Fusion Power

MIT designs small, modular, efficient fusion power plant

Why bother, when we already have one working a nice safe 93 million miles away?

Could the only reason be profit?

Could it be that decentralised abundant power for everyone does not make energy corporations billions from profits (it just meets the needs of all the people)?

Could this be just anther blatant example of why markets as a concept ( and money as their derivative measure of value) are now creating more dangers than benefits?

We have no shortage of power!
We have the technical manufacturing capacity to deliver abundance of all essentials to everyone.

Yet the incentive structures of market based thinking prevent it happening.

The very idea of exchange has passed it’s “use by” date.

The evolutionary power of cooperation offers us security and abundance so far beyond market based incentives it is not funny.

Yet people know money.
It is familiar, comfortable, and utterly incapable of dealing effectively with exponential technology! (Excuse my HP modes – just finished reading Eliezer Yudkowsky’s epic HPMOR – brilliant, and in a real sense, misses the point).

[followed by]

Hi Gorden

You’re right in a sense.
There are incentives to make solar power work.
I just spent $10K on a solar array for our roof.
It is happening.
And it could have happened a lot faster, if not for deliberate tactics by the oil industry to slow the process down.

All the social stuff you wrote is true enough in a sense.

And there really is something else there too!

[followed by]

Hi Scott

I agree with a lot of what you say, and not other parts.

In a free market, where things are genuinely scarce, then people really do benefit generally.

Once we develop technologies that allow for universal abundance, then the game changes significantly.

If you can find an example of a truly free market, I’d be interested (I don’t know of any myself).
It seems the first casualty of markets is the freedom of subordinate actors, as games theory predicts – infinite recursion.

We build faster processors because they deliver more abilities, but not too fast because there must be sufficient time to recoup the capex of the last set of technologies.

Why extend human lifespans – risk mitigation strategy.
Any rational entity is going to have its own survival as its highest value (which kind of says something about the military mind and rationality, and that is a little unfair in some instances I admit).

Having a nuclear reactor 93 million miles away is reasonably safe – not too much danger from radiation poisoning or meltdown or sabotage or …..
Just simply a risk mitigation strategy.

If you just want different power, why not use the power of the nuclear reactions at the planet’s core, and dig deep holes for Hydrothermal power generation, and use the low grade waste heat for heating cities in winter.

There really are lots of technologies a lot safer than nuclear power.

Where I wrote:
“We have the technical manufacturing capacity to deliver abundance of all essentials to everyone.”

and you wrote:
“False.”

You are wrong.

Note exactly what I wrote.
“all essentials to everyone”
Not all whims or fancies – all essentials – food, water, shelter, communication, transport, education, healthcare. Essential life sustaining and enabling stuff.
That we can do.

What do you estimate is the portion of the top 10% of capable individuals are that are not fully employed?
What about the 10% of least skilled individuals.

I’m guessing (I don’t have hard stats, I just know a lot of people) that somewhat less than half of the most skilled and capable people on the planet are “employed” as you put it.
Most I know are doing just enough to keep food in mouth, and are waiting for the system to break.

I’m reasonably skilled, but my IQ only tested around 160, and most of the IQ180+ folks I know are not using their skills to produce anything significant. I do paid work about 4 hours a week.

Much of the rest of my time is spent working on a way out of the strategic hole we are in at present.

I do actually want to live a very long time (many thousands of years).
And the chances of doing that inside anything even vaguely resembling a free market economic system appear to my analysis to be asymptotically approaching zero.

A new level of awareness is required to bring some security to the incentive structures.

Its not enough simply to live, if there is no freedom.
Life without liberty is better than no life, and it is far from an optimal solution.

The only way I can see of ensuring that I get the sorts of liberty and security I want, is to make certain that everyone else has them too (otherwise there is a strong incentive for someone else to take it from me – which is one of the root issues with market based thinking).

There is no market value in air.
Yet air is vital to us all.
We do actually have laws around air pollution – because markets cannot deal with universal abundance – it is all of no value within a market context.
Which also means that there can be no natural market incentive to deliver it, as there are always too many meta incentives to erect barriers to that delivery.

I understand very well the information and arbitrage functions of markets.
What you have not addressed is the inability of markets to give a non-zero value to universal abundance – and the necessary logical consequences of that.

Like I said at the start. I don’t have a serious issue with markets where there exists genuine scarcity.

Where I do have a serious issue with markets, is how they treat universal abundance – of anything. And universal security requires universal abundance of the essentials of life and liberty (if not of whim and fancy).

And long term security requires universal security – anything less has a high risk profile.

It is actually, a very serious issue.

When markets evolved, the only such issue was air, and it wasn’t really a problem, it was just there, and no one even recognised it for what it was (that only happened in the last few centuries).

Now we have a large and growing set of goods and services for which we do in fact have the technical capacity to supply in universal abundance, in terms of reasonable use.

I am not talking about a central planning board.
Never mentioned one until you raised the idea. (Talk about straw men! 😉 )

All I have ever said was fully automated systems.
Full automation is not central planning.
It is full and distributed automation of production and delivery.

There really is a lot more to what I am saying than you had comprehended at the time you wrote your last post – promise!

With luck, you may be starting to see some of it for yourself now.

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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