Re: Happiness (was Re: The meta-invisible hand)

Anders Sandberg (
23 Sep 1997 14:52:06 +0200

"Keith Elis ('Hagbard Celine')" <> writes:

> This is the current state of affairs (by the Sandberg Invisible
> Meta-Hand Theory of Political Economy):

[YES! I finally got a theory named after myself! :-)]

> Now we find ourselves deep in modernist political thought. You left open
> the possibility that maximal economic growth may indeed be the same as
> maximal human happiness.

In fact, if one considers economic growth as the growth of information
(since economics is essentially information processing, as argued by
Tipler and others), then we might have a maximum of information production
too. So it seems that it at least leaves room for growth and diversity
of happiness, seen from a suffiently long distance.

> Will there come a point in time when owning property becomes obsolete
> and there is not even a perceived link between wealth and happiness?

Owning property, at least in the material sense, will become obsolete
once it can be manufactured or emulated so easily that there is no
point in hoarding it. Just look at how ordinary pens tend to wander around,
they are so cheap that nobody cares if I happen to take one with me
(ah, I see I have a DoubleTree Hotel pen on my desk! I wonder how it
got here...?). People only get irritated when they need their pens or
when the acto of taking them clearly infringes on their territoriality.
Now imagine the same thing with other material stuff in a nanotech
economy. Still, rare or necessary stuff will likely remain in the
ownership sphere.

> Is there one thing that will make everyone happy, and if so, how do we
> maximize it?

I'm not even sure there is a single way to make a person happy by
activating parts of the brain, let alone by outside acts and objects.
I think the answer to this is question is no, but maybe it is because
we have not yet discovered the tribbles.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y