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Is There a Future for Money?

In our digital age, where banks and even nations fail through reckless monetary spending and policies, it seems that our monetary system is becoming the big elephant in the room, yes even obsolete. Automation replacing humans seems to be one of the fundamental contradiction of capitalism and may be the demise of the system itself leaving the looming possibility of fascism or military dictatorship to arise and flourish if we fail to arrive at any alternatives.

While some believe taking us back to the gold standard will fix things, and others believe that debt forgiveness is the solution, we hear talks about access/resource based economies, where we simply declare all of Earth's resources as the common heritage of mankind and make goods and services available to all without the use of money, credits, barter or any other system of debt or servitude, through technological abundance.

In fact, let's rephrase the question. At what point in the future do you think that our technology will make automated systems possible and allow us to move out of a monetary system?

  • Sep 9 2012: IThink what the world needs at this moment is spiritual cash, that we make efforts that benefit whole society.
    I mean that we care about eachother, sometimes words have more value then money.
    Think this is possible with little effort to help eachother in life. People have to share what they feel,working together,concern about our environment,community etc.
    We only need the money for basic needs to live a normal life like food, a house,healthcare etc.
    At this time the world needs only love and this we cant buy,we just have to make a little effort to start with and will cost nothing.
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    Gail .

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    Aug 19 2012: Bitcoin is just a less expensive way of printing money. It does nothing to end the destructive economic model that now enslaves the world. I'm a supporter of and believer in the moneyless society. But until more people become self-aware, and through that, begin educating themselves PROPERLY, we might well die out as a species first.

    Mathematicians and economists are saying that our economy cannot be sustained any longer than 2030 at the outside. (less than 20 years from now) but MANY are very worried that collapse is just around the corner. But for as long as people are ignorant about what's going on, it can be sustained until there are not enough consumers. Faith is holding it up now - faith brought about by ignorance.

    Now add bad farming practices to the mix - resulting in polluted & unsafe aquifers along with the loss of topsoil - all encouraged by our current economic policy. Now add global warming into the mix. Now add spiraling over-population into the mix. We're headed for a perfect storm, and again experts are saying that all will come to a head no later than 2030, when at least 28% of the earth's population will be starving/thirsting to death, and the good ol' USA will not be immune, nor will Europe.

    People should be learning about economics today, because it might well be fundamental to our survival as a species. The current paradigm was created with the need for poverty built in. The poor are the worker class. Adam Smith proposed that for his model to work, that the greater number of the children of the "race of workers" would have to die (of poverty related issues).

    People who are not awakened (self-aware) cannot see that we are committing suicide. No wonder the conspiracy theorists are saying that the illuminati will give us a great war or a plague to thin our numbers. Too many poor people will collapse the economy, and automation is giving us too many poor people.

    $$$ is an unsustainable idea.
    • Aug 19 2012: Thanks for your interesting insights! I couldn't agree more. Education is key to move our civilization ahead and evolve from this seemingly stagnating economy thus environment. By the way, do you have any sources on the mathematicians and economists saying that our economy cannot be sustained any longer than 2030? I would love to read about it. Cheers.
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    Aug 23 2012: Money is a system to exchange human efforts
  • Sep 12 2012: hi Mats,

    This is an excellent thought and i am for it and in complete line with your thoughts and i also believe that this is the only way to create awareness in all country. now the next step would be how to set up these awareness through internet media and be a part of that movement... all over the world...
    • Sep 13 2012: Absolutely. This is the challenge. How to spread awareness. It's starts with us though, and what we want to do in order to change things.
  • Sep 11 2012: Thank you for starting this conversation. Its interesting.

    I think we need to have some agreement about the purpose of money. To my mind, the purpose of money is that it allocates the products of human and machine labor to various peoples. Whether you like money or hate it, or think its fair or unfair, I think that we can generally agree that it currently does this.

    You are positing that essentially technology will eventually become so productive that there will be no limits, and therefore no need to decide who gets what because everyone will be able to have everything that they want.

    But there isn't a limit on human need (and there are still many fixed resources - land, water, air, energy, etc.), so I don't see money becoming obsolete in the sense of it providing a way to distribute goods and services. What an entirely automated society does obsolete is the fact that money can be earned through some sort of labor. We are positing now a future where there are thinking machines that can do creative/informational/research labor as well as producing all physical goods.

    In such a society, no one can make any claims to more resources than anyone else, because everyone is equally (non) productive. At least that the reasoning for inequality in a capitalist system. One fair system is for everyone to receive the same stipend - a completely egalitarian society. Another idea is to distribute money based on some other system, like moral worth (niceness = cash?) or some amorphous concept of "need". But this really begs the question of who or what decides these other criterion.

    Anyway, I feel to advance the conversation, its not so much about the death of money as it is about the death of work and the death of money from work.
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    Sep 10 2012: Indeed, Mats; the most intelligent sometimes destroy their forests, pollute their waters, foul their air and poison their food with pesticides and herbicides.... Certainly no one would be that stupid in the 21 century.... would they?
    • Sep 11 2012: "the most intelligent sometimes destroy their forests, pollute their waters, foul their air and poison their food with pesticides and herbicides"

      That's because the "most intelligent" people in the current socioeconomic system are the economists and they see natural resources and what naturally keeps us alive as an externality. If you cannot profit on it, it's basically an externality. The fact is that the monetary system is totally disconnected with the real world and the preservation of resources. It simply doesn't give a damn. And it's the system that perpetuate this kinda behavior. It's not people that are unsane, it's the system. It has always been.
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    Sep 9 2012: Exactly Mats. And there is very little evidence of any..... Collapse is imminent and the closer you live to the ground, the less you will fall.
    • Sep 10 2012: Very true, Craig. "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." - Darwin
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    • Sep 11 2012: I am glad. Critical thinking is a vital tool to evolve our society to a better one. If you are interested in how a moneyless society today could work, I highly recommend the book "The Best That Money Can't Buy" by Jacque Fresco.
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    Aug 31 2012: There is a future for money. Though in today's world it seems with the more value incentive placed in money the more value incentive is lost in future utility. Logic is key to where value is placed. In my ponderings I have come to believe in a deductive logic/argument systems value incentive is placed in a past notion of value while an abstract logic/argument system value incentive may be placed in a future/intangible notion of value. A system to utilize an equitable account of value incentive, I feel, a merging of the two, a deductive abstraction if you will, of value is in order whether there should be a voucher to display it or not.
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    • Aug 31 2012: Well, education and sharing of ideas is key to overcome these "disabilities" of looking forward. Implying that our "disability" to look forward is simply human nature is like saying that having any conversations about anything is completely useless because of our fixed set of values and behaviors dictated by human nature. If that was true, we would all still live in caves. By sharing ideas and trying things out we learn what works and what doesn't. How does this logic not apply to our way of economics? Why does finding solutions to our current socioeconomic problems seem pointless? Why is this not the time for sharing ideas and testing them out?
  • Aug 28 2012: One of the fundamental reasons for money is to have a means of distributing finite amounts of necessary resources.

    If we start thinking about what is required for modern living the first step would be to get to a situation where electricity can be free. Some ideas on the not so distant horizon that have potential include fusion energy, the process that can power stars for billions of years. I also like the idea of vibration scavenging, it could be placed anywhere and everywhere humans are. Where the simple act of moving could provide the power to run common devices.

    If electricity can become free the next step would be to be able to automate a process of creating food such as the replicator that has been mention. From there you then need free housing.

    Some of these are borderline science-ficton ideas such as star trek or matrix-esque(without the machine overlords) However science fiction has a history of becoming science fact where people realise the potential of an idea and then make it reality.

    If basic human needs can become free then there is scientific endeavour, luxury items and entertainment, with the actual materials required to create them being free all that is left are ideas.

    The established rich and powerful are likely to try and resist such changes, however if we continue to progress and manage to avoid destroying ourselves or decending into endless conflict or war, I think that it is ultimately inevitable.
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    Aug 28 2012: This is an excellent question. While I don't condone forcing a de facto socialist agenda onto a people, I'd love to see a city set up in the United States (my country of origin), where people could voluntarily live. You should check out video on YouTube of a very old man/inventor/futurist named Jacque Fresco. While some believe he has a cult following, he's simply an intellectual guy, who explains how we require switching from a monetary system to a resource-based economy as technology relieves more and more of their jobs.

