Thursday, October 04, 2007


With advances in technology, primarily nanotechnology in which the raw material is information, and we can rearrange atoms to make pretty much anything, we could easily move from a scarcity-based economy to an abundance-based economy.

At the moment, resources are limited. Which means that economics dictates who gets what. Not only economics, though. Economics doesn't describe something called power. Power, as I described here, is basically the ability of someone to use coercion (mostly threats, but when it comes down to it actual physical force with the most extreme being inflicting death). Economics does influence power. But power isn't entirely dependant on economics. For example, the 'President' of the 'United States of America' isn't the richest man in the world, but he is extraordinarily powerful.

The aim of the singularity - actually the aim of all civilisation, should be to eliminate scarcity as much as possible. Because of scarcity, we have the rich-poor divide. We have individuals who lack the resources to live healthy and happy lives. We have people who must put up with the coercion of the state.

But then comes the second thing we have to overcome - power. Will the singularity eliminate or decentralise power? By all accounts, it would. The more resources individuals have to avoid the state, the less power the state has. The only problem is, that some technologies can magnify the state's power, not lessen it. But the state would need a very good justification to use these technologies to intrude into everyone's lives. That's where terrorism comes in.

And, surprise, we are already seeing this happening. The only consolation is that it's not likely the state will be able to ban any of these technologies because by doing so, it will enable other countries to soar ahead of them.

For more reading on post-scarcity, wikipedia has a good general article -


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