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Technology will make capitalism obsolete

ojcruz
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3/7/2015 5:22:36 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Folks, my first debate is now on its voting phase and so far there are no takers. Figured I'd post it here and see if I could spark some interest.

It's all about the effects of technology in our lives. Will it fundamentally alter or understanding of human right? Will we be forced to reevaluate the competitive structures now in place? And how will universal access to resources affect our daily lives and goals both as individuals and as a society? Check out my debate to find out!
Thanks!

Here's the link:
http://www.debate.org...
May life not wear out our dreams.
16kadams
Posts: 10,497
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3/7/2015 12:39:48 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
That is an odd standpoint since Capitalism is the reason we have most of our technology :P
https://www.youtube.com...
https://rekonomics.wordpress.com...
"A trend is a trend, but the question is, will it bend? Will it alter its course through some unforeseen force and come to a premature end?" -- Alec Cairncross
Varrack
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3/7/2015 12:56:11 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/7/2015 5:22:36 AM, ojcruz wrote:
Folks, my first debate is now on its voting phase and so far there are no takers. Figured I'd post it here and see if I could spark some interest.

It's all about the effects of technology in our lives. Will it fundamentally alter or understanding of human right? Will we be forced to reevaluate the competitive structures now in place? And how will universal access to resources affect our daily lives and goals both as individuals and as a society? Check out my debate to find out!
Thanks!

Here's the link:
http://www.debate.org...

Capitalism is the reason we have technology.
ojcruz
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3/7/2015 2:19:03 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/7/2015 11:48:23 AM, Raisor wrote:
This is an interesting topic, you should try doing this debate with someone who won't forfeit.

Yeah. I agree! It was my first debate and the thought that someone would just not finish the debate was not something I had contemplated. I'm on my third debate now and it seems that that is going to be a very common occurrence. It is somewhat uninspiring to be honest.

I might bring it up again at some point.
May life not wear out our dreams.
ojcruz
Posts: 7
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3/7/2015 2:26:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/7/2015 12:56:11 PM, Varrack wrote:

Capitalism is the reason we have technology.

Interesting take on technology. My take includes fire as a technological achievement and so predates most organized economic systems.

I do agree that capitalism has done wonders for technological development in the past.

That said, even if technology was born from capitalism (which I think is a bit of an overstatement), this would not imply that it cannot outgrow capitalism as it matures (which is by and large my entire argument).

I'm glad there's interest though! It's a subject of great importance to me. I might just start a new debate on the subject in the future.
May life not wear out our dreams.
ResponsiblyIrresponsible
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3/7/2015 3:07:03 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/7/2015 12:39:48 PM, 16kadams wrote:
That is an odd standpoint since Capitalism is the reason we have most of our technology :P

So much this.
~ResponsiblyIrresponsible

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Raisor
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3/7/2015 3:26:02 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/7/2015 3:07:03 PM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
At 3/7/2015 12:39:48 PM, 16kadams wrote:
That is an odd standpoint since Capitalism is the reason we have most of our technology :P

So much this.

That capitalism drives technological development does not disprove the claim that technological development will eliminate scarcity and subsequently bring an end to capitalism.
ResponsiblyIrresponsible
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3/7/2015 3:29:24 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/7/2015 3:26:02 PM, Raisor wrote:
At 3/7/2015 3:07:03 PM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
At 3/7/2015 12:39:48 PM, 16kadams wrote:
That is an odd standpoint since Capitalism is the reason we have most of our technology :P

So much this.

That capitalism drives technological development does not disprove the claim that technological development will eliminate scarcity and subsequently bring an end to capitalism.

There are a few problems I see with that:

(1) What's the mechanism by which technology "eliminates scarcity?" I can't think of one more efficient or pragmatic, within the framework of the current system, than capitalism--so, if anything, technology would make capitalism more efficient.