    Personally, I love the idea. Technology, as we've seen, increases exponentially with time. To answer your second question would be to imply that I see the best situation as the inevitable one; which isn't the case. People are, by nature, greedy. They hoard what they don't need, that could be given to others. Through a system of giving to others, contributing voluntarily (with no monetary incentive), helping others and being a good neighbor, we can all shift the equilibrium of the planet to a more hospitable and pleasant environment. Just as most kids would never start smoking if they never saw anyone smoke, more and more, people would begin doing good around them without selfish intentions if they saw more people doing so. I know this, because I'm a product of said phenomenon.
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      Aug 31 2012: Jaques Fresco and the Venus Project are an inspiration to me as well. I don't agree with people being, by nature, greedy. I think of people possessing a nature of any propensity the environment demands. Shifting incentive is the key to money's future. Value derived with incentive from a source in the past to value derived with incentive from a source in the future.
  • Aug 27 2012: Isn't money just numbers that represent the relative value of all things? You can't get rid of the idea of relative value. I suppose you could try to use words instead of numbers to represent the relative value of things but even an idiot would soon discover how cumbersome and inaccurate that would be. No, I think you asked you question wrong. What you really wanted to ask is; "when can people like me dictate the relative value of things for everyone else?"
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    Aug 24 2012: Simple: E-commerce, M-Commerce, Near Field Communications (NFCs), and M2M services.
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    Aug 22 2012: I'm hoping we keep money, but lose the hypnotic power it has over us, in making us believe it has a sacred power - one which is really just implied. No man has power over another except that which we choose to give.
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      Aug 22 2012: money does not have hypnotic power over me. it does over you?
    • Aug 22 2012: Would it, however, be necessary to keep money if we could create an abundance of materials/resources with technology, providing the necessities of life and a high standard of living to everybody?
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        Aug 22 2012: If everyone's happy with what they got, then there's no need for money. But there's no such thing as a free lunch. How would we achieve that state, at what cost? And everyone will always want something more/new, or else we would be incredibly bored and have no reason to live.

        So if there is a way to make everyone happy, of course people would vouch for this solution, but as of right now, it's impossible. Until we figure out how to get to that Utopian state, money is the best solution we got so far, despite the greedy influences it has.
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          Aug 22 2012: >or else we would be incredibly bored and have no reason to live.

          Look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. What are at the bottom? Physiological and safety needs. My money satisfy these needs. While they satisfied I don’t need money. Do you think I have no reason to live? I can create, develop(self-actualisation by Maslow), love and being loved(love, belonging by Maslow). Scarcity only creates these basic needs(physiological and safety). The real life begins when human satisfies his higher needs. So the really happy people today are those whose job satisfies both their higher and basic needs. And there are always bored people. In scarcity and post-scarcity. Who have only their basic needs.

          >Until we figure out how to get to that Utopian state, money is the best solution we got so far

          I agree. Post-scarcity has very high technological requirements. Firstly we must reach this technological level. I love money. In this society they help me satisfy my higher needs.
        • Aug 22 2012: James, I invite you to read about a resource based economy at Let's have this discussion after that if you still feel this way.
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        Aug 22 2012: @Mats, ok, lemme check it out first then get back to you on that
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        Aug 23 2012: Why was money invented in the first place? Wasn't it meant to be a way of circumventing the complexity of multi-trading? Like if I had ten sheep and you had two cows, but you didn't want my sheep but chickens, I then needed to find someone who would trade my sheep for chickens so I could get your cows...
        • Aug 23 2012: Yes, but this is no longer necessary. We have reached a point in our civilization where technology can provide all of us with food, clothes, shelter, clean water and a high standard of living. In other words, we have the possibility to create an abundance of resource if we intelligently manage them through technology and the scientific method.
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      Aug 23 2012: Hi Luke,
      This is a response to your comment:
      "I'm hoping we keep money, but lose the hypnotic power it has over us, in making us believe it has a sacred power - one which is really just implied. No man has power over another except that which we choose to give".

      I wholeheartedly agree...nothing has power over us unless we give it/them power, and that is our choice in each and every moment.

      I apparently misunderstood/misinterpreted your comment in that other discussion, and now it is closed. I was going to send you an e-mail, and you do not have that feature in your profile. So, I'll tell you here....I got it with your explanation.....thanks:>)
      • Aug 23 2012: An easy way to lose the hypnotic power is to separate money from survival instincts. Like universal health care has done in many societies. If we as a society provide for all primary needs, like food, shelter, security, then we loose the hypnotic power that money has, and it becomes what it was always meant to be, a tool for rational trade. Expand the welfare-system to include basic needs as the security of food, shelter and healthcare. It´s so obvious when money becomes hypnotic, it´s when you really need it... We need to elevate people above the risk of being hypnotized. Make them more "upper class" in their confidence in their economic security.
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          Aug 23 2012: I agree Johan, and that seems difficult for some people. When people are vulnerable and frightened in survival mode, they tend to cling to something that is known. Even when they don't have money sometimes, the hypnotic power is still there with the "wanting" of it. I agree that elevating people above the risks would support them/us in being less hypnotized by money. Where do we begin????

          I would say empowering and building confidence in people is good, and that of course supports a lot of other good things in one's life as well. What do you think?
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          Aug 24 2012: Did you know that here in Australia they sued to have underground tanks at each home to collect rain water. However, the GOVERNMENT of all people abolished this because they didn't think people had the right to free water! Seems to me the agenda is to make us very dependent on money for basic survival needs to perpetuate the hypnosis. But are these people doing so out of "evil" or it is that it's all the know how to be? In fact, should we even judge on intent, if the action is still appalling?
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          Aug 29 2012: Luke,
          That is very unfortunate, and I guess I'm not surprised. I believe governments often try to make people more dependant....easier to control....right? I believe the welfare/public assistance system here in the US keeps people poor and dependant, and that is not what it was designed to do. I generally do not believe that people are intentionally "evil". I just don't think they are thinking about the long term ramifications to the people they are disempowering or to the whole. We cannot "judge on intent", because we don't actually know what the intent we?
      • Aug 23 2012: I can´t reply to your post so I´ll reply to the one above :)

        In our world of accelerating change, I think it´s increasingly important that we elevate people above survival mode. The job-market will probably continue to be disrupted at exponential rates, and we need to be very altruistic to help each other adapt to this brave new world. I believe everyone is beautiful in their own way, and don´t want to see my fellows loose the race against the machine. So I believe we should just empower people financially, with money, through citizens dividends or basic incomes or something like that, divide the wealth surplus, and make the transition to a better world a little smoother, and give each other time to adapt, and the economic resources and confidence to be altruistic and friends and work together to reinvent our identities and find new niches. I wholeheartedly believe in this :)
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          Aug 29 2012: I agree Johan, that one underlying factor is to elevate people above survival mode. I agree with your previous comment to expand the systems..." welfare-system to include basic needs as the security of food, shelter and healthcare"...etc. I do not agree with empowering people with too much money in the beginning of this process, for the simple reason that many people do not have money because they are poor managers of money. I think empowerment is better you insightfully say..."give each other time to adapt". I wholeheartedly believe it could happen too, and I am realistic enough to know that it will not happen over night. It's good to ponder and plan however!
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        Aug 24 2012: No problem at all. The good thing about TED is that everyone here is open and honest, with the goal of finding a solution to a better society. Peace :)
        • Sep 4 2012: @Collen
          >I do not agree with empowering people with too much money in the beginning of this >process, for the simple reason that many people do not have money because they are >poor managers of money.

          I think economic anxiety is a root to "their" poor management "skills", lack of "economic" freedom has forced them/us to become less then our "full potential".

          Future generations will be better managers :)
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    Aug 22 2012:
    Money (Power) Trumps Technological Abundance. We must first unlearn our concepts of "Free". Absolute freedom can not exist. It can only be exchanged. Will we ever be able to define a fair exchange? If I'm a corn farmer and I want exchange a certain amount of my corn to get my roof fixed, How much corn would it take to pay the roofers. The future of money could be based on the answer to corn for roofers. So we could base it on thermodynamics. What was the energy expenditure and time required to produce the corn VS the energy expenditure to produce the materials to fix the roof including the act of fixing the roof. Therfore, I conclude: Energy is the next currency.
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      Aug 22 2012: money(power) is similar to apple(elephant). they are not in any respect similar. you can be relaxed though, because governments all over the world are working hard to eliminate freedom. so this unlearning is on the way.
    • Aug 22 2012: Interesting concept. It kinda sounds like a fusion of time banking and barter. However, I see a near future where automation of all labor is a reality. There is almost nothing today that can't be replaced by machines and especially agriculture and farming in general. If we did this, we, the humans, would be in a position to focus on the important stuff like curing cancer, eradicating illness and whatever the heck we would want to do that better our lives and humanity in general. This is what we should aspire towards.
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        Aug 22 2012: Thanks Mats. I share your aspirations towards quality of humanity. The trick is getting the technology to market before big oil and big energy buy up the raw materials.
      • Aug 22 2012: I hope your future never happens then.

