product itself often only
>becomes useful to the consumer AFTER the technological infrastructure
>has adapted to the new product. (ask Philips and Sony for details...)

Could you explain the causal mechanism behind your assertion,
please? A lot of bad political activity gets fed with this
"manipulating people's feeling of scarcity" meme.

Markets for new products are usually created among early adopters,
usually wealthy people with time on their hands looking for diversion,
and then those markets expand rapidly if (and after) the early adopters
actually find some real benefit in using the new product. I haven't read
Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class yet, but I'm wondering whether or
not he shows any awareness of the vital role a leisured and wealthy
subset of society plays in fueling the economics of technological
progress. Hayek certainly does.

(There's also a business end of this in the way of corporations
that have lots of cash on their hands, but I haven't read as many
analyses of that situation as I have of the one outlined above. I
suspect that the business angle has more to do with active interest
in innovation than interest in "mere" diversion. I put scare quotes
there for good reason.)

Eric Watt Forste ++ ++