(2) I can't see foresee technology "eliminating" scarcity. It could by all means reduce it, but then we run into the Jevon's Paradox: the essence of that is increased efficiency (via, say, technological gains) decreases the necessary factor inputs per unit output, but in doing so, those inputs become cheaper, so businesses use more of them, anyway--so, if the result, on net, is increased resource utilization, I would expect scarcity to become an even more pressing problem.
~ResponsiblyIrresponsible

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ojcruz
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3/7/2015 3:32:17 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/7/2015 3:07:03 PM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
At 3/7/2015 12:39:48 PM, 16kadams wrote:
That is an odd standpoint since Capitalism is the reason we have most of our technology :P

So much this.

Odd that I keep getting this response (Maybe not that odd really, but disheartening). Third person today.

Yeah... so to quote myself a bit:
I do agree that capitalism has done wonders for technological development in the past.

That said, even if technology was born from capitalism (which I think is a bit of an overstatement), this would not imply that it cannot outgrow capitalism as it matures (which is by and large my entire argument).
May life not wear out our dreams.
ResponsiblyIrresponsible
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3/7/2015 3:33:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/7/2015 3:32:17 PM, ojcruz wrote:
At 3/7/2015 3:07:03 PM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
At 3/7/2015 12:39:48 PM, 16kadams wrote:
That is an odd standpoint since Capitalism is the reason we have most of our technology :P

So much this.

Odd that I keep getting this response (Maybe not that odd really, but disheartening). Third person today.

Yeah... so to quote myself a bit:
I do agree that capitalism has done wonders for technological development in the past.

That said, even if technology was born from capitalism (which I think is a bit of an overstatement), this would not imply that it cannot outgrow capitalism as it matures (which is by and large my entire argument).

Can you expand on that latter point? I don't see why it has to "outgrow" capitalism, or how it can even exist as own entity. In fact, I can't envision a way in which technological growth manifests itself other than the capitalist system

I'll read through your arguments, though. This is definitely a debate worth having.
~ResponsiblyIrresponsible

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Raisor
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3/7/2015 4:00:19 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/7/2015 3:29:24 PM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
At 3/7/2015 3:26:02 PM, Raisor wrote:
At 3/7/2015 3:07:03 PM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
At 3/7/2015 12:39:48 PM, 16kadams wrote:
That is an odd standpoint since Capitalism is the reason we have most of our technology :P

So much this.

That capitalism drives technological development does not disprove the claim that technological development will eliminate scarcity and subsequently bring an end to capitalism.

There are a few problems I see with that:

(1) What's the mechanism by which technology "eliminates scarcity?" I can't think of one more efficient or pragmatic, within the framework of the current system, than capitalism--so, if anything, technology would make capitalism more efficient.

The mechanism would be by developing next-to-free ways of obtaining critical resources like food, water, energy, and shelter. E.g. if fusion becomes viable (and it may) we would have an incredibly cheap and nearly unlimited supply of energy. There will still be a market value to energy, but consider if most essential resources cost next-to-nothing. There's still a cost but the cost is dwarfed by the value of the output. We can get even crazier and ask what happens if we develop self repairing materials that eliminate the need for extensive energy infrastructure maintenance and automation makes power plants essentially self sufficient. Then pretty much all energy costs is the upfront cost of the infrastructure (minimal all things considered). At some point energy is basically free, no longer scarce.

There are people who think in a truly post-scarcity world capitalism will break down. If basic economic sectors cease to require labor (agriculture, manufacturing, construction) and new labor sectors fail to develop, what happens to a system predicated on everyone having something to trade?

Even if new labor sectors open up, what happens when a very narrow handful of private individuals control the overwhelming majority of critical economic infrastructure? Technology is a barrier to entry in large industries and may drive monopolization.

Even if new labor sectors open up, what happens if they are all low-paying such that technology forces capital to the handful of people still working in the automated sectors?

All of this is of course, up for debate.


