Re: Krugman looks back from 2096

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Wed Jul 12 2000 - 09:06:52 MDT

Robin Hanson wrote:
> Yes, it depends on whether information is luxury or necessity. And yes it
> would
> be nice to hear more from him on this. But he did outline his reasoning in
> the prior paragraphs. ("Third World families ... did not want to watch pretty
> graphics ... they wanted to live in nice houses, drive cars, and eat meat.")
> I'm not saying I'm persuaded, but his is a reasonable position to take.
> As I've said, Krugman and most economists can be faulted for not understanding
> specific technologies in more detail. But most futurists can be faulted for
> not understanding much economics. The later sin seems much greater to me.

However, he fails to apply his agriculture argument to production of houses,
cars, and meat. When the price of a built house, car, or meat drops to commodity
levels (manufactured housing, eco-speck cars, and vat grown meat) then that
segment of industry requires a far smaller segment of the population to produce
and far smaller percent of per capita income to acquire (just as has happened
with food production), then that segment of the economy takes on less
importance, as he claims. He myopically fails to forsee any progress in
technologies for reducing the cost of these commodities in 100 years time, which
I find to be a huge fault of his argument.

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