        Because if that occured people couldn't do what they truly wanted with their lives
        • Aug 23 2012: How so? Freeing people from meaningless and painful jobs, that machines can do better and more efficient to make our life better, has always been the goal of technology in the first place.
      • Aug 23 2012: I know many people who want to do things like machining, welding, farming, ranching, etc. Whom if your future came to would be unable to do what they enjoy
        • Aug 23 2012: Here's the thing. They could do exactly that if they wanted to. Nobody has the right to stop anybody from doing what their passionate about. That's limiting humans and counterproductive to our well being. Organizations and people that proposes a moneyless society where automated labor is intact, are very well aware that people are passionate about many things and therefore during a transition phase or more specifically a re-educational phase, people would do whatever they want to do without the burden of selling or trading their product, but because they enjoy to do so. I hope this helps.
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          Aug 24 2012: Wants and dreams would evolve right along with technology some are great some are a disaster like texting while driving, yet still ideas, wants, needs, will evolve just as our environment evolves. I also know many people who want to farm, weld, machine, ranch. I don't see those trades / hobbies disappearing anytime soon. Nor should they.
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    Aug 21 2012: I also think money is NOT necessary 'at all costs'.
    Although it appears to still HAVE some value (even though almost only virtual), it IS NOT a Value.
    (as far as mushrooms and so forth, I think this is NOT the place for insults...)
    • Aug 22 2012: Indeed, money is sometimes not necessary when doing transactions that requires set value. Barter system for example, is still alive and kicking! I'm extremely curious about the Schrodinger Cat techniques of observing value of money, perhaps you can elaborate more on that?

      Regarding the musroom thingy, sarcasm and insults are two faces of the same coin. One is used to convey a feeling of contempt for the incredulous ideas or situation one is subjected to, while the other is used to dehumanized and degrade the recipient. Sarcasm may be appropriate or inappropriate, though this is generally a function of one's point of view.

      Yes, I was being sarcastic, in case you can't tell from my dry sense of dark humor and puns and fancy wordplay and whatnots. Far be it for me to insult him, oh no! For I DO agree he has some points in there, but the way he presented it in the jumbled up snippets of idea and phrases that rivals, nay, exceed the most extreme of schizophrenic rantings warrants a mechanism to defuse it; the mechanism I chose in this instance was sarcasm.

      Which leads me to believe that English is probably not your native language, am I correct? Perhaps that is why you have misunderstood and misconstrued the fine subtleties in my sarcastic remarks. ;P
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      Aug 22 2012: money is not necessary at all. just like factories are not. or agriculture. our great ancestors lived without all of these. we don't need them. but we want them. we choose to have agriculture, factories and money. because they make our life much better.
      • Aug 22 2012: Money is, however, not necessary to make a good life. And looking at the how much poverty there is around the world I would argue that it doesn't even make a manageable life. The only reason we want/keep it, is because of our unawareness of technological possibilities that can easily create an abundance of materials/resources that can provide everybody with food, shelter, clothing, clean water and a high standard of living. If you will, I can gladly elaborate on our technological possibilities to prove my argument, but if you're here to win the argument or have already made up your mind, I would rather not have to waste my time on it.
      • Aug 23 2012: money is not necessary, it is just an extension of the bartering system (where they would negotiate between a certain amount of X and a certain amount of Y).
        agriculture is an absolute necessity, in fact it is the foundation for civilization
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          Aug 23 2012: in fact, exchange and division of labor is the foundation of civilization. and these are impossible without the concept of money.
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    Aug 20 2012: I've said it a few times in TED posts - do the exercise of designing a new currency and it will all become clear.

    Let's say that you live in Greece or Spain, and that you perceive that the currency of the Euro contains a dynamic that syphons the value from your country.
    So you need to disconnect from the flaw in the Euro - to do this, you abandon the Euro for a currency that does not recognise value balances external to your country.
    Let's assume that the national government is incapable of doing this because of commitments it has made.
    So a return to the pre-Euro currency is not an option - it would violate governmental treaties. So instead of top-down from government, you implement the new currency bottum up from local communities with a new label that divorces it from treaties.
    So, you get a vew local producers to agree to participate. For this you would need some food producers, some buyilding supply producers, some energy producers and a team of utility procurers. The best place to implement this is in teh local distribution providers - the retailers.
    The initial community of the new currency need not be large, but the first rule would be that they do value exchange between each other exclusively in the new currency.
    This has the affect of divorcing the community from external inflationary/deflationary affects.
    Then you promote the stability of the new currency to invite others to join.
    You set up a discriminatory exchange rule that discourages echange with other economies - such that the only way to participate is to adopt the currency exclusively.
    This new currency would have hard rules to prevent value syphoning via usury, so there would be strict laws about borowing/lending and speculation.
    The net result is that the agregate value generated by the community remains within the community. The attendent increase in life-quality would quickly promote inclusion and eventually subsume all other currencies.
    But the currency regulator becomes the absolute power.
    • Aug 22 2012: Great thought exercise!
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        Aug 23 2012: Mats,

        What we as humans have to realise (and pretty soon) is that money is an expression of farming.

        What is farming? The root principle of farming is the creation of the closed system.
        The farmer defines an area in which the flow of energy is prevented from interacting with flows outside the defined area.
        A currency is one such closed system - all who participate in teh currency are farmed by the currency issuer/regulator.

        So you can see that both currency and property arise from farming.
        We have been doing this as a species for 10,000 years or more, but at this point we have run out of "property" - we need to examine the dynamic and start looking at re-opening some of our systems.

        This is the root cause of the challenges facing humanity right now. If we don't open our eyes and admit that the closed model has crashed, we will fail to see the opportunity to adjust the model.

        So let's begin by getting eyes opened.
        • Aug 23 2012: I completely agree, Mitch. However, in order to change things we must also propose a plan for a better future. It isn't enough to merely point out the shortcomings of our current system, we must provide an alternative. Your thought exercise is important and is an excellent way of making people think critically and start realizing that we must change the system if we want to survive, but we must also emphasize on solutions.
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        Aug 24 2012: Not so much a plan as a system.

        De Bono would say that critical thinking only takes you part of the way becasue it is retrospective in nature.
        In that vein he observes that sequential ordering of components as they present results in a structure that cannot be sustained - a component will arrive that violates the plan. In the ideal circumstance, a new plan is made and the whole structure is dismantled and re-built according to the new plan.
        Of course, the resources required to do that are prohibitive, so it continues to build in an unballanced way till the entire structure collapses.
        This would suggest an endless cycle of build and collapse.
        But there's another way.
        Think of it as a computational challenge.

        Rather than man-handle each new circumstance into a structure according to a plan, put together a dynamic system that can adapt itself to unexpected components as they arise. A thing that determines its own plan as it evolves.
        With the paradigm of farming, we had just such an adaptive system, however, it was insufficient when presented with the expiry of available "property" in which to expand - thus we now see the internet being twisted to create some desparate new "property" to expand into. It can't work of course, because you can't eat binary data.
        The flaw is growth.
        So we need a computational paradigm that is not dependent on growth.
        We should begin by dismantiling the farming paradigm to determine its functional parts then re-assemble them to remove the growth requirement.
        Unlike the "critical thinking " method, we are not dismantling the entire existing structure, we are simply re-configuring a system - small functional tweaks that do not require a massive amount of resources.
        Once the new dynamic structure is assembled - you just let it loose and if it works it will consume the old model.
        OK - let's get started. What are the functional parts of the farming paradigm?
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    Aug 19 2012: "Automation replacing humans, which creates the ultimate paradox in terms of purchasing power, seems to be one of the fundamental contradiction of capitalism and may be the demise of the monetary based economy itself."

    what the heck this sentence means? in what sense automation creates paradox? how would that a contradiction and between what? and how would that affect the monetary system? how would the monetary system's collapse or reform alleviate a problem that is fundamental to capitalism or automation? what does that mean for an economy to be "monetary based"?

    "alternative economies such as Bitcoin, a decentralized digital currency where goods and services are purchased without the exchange of any physical currency"

    how would bitcoin be an alternative economy? how bitcoin changes available resources, production, capital stock, transportation methods, consumer habits or any other aspect of the economy? why do we need bitcoin to get rid of physical currency? isn't a bank account or credit card just as information technology as bitcoin is?
    • Aug 19 2012: Paradox in the sense that while automation frees us from monotonous, repetitive and even dangerous jobs (making our lives better) it also decrease the purchasing power of the working class (jobs being replaced by machines). You see, not everybody can instantly do the jump or the transition from industry work to more creative fields when automation takes over their previous job. It takes time and education. And this would deeply affect the monetary system by that reason alone - that there is no purchasing power left within the working class during that transition. Because the money system or what I like to call the monetary based economy has to constantly circulate in order to sustain itself. There will come a time called the Gaussian curve where employment is stagnating, production is peaking and purchasing power is rock bottom. The system stops. On a side note - capitalism was created under the assumption of scarce resources and didn't take into account the possibility of automation of labor and technological abundance which is why we are in the mess we are in right now. It is an inherent flaw in the monetary based economy. Sure, it worked fine a hundred years ago, but not today.

