A new post-capitalist ecosystem of value creation
This is an aspect of the systemic issues facing us, but only a small aspect.
Economies are very complex, many levels, many different functions, many different sets of incentives.
On the plus side are many things:
the power of money as an abstract symbol of value that people trust;
the creative incentive of free markets;
the role of creative destruction;
the information processing and risk sharing at several levels of abstraction.
On the negative side are several things:
the prevalence of predatory (cheating) strategies at several levels;
the inability of markets to assign a positive value to universal abundance of anything – now directly in opposition of the ability of fully automated systems to deliver universal abundance of a large and growing set of goods and services;
a tendency to value money over individual life and individual liberty.
The essence of human existence is cooperation. We are the result of some 20 levels of cooperation in action, and every one of us as individuals stands to gain far more from being cooperative than we do by being exclusively competitive. No human can grow to modern adulthood without the cooperation of many millions of people.
Our modern focus on competition is a major threat. At a time when automation ought to be delivering security and freedom to all, it has been hijacked to deliver control to the few.
We don’t need to take anything from anyone. Automation can deliver more to everyone, but it needs to deliver far more to those further down the distribution curve than it does to those at the top.
Exactly how we achieve that is the great question of our age. I am confident beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that markets will never provide such an outcome in and of their own internal incentive structures. It requires deliberate intentional action by many individuals.
I kind of agree with you, and at the same time you seem to have missed entirely the systemic incentive level that I was attempting to make clear.
What I am saying is, as long as markets have any role in what you are suggesting, then there is a deep set of systemic incentives working against you.
At present we are all co-dependent, but the contribution of any one of us to the total is so small that in an economic sense none of us is particularly important. While that may be true at the margin, it is not true systemically – and therein lies another fundamental systemic risk of markets.
Money is pure myth – and like all myths it has power only to the degree we believe in it.
Land is not fake. Surface area of the planet is finite, and not unchanging (as having just lived through a 7.8 quake here in Kaikoura has forcefully demonstrated).
My comments re automation were not intended to imply that people who want to farm should stop, quite the reverse. What automation offers is the ability for untended systems to maintain the flows of all essential goods and services should no one “want” to provide them.
I have spent a lot of years developing a lot of skill sets, and one of those skill sets is system automation (having owned and operated a software company for the last 30+ years). I am clear that every entity (human or automatic) will develop unique ways of doing things. Humans are likely to be creative in ways that the automatics are not. That’s great.
My concern, is that everyone experience the same degrees of freedom and security, which means that everyone must have the option of doing something other than what they are doing, and the automatic systems have to be able to step in and “pick up the slack”.
Inside of an economic system based on markets, such systems lead to universal unemployment and poverty.
Inside systems that are based in the values of individual life and individual liberty, both within contexts of responsible behaviour in social and ecological contexts, then it leads to an empowerment and a flowering of creativity for all.
And there are certainly likely to be disruptions, as individuals adjust from the notion of doing what they are told, to the idea of doing whatever it is that they responsibly choose. And responsibility in such a context is an indefinitely expanding exploration of an infinite set of infinite dimensions of what might be possible and the incentives, relationships, and impacts present and likely (in a context that contains an even larger set of the impossible). So nothing simple or easy here. It seems clear when one looks deeply enough at epistemology and ontology that all any of us ever have are heuristics that are based in some sort of best guess based on some sets of past experiences, which may or may not actually be relevant to the current situation. Real novelty, or chaos, cannot be predicted by anything from our pasts (or in the case of chaos, anything at all – by definition).
So these are interesting times.
Many levels of understandings from the past are being overtaken by double exponential explorations of entirely new territory, while other deeper meta level understandings remain as true as they ever were.
It is a very complex, and in many aspects entirely unpredictable, system that we find ourselves in.