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Post scarcity economics fiction and non fiction
(04-19-2013, 08:01 AM)stevebowers Wrote: Incidentally, I found the story Manna very inspiring, as a cautionary tale. The idea that each human citizen could have a dedicated AI advisor that in fact controls them like a robot, rewarding obedient behaviour and punishing inefficiency, is a powerful one.

I think that such a society could easily emerge in the Dark Age Solar System (or among the new colonies established after the Great Expulsion). Similar societies might emerge at later dates as well, but under different circumstances. Imagine a benevolent AI tyrant, that is only concerned about the best use of human labour, and uses wearable monitoring equipment and (possibly, but not necessarily) neural interfacing to ensure fine control over its human subjects. Such a system might even be tolerable for the humans involved, so long as the AI tyrant continues to monitor the humans' well-being and ensures they do not suffer discomfort.

I'll mull it over and produce an outline, unless someone else produces one first.
Sounds good. I think one of the reasons manna works so well is that the software isn't really strong AI. At least not until much later in the story line (although its never really stated). What's scary about that is that it's not some conscious entity oppressing the people through its agency but rather a non-conscious system whose outcome is oppression. A potentially good analogy for societal systems be they political, economic or cultural.

The most obvious point though is that if a transition to what we call post-scarcity does occur there are certain socioeconomic systems that would be ill-equipped to adapt for the change. A system whereby being unemployed or lacking marketable skills was judged as a failure of the individual, and therefore not something society should spent resources helping, is not one in which a transition would occur smoothly for the majority of people. Personally I think a Keynesian social democracy set up would be much better but IRL those societies are few Sad which sucks for more reasons than "in case we transition to post-scarcity"
(04-19-2013, 12:59 PM)Drashner1 Wrote: Actually, I just googled 'post-scarcity economics' and the wikipedia article came up. It includes a number of references at the end that you might find useful:

Will see what else turns up as time permits.

Cheers Todd Smile I've read the wiki article before and have read most of the books it mentions (although there a few I've noted down to look into). Some of them though like the Culture aren't entirely what I'm looking for. Like the Star Trek universe the Culture's post scarcity system is a background feature. It's rarely mentioned how it operates nor explored. One example where it partially is that I know of is in Player of Games where a citizen of a pseudo-feudal society asks questions to a Culture citizen. The conversation goes along the lines of:

"What if I wanted my own planet?"
"We'll you could find a planet with no one on it I guess and live there"
"Yes but what if I wanted to surround it with a fleet of warships to keep everyone else out?"
"How would you convince the warships to do that?"
"I don't understand"
"We'll warships are sentient"
"Ha! Your machines think they are sentient..."

Conversely the three stories I mentioned in my OP (less so Down and Out) explore the life in a post-scarcity world directly. In manna every citizen gets a certain amount of credits with which to buy items that are then built and supplied by publicly owned robots. In Voyage it's similar except there are no credits, one just has to ask. However neither system really explores further with questions like how are the inevitably scared resources allocated (I.e land)?

Recently I've been thinking about a post-scarcity society which uses money still for the non-scarce things and trying to think what such a society would look like. It's interesting because it looks like a world where people rarely use money, many might not even care about or think of it regularly and some will probably have accounts that are left untouched for years. But for some the pursuit of money will still be important because they want to trade for the remaining non-scarce things like land, antiques etc. From some perspectives these people are an elite but from others they are just hobbyists playing a game continually that other people might pick up and put down from time to time.

One more thing to add is that this remaining money might not be fiat, it could be an independent currency like Bitcoin IRL.

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RE: Post scarcity economics fiction and non fiction - by Rynn - 04-20-2013, 04:15 AM

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