Re: The Economy Of Plenty (Was: Free-Markets)

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Wed, 10 Sep 1997 20:34:18 -0500

Eric Watt Forste wrote:
> Eliezer Yudkowsky writes:
> > Solution three: Raise the standard of living. Why hasn't this
> > happened already? That is, how can we be running out of work when
> > people are still poor and hungry? The answer is that these people
> > are unemployed, hence do not have any money, hence cannot pay for
> > supplies, and hence do not add to demand.
> No, the reason this hasn't happened is because of barriers to
> trade and migration imposed by national governments. If each
> person on the planet had an global market for their stuff, and
> if laborers were allowed to travel to and work in the most
> lucrative markets without first securing permits and passes,
> then we'd see a very drastic increase in the global standard of
> living.
> Of course, some of the comfortable people living in the more
> lucrative markets would be disturbed by having to compete with poor
> and hungry people on the labor market, which is why such laws exist.
> This is the answer to your question: the greed and indifference of
> the comfortable and laws designed to protect their cushy lifestyle
> from the poorer parts of the world. Tear 'em down, say I.

Good luck. I consider myself to be a pragmatic idealist: Winning isn't
everything, but failure isn't anything. I suppose I could tear down the
entire sociopolitical structure of the world if I really had to, but it just
seems easier to redesign the economy along more efficient lines - design an
economy that is to capitalism what capitalism is to communism. I suppose with
a bit of an effort you could direct everyone's enormous frustration with
modern society towards the greed and indifference of... who, exactly?
Certainly your meme has better survival potential than my elaborate redesigns.
But my elaborate redesigns do not require memetic attractiveness, only a base
population of early adopters.

There are also multiple and beneficial streamline-and-transparency changes to
government that would get piggybacked onto #4 and even complex barter. I
think governmental changes have a better chance if they aren't strictly
political issues. Challenge the government and you create an enormous public
conflict; quietly obsolete a few parts through technology, and the bureaucrats
stand alone.

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.