Better Society

London Futurists: Three keys to a radically better society?

What could the future look like?
What changes are in store for society in the next 5-10 years?
How will technology shape the future?
In order to face the challenges that lie ahead, how do we need to change our thinking and our social structures?
What should government look like in an increasingly digital age?

I am not convinced that ZM (Zeitgeist Movement) has solved the problems of setting in place incentives that ensure individual liberty and security.

RBE (Resource Based Economics) makes assumptions about equality that simply do not hold. Some people really want to do things that use many more resources than other people. How to make those decisions?

Clearly logic shows that markets fail when resources become abundant. Markets always value truly abundant goods or services at zero, because they have no exchange value (as everyone already has all they need). Thus there is no market incentive to ever produce true abundance of anything. This perversely is exactly the opposite of what people want (which is an abundance of the basic requirement of human life).

Cooperation at any level requires strategies to ensure cheats don’t prosper.
ZM doesn’t seem to have a viable set of strategies outlined as yet.

ZM seems to think that people will want to continue doing what they are – which certainly will be true for some people, but not enough.
A lot of people are doing jobs they would not do unless there was some reward.
It seems to me that the only reliable way out of that conundrum is to automate all the essential means of production – thus delivering freedom and prosperity to everyone.

People would then cooperate on projects only if it was something they really wanted to do, and not because of any coercive power of the market to deny them their means of survival if they didn’t involve themselves in the market.

[followed by]

Hi Cliff & Linda,

The Dan Pink video is quite accurate.
I spend most of my time and intellectual power on voluntary activities. The market based economic system has many systemic failings; yet for all those failings, where tasks can be broken down to simple sequences – rewards work. And most of the tasks in our society are structured in such a fashion.
The more abstract the thinking required, the less effective is reward or “pressure” of any sort. Our physiology has evolved to narrow our focus under stress, and to incentivise immediate action. That has worked well in our evolutionary history, when faced with stressors like big cats or bears or wildfires.
It doesn’t work when facing the systemic threats we now face as a society. And stresses from things like mortgages and MAD don’t go away quickly.

If you have read Marx, he defined money in terms of labour – nothing new there.
I think Marx made some significant errors, and he was very close on many things.

What TZM fails to address is who gets which house where and why?
It is one thing to have a house on a flood plain with a view of your neighbour’s windows, and quite a different thing to have a house on a hill top with a panoramic view of ocean and mountains unencumbered by houses. They are somewhat rarer. I happen to have one. I lived in the other sort most of my life.

I like a lot of what is in TZM. And as presented it currently fails to address the transition.

I am every bit as worried about the effects of the tyranny of the majority as I am of individual tyrants, on individual liberty.
And I fully acknowledge that liberty contains the notion of responsibility, and is a very different thing from simply following one’s whims of the moment.

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 www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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