Monday, December 03, 2012

Economy of Plenty, Part 4

So I'm totally churning here. I'm finding more and more stuff, bringing it here, throwing it up against the wall, seeing what sticks.

As Tim O'Reilly has been talking about Economy of Abundance rather than Economy of Plenty, I was considering editing my posts and changing everything. Nope, not happening. For one thing, I have also come across references to this concept as Post-scarcity Economy. This seems to be very science-fictiony -- right up my alley. But, with 2 optional names, I'll stick with Economy of Plenty.

O'Reilly is actually talking about something that exists now, in that, for digital goods -- an eBook or a MP3 track of music -- there is no natural scarcity. It has to be created artificially. Like when my public library has only 2 "copies" of a given eBook -- LOL, they have infinite copies. Hence the huge market for pirated music, movies, books worldwide. And, as 3d printers continue to come down in price, soon the same thing will be true for lots of physical objects as well.

Here's O'Reilly talking about "The Clothesline Paradox" and new economics.

I mostly talked about what I call "The Clothesline Paradox" - the way that our economic measures favor value captured from the economy rather than value created - and why we need to change that. Tim Berners-Lee and the people who created the open source software that powers the internet didn't capture very much of the enormous value they created for themselves. It was captured elsewhere in the economy. Meanwhile, the titans of Wall Street are very good at capturing value for themselves while actually destroying value for the economy as a whole.
Here's a slideshow of this same material.

Here's a post that does a nice analysis of post abundance. I posted this response:

Nice post. I've been researching this and done several posts lately. Not near as well organized, more on the order of thrashing around. My blog is

Your tiered system intuitively seems like the wrong model to me, not sure why, I need to think on that.

One thing I have seen is that my children (36-29 YO) seems to be much less materialistic than our generation. They also seem to be somewhat immunized to advertising.

My 33 YO graphic designer daughter in Brooklyn has done a lot of pro-bono work over the years. She finally cut back on that a few years ago and made some money, now she's done a lot of work for Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Sandy. In her community, and in software development communities, especially open source ones, there does seem to be a "reputation economy" growing up, which is often mentioned as a sign of a post-scarcity economy.

So, with so much as cheap as it is, and a billionaire unable to get a better smartphone then anyone else, maybe we're almost there already? Just need universal health care and some serious tax reform.
Google autocomplete also suggests Economy of Plentitude. That seems to have been coined by these guys. Their mission statement:
Inspiring, engaging, and challenging Americans to re-examine their cultural values on consumption and consumerism and initiating a new national conversation around what “the good life” and the “American dream” mean.
They've got a book, and a video. I like the video. Apparently mostly the brainchild of Juliet Schor, a Sociology prof at Boston College.

Here's another short post on Economy of Abundance.

One of my favorite sci-fi authors, Charles Stross (@cstross), had an interesting post on his blog re, what makes a billionaire want to make even more money? Three theories:

  1. "It becomes a habit". And amongst businessmen I know, just because you get (filthy) rich you don't change how you do business -- you do it right.
  2. "It becomes a game", trying to rack up the top score. Larry Ellison comes to mind.
  3. "you're trying to build up a war chest that will buy you a very expensive toy one that isn't currently available at any price, so that if you want one you'll have to sink billions of dollars and years of your own time into building it." Think Elon Musk saying he wants to retire on Mars.
All three reasons make sense.

No comments: