[FoRK] When Wealth Disappears

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Tue Oct 8 10:08:34 PDT 2013

On 10/8/13 9:56 AM, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 08, 2013 at 09:45:25AM -0700, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>>> The underlying
>>> reason for the stagnation is that a half-century of remarkable one-off
>>> developments in the industrialized world will not be repeated.
>> Talk about famous last words...  No imagination.  There are a
>> variety of pending revolutions, any one of which would cause a new
>> revolution worthy of a generation or two of economic steam.
> All these revolutions must begin with:
> 1) access to cheap plentiful
>     energy, especially liquid hydrocarbons and gases
> 2) keep agriculture going despite ecosystem crash
> 3) long-term, breaking the link between surplus energy and
>     human fertility, or really cheap transport
>     to space (one of these is easier than the other)
> As none of this will happen in the next 40 years, we've got a
> long, hard slog ahead of us. This will be a surprise to
> most people who do not see it coming.
>> The real discussion needed is how to handle the end of work (for
> Sure, the author forgot automation. And a few other things, I've
> mentioned one biggie. The economists are really limited that way.
>> most people).  Additionally, becoming more efficient in certain
>> economic segments would help tremendously.
> Improvement in energy efficiency is limited, and has no impact
> on overall energy consumption.
Efficiency (both actual efficiency and apparent economic costs) caring for elderly, health care, housing, transportation (or need 
for transportation (cut commuting by 50-90%)), education, entertainment, scientific (medical, etc.) research, etc.  Food is 
reasonably efficient but could be much better still in various ways.  All of these are ripe for revolutions.

Maybe most people will work caring for elderly in the other areas of their super efficient duplex / quadplex.  Maybe most of us will 
spend a portion of time mentoring others as part of a total education process.  We'll work at home or the block pod, doing anything 
non-physical from our office and a lot of physical things via telerobotics.

We haven't even scratched the surface of possible solutions, let alone radical solutions.  We're just posturing until we finally 
admit we should talk about solving the real problems.


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