      I agree that Bitcoin isn't any valid replacement for the money system, in fact it's the same thing only digital. I am aware of this, but I kept it in there since there seems to be a consensus that a "new" way of distributing currencies is what is needed to fix the economy and a degree of attention has been given to namely Bitcoin and other digital currencies. This is the only reason I kept it in there.
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        Aug 19 2012: how on earth would automation decrease the purchasing power of the working class? ever heard of the industrial revolution? you know, the thing that made available for the masses to have lighting, medicine, clothing, heating and all that stuff. later cars, cellphones, flat tvs.

        i don't about this part, it is to be taken literally, or it is some metaphoric imagery?

        "money system has to constantly circulate in order to sustain itself."

        does it have a meaning? how could a system circulate? what would the implications of that be? money circulates, so? of course it does, it is the medium of exchange. its essence that it is just goes around. so what?

        "There will come a time called the Gaussian curve where employment is stagnating"

        curves are not times. what gaussian? do you actually know what a gaussian curve is? why would employment stagnate because of a curve? why would employment ever increase? why would it be lower than we want? unless of course some external force prevents people from finding a job. but in a free market, what would prevent people from working?

        "capitalism ... didn't take into account the possibility of automation"

        wow. capitalism is the result of automation. that might cause someone to question the validity of your claims.

        and the final question: what money has got to do with all this? without money, there would be no automation? there would be no problem of distributing resources and goods? you are fighting with demons that don't exist. i strongly recommend you to follow up on how money works and how capitalism works. because your knowledge is lacking. badly. and i would not recommend 99% or venus project or any other such crap. i mean real knowledge and real science.

        you can start with murray rothbard's the mystery of banking. also matt ridley's TED talk here:
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          Aug 20 2012: I think he means radically new level of automation. The industrial revolution didn’t cause the high unemployment because old professions were replaced by new one. It created new professions: scientists, engineers, mechanics, electricians and so on. And even reduced the unemployment. But the world has changed greatly since that times and there is a possibility of the total automation in the future. When the machines will produce, maintain, evolve and repair themselves. As well as produce products and services. I’ve talked too about such level of technologies. So conceptually there is no need in almost all current human professions in this model. And maybe such times will not come suddenly so there will be some transition period which will cause unemployment. When traditional economy is not gone completely and post-scarcity is not came yet.
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          Aug 21 2012: Damn Krisztián you are going to wear out that Ridley video.


          How many jobs were there at the industrial revolution? How many are there now? Nope the job demand increases because of technology and off-shoring. The problem is that us mericans is too stupid and lazy to get the jobs.
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    Aug 19 2012: I think there is no monetary system at all in the future. Probably our next economical model is post-scarcity. I have wrote some thoughts on it in my idea
    More can be found in my blog post
    I tried to argue post-scarcity by the example of manufacture technological evolution and how it will affect the economy. But I am going to write more thoughts about post-scarcity because the subject is both interesting and complicated.
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      Aug 19 2012: post scarcity would mean we are out of ideas how to cooperate. i don't think that human beings will ever run out of new ideas how to make their lives even better, more interesting, fun or meaningful. and we will always seek ways to help out each other through the division of labor. post scarcity would mean the lack of such effort, and a perfect satisfaction with the world as is. i don't want to live in that world, even if it is possible.
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        Aug 19 2012: To be clear I meant post-scarcity in this sense:
        “Post-scarcity (also styled postscarcity) is a hypothetical form of economy or society in which goods, services and information are free, or practically free. This would require an abundance of fundamental resources (matter, energy and intelligence), in conjunction with sophisticated automated systems capable of converting raw materials into finished goods.”

        I’ve described how I see the concept of such society due to technological progress from 3D printing to more sophisticated manufacturing industry with renewable materials, recycling manufacturing and zero designing costs(open source phenomenon). It is of course roughly estimation in my blog post, but if we talk about this as concept so hypothetically such level of progress is possible and doesn’t conflict with what you’ve described. Or you talk about some social side effect e.g. lack of motivation for people to evolve personally and to evolve as the whole society?
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          Aug 19 2012: and i was exactly reacting to this. you are thinking of today's goods. if today's goods are produced by machines, humans will produce other goods. like entertainment in the broad sense.
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          Aug 20 2012: There's no such thing as a free lunch.

          There will always be a cost to go with the benefit. If we don't use some monetary system and everything is "free", it still isn't really free. There's still some amount of work/service to society that you need to perform in order to gain the benefits and basic necessities to live.

          In other words I think that post-scarcity can only work if EVERYONE is responsible for their role in society and contribute equally in quantity but unequal in quality.
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        Aug 19 2012: >if today's goods are produced by machines, humans will produce other goods.

        in the model I described people will continue to produce whatever they want including today’s goods. But it will be only design part(like digital model or schematics for 3D printer) of manufacturing process. No heavy work. So the cost of individual’s labor will be the cost of his or her creativity and intelligence. The labor will become only creative. People will be free of the need to satisfy their basic needs like food and water and will be free in their labor to satisfy their higher needs like creativity and self-affirmation. How will they use their free time and ability to be more creative? I suppose it depends on particular individual and our future lifestyle. People will just have more options for the way they live.
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          Aug 19 2012: and why would that be post-scarce? it just means that basic goods are non-scarce (more precisely almost non-scarce to a degree that they can be considered non-scarce). but all the other goods are still scarce, and it will always be the case if people can find themselves new activities to offer to each other.
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        Aug 19 2012: > and why would that be post-scarce?

        what do you mean by “basic goods”? I didn’t divide goods into non-scarce and scarce(basic and “others”). I did divide only the technology of manufacturing. It is hypothetical view with many “but” so let’s assume some constants.
        1. The materials will be free(unlimited)
        2. The raw and heavy manufacturing will be free(machines)
        So people will be involved only in designing creative part of manufacturing of any goods which requires only their will to be involved in. They always can use products and services completely provided by machines(or other people who has chosen to create) and they have a choice to provide products and services by themselves for their personal needs or for other people and for free. For free because there is no scarce products and their basic needs are satisfied. Sure someone can ask 50 bucks for a jewelry he made(designed) but why if he can get everything w/o 50 bucks?

        If it’s possible technologically I see no purpose in money as a motivation factor to create activities for each other. I agree, perhaps today people need money as a some sort of “rating” factor and some objective estimation of their creativity and labor. But I think it’s just a stereotype since we live with money for almost whole our history.
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          Aug 19 2012: what do *i* mean by basic goods? it is your term, not mine. why would i define a term that you brought into the discussion?

          i think everything can be said is said already. i could only repeat myself.
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        Aug 19 2012: English is not my native language but I've used the term "basic NEEDS". I have negligently used only "food and water" as examples meaning the basic needs of every human according to the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I haven’t meant goods in manufacture. To be more specific I’ve meant that basic needs like physiological and safety needs would be satisfied w/o need to earn money for food. So people can focus on their higher needs such as self-actualisation, esteem and love/belonging.
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        Sep 1 2012: WWI and II was the result of people running out of ideas as are all wars which cause a redistribution of the wealth.
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    Aug 19 2012: Isn't the difference between Bitcoin and Currency the same as the difference between email and postge? They differ only in ease of use. The result of their use is the same. Money and Power will always be the dynamic duo in the exchange of goods and services. The future of money is secured by greed, materialism, and convenience.
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      Aug 19 2012: not even that. most dollar transfers already happen in computers.
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        Aug 20 2012: Indeed, I've been using PayPal and Amazon for quite a few things.
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      Sep 1 2012: When I helped with the Katrina refugees, one of the real problems most people faced was that their accounts no longer existed because the data associated with them was destroyed or displaced.

      I saw many a family in a 150,000.00 Bounder RV, stopped alongt the roadside because they couln't buy gas. There were begging for a handout from local communities.

      Panama City, Florida was hit by a couple of tornadoes and the power went down. Food in grocery stores rotted because the stores only accepted cash. Convenience stores shut down but stayed open because the registrars couldn't accept a transaction because it was electrically powered.

      This condition lasted for a few days, longer in some areas.

      Cash was king, data was unaccepted without proof it existed and there was no way to process a data type of transaction.

      Coin(hard currency) will always exist for this very reason.
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    Gail .

    • +1
    Aug 19 2012: a 4:41 video about the origins of our global economic model:
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      Aug 20 2012: Thanks for this link Gail - McMurtry is very perceptive - and articulate.
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      Aug 31 2012: Sorry ted lover, this video is simply inaccurate. "The Invisible Hand" Smith described, is often used this way, falsely. The Invisible Hand, is a very specific entity, human desire, it had nothing to do with god. When someone makes a better mousetrap, it is not god that makes you buy it, but your own interest in killing mice... poor mice, they always get beat up in economics.
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        Gail .