(2) I can't see foresee technology "eliminating" scarcity. It could by all means reduce it, but then we run into the Jevon's Paradox: the essence of that is increased efficiency (via, say, technological gains) decreases the necessary factor inputs per unit output, but in doing so, those inputs become cheaper, so businesses use more of them, anyway--so, if the result, on net, is increased resource utilization, I would expect scarcity to become an even more pressing problem.

Everything about this is speculative. Who knows what the world will look like in 100 years.

The above is a fair argument to make, but the point is it's arguable.
sadolite
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3/7/2015 4:05:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I kind of agree that capitalism will become obsolete as there will be nothing left for humans to do, there will be nothing for them to do to earn money. Technology will make the human being obsolete. With each advance in technology the human race becomes dumber and more unskilled. Isn't the ultimate technology to replace man in the workforce? People are so inefficient and costly. It is better to replace humans with robots.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

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ResponsiblyIrresponsible
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3/7/2015 4:06:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/7/2015 4:00:19 PM, Raisor wrote:
The mechanism would be by developing next-to-free ways of obtaining critical resources like food, water, energy, and shelter. E.g. if fusion becomes viable (and it may) we would have an incredibly cheap and nearly unlimited supply of energy. There will still be a market value to energy, but consider if most essential resources cost next-to-nothing. There's still a cost but the cost is dwarfed by the value of the output. We can get even crazier and ask what happens if we develop self repairing materials that eliminate the need for extensive energy infrastructure maintenance and automation makes power plants essentially self sufficient. Then pretty much all energy costs is the upfront cost of the infrastructure (minimal all things considered). At some point energy is basically free, no longer scarce.

There are people who think in a truly post-scarcity world capitalism will break down. If basic economic sectors cease to require labor (agriculture, manufacturing, construction) and new labor sectors fail to develop, what happens to a system predicated on everyone having something to trade?

Even if new labor sectors open up, what happens when a very narrow handful of private individuals control the overwhelming majority of critical economic infrastructure? Technology is a barrier to entry in large industries and may drive monopolization.

Even if new labor sectors open up, what happens if they are all low-paying such that technology forces capital to the handful of people still working in the automated sectors?

All of this is of course, up for debate.

I think the point on monopolization is a critical one, and I can certainly buy that, though I tend to think that's already the case--so it almost becomes an issue of splitting hairs regarding what we actually define as "capitalism."

So, the first argument you made, if I understand correctly, is that an abundant supply of resources would render capitalism virtually meaningless because people can access those resources with the need to engage in a market exchange? I suppose that's plausible, though it would nevertheless have to (1) be universal enough that there aren't assymetries of access such that country A (or even state A) trades with country B, and (2) individuals would need to own the means of production. To me, it's a lot more likely that a few powerful people would assume control, jack up the prices artificially, and insofar as they erode any semblance of competition, "destroy" capitalism, but I think that's probably the furthest it would ever get.


(2) I can't see foresee technology "eliminating" scarcity. It could by all means reduce it, but then we run into the Jevon's Paradox: the essence of that is increased efficiency (via, say, technological gains) decreases the necessary factor inputs per unit output, but in doing so, those inputs become cheaper, so businesses use more of them, anyway--so, if the result, on net, is increased resource utilization, I would expect scarcity to become an even more pressing problem.

Everything about this is speculative. Who knows what the world will look like in 100 years.

The above is a fair argument to make, but the point is it's arguable.

That's fair.
~ResponsiblyIrresponsible

DDO's Economics Messiah
ojcruz
Posts: 7
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3/7/2015 4:23:21 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/7/2015 3:29:24 PM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
At 3/7/2015 3:26:02 PM, Raisor wrote:
At 3/7/2015 3:07:03 PM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
At 3/7/2015 12:39:48 PM, 16kadams wrote:
That is an odd standpoint since Capitalism is the reason we have most of our technology :P

So much this.

That capitalism drives technological development does not disprove the claim that technological development will eliminate scarcity and subsequently bring an end to capitalism.

There are a few problems I see with that:

(1) What's the mechanism by which technology "eliminates scarcity?" I can't think of one more efficient or pragmatic, within the framework of the current system, than capitalism--so, if anything, technology would make capitalism more efficient.

(2) I can't see foresee technology "eliminating" scarcity. It could by all means reduce it, but then we run into the Jevon's Paradox: the essence of that is increased efficiency (via, say, technological gains) decreases the necessary factor inputs per unit output, but in doing so, those inputs become cheaper, so businesses use more of them, anyway--so, if the result, on net, is increased resource utilization, I would expect scarcity to become an even more pressing problem.

Yeah...

1) Is addressed in the debate. (essentially, It eliminates scarcity by increasing the efficiency of the means of production.)

2) Interesting. Kinda wish I had this debate with you and not the person who forfeited. That said. Your argument is limited. The increase in consumption can be attributed to several factors all of which are driven by capitalism.

a) Expansionist endeavors. Capitalism, by it's very nature is expansive. The need for continued growth, which admittedly has largely fueled progress in the last few hundred years) has led to overconsumption. The economic system we live in requires this growth and so the technologies that have accompanied it have also been expansive. Today, we have the ability to produce enough food for everyone in the world but a lot gets thrown away while we simultaneously find ways of producing even more. Would Jevon's paradox apply to food consumption if it was distributed properly or if the means of production increased so that we are throwing away more food than what we are eating?

b) An initial lack of access to necessary resources. If people require a particular resource, but do not have access, it is reasonable that as access becomes more prominent, so too will the rate of consumption. This holds true only until universal access is achieved. After which increased consumption can be achieved artificially (by throwing away excess food used to make grocery stores look stocked for instance) but is not a true implication and can be done away with. My argument stems from this universal access to basic resources. (Water, food, shelter, information). Once universal access to these resources is achieved in a self sustained way, a continuously expansive production system with exponential growth is not necessary.

Jevon's paradox, which dates back to 1865, was applied to fuel consumption. An idea which in light of wind power and solar energy developments may need to be rethought. Simply put, renewable sources of energy argue against the significance of his basic thesis in so far as increased use do not imply a shortage. If a source is renewed at a much faster pace than the consumption rate, the limitation implied by the paradox is not displayed. This is basic logic.

The sun being the sun, it would be hard to argue that the rate of consumption is going to increase to the point of scarcity anytime soon.

I would argue that Jevon's paradox is highly dependent on the current capitalist model and does not foresee the use of self sustained technologies.

If that is not enough, here is a link going in depth as to why Jevon's paradox is outdated.
http://thinkprogress.org...

A quote from that reads:
"Further, the central point of Jevons" theory was that advances in energy efficiency forced increases in energy consumption. Not merely that consumption increased despite efficiency, but that efficiency caused the increase.
So, if you believe that energy consumption would have been higher without advances in energy efficiency then, by definition, you do not also believe in the Jevons effect."

So yeah, food for thought. And though I do enjoy this very much, it's probably better, if you want to continue this debate, to actually do it in a debate.
May life not wear out our dreams.
ResponsiblyIrresponsible
Posts: 12,398
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3/7/2015 4:25:39 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/7/2015 4:23:21 PM, ojcruz wrote:
At 3/7/2015 3:29:24 PM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
At 3/7/2015 3:26:02 PM, Raisor wrote:
At 3/7/2015 3:07:03 PM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
At 3/7/2015 12:39:48 PM, 16kadams wrote:
That is an odd standpoint since Capitalism is the reason we have most of our technology :P

So much this.

That capitalism drives technological development does not disprove the claim that technological development will eliminate scarcity and subsequently bring an end to capitalism.

There are a few problems I see with that:

(1) What's the mechanism by which technology "eliminates scarcity?" I can't think of one more efficient or pragmatic, within the framework of the current system, than capitalism--so, if anything, technology would make capitalism more efficient.

