Re: A Challenge To All Extropians

Paul Hughes (
Fri, 15 May 1998 22:44:12 -0700

Hara Ra wrote:

> The flaw in all this is the assumption that the fate of the poor is deeper
> poverty. Yes, the rich get richer, and faster than the poor get richer,
> and if the rich get richer faster, the rich accumulate an increasing
> fraction of all the wealth - so eventually the top 1% may have 99% of the
> resources, but the average wealth of the bottom 1% in the future may be
> where the top 10% are now. To paraphrase George Orwell, we all get more
> prosperous, and some of us prosper more than others...

Hmm, I thought this thread withered away weeks can only hope.

The flaw of your statement is I never once assumed anything, most especially 'that
the poor would get poorer.' Poverty, per say, has nothing to do with it. It has
to do with the means to providing for your own existence when increasing segments
of the economy become automated. Being that I made no assumptions, I instead
asked if any there are any free-marketeers, who could explain in as specific terms
as possible, what people will do as more and more jobs get automated?

For example, what will the millions who are currently occupied in the retail
sector do as this sector fades away from a proliferation of online transactions
and e-cash? Although some did answer this question with some success, others
assumed they would simply find other jobs (w/o specifying anything), while others
said they would most likely perish. Neither response lives up to the challenge I
initially offered:

I'm looking for optimistic free-market mechanisms that yield positive scenarios to
the following questions.

If people are unemployed through increasing automation, how will they support

For example, if the millions of people being automated out of the retail sector do
find other jobs, what what might those jobs be? Assuming there is a market for
them, can you say in all honesty that they *all* have the aptitude to be
scientists, artists, designers, or engineers? If not, then what will they do to
support themselves?

These are not an assumptions, these are questions - answer them if you can.