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        Aug 31 2012: I don't think Smith was talking about God "per se", but about money becoming god-like. You can call your passions your god. (Where your love is, there is your god.) But the economic model he proposes calls for the existence of poverty, and the measure of a man's wealth is the amount of labor that he can purchase. And when you have men competing for jobs, profits will be highest.

        Smith said that the economic model is bad for child mortality rates. Child mortality "will every where be found chiefly among the children of the common people, who cannot afford to tend them with the same care as those of better station." If the common people of 1776 had been literate and educated, would they have passed this off so easily as a necessity?

        Smith did predict the dangers of the tradesmen (middle class) who could form a strong political block that could interfere with the government that was supposed to be an exclusive domain of the wealthy. He couldn't think of a way to prevent them from meeting to do this, because even if government made such meetings illegal, they would still meet in private, so such meetings needed to be discouraged. Though many tradesmen could afford to hold local office, and some state office, after the articles of confederation were ratified, they could not afford to hold federal office. And the common man - the poor - could not vote at all.

        Where the need for crippling poverty is built into the global economic model, and where disparity of wealth is known to be the cause of our social/political ills, isn't it time to consider alternatives?
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        Aug 31 2012: not everyone understands metaphors. even among professors.
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    Aug 19 2012: Technologically, we may see something like Bitcoin and Google Wallet. Transactions with a swipe of a phone and digital transactions can be made online. Internet Shopping and Social Media Shopping, like

    Macroeconomically, I think we'll see something like a Eurozone on a global scale.
    • Aug 19 2012: Thanks for your insight! It very much seems so, that we are moving towards a digital currency. Banks and Wall Street are already using it and we hear countries like Sweden and Norway to be one of the first countries without physical money in circulation. Where every transaction will be done through credit cards.
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        Aug 19 2012: Indeed! But the only huge issue is security. I mean how easy is it for someone to create their own digital currency in a system (similar to people trying to print their own money)? Or how easy is it for someone to steal identities or hack into someone's bank accounts?

        With great convenience comes greater risks and consequences and this seems to be the case for just about any new revolutionary technology.
        • Aug 19 2012: You make valid points and the things you address is exactly why I am so interested in having a conversation and sharing ideas of alternative economies that have built in security in them, so that we don't need to patch it up all the time.
  • Sep 17 2012: I think we humans need to get smarter :)
    We must understand that there's enough technology to make heaven on earth, but that there's not enough earth for everyone to waste gigantic energy on useless things. So we must become aware and enjoy life with respect to the limits of nature.
    Once at that level, we'll kick Hummer-drivers in re-education programmes (jails won't exist anymore) (I know Hummers went the way of the dino's, but I'm sure you get the idea) and honor those who do most good for society (helping old people to cross the street). This honoring can be with some form of cash. Maybe people giving something to those do-gooders. Like gifts or donations to smart ideas on Kickstarter or Indiegogo as very first seeds of this new way.
    This makes me wonder how Ghandi made his living. Donations I guess.

    So there's always a need for money. We don't really need to value things (at a certain common awareness) but do need to value actions somehow. But money doesn't need to be specifically in cows or coins or paper or 'likes'. And it also doesn't need to be a representation of products created/sold. It can be based on what people feel someone is deserving or even needing. So those out of luck don't have to worry about food or shelter.
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    Sep 17 2012: Money should be like electricity. It should flow to where it is needed.
    • Sep 17 2012: Right, if all people are smart enough to take only their share...
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    Sep 17 2012: maybe in the future we all use credit cards instead of the real money
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      Sep 17 2012: don't we already do that now? lol
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        Sep 18 2012: know .not everything is paid by credit card at this moment.what i mean is we all use credit cards in all aspects.if so i think money will live out
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          Sep 18 2012: Using credit cards or the Google Wallet cards would be ideal, it would save a ton of time in transactions and whatnot, but it's also less secure.
  • Sep 14 2012: "Is There a Future for Money?"

    No, at least not any future I would want to live in, so not money as we know it at least, but some kind of accounting currency may prove necessary (even in Star Trek some things are rationed because there just isn't enough energy around for everyone to indulge in everything).
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      Sep 14 2012: "but some kind of accounting currency may prove necessary"

      and how is that not money? what is money in your book?
      • Sep 14 2012: Money is transferable: when I buy a plate of food in a restaurant the restaurant owner gets my money and can choose to invest it or gamble it away on the stock market, etc... Another form of currency would see a deduction of the figure from my "account" when I order a plate of food at the restaurant, the restaurant owner doesn't get anything from me (the figure on his account may be increased by some authority periodically for example) and the only purpose of the deduction from my account was to let some authority know that a certain amount of resources has been used and to limit the amount of resources I can use in a year.

        @Jon Ho
        Non-transferable money allows for private property and different levels of compensation, so it doesn't imply communism.
        • Sep 17 2012: Hmmm, it sounds a lot like communism....
        • Sep 17 2012: @Jon, Communism is "no private property", not "no private money as a legal tender".
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    Sep 13 2012: wallet.
  • Sep 13 2012: an economy not based on $$$, ala Star Trek, is the 'End Game' of capitalism. when we all have, more or less, the same standard of living, we can focus on pursuit of knowledge, pursuit of our passions, and service to others. Produce to Consume, Consume to Produce can still survive - they're powerful motivators, just not ends unto themselves. In other words, we'll approach this 'State' in the limit...
    • Sep 13 2012: "In other words, we'll approach this 'State' in the limit..."

      What do you mean?
      • Sep 14 2012: the non monetary state. we may all never get there, but we can all get closer...
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    Sep 12 2012: ( The future of money is Flexible, Frictionless and (Almost) Free.
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    Sep 11 2012: As strange as this may seem,get someone use to a system in increments then they will eventually accept it as normal and evolutionary while automating a process eliminating an entire human industry also you can then demand conditions to use such a system,where is,hard currency is in the individuals control if he has it in his possession.Which is better?
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    Sep 11 2012: For my mind, money is just a leaflet for attributing exchange. As everybody knows, before many centuries people used their goods to exchange.

    For instance, one person gives fish to another, instead of it he takes rice. Then after strong developments this type of exchange substituted with money. This is value of leaflet called 'MONEY'. Till nowadays Money had really the most important function in our life. But in last years, money is losing it's value because of computer generation.

    Online payment systems, Plastic card using, Bank projects made money useless. That's why I see money's future as a useless leaflet. I wanna say moreover that it's not the last one. After some centuries new generation will come to human life...
  • Sep 11 2012: BTW, there is some interesting science fiction about "post-scarcity" worlds. I recommend the following two:

    Midas World by Fredrick Pohl


    Singularity Sky by Charles Stross - this one talks about what happens when a rigid, controlling society is exposed to an "invasion" of a society with nearly infinite productive capability called "The Festival"
  • Sep 11 2012: yes i agree with you...A new market for socially conscious media. if this becomes priority of media than the chances of change becomes easy and possibilities increases on creating this could be done???
    • Sep 11 2012: "how this could be done???"

      Three ways. Regulate the current mass media. Get the government and corporations to sign a new Broadcasting Act in your country or on an international level that says that socially conscious media, that depict the shortcomings of society and the solutions for it, has to be a part of the channels program. This is not easy and requires an extraordinary amount of signatures or a political party that advocates this act to be implemented.

      Another way is to actively boycott certain types of channels and programs in favors of others, which would directly influence the market to get corporations to invest in the programs that you want to watch. This is not easy either, cause this requires a critical mass of people being aware of the possibility of a future without money (in this case) and wanting the channels to change. I would say this is the hardest way to influence the market, since most people don't know what they really want and therefore settle with what the media companies give them. And to be frank, there aren't many channels or programs out there that are socially conscious.

      The third way, that I've already touched upon, are individuals and companies, such as you and me, creating new content of socially conscious media to the market, hopefully creating a new market for businesses and corporations to come in and say this is something we want to invest in thus ushering forward the socially conscious media on a global scale. I would argue that this is the best method we have at the moment given the current state of mass media.

      To expand on this a little further, I would argue that internet is the greatest liberator of our time thus a potential market for mass awareness since it's basically free and has little to no regulation from governments or corporations. A YouTube video can be watched over and over again by hundreds of millions all over the world at the same time and be translated to all languages.

      Hope this helps.
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    Sep 11 2012: Let me start with your rephrase. Technology already makes automated systems possible. In fact we have such an advanced technology that we could eliminate or reduce to minimum many systems that are obviously obsolete or show signs of it: the bureaucratic system, political systems, economic systems, etc... In fact none of the systems that govern human existence take full advantage of the technology that we have, but only in isolated sections. It is not the lack of technology that keeps the status quo, it is our inability to embrace it. We cannot let go of legacy concepts, ideologies, cultural preconceptions or the self centred image of the world our not so late ancestors so carefully built. Technology wise, we could end poverty tomorrow, eliminate diseases like HIV, malaria, and we could rebuild the world in a highly sustainable manner. It is not the lack of technology that stops us from doing that, it is our culture.

