Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Post-Scarcity Utopia

What do I mean by post-scarcity utopia (PSU)? It is tagged in this blog as "economy of plenty". The recent post on The Plan referenced universal basic income as one part of a PSU. What other components are there?
  • Universal health care, with $0 copay, deductible, anything.
  • Universal free education, to whatever level is attainable by the student, with particular emphasis on early childhood education. This should include trades and crafts.
  • Universal access to capital for all forms of entrepreneurs. Kickstarter et al somewhat do this now. But in a PSU, the system would assure that ideas with enough popular support always got funding.
With regard to defining PSU, I think of the definition of the Good Life, based on Basic Goods, from "How Much Is Enough? Money and the Good Life", by Robert and Edward Skidelsky (British, an economist and a philosopher), blogged here. They define the following 4 requirements for a Basic Good: it must be universal; final; sui generis (unique); and indespensible. They list 7 Basic Goods: health; security; respect; personality; harmony with nature; friendship; and leisure. See the post for more info.

I was wondering if novelty was a Basic Good. Maybe it's not universal? No, we are all curious monkeys. Also, where does being a Citizen Scientist fit? Both of these probably span personality, harmony with nature, and leisure.

Going back to The Plan. The Fed is doing basically nothing - we are in a liquidity trap, monetary policy can do nothing. The worst do-nothing Congress in 100 years is not going to use fiscal stimulus. So the 2 tools of Keynesian economics are off the table. Time for something new!

Keynes talked of the end of capitalism. Capitalism would have done it's job. We would have all the capital we need to accomplish world prosperity. I am wondering the following:

Does "we have all the capital we need" mean that we can create enough (helicopter) money to fix the world's inequality problems without kicking off inflation? That the current $250T of capital in the world will dwarf the money we add?
If you use this approach, no tax reform! Let the poor catch up a little with new money, while seeing if The Fed can meet its 2% inflation goal.

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