(2) I can't see foresee technology "eliminating" scarcity. It could by all means reduce it, but then we run into the Jevon's Paradox: the essence of that is increased efficiency (via, say, technological gains) decreases the necessary factor inputs per unit output, but in doing so, those inputs become cheaper, so businesses use more of them, anyway--so, if the result, on net, is increased resource utilization, I would expect scarcity to become an even more pressing problem.

Yeah...

1) Is addressed in the debate. (essentially, It eliminates scarcity by increasing the efficiency of the means of production.)

2) Interesting. Kinda wish I had this debate with you and not the person who forfeited. That said. Your argument is limited. The increase in consumption can be attributed to several factors all of which are driven by capitalism.

a) Expansionist endeavors. Capitalism, by it's very nature is expansive. The need for continued growth, which admittedly has largely fueled progress in the last few hundred years) has led to overconsumption. The economic system we live in requires this growth and so the technologies that have accompanied it have also been expansive. Today, we have the ability to produce enough food for everyone in the world but a lot gets thrown away while we simultaneously find ways of producing even more. Would Jevon's paradox apply to food consumption if it was distributed properly or if the means of production increased so that we are throwing away more food than what we are eating?

b) An initial lack of access to necessary resources. If people require a particular resource, but do not have access, it is reasonable that as access becomes more prominent, so too will the rate of consumption. This holds true only until universal access is achieved. After which increased consumption can be achieved artificially (by throwing away excess food used to make grocery stores look stocked for instance) but is not a true implication and can be done away with. My argument stems from this universal access to basic resources. (Water, food, shelter, information). Once universal access to these resources is achieved in a self sustained way, a continuously expansive production system with exponential growth is not necessary.

Jevon's paradox, which dates back to 1865, was applied to fuel consumption. An idea which in light of wind power and solar energy developments may need to be rethought. Simply put, renewable sources of energy argue against the significance of his basic thesis in so far as increased use do not imply a shortage. If a source is renewed at a much faster pace than the consumption rate, the limitation implied by the paradox is not displayed. This is basic logic.

The sun being the sun, it would be hard to argue that the rate of consumption is going to increase to the point of scarcity anytime soon.

I would argue that Jevon's paradox is highly dependent on the current capitalist model and does not foresee the use of self sustained technologies.

If that is not enough, here is a link going in depth as to why Jevon's paradox is outdated.
http://thinkprogress.org...

A quote from that reads:
"Further, the central point of Jevons" theory was that advances in energy efficiency forced increases in energy consumption. Not merely that consumption increased despite efficiency, but that efficiency caused the increase.
So, if you believe that energy consumption would have been higher without advances in energy efficiency then, by definition, you do not also believe in the Jevons effect."

So yeah, food for thought. And though I do enjoy this very much, it's probably better, if you want to continue this debate, to actually do it in a debate.

Geez, you're really into this, lol.

I'll read this over later tonight and respond--possibly by PM, since I'm not sure when I'll be able to get to it. I'm looking forward to continuing this--and yeah, maybe a debate is the best outlet for that.
~ResponsiblyIrresponsible

DDO's Economics Messiah
Raisor
Posts: 4,461
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3/7/2015 5:48:00 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/7/2015 4:06:55 PM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
At 3/7/2015 4:00:19 PM, Raisor wrote:
The mechanism would be by developing next-to-free ways of obtaining critical resources like food, water, energy, and shelter. E.g. if fusion becomes viable (and it may) we would have an incredibly cheap and nearly unlimited supply of energy. There will still be a market value to energy, but consider if most essential resources cost next-to-nothing. There's still a cost but the cost is dwarfed by the value of the output. We can get even crazier and ask what happens if we develop self repairing materials that eliminate the need for extensive energy infrastructure maintenance and automation makes power plants essentially self sufficient. Then pretty much all energy costs is the upfront cost of the infrastructure (minimal all things considered). At some point energy is basically free, no longer scarce.

