RE: An essay I just wrote on the Singularity.

From: Dani Eder (
Date: Sun Jan 11 2004 - 17:59:01 MST

> Does a much better way of organization than free-
> -market economy exist? I don't know but I do notice
> there is some similarity between the free market and
> natural selection.

Pre-singularity, humans act as follows:

So long as humans have unsatisfied wants and needs,
they have a reason to act. In general people rank
their wants and needs according a personal internal
system, which does not need to match that of anyone
else. They also are endowed with different natural
abilities, and locations on the Earth are endowed
with different natural resources and accumulated
manmade stuff.

Trade arises because of these differences. If I
am physically weak but good at math, and someone
else is strong but innumerate, I can do his taxes
in return for him doing yardwork, and we are both
better off than trying to do tasks for ourselves
that we are not good at.

Anything that widens the opportunities for trade
tends to make society more efficient, since
people and locales can specialize in what they
are best at relative to everyone else.

Thus an economy that uses money as a trade
intermediary is more efficient than a barter
economy. In barter you must find someone who
has the right combination to do a trade. With
money, you do what you are good at for money,
then exchange the money for what you need, but
the two transactions can be with different people.

Things like large cargo ships and the internet
lower overhead for trades, widening the range
of trades that can occur. High sales taxes and
import duties raise the overhead for trade.

There is no reason to trade for items that are
in abundance for everyone (breathable air is an
example). Items that are scarce become subject
to trade. In the case of the Linux operating
system, making copies of the OS has become
negligible in cost. The scarce item is programmer
time for making improvements. Therefore the
method of openly trading my code improvements
for everyone else's works well, since I get
back many times more code improvements than if
I tried to write all the code myself.

In a future with replicating automated factories,
some items will become abundant, and others will
still be scarce. Land to put the new factories
on and factory programming time for a particular
product are examples of what might still be scarce.

In a post-singularity future where everyone has
been uploaded into their personal virtual
universe, and all your wants and needs can be
satisfied by making wishes, there would be no
need for trade. Nothing would be scarce, and
everyone would have equal ability.


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