Re: Upload Economics

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Mon Jul 17 2000 - 08:33:02 MDT

I wrote:
>There is a large literature on the economics of population that I am
>drawing from. ... the applications to uploads is trivial. In general
>making a better product hurts your competitors, but in a competitive
>market there is no net externality ... doing this is a net
>benefit. Creating more children might create more labor competition for
>others, but it is also a net benefit. ... There exists a redistribution
>such that every creature, upload or not, is better off by allowing uploads.

Robert Bradbury wrote:
>Yes, but in current realities, people do not expect to have to
>compete with their children. In my personal reality, I would
>expect that to be true (i.e. I live long enough that my children
>compete against me.) -- so why would I want to allow the copying
>(and/or reeducation) of my skill base.) To extend it further,
>why would I even want to have children (other than the fact
>that I can't reprogram my genetic drives)?!?.
>You are going to have to provide a significant ROI for people
>who expect to be competed out of the market due to copying before
>they happily accept it. Is this incorporated into your wage

Here is a more step by step argument:
1) Allowing market competition generically allows some groups to
lose by being out-competed.
2) In the simplest standard models, allowing competition is a
net gain, where winners win more than the losers lose. (Such
simple models seem appropriate in this case.)
3) Thus, if one could identify how much each person won or lost,
one could arrange extra transfers to that *everyone* benefited
from the change.
4) Typically such transfers are not arranged, but sometimes they
are via taxes or court settlements.
5) Even without tax transfers, people could individually and
privately they would win on net by sufficiently diversifying
their asset portfolio.

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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