There are people who think in a truly post-scarcity world capitalism will break down. If basic economic sectors cease to require labor (agriculture, manufacturing, construction) and new labor sectors fail to develop, what happens to a system predicated on everyone having something to trade?

Even if new labor sectors open up, what happens when a very narrow handful of private individuals control the overwhelming majority of critical economic infrastructure? Technology is a barrier to entry in large industries and may drive monopolization.

Even if new labor sectors open up, what happens if they are all low-paying such that technology forces capital to the handful of people still working in the automated sectors?

All of this is of course, up for debate.

I think the point on monopolization is a critical one, and I can certainly buy that, though I tend to think that's already the case--so it almost becomes an issue of splitting hairs regarding what we actually define as "capitalism."

So, the first argument you made, if I understand correctly, is that an abundant supply of resources would render capitalism virtually meaningless because people can access those resources with the need to engage in a market exchange? I suppose that's plausible, though it would nevertheless have to (1) be universal enough that there aren't assymetries of access such that country A (or even state A) trades with country B,

The trade issue is interesting, but all this discussion takes place on a very long term scale so it is entirely possible that globalization has leveled access to resources.

and (2) individuals would need to own the means of production. To me, it's a lot more likely that a few powerful people would assume control, jack up the prices artificially, and insofar as they erode any semblance of competition, "destroy" capitalism, but I think that's probably the furthest it would ever get.

Individuals or the state could own means of production. Or the state could just heavily regulate privately operated business.

If we start to move into a scenario like you describe, there could be political backlash similar to the regulatory efforts of the early 20th century. Or to get Marxist, there could be violent revolution. The specifics are unpredictable, but the point is if very few people controlled access to vital resources for the rest of the globe the political system will react.



(2) I can't see foresee technology "eliminating" scarcity. It could by all means reduce it, but then we run into the Jevon's Paradox: the essence of that is increased efficiency (via, say, technological gains) decreases the necessary factor inputs per unit output, but in doing so, those inputs become cheaper, so businesses use more of them, anyway--so, if the result, on net, is increased resource utilization, I would expect scarcity to become an even more pressing problem.

Everything about this is speculative. Who knows what the world will look like in 100 years.

The above is a fair argument to make, but the point is it's arguable.

That's fair.

I'm not at all convinced the OP is correct, I just think it is really interesting to think/talk/argue about.
ResponsiblyIrresponsible
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3/7/2015 6:52:17 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/7/2015 5:48:00 PM, Raisor wrote:
The trade issue is interesting, but all this discussion takes place on a very long term scale so it is entirely possible that globalization has leveled access to resources.

That's true. I can certainly buy that.

Individuals or the state could own means of production. Or the state could just heavily regulate privately operated business.

That seems very similar to the current system, though, doesn't it? Not to mention, the government could technically break up monopolies.

If we start to move into a scenario like you describe, there could be political backlash similar to the regulatory efforts of the early 20th century. Or to get Marxist, there could be violent revolution. The specifics are unpredictable, but the point is if very few people controlled access to vital resources for the rest of the globe the political system will react.

I completely agree.



(2) I can't see foresee technology "eliminating" scarcity. It could by all means reduce it, but then we run into the Jevon's Paradox: the essence of that is increased efficiency (via, say, technological gains) decreases the necessary factor inputs per unit output, but in doing so, those inputs become cheaper, so businesses use more of them, anyway--so, if the result, on net, is increased resource utilization, I would expect scarcity to become an even more pressing problem.

Everything about this is speculative. Who knows what the world will look like in 100 years.

The above is a fair argument to make, but the point is it's arguable.

That's fair.

