Re: Nanotech: Open Source or Proprietary

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Tue Jul 11 2000 - 15:29:49 MDT

Robert Bradbury wrote:
> > Basically the first company to develop the assembler, lets say Zyvex,
> > has the potential to completely dominate the economy from that point
> forward.
>Not so. You could ask Robin what fraction of the economy is actually
>manufacturing. I don't think it is large.

Nanotech is physical capital for manufacturing.
Manufacturing is about 17% of the US economy. All forms of
non-human capital together get ~30% of income, so physical
capital gets probably ~20% of income. So physical capital
for manufacturing gets ~ 3.5% of income.

>Any decent corporation will have a fairly sophisticated model about how
>to vary the price of its products to maximize return.

Yes, the big impact of nanotech on the economy that I can forsee
is to make most consumer products more like software, music, movies,
drugs, airlines, and education are now: full of complex price discrimination.

Robin Hanson
Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

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