Quora – What is the biggest risk for humanity at the moment?

Quora – What is the biggest risk for humanity at the moment?

Using markets to measure value.

When most things were genuinely scarce, then one could make a reasonable case that “value in exchange” (what markets measure) was a reasonable proxy for human value more generally.

Now that we have fully automated systems that can supply an ever increasing set of goods and services in universal abundance, then one can no longer make that case.

Anything universally abundant has zero value in a market.

So now it is competitive markets, and the needs of capital, that pose the greatest existential level risk to humanity.

If one really understands the mathematical foundations of systems of evolution, then it is clear that all new levels of complexity are based upon new levels of cooperation (and what it takes to stabilise new levels of cooperation rapidly gets quite complex, and ever changing).

If one delves even deeper into systems, to the underpinnings of the idea of freedom, then it is clear that freedom can only exist within cooperative systems; as competitive markets reduce freedom, and drive systems to some set of minima on the available complexity landscape.

So the common mythology that markets are the bastion of freedom is a total lie.
In the days before automation, one could make a case that it was a reasonable approximation in a far from optimal context.

One can no longer make that case.

We need global systems that meet the reasonable needs of everyone for security and freedom (water, food, housing, healthcare, communications, travel, …), at the same time as they work within the systemic constraints required to support the levels of complexity present. So freedom in this sense is not a freedom to follow whim, but comes with a responsibility to consider the reasonably foreseeable consequences of action, and to stay within the set of actions that support the life and liberty of everyone else, and by implications support the biophysical systems that are part of the ecosystems of the planet that we all rely upon in many different ways.

Freedom without such responsibility leads to extinction.

Freedom with responsibility is an expanding infinite set of possibilities.
Using values defined in competitive markets as planning tools for the future introduces exponentially expanding existential level risk.

We can do better.

We must do better.

We must each make that choice for ourselves.

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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