Email to Peter Diamandis

To Peter Diamandis

Hi Peter

I align with all you say in respect of exponential development, and much of what you say about the coming age of abundance.

There is one aspect of abundance that you have not explicitly addressed that to me seems critical.

Most of our societal governance structures are heavily influenced by the concept of money.

Money is a market based concept.

Money can be conceptualised as the product of two complex functions within every mind.

One function is the value of a thing, and every individual will have their own complex multidimensional set of functions that deliver some instantaneous feeling of the worth of a “thing”.

The other function is an estimate of the scarcity of the “thing”.

The more we want something, and the more scarce it is, the more we will pay for it.

The flip side of this is the real issue here.
Anything that is abundant, has zero scarcity, and therefore zero market value (anything multiplied by zero equals zero – consider oxygen, important, abundant, and zero market value).

Thus while we are developing technology that is capable of delivering abundance, that abundance is invalidating our dominant social valuation paradigm (money and markets).

There is a flip side to this concept also, which is that there is zero market incentive to ever deliver true abundance (which reaches every person on the planet), and there is in fact massive monetary incentive to prevent such abundance ever being created.

Now I am clear that the abundance genie is clearly out of the bottle.
It cannot be stopped, except by mass genocide which is far too dangerous for everyone (cannot be controlled even by those with otherwise very impressive powers of control.

You said “You get what you incentivise”, which I agree with.

And when you take a high level view of that, what we are incentivising is scarcity for the masses, and insecurity on a scale that threatens our survival at a societal level. Almost half the population is on some sort of anti anxiety medication – and it is barely holding.

Thus the question really is, what sort of social political and technical institutions are required to provide security and freedom in an age of abundance (which abundance includes longevity).

That has been the prime thought in my mind since 1974.

I am confident of the classes of solutions I have developed, and in many aspects they clearly align with your own, and there are some significant differences.

I am confident we can get into space – the technology is actually rather easy, but no one is pursuing it yet. That isn’t the issue.

The really tricky issue, is how do we get away from using money as a tool in high level decision making?

I have some thoughts on that.
I have been spending so much time thinking about it, that I have spent little time concerned with making money.
I have also had to beat metastasised melanoma, which I seem to have done.

I am also clear that I know how intelligence works, and what Kant’s “pure practical reason” is (from an information theory perspective).

Would love to discuss with you and Ray, and someone (you?) would need to fund myself and my wife to travel and attend (we don’t require flash, just safe and clean). [We have our passports, and I attended the 25th Foresight Conference last year, thanks to someone else paying my way – and my separation created serious anxiety issues for my wife – I will not do that to her again.]

Very best wishes.


About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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