I'm not at all convinced the OP is correct, I just think it is really interesting to think/talk/argue about.
~ResponsiblyIrresponsible

DDO's Economics Messiah
ojcruz
Posts: 7
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3/8/2015 5:40:46 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/7/2015 4:06:55 PM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
At 3/7/2015 4:00:19 PM, Raisor wrote:
The mechanism would be by developing next-to-free ways of obtaining critical resources like food, water, energy, and shelter. E.g. if fusion becomes viable (and it may) we would have an incredibly cheap and nearly unlimited supply of energy. There will still be a market value to energy, but consider if most essential resources cost next-to-nothing. There's still a cost but the cost is dwarfed by the value of the output. We can get even crazier and ask what happens if we develop self repairing materials that eliminate the need for extensive energy infrastructure maintenance and automation makes power plants essentially self sufficient. Then pretty much all energy costs is the upfront cost of the infrastructure (minimal all things considered). At some point energy is basically free, no longer scarce.

There are people who think in a truly post-scarcity world capitalism will break down. If basic economic sectors cease to require labor (agriculture, manufacturing, construction) and new labor sectors fail to develop, what happens to a system predicated on everyone having something to trade?

Even if new labor sectors open up, what happens when a very narrow handful of private individuals control the overwhelming majority of critical economic infrastructure? Technology is a barrier to entry in large industries and may drive monopolization.

Even if new labor sectors open up, what happens if they are all low-paying such that technology forces capital to the handful of people still working in the automated sectors?

All of this is of course, up for debate.

I think the point on monopolization is a critical one, and I can certainly buy that, though I tend to think that's already the case--so it almost becomes an issue of splitting hairs regarding what we actually define as "capitalism."

So, the first argument you made, if I understand correctly, is that an abundant supply of resources would render capitalism virtually meaningless because people can access those resources with the need to engage in a market exchange? I suppose that's plausible, though it would nevertheless have to (1) be universal enough that there aren't assymetries of access such that country A (or even state A) trades with country B, and (2) individuals would need to own the means of production. To me, it's a lot more likely that a few powerful people would assume control, jack up the prices artificially, and insofar as they erode any semblance of competition, "destroy" capitalism, but I think that's probably the furthest it would ever get.


(2) I can't see foresee technology "eliminating" scarcity. It could by all means reduce it, but then we run into the Jevon's Paradox: the essence of that is increased efficiency (via, say, technological gains) decreases the necessary factor inputs per unit output, but in doing so, those inputs become cheaper, so businesses use more of them, anyway--so, if the result, on net, is increased resource utilization, I would expect scarcity to become an even more pressing problem.

Everything about this is speculative. Who knows what the world will look like in 100 years.

The above is a fair argument to make, but the point is it's arguable.

That's fair.

Ok, so yeah, I am indeed very into this. haha!

That said I liked this discussion you're having with Raisor and thought I'd add my two cents.

I actually agree with you that the more likely course of action is private industry tightening their grip on the means of production, leading to monopoly issues etc...

One could make the argument that that is exactly what is happening with water (through suggesting tap water is not drinkable and attempting to privatize it) and the internet with net neutrality.

That said, the effort, I believe will encounter several insurmountable problems.

The main concern is the cheapening and individualization of the means of production.

If access to means of production becomes cheap and individualized, which is starting to happen, it will be incredibly difficult for large corporations to get everyone to stop using their own means and buy their stuff.

You can't retain control over something that anyone can make on their own.

The second problem is that as quality of life, by means of access to resources, becomes more and more secure, the terms in which people interact with these companies will change. Why would anyone spend their days working at Walmart if they had access to most the things they would buy with their wages anyway? As jobs disappear, the people's necessity to acquire them will also diminish.

And that's an important part of the equation. What happens if universal access makes going to dead end jobs unnecessary? (I was going to say undesirable but that is already the case)

How will this affect how we attempt collective enterprises?

I do believe large corporations will try to control the resources, as they are doing right now (again water, food and internet come to mind), but it will be much easier for people not to participate in that model as technology improves. A quiet revolution.

Fun stuff folks!
May life not wear out our dreams.