Re: playing catch-up

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Fri Dec 28 2001 - 22:06:43 MST

Technotranscendence wrote:
> On Friday, December 28, 2001 8:11 PM Samantha Atkins
> wrote:
> > The interesting question though is whether there is a
> > significant migration of jobs available toward requiring a level
> > of skill and intelligence that only a small minority of the
> > population has. If this is increasingly the case then there is
> > a real problem of how the rest of the population will have a
> > reasonable standard of living and dignity. As we near the
> > Singularity I am certain we will eventually need to deal with
> > this question. I am pretty sure we already do need to deal with
> > it.
> The best solution, absent a Singularity and the plenty it might bring,
> is to adopt free market policies throughout the globe, including a
> respect for individual negative rights, especially property rights.

That "solution" doesn't even address the question.

> > Query: As we reach hyper-abundance and most manufacturing is
> > near totally automated, exactly why would you require every
> > adult to have a normal job in order to have a stake in and
> > access to that plenty? It is quite easy to see there would be
> > no meaningful work for them that anyone would care to hire them
> > for not far down the road at all. What then? In a world of
> > plenty why is scarcity based thinking concerning "earning" a
> > living appropriate?
> I think if such a period of plenty comes about, then a lot of things
> will change and it will be hard now to predict the exact course. Plenty
> is also a relative term, since what is plenty to one person might be not
> enough to another. I think, however, economic concerns might switch to
> other areas, but see below.
> >> I think the thing holding the Third World back is not the lack of
> First
> >> World foreign aid, but the lack of respect for property rights (see
> >> Hernando De Soto's -- the Peruvian economist NOT the Spanish
> >
> > In a world where all material items (except fixed land resources
> > and so on) can be had simply by asking the local nanobots to dig
> > up the pattern and produce it, what exactly would property
> > rights apply to and why would you care?
> First, we're not there yet and free markets work right now. No need for
> much R & D on that front, just implement them and the benefits will
> come.:)

I think some of us better thing about what is coming before it
gets here. I also think getting to Singularity can potentially
be limited by thinking in pre-Singularity terms exclusively and
even defending pre-Singularity, pre-abundance assumptions when
they are no longer defensible. We are seeing such things in
microcosm now imho in the music recording industry attempts to
mandate that their middleman roles continue even if they have to
seriously entangle and limit all relevant technology to do so.

> Second, given nanotech, scarcity will not necessarily disappear, but
> move to other areas, such as information. (Of course, nanocomputing
> might make it less and less necessary to get good new designs from
> others. If that's the case, as trade declines, society will probably be
> less and less society and more and more just a bunch of loose
> affiliations. Or so I speculate!)

Information will not in the least be scarce. It has the funny
property of actually becoming more valuable as it is shared and
combined wih other information and new thought and insight
(mostly). With current digital technology we can already share
information much more broadly and cheaply than we know how to
deal with.

I would suspect more loose affiliations myself
> Also, the Lockean-Randian justification for private property is that
> humans need material resources to live. In other words, property is
> grounded in life. Nanotech does not erase that need. You can still die
> or be denied things. It will be much harder and the incentives for
> crime and conflict will definitely shift -- probably eliminating a lot
> of rivalries and the like, but not all of them.

Some of that justification is based on scarcity fundamental
assumptions that increasingly will not be accurate reflections
of reality. Nanotech does indeed have the potential to erase
much of that assumption. Property is grounded in the
assumption, not in life per se.
> Okay, I've got a lot of studying to do -- unless that Singularity gets
> here quick!:)

Good luck!

- samantha

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