Re: A Challenge To All Extropians/Free Martketeers

Robin Hanson (hanson@econ.Berkeley.EDU)
Tue, 28 Apr 1998 09:19:37 -0700

Damien Broderick writes:
>>the question of how the majority of
>>people will survive just getting to that nanotech transhuman phase. It's the
>>sophisticated automation leading up to nanotech that first poses a problem.
>>Again, you can't get from 1 to 3 without passing through 2. 2 is what I've
>>been talking about. How do you survive the *transition*?
>I discuss this problem in THE SPIKE, and suggest that we might take another
>look at Robert Theobald's 1960s' discussion (recently revived) for a
>minimum Guaranteed Income. ...
>As an inviolable constitutional entitlement, a guaranteed income would
>offer people who'd been made technologically redundant the chance to engage
>in dignified self-help. ...

There is no such thing as an inviolable consitutional entitlement. A disruptive
transition may also disrupt the governments you expect to maintain this program,
and the public good will that is essential to continuing it.

If the purpose is to insure people against risks from who will benefit from
a disruptive transition, why not just have people buy private insurance now?
And why not work to get government out of the way of such private insurance?

>Theobald was more optimistic still. Productive groups, which he termed
>`consentives', would come together on a voluntary basis, working simply
>because they wanted to. ... Since wages and
>salaries would be irrelevant, cost of goods would be minimal, hardly
>greater than raw materials and transport - comparable with computerised
>factory production.

But aren't you going to have to put huge taxes on those goods to finance
this minimum income? The income has to come from somewhere you know.

Economist have a lot to say about variations on minimum income schemes,
and I really think you'd benefit from reading more of that literature.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614