    In this culture, the monetary system is an absolute necessity: we do not measure our value based on "who we are", or "what we do", but by "what we have". And "what we have" is a tangible physical thing that needs a measurement unit to weigh against, be that gold, assets or local monetary currencies. The instability of these measurement units are only evidence to the transiency of that what they measure (possessions and the need for them), and cannot be assimilated with signs for the "demise of the monetary system". People loose faith in a currency, because of its instability, and that currency might disappear altogether, but the monetary system is here to stay as long as we need to measure "what we have".
    • Sep 11 2012: "It is not the lack of technology that keeps the status quo, it is our inability to embrace it. We cannot let go of legacy concepts, ideologies, cultural preconceptions or the self centred image of the world our not so late ancestors so carefully built. Technology wise, we could end poverty tomorrow, eliminate diseases like HIV, malaria, and we could rebuild the world in a highly sustainable manner. It is not the lack of technology that stops us from doing that, it is our culture."

      I couldn't agree more. It's an educational issue and until people see the benefit of a society that embraces science and technology, we are still stuck in this mess.
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    Sep 11 2012: Money for sure has its future, but where is what everyone is breaking their heads to find out.
    • Sep 11 2012: Please feel free to elaborate.
  • Sep 11 2012: who controls the world
    • Sep 11 2012: Sure. The corporations own the media, but who really has the power? The corporations or the consumers? I would argue the latter. The corporations needs a market, right? Therefore, we have the possibility to influence and change it. And on top of that we have the possibility to create a new market for socially conscious media that points out shortcomings of society and provides the solutions to a better one. "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Gandhi
  • Sep 11 2012: I do not see a future with money .. I see a future .. where the invention of money is the result of collapse.. and when I am talking about collapse . I am talking about the entire establishment.. money is a creation that we have let to believe we need .. it is a great creation.. you could say .. but the creation of it has fallen in the hands of a few .. those few owning everything will use the creation of money for the wrong reasons.. and we all know what is going on.. we have seen what they do. what they are capable of doing... the government is no longer for our protection .. the government has become a creation that its solely purpose is so that the few.. have control, .. and control is how you mantain order .. but as I said .. they are not using it for the right reasons... money has become, sadly , in what it took the best feelings a human being can have.. and has replaced it instead with things like greed, envy.. and the sickness of power .. if power was used for good reasons .. money would be a nice invention .. and looking at how are things nowadays.. from any particular perspective... things are wrong .. therefore .. money is no longer good.. but sadly we all want it . I would be a total hypocrite if I did not put myself as example.. money is no good because it brings the worst in us. there will always be exemptions .. but I have seen how its all increasing .. and in a bad way.. so .. using the little knowledge I have about. economic. finances. society. religions. education. science. medicine, industry, and so on ... it is contaminated by the politics of money.. and that is getting us nowhere.. we are slowly going backwards .. and I am daring to say .. that eventually money will scease to exist because we will experience some kind of global impact that will have make us realize that some things are more neccesary than money... and we are going trough a phase ...and eventually we will be better .. money has a future.. but we can improve it.
  • Sep 10 2012: hi ,

    i agree that capitalism has put an end but not everywhere in the world...if you look at the world population verses number of people still leave below poverty line, i am sure it would come more than 60%.....but in any case i didn't meant hunger issue as important than other issues....i tried to make more emphasis on - each human on this plant should get basic necessity to live and thereby whatever resources on our plant would be utilised in a manner which balances every aspect of human life as well as animal & other life. food is just one part but more than food and hunger, it is something else which i feel is important & thats the point which could change the pattern of thinking of all decision makers in all nation unanimously.
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      Sep 10 2012: which poverty line, one could ask. the US poverty line is a bad joke. 21600 USD per year is a freaking luxury! the real poverty, the bottom billion, or two billion, not living in capitalism, or for not long enough.

      more in this TED talk:
      • Sep 11 2012: " the real poverty, the bottom billion, or two billion, not living in capitalism"

        Get your facts straight. Before industrial complexes, and the monetary system with it, infiltrated the larger part of Africa, the inhabitants had an abundance of natural resources that feed, sheltered and provided the Africans with everything they needed. Now, that the monetary system is fully installed, people have to pay for their own natural abundant resources they had available for free before. And with little or no education, Africans only get slavery wages that is a result of being exploited by big business in the West. On top of that, the previous clean water systems that the Africans had is and has been for a long time being contaminated by the same industrial complexes that settled their industries there for profit reason. Go globalization!

        To prove my point, a World Hunger Education Service report ( "revealed" that "the world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day according to the most recent estimate that we could find. The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food."

        The root problem to all human suffering is our current socioeconomic system. It's the way we allocate our resources, through the money/price/profit system, which causes all the poverty.

        If you fail to see that, I highly recommend you reading up on how automation and technology can provide the necessities of life and a high standard of living to all by reading the book "The Best That Money Can't Buy".
        • Sep 14 2012: India has mostly free markets, a price system, public enterprises, etc... it is capitalistic, same for Africa.

          "usd 11k is still luxury. ppp is there to adjust for local price levels. but we don't have to worry about that too much, just look around. poor people in the US has air conditioning, car, 1000 sq ft house/flat, flat TV, microwave, smartphone and such things."

          When you make $11k in the US you sure as hell don't have 1000sq ft house (unlike many rural families in India living off $2 per day), a flat tv is cheaper than a non-flat one these days (and again, many people in the third world have a tv), people making 11k rarely have a smartphone, they can afford less education and health care than a Brazilian making 6k and they are often in debt.
      • Sep 14 2012: " the real poverty, the bottom billion, or two billion, not living in capitalism"

        I wasn't aware North Korea and Cuba housed two billion people... Africa and India are capitalistic.

        "the US poverty line is a bad joke. 21600 USD per year is a freaking luxury! "

        The official US poverty line is $11k for a single person and you can't just compare that to other countries because in some countries the real estate bubble is more inflated than in others, among other things.
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          Sep 14 2012: africa is capitalistic ... jeez. some of it, on paper. india has rampant statism, but even with this, can boast a 10% growth.

          usd 11k is still luxury. ppp is there to adjust for local price levels. but we don't have to worry about that too much, just look around. poor people in the US has air conditioning, car, 1000 sq ft house/flat, flat TV, microwave, smartphone and such things.
  • Sep 10 2012: For what it's worth....

    A world without money means that the resources the world has must be managed and delegated by a governing body who will do this fairly.. but you skirt dangerously close to Communism when you discuss a governing body for delegation of resources. It's especially touchy when you're talking about who gets what lifestyle, how people are provided for, what is fair? A new governing system would have to be created, and treat the world fairly, and as one people.

    I think the positive effects of a society with no money would be unfathomable - imagine the effects on modern day slavery, homelessness, unemployment, possession/money related criminal acts, etc.

    The negative effects are unimaginable too. It would not eliminate greed, just change its face. Whatever becomes a valuable skill or resource would entice the greedy to use whatever they can to get it. The new resource wouldn't be as easy to handle as money but that is only a hindrance.Think of prisons with cigarettes for bartering. People with more carpentry skills would be given gifts to do some work for others - multiply that by 10, 50, 100 years and you'll see people becoming wealthy in a different way.

    Suketu Shah mentioned getting a natural born good leader with followers to start the ball rolling. I think that's necessary because people feel empowered as a group. Suketu, even great leaders started out with 1 person who believed in them - anyone can be that leader. Furthermore, those leaders do exist today.. Imagine if Oprah Winfrey had one press release saying 'lets talk about how to distribute the world's resources fairly.' Millions would participate, and she's not the only one with that influence.

    Simon Sinek's talk (link below) skirts around the idea of making change. People will come because they feel the idea is their idea too, not because they were convinced they should do it by a smooth talker.
    • Sep 10 2012: "A world without money means that the resources the world has must be managed and delegated by a governing body"

      This 'government' of allocating resources doesn't need to be managed by humans. We could easily automate this process with a cybernetic government that merely serves the needs of people and DOES NOT control the actions of the people, what they need and when they need it. Let me repeat that, a cybernetic government that SERVES the peoples needs and DOES NOT control the actions of the people. A cybernetic government would, in fact trillion times faster than humans, keep track of available resources and show us (humans) continuously how to live sustainable within the boundaries of natural resources available on Earth. Keep in mind, a machine doesn't have feelings, ambition or any creative thought that hasn't been programmed by humans in the first place. Therefore, humans would always be in control. Every human would be a government body in their own. Where they choose what they want to do and when and how to pursue it. But... In order to live sustainable with this kinda of access to materials and resources, we (humans) need a drastic value change that perpetuate sharing of resources, collaboration and how to get along with each other instead of narrow self-interest, competition and isolating yourself with the world. This train of thought in symbiosis with an access based economy, where every need is met, would naturally change the way we think and therefore phase out destructive human behaviors such as greed, hunger for power and every other non-nonsensical behaviors perpetuated by the current socioeconomic system.
      • Sep 10 2012: Thanks for replying Mats,

        Personally, I am pro-computer and your recommendation makes sense.

