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This 'discussion page' is currently used to hold notes for the development of this website (however it can still be used for discussion)

"To see how this kind of abundance is possible, it is important to understand the underlying concepts and potential of open-source and advanced automation – otherwise this is easily dismissed as naive dreaming. These concepts are not yet widely known or understood, partly because they have only recently become feasible."

Need section on population growth. See michael email
Interesting article on population growth:

Point that once people get beyond materialism people are then in an optimal position to co-operate and collaborate for the right reasons.

Section on the economics of abundance.

Note about these developments not happening in a political and social vacuum - I'm just describing what is technologically possible at the moment.

The simplest analogy is that of a vast jungle providing fruit in abundance for anyone to eat – but in this scenario the jungle is highly autonomous distributed machinery that has been transparently and collaboratively designed.


End of commercial era and conventional economics?

Ultimately how will companies be able to compete with huge open-source networks? Can restricted groups of professionals out-compete the rest of the world (that also include so-called professionals) who are constantly evolving shared IP. When the tools have matured and working practices for this type of collaboration have been highly optimised, it seems unlikely...

Money is based on scarcity. A world where scarcity of significant items required for a good standard of living no longer exists means that money and financial transactions at some point become meaningless.


Once it is known that there is almost no limit on goods for personal consumption - it might be like a child in a free sweet shop or workers in a chocolate factory who can eat as much as they want. After a few sessions of over-indulgence, there is no longer a rush to grab and consume as much as possible. Quality becomes more important that quantity. It then becomes part of the culture - materialism is a phase to be passed through in these early stages of our civilisation. There is only so much 'stuff' that a single person can interact with and use within their lifetime... I am talking about personal consumption here. Some people will obviously use more material goods than others. Those who are more frugal will counter-balance those who use more than average. How resources are used for much larger projects should be a matter for some sort of democratic decision process.

Gary Snyder at the Houseboat Summit:
I think that automation in the affluent society, plus psychedelics, plus, for the same curious reason, a whole catalytic, spiritual change or bend of mind that seems to be taking place in the West today especially, is going to result - can result ultimately - in a vast leisure society in which people will voluntarily reduce their number, and - because human beings want to do that which is real - simplify their lives. The whole problem of consumption and marketing is radically altered if a large number of people voluntarily choose to consume less. And people will voluntarily choose to consume less if their interests are turned in any other direction. If what is exciting to them is no longer things but states of mind.

Scarcity of land

The surface area of the planet is finite. If the population of the planet carries on increasing there will be less 'land-per-person', this much is simple. However the population is projected to peak at around 9.5 billion in 2050 [1]. Also the 'carrying capacity' of the existing surface can be improved. Efficiency of production can be increased. Structures can be built vertically. Land can be reclaimed. Factories, agricultural space and cities can be built underground, floating on the sea or even on the seabed. Ultimately there is Space to expand into.

(Agriculture now takes up 33-50% of the Earth's land surface [2][3][4][5]. The Food article adequately addresses the issue. Analyzing food, water, air and material needs, I see no reason that the Earth couldn't comfortably carry 200 billion people.--Balatro 18:34, 6 July 2010 (CEST))

Controlling access to land where resources can be mined is an issue, but increasing the efficiency of recycling to the very high 90s% means that with a stabilising population less and less material will have to be dug out of the ground. It can be endlessly recycled which just requires energy. There will like be (some) owners of land and organisations such as co-operatives and trusts who will allow access to resources via land they own for the public good. Also much land in many countries is government owned and there is plenty of public land, so this can be used too. Another option is mining the seabed in international waters. Some of these things (and how open-source enabled post-scarcity can emerge from a primarily commercial and proprietary world ['transition period') are mentioned in my post here.

Unlimited wants


I'm not saying we can satisfy unlimited wants.

I am saying we can give everyone their needs and most of their wants.

We can get rid of significant scarcity.

However I think most rational people do not actually have unlimited wants anyway.

What about outdoing your neighbour? In a compeitive capitalistic world with obvious scarcity-driven constraints there will be competition with the Joneses, that's a given.

People are more environmentally conscious.

People actually want different things.

There are only so many things someone can have and consume.

Think of a child in sweet shop having as much as he wants....

After a while you concentrate on what is important. Yes there may be a blip in consumption during the transition period which will be due to a generation of people used to scarcity adjusting - but this will be a transitory effect. Children born during a particular era generally get on with the life as if that is always the way it has been (and for them of course it has) - making the most of things rather than perpetuating hang-ups of the past.

Excessiv e consumers will be balanced by those who consume minimally. Many in the future will have an environmental consciousness (more than today). There will also be social pressures not too consume excessively, just as there are for many other behaviours not currently deemed acceptable or frowned upon.

Part of ownership is hoarding in a scarce world - this is natural behaviour. When is there is more than plenty (and additionally it is extremely easy to swap and refurbish stuff) people will not feel compelled to do this.

How will limitations (and of course there will always be some) be managed?

John Gelles note

The fundamental positive (a sufficiency of material, energy, intelligence, information) is matched by the fundamental negatives: the urge to populate until scarcity trumps abundance (Malthusian doctrine); and the urge develop complexity, variation, embellishment and clutter, until intelligence cannot cope -- that is to experience the triumph of form over substance or mandarinism).

Simple solutions are resisted by the force of habit: for example, we do not highly reward females who limit themselves to two children, nor do we sufficiently reward effective simplification (an art that to date has lost the war against counter-productive complexity, clutter and distraction.)

Existing economics is defined by scarcity. Existing law is defined by blessed complexity.

Money, the God-sent simplifier, is under the control of the Devil. Rescue it, and the path to an advanced civilization will be widened to vastly increase the speed of travel to its many locales.

-- Johngelles 22:29, 22 February 2007


Make image of cornucopia with more relevant stuff pouring out:

  • Medicine
  • Drinking water
  • Food
  • Vehicles
  • Machines
  • Housing
  • Consumer products
  • etc


Enabling technologies

While post-scarcity could be done with today's technology, the fact remains that it has not been. With future technologies, post-scarcity will be a lot easier, until eventually it will be so obvious, so undeniable, that it will simply prevail. The main enabling technology I see for this is productive nanotechnology. With productive nanotechnology, everything is information. Getting any item is simply a matter of getting the information behind it and pressing PRINT. Then, as long as there is free and open-source information everything is free. The only way this could be stopped would be a totalitarian enforcement of intellectual property rights, creating massive artificial scarcity. But this is not likely; so far the pirates have been prevailing every step of the way, so much so that you could say we are now in an era of post-scarcity of music, movies and books. Other significant enabling tecchnologies are ubiquitous photovoltaics for energy and cheap effective nanofiltration for water (including desalination). When these technologies become common, post-scarcity will become much easier to implement, requiring less of a social overhaul than would be needed to implement it today. --Balatro 18:29, 6 July 2010 (CEST)