Re: Subject: ECONOMICS: 101 ways to spread transhumanist

J de Lyser (
Thu, 16 Jan 1997 17:52:46 +0100

Eric Watt Forste <> wrote:
>Date: Wed, 15 Jan 1997 16:35:27 -0800

>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.

First let me state that i'm no economic, i'm at best a historian, with a
small independent business and a wider interest in society, as such i have a
fairly limited knowledge of macro economics. And most of what is written
here is based on 'insight' rather than knowledge.

The way i see it, 'manipulating people's feeling of scarcity' (maybe i
shouldn't have used the word 'manipulating') is the driving force behind
economic expansion, it stimulates people to find ways to become more
productive in order to fill that 'gap' which is created. I hold a neutral
view towards it. On one hand i see the benefit of it for an expanding
economy, on the other hand, i would like to see quality given more thought,
before infrastructures are created, as well as see more production goods
marketed as consumer goods, like computers for example.

>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.

IMHO, it expands after the relation between usefullness, price, and how good
the companies and the early users are at 'showing off' the product, has
become ideal.

>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.

I wouldn't underestimate the influence of a) the companies b) the mass
consumer market. Surely the 'leasure class' has an impact, but usually a
high quality product of a high quality standard gets marketed on them, then
a second similar product, which is much cheaper, and of another, lower
quality standard gets marketed to the mass market. The cheaper product wins
the infrastructure race, and the leasure class is 'doomed' to work with the
highest possible quality, in that LOWER STANDARD. Influence works both ways.
Ofcourse there are also the companies who press their interests. I think
none of these three really sees TECHNOLOGY, or the quality of it, as the
most important.

See for examples:
Unix/Linux - pc
laserdisc - cd
DAT - DCC (failed though)
etc, etc,

>(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.)

In the previous decade companies seemed to work through a 'leisure class',
but it worked out as i described above. This decade companies seem to have
bypassed this leisure class almost completely, by increasingly making
agreements about that infrastructure before marketing a new product, and
when they do, they go directly to the mass markets.

For the future i foresee and hope, a professional class will be increasingly
fullfilling the role of that leasure class, in the way you described. This
would lead to more production goods, becoming available as consumer goods,
further stimulating economical expansion with goods being marketed that pay
themselves back.

J. de Lyser
Participant Evolutionist Movement