TheFamily Papers #027
By Nicolas Colin (Co-Founder & Partner) | TheFamily
Lots of great historical views of the complexity of human economic and political systems, but little investigation or consideration of the real systemic issues present.
I am no fan of UBI as a long term solution to anything, and it may be a useful transition strategy to take us from a competitive scarcity based system to a cooperative abundance based system.
Two key factors are present that this article ignores.
1/ Technology is doubling in computational capacity every year. As our ability to automate processes moves more from the information side into the manufacturing side, then we gain the ability to produce whatever can be fully automated in universal abundance. Anything universally abundant has zero market value?—?evidence the air we breath, arguably the most valuable thing to any one of us, yet of no market value.
Markets and their denominative value measure money are a scarcity based measure of value. Anything capable of producing universal abundance has a negative value if one is measuring the flow of money and profit (universal abundance reduces money flow, even as it increases the amount of goods and service present). Thus we observe the expansion of mechanisms to limit universal abundance (arguably any Intellectual Property (IP) law that lasts more than 5 years).
2/ As technology moves deeper into modelling the biochemistry of human cells, we will stop then reverse the negative effects of aging. Once age related sources of risk to life are removed, then focus will move to other categories of risk. The social risk from perceived injustice will be highest on that list, though it may find expression in a vast array of technical forms of mass destruction.
That is not to say that everyone needs to have the same, few if anyone expects that, and it is a demand for a high minimum level of access to all the basics of food, accommodation, educations, communication, transportation, medical care, and the basic technologies that make life interesting.
We need to face the reality that we are a fundamentally cooperative species of social ape.
We need to acknowledge the reality that all major advances in the evolution of complexity in living systems are characterised by new levels of cooperation, and all cooperative systems require levels of attendant strategies to prevent overrun by cheating strategies (arguably most of our finance and political systems are currently dominated by “cheating” strategies).
If we as individuals really are interested in our own long term self interest, then we need to acknowledge the social reality that live in, and acknowledge the social and environmental responsibilities that come with the many freedoms we enjoy.
Sure, we need to understand history, and we also need to understand the power of exponential change, and the power of fully automated systems, and how evolution works, what it means to be part of a complex evolving system that is constantly inventing and exploring new dimensions for which there is no history.
The is no historical precedent for the technological abundance we can now deliver.
For most of human history most people have needed to work just to create enough food. Now less than 2% of people are directly involved in the production of food, and that number will continue to reduce as technology continues to increase in power.
There is no need for anyone, anywhere on this planet, to experience poverty, other than our social addiction to patterns that worked in the past, but are not appropriate to our present or future.