Re: Abolition of Work (was Re: Extropian Party Platform)

Chris Fedeli (
Thu, 14 Oct 1999 03:39:16 -0400

Alexander Chislenko wrote:
> If you don't work for a few hundred thousand years, then your
> standard of living will no longer be reasonable.
> Or for a few days, in a society where productive work will
> double the standard of living, and personal features, fast enough.

I agree that the future economy will see rapid exapansions. But in a nanotech economy, when almost all the value is in intellectual property (the software telling the nanobots what to build), it will also become harder to prevent the created wealth from filtering out to everyone.

A lot of this depends on your take on the future of intellectual property law. In the current situation piracy is rampant. The free software movement aims to abolish proprietary rights to intellectual creation, making it impossible for anyone to gain an economic advantage through creation of software. Once I write a program for the nano-creation of a new gadget, everyone will email it to their freinds until the whole world has it. Everyone receives the wealth beneifts of my work.

One alternative to the free software program would be the drastic imposition of strict intellectual property rights enforcement. Under such a regime, anyone who wanted to use software created by someone else would have to sign a "Bill Gates from Hell" Agreement:

"The agreement prohibits the contractee from letting anyone else view the copyrighted material. If problems surface, the agreement authorizes private police officers to descend on users' houses to check for illicit printouts and copies. Should search victims whine about unwarranted search and seizure, the courts reply that they freely signed away those Fourth Amendment rights by clicking the "OK" button."

Of course there are probably middle roads too. Individuals or corporations could try protect their creations through encryption. This would still leave the possibility of decryption and piracy, or the possibility that someone else who cares not whether he gets richer than his neighbour will do the same work and release it to the public domain.