        Recommending a cybernetic 'government' sounds insane but... Envision your idyllic Democracy ... ooo nice. Now envision what it really is. Oh. :(.

        Imagine your idyllic cybernetic government. ooo nice. Could the real one be worse than Democracy turned out to be?

        I personally think a cybernetic government freeing people from working for the necessities of life is awesome. I want that so bad. People not working to survive could work in their own best interest to keep the system as fair as possible. People could chase their own desires, ultimately be happier.

        Or on the flip side..

        'Wealth' would take a new form, causing some to want to corrupt the governmental system undetectably, result in 'bullies' who go after your allocation of daily resources, who knows. The imagination of need and greed knows no boundaries.

        My only other thought is 'What would happen if it became ultimately evident that humanity needed population control.' I think we do now, but everyone wants proof. This kind of system would provide incontrovertible proof.

        So what if it's a FACT that there isn't enough for everyone. We invent a new grain? Some reports say the last grain wasn't such a wonderful solution.

        Would society change its reproductive habits if a computer told them we don't have enough resources to feed more? We SHOULD curb our population down to a reasonable level now, but will we? I've though at times that we have a bill of human rights, shouldn't we have bills of rights for other species too? Access to necessities of life, etc. It would be possible, if humanity depopulated by a fair percentage.

        First thing first. Employ the cybernetic government, having created a plan for the foreseeable issues and hurdle the rest of the problems when they rear their ugly heads.

        Viva computers and our faith in them!
        • Sep 11 2012: "'Wealth' would take a new form, causing some to want to corrupt the governmental system undetectably, result in 'bullies' who go after your allocation of daily resources, who knows."

          This is why relevant education is so important and emphasized. I feel that we can educate people out of certain types of negative behaviors if the environment meets their needs. If we teach people about dynamic equilibrium, how to live sustainable within the boarders of natural resources and how to relate to one another, we would not see any type of aberrant behavior such as somebody trying to corrupt the system. In fact, if people got everything they needed, there would be no incentive to take control on that which provides them with the necessities of life.

          "'What would happen if it became ultimately evident that humanity needed population control.'"

          This is also an educational issue. If people are educated or given a system to provide them with that statistics (cybernetic system) on how much the Earth can produce, in terms of natural resources, to meet the needs of the population and to make a high standard of living for all (if that is desired), I feel that people would refrain to have children, because it would ultimately decrease their standard of living. Population control is not needed to an education population.
        • Sep 11 2012: "So what if it's a FACT that there isn't enough for everyone. We invent a new grain?"

          A World Hunger Education Service report ( "revealed" that "the world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day according to the most recent estimate that we could find. The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food."

          If there, however, was a natural catastrophe that damaged the larger part of our agriculture/food supply, we would obviously grow food in labs as an temporary solution, till we would get our natural resources up and running again. In fact, we already have the technology to do this. We would combine nanotechnology and biotechnology to take known particles and rearrange them to whatever shape or form we would like and create healthy and nutritious food in a clinical lab with no distortion whatsoever. Think of the endless possibilities we would have food wise in regards to flavors and tastes.
  • Sep 10 2012: Hi,
    But, who controls them?? again we fall back in the same circle... who gives sponsorship to this media...they will not promote anything if people like you and me goes the media & asked them to promote sustainability programme, education etc in their main channel .......the reality is that we all are attracted to this glamorous world so much that media makes sure to change mindsets of people and every individual person...we need person like Gandhi, martin luthor king, nelson mandela, and such other personalities again in this world who carries masses with them for the right causes and in fact such personalities would appear back as soon as nature wants them to be back to move masses towards the right cause...but i am not sure of a person who whould appear and moves whole world as one nation to make sure basic necessities would be available to all humans in this world..and than comes money, profits, etc etc
    • Sep 10 2012: "But, who controls them??"

      Who controls what?
  • Sep 10 2012: Is there a future for money? Money was created when they discovered that there was an abundance of salt, and that this "rare" commidity was not as rare as they thought. Money is the inbodiment of human labor, for money, paper, has no value till it is transformed through human labor. As gold, ore, has not value till it is, also, transformed through human labor through the smelting process creating gold bars; its value is determined by the necessary labor time it takes to produce. The price of gold, like that of human labor, can rise above or below it absolute value. So, the only thing that can replace money as a means of excange is labor. Will robotic labor make human lalor obsolete. The very fact that capitalism is based on the explotation of human labor, would by itself make capitalism, money, obsolete. Robotic labor would make the valie of money worthless, although it would creat a super abundance, it would create poverty and make the working class destitutes in the land of pleanty. Adam Smith claimed that the wealth of nations is created by human labor (wage and slave labor), so what would an a world emancipated human labor create? Can free and equal human labor replace money? For the only things that we truely own is our ability to labor.
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    Sep 9 2012: True human replacing automation will become a reality when a machine can think and properly position a socket on a nut in any location without having to program the steps. It could come earlier if we invent a device that can create products all in one piece that are cheap to manufacture and completely recyclable.

    When a machine has hand and eye coordination and recognition like a human, Automation will take over, assuming we have the energy to power the machines.

    Money will always be useful unless automaton coupled with unlimited resources will allow anyone to have anything they want anytime they want it.

    Money allows people to have things they cannot build themselves. People will always need money because it is an easy commodity of trade. It really doesn't matter if it is made of gold or paper as long as it is the agreeable unit of trade.

    Gold, being a useful commodity vs paper which can be created from plants sources a renewable source, which makes paper the reasonable choice for the unit of trade. A unit of trade is simply an agreement between all parties that this unit will buy so much of a certain commodity. If paper can buy gold, why carry around something that weighs so much more than paper?

    Technology will make automated systems possible and allow us to move out of a monetary system when it can make anything we want with no assistance from humans. But, Technology is not the only factor needed to move away from the monetary system. We also need unlimited resources.
  • Sep 9 2012: But most currency has nice pictures of a country's leaders and important government buildings which tie it to a place and time. It isn't strictly necessary these days, but citizens seem to make a great deal out of it when it is threatened with extinction. Consider the US penny or nickel, for instance. They apparently cost more to produce than their face values, but there is great hue and cry when their elimination is proposed.
  • Sep 8 2012: We can put a human electronic outpost on a moon of Saturn, manipulate the structure of DNA and construct a communication system that spans nearly the entire globe. Given the experiential proof of a creative intelligence on this planet, why have we been unable to construct a system whereby the basic needs of all are met? The answer - rational self interest. We all have a Charlie Sheen attitude:: "screw you, I've got your money". We have all put our ultimate value
    on something that has no intrinsic value. How dumb is that? If making weapons was not profitable then there would be no arms industry, hence, fewer arms. Sit down and write a list of all the problems we would not have if profit were not an issue. A money based economy is a necessary stage in the development of human society; when that stage is ending it is folly to try to maintain the status quo. Sounds a little bit like a mad old Jew I admired once upon a time. Imagine an economist trying to explain to a feudal lord that the money economy was coming and he was going.. Okay, I've stated the problem now let's see if one ignorant old man can come up with a solution. Establish the GNP of the nation for the past year and dole out the money to people based on their relative contributions to the whole. Here's the hard part: every person that lives in and on america is an employee of America. If you consume, you contribute and you are entitled to a living wage. Think what could happen if you could make as much "money" building things as we now make destroying things and people. Lots of problems in the above, but it''s an option. And here's the rub, we don't have anyone who will even consider it as something to investigate. Essentially what we have are two political parties that are offering us two different ways to maintain the status quo.
  • Sep 8 2012: If you are inquiring about the automation and robotics I mentioned in my post, then the answer is that I referred to the movement and distribution of consumer goods/services. The movement of money/credits does indeed speed up substantially, but I don't think that have increased the fraud or scam by the money managers (banks, financial companies, etc.) that much; at least not proportionately. Anyway, this is just the "wave of the future" like everything else, we simply can't stop the grinding of the wheels going forward. Anyway, I believe that the speed of money movement is not the problem. Rather how can we handle the movement of the goods and services in this increasing mutual dependence on international trade among many countries of the world. So I personally believe that we probably wouldn't be able to walk away from some kind of monetary system for the trading purposes,
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    Sep 8 2012: What an important question to raise! Do you mean automation for consumer society or for banks / hedge funds?

