Re: Memes and War [was: Tomorrow is a new day]

From: Dani Eder (
Date: Tue Nov 09 2004 - 10:00:56 MST

> > The real issue I see is the distribution of
> wealth.
> > Right now business is moving to countries with low
> > labor costs like India and China. If automation
> > gets good enough, however, cheap labor may not be
> > as much a factor. Business may then pull out of
> > these countries.
> >
> I really have a problem with people talking about
> the "distribution of
> wealth". Do you believe that "wealth" occurs
> naturally like fruit on the
> trees?

I believe that total wealth (in the technical
economic sense of the term) consists of natural
resources in place + human capital + stored value
of manmade improvements to nature.

The current distribution of these items in the US

Bare land @ $1170/acre avg value x 7.6 acres/person
= $8.9K/person
Manmade stuff: $84K/person
Human capital: $18K/yr rental (i.e. wages)/8% discount
rate = $225K/person

So, most of the wealth in the US is in the humans
and their skills right now.

When I mentioned the distribution of wealth as an
issue, I don't mean I am a socialist that wants to
take stuff from rich people and give it to poor
people. What I was talking about is the problem
that may be caused if large numbers of people are
first lured to cities in countries like China by
the prospect of a better life working in a factory.

Once large numbers of people are in cities and no
longer on farms, if you then replace them with robots
because the robots are cheaper, you could then end
up with very large numbers of unemployed poor
people. These people could then get mad at the
rich countries or corporations for taking away their
jobs. The very speed of technological development
is what may cause this problem by changing the
underlying economics faster than the people can

Lots of unemployed poor people with a reason to hate
the 'rich' (derserved or not) often leads to nasty
things like wars and revolutions. The unresolved
issue is how the upcoming changes will play out.


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