Quora NHS woes

With people living longer and putting more strain on the NHS and economy in general is higher taxation the only realistic solution?

Short answer – No.

Long answer, much more complex.

Money, as a market measure of value, is now probably the single greatest threat to human survival, and that certainly was not the case until very recently.

Money, as an abstract representation of value, has served many very useful purposes. Money allows markets to function – much better than barter.

Markets were great mechanisms for distributing governance, distributing cognition, distributing decision making, distributed risk management at many different levels, as well as the obvious one of distributing goods and services, and as a set of motivational tools (but that is not a simple or obvious topic in reality).

With the advent of AI, and fully automated systems, markets fail in two very different sets of dimensions.

AI systems already out perform humans in any definable game space – so those who control AI (to the extent that they do) also control markets. Thus AI undermines the distributed risk aspect that markets performed, and that was and is fundamental to long term human survival (which at the abstract levels includes governance).

Fully automated systems break markets in a second and far deeper way.

Anything universally abundant has no market value, by definition. If you doubt that, just think of the air you breath. It is, without doubt, the single most valuable thing to each of us, yet it has no market value, due to universal abundance. We go to markets for things we don’t have or with things we have too much of for our own needs – the value markets measure is in fact predicated on scarcity in this sense.

Fully automated systems are capable of delivering universal abundance of a large and growing set of goods and services, but doing so would break the economic system. To save the economic system, we have invented a set of mechanisms to create artificial scarcity – and thus economic value.

The reality is, that the very real poverty that results is there purely to sustain the market system; and the injustice of that is becoming obvious to more and more people. It is not a long term stable strategy; actually it isn’t even a short term stable strategy; it is seriously dangerously unstable.

We are rapidly approaching the ability to deliver better healthcare universally via fully automated systems than the healthcare system currently delivers using people. But in the current system of measuring value in markets, and having that value predicated on scarcity; delivering universal healthcare destroys economic value – puts lots of people out of work, and destroys the capital value of medical and pharmaceutical businesses – even as it actually delivers better healthcare (which in itself has no economic value).

So the problem isn’t so much technical, as the way we think about things, and the “cultural drag” of multiple simplistic approximations that were well adapted to the past they evolved in, but are not well adapted to an exponentially changing present and near future.

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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