What’s your brilliant idea?
My idea is one I speak of often:
Imagine a world in which the only people who are hungry are those who are choosing to be.
Imagine that you own your own home, and that home is maintained by a set of machines that also maintain themselves.
Those same machines tend your gardens (when you are not doing so yourself), keep them watered, and keep animals, insects, and weeds at bay. They gather and store the crops at the appropriate time (if you are otherwise engaged).
Those same machines maintain your water storage and sewage treatment systems, and your communication and transportation systems. If you do not feel like preparing food yourself, they are capable of preparing and serving a wide variety of basic nutritious meals.
Those machines trim your trees, and dry and store those trimmings to give you cooking and heating fuel.
The computer systems in your home contain training courses to take you to masters level in any discipline that takes your interest, and via the inter-mesh network, you can find a community of like-minded people, wherever you are on the planet, whenever you feel the need.
All of this is at no cost. The machines that make it all possible were developed long ago, and because they were designed to build and maintain copies of themselves, as well as do all these other things, their development was a one off cost, paid for by those who could see the need for such abundance in the lives of all humanity (themselves included).
The whole system is powered by solar cells on the roof of your house, and all of the nutrients are in a closed loop, with the treated sewage being recycled into the compost systems and back into your garden on a 5 year cycle.
Without the need for commerce to sustain life, most people live in communities of interest. There is no daily commute to work. Motorways are a thing of the past.
Long distance travel is by underground maglev trains travelling in vacuum tubes that are both silent and very fast, far faster than the jets of today as there is no air resistance to overcome. Again the system is built and maintained by robots, so there is no cost in using it – yet another of the free and abundant things that are as abundant and free as air is today.
Such a world is technically possible, and it will never result naturally from the action of free markets.
Markets are places of exchange, and the value of the market place is an exchange value, and as such has two major components.
One component is the human value, how much each individual values the thing, in and of itself.
The other component is the scarcity, how rare is the thing, how difficult is it to find another one.
If scarcity is high, then we are willing to exchange much more than if scarcity is low. If there is no scarcity (as in the air we breath) then it matters not how valuable it is, we are not willing to exchange anything for it, because we already have all we could ever need.
Anything truly abundant has zero market value.
Markets value abundance at zero.
Markets cannot deal meaningfully with abundance, however valuable that abundance may be to individuals, a market will always value it at zero.
Thus, the idea that markets can ever deliver abundance is a logical nonsense.
Markets will always tend to deliver an optimal level of scarcity (which may seem like abundance to those who are in dire scarcity), and markets cannot ever deliver true abundance.
One final thought to add: that in order for there to be world peace, the term “patriotism” needs to have the same sort of social condemnation as the term “racism” does today.
Patriots put their nation before all else.
What we need is a world where all people are valued above all things, Where people put people before clan, village, region, belief system or nation.
This is a world of global cooperation and acceptance of diversity.
Many who champion free market capitalism point to evolution by natural selection, and the constant competition.
What they fail to see, is that all of the great advances in evolution have been characterised by new levels of cooperation.
It seems entirely logical to me as an evolutionary biologist, that the next great leap of evolution will be a system where the entire human population cooperates, and the concept of money is rendered of historical interest only, and it seems logical that the sort of picture painted above would empower such a world.