    Automation, at least in the developed world, is already at the point where vast, vast amounts of money are being moved by hedge funds or financial institutions with assets greater than combined GDPs of numerous countries put together every day, and nobody thinks about it. These industries are so hard to monitor and regulate, yet their impact is so great, the humans at the lever-controls are unable to tame it, should an infinitesimally small butterfly gets in the mechanism and flaps its unpredictable wing.

    In consumer society, people (and children) are less and less able to recognize what they are spending when they just swipe a card and it leads to over spending and debt, through an inflated sense of real income.

    I think we have to realize that the automation of money is a vastly complicated machine, way bigger than any Terminator, that will come back from the future and have the potential to vapourize all that we've built up in the past. In addition, without Financial Literacy even being taught in schools ANYwhere, having humans at the lever-controls of this machine is laughable.
    • Sep 10 2012: "Do you mean automation for consumer society or for banks / hedge funds?"

      Automation of production and distribution of goods and services that would phase out the need for money, banks, financial institutions, industry and any other forms of labor and jobs that is given a certain group of concentrated wealth and "power", so that everybody has equal right to the resources provided for them by Earth.
  • Sep 8 2012: Let's return to the original question concerning "money". First of all, paper or coin money are becoming less useful in this century than few more centuries ago. In this global trading boom, we use probably more with Credits for international or domestic trades. As to the role of either money or credits for the sharing of world's resources, I don't believe that we are any nearer than anytime before. Even the system of common currency is not as good as we imagined, just look at the Euros in crisis. Obviously, as long as we have different political systems among the countries in the group, we would never have a "all-for-one and one-for-all" common currency system. A deeper thought would be how can we catch some individuals' belief that all of us should work for the entire humanity without a selfish thinking of " why should I work my tail off just to benefit someone else who just enjoyed the fruits of my labor without even saying thanks?" Of course, the advances in automation and robotics in industrial production could reduce the manual labor to produce large quantity of consumers goods, but we still need INVESTMENT of capitals and enterprenuership spirit to get the process going. Throughout the human history. I haven't seen any POLITICAL SYSTEM that would have a leader or a ruler who could deliver a Utopian system in which the leader does not have any additional privilege than all other citizens. Even there was one such leader, there usually were many contradictions in the successors after he passed away.
    In the current world commerce, the US dollar seems to be the de facto world currency. But the situation will change quickly if the U. S. government couldn't put its financial house in order.
  • Sep 8 2012: In my opinion money is at the base of all "evils".
    If we are to survive as a specie we must move on and away from this concept.
    Here again, the culture of fear and scarcity are drivers that steer us away from more important and "real" things in life while promoting the focus on capital, investments, shares, money and more money. Living like this is like believing in father christmas. Too many are living 'only' in the pursue of money as if there is nothing else in life.
    Money and mankind will not be able to survive together in the long run.
    So, no, money have no future. Either we move on or it will be our downfall.
  • Sep 7 2012: Doesn't money tie one to one's own culture? It seems to me to be more than just purchasing.
    • Sep 8 2012: Do you mean historically? That we've always had it and always will? If so, that is very far from the truth. In fact, we've lived more, in the history of human species, without money than with money. And now it seems that we are approaching the end of money as we know it. [I am of course talking about money as the medium of exchange and not economics.] Natural progression perhaps? Money was good hundred years ago, but science and technology has proven it irrelevant.
  • Sep 7 2012: Hi Mats,
    you know what i agree with you but i also i think it is more because of politics and power game which all politicians across the world are playing.
    These bunch of people across the world takes a call on how and which way our world should move and which technology should evolve and run in this world.
    • Sep 8 2012: Hi Suketu,

      I feel its merely an educational and design issue. People are born in to this seemingly "scarce" society and it is the price/profit system that perpetuate the kinda behaviors we see daily. If you change the environment, however, and teach people about whats sustainable, I believe their values and behavior change with it. In this society that is perpetuating competition it is hard to get people to think about collaboration and sharing the goods. However, if we show people the benefits, in "their" language, of a system/society that perpetuate collaboration, sharing of resources and providing the necessities of life to all, I think we can approach such a society much quicker.
      • Sep 8 2012: Yes , your are right on but there has to be different force that should emerge and reach out to people of every nation showing benefits in their language of sharing of resources and providing the necessities in which force???? That's the big question......religion,politician,corporates ..... My take on this is they have exploited every human of this planet who else can take this forward and how.....? Education through computer media....?
        • Sep 8 2012: Somebody said to me, if you change the media you change the world. I find very much truth in that. Global awareness and education can be achieved through films, national television programs, video games, apps and other visual and interactive mass mediums where the narrative is about how we can achieve a sustainable world.

          Think about film for a second. How it has impacted your life and how powerful the medium really is. The emotions, the esthetics and the exhilarating plot that drives and moves you on a profound level. This medium alone can be watched all over the world by several hundred millions at once and played back again and again til you get it. It's probably the most genius and important medium of mass communication than anything else.
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    Sep 7 2012: As long as society rewards greed, corporation and power for short term profits while leaving legacies of unintended consequences environmentally, economically and socially without accountability, responsibility or liability; the parasites are killing the host, worldwide. Privatized profits and socialized liabilities without accountability is a receipt for disaster. The power brokers will stumble about coming up with the next tweak while pretending it will accomplish something while they all privately know, the titanic (world wide economic metaphor) has struck the ice berg without thoughts of life boats.

    What do you think Mats?
    • Sep 7 2012: I absolutely agree, Craig. Unless we change our society, to one that rewards collaboration, sharing of resources and meeting the needs of the people, the chances for our own destruction, both economically and literally is, the way I see it, imminent.
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    Sep 7 2012: Bible buffs are waiting for the day when folks are marked (or chipped) on their right hand or forehead to facilitate buying & selling. The technology is in place; it's just a matter of persuading the punters. Presently our financial systems are building up to a cataclysmic monetary crash, which may do the job for many. Isn't it strange that politicians & bankers cannot achieve what the average housewife manages every week ?
    We're being set up folks !

    Revelation 13:16-17 (NIV)
    It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, [17] so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.

    • Sep 8 2012: I would argue that this is the natural progression of the current socioeconomic system or monetary system. It's not people that are setting us up, it's our own system. It's the system that creates and perpetuate the kinda behavior that is seemingly destroying us. The monetary system is now obsolete and we have the technology to create abundance and sustainability and literally feed, clothe, shelter and make a high standard of living to everyone IF we choose to share all of Earths resources as the common heritage of mankind and do so intelligently. Only then, we can have sustainability.
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        Sep 8 2012: A laudable objective. The fly in the ointment is man's greed & selfishness. The bible has that nailed also; there will come a time when your vision will be fulfilled.

        Revelation 21:3-4 (NIV)
        And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. [4] ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

  • Sep 7 2012: can someone come out with idea of how to live life without money........ can basic necessity in this world could be made available without money? can multibillion or trillion companies across the world come together and make plan with help of brilliant ceo to help this world with basic necessity??
    if answer is yes, why they dont do it? This will allow them to rationalise use of natural resources of our planet and this world could be saved from global warming.........
    • Sep 7 2012: We could do all this today through science and technology, but our current socioeconomic doesn't allow global sustainability and abundance of natural resources thus the needs of the people. The monetary system requires economic growth which deems the necessities of life secondary. If you are not familiar with technologies that can make us sustainable and abundant, I invite you to take a look at this interview from a former Space Shuttle Systems Engineer:
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      Sep 8 2012: Since Adam Smith's Invisible Hand idea, there is a narrative in free-markets that Social Welfare will just naturally be taken care of i.e. maximized if self-interested people just do their thing--the market will necessarily weed out the bad guys and consumers will buy up only things they deem beneficial to society. The truth is that there is no math, empirical evidence or logic to prove that this is true. The intersection of the demand and supply curve where such balance exists is actually based on unrealistic, obtuse, simplistic assumptions. Economists just suppose it to be so, without any scientific evidence--Economics is NOT a science. Self-interested, profit-maximizing individuals just seek to, well, profit maximize for their own self-interest! Social, ecological, moral sustainability takes a WHOLE 'nuther set of work and thinking, NOT conveniently included as a by-product of profit seeking.

      The reason why companies and inventors don't get together more often to produce master products, instead of Chinese Torturing us with $600 iPhones 1,2,3,etc. and their obsolescence is because they have not been raised in a society that educates around life networks and longevity of community.
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        Sep 8 2012: "The intersection of the demand and supply curve where such balance exists is actually based on unrealistic, obtuse, simplistic assumptions."

        can you name some of those assumptions?
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          Sep 8 2012: the demand curve false assumptions: that the behaviour of an individual consumer can be extraploated to represent a whole market; that consumers view all products as being neutral in terms of preference; that people will necessarily buy more of something if its price is lowered (that marketing and branding of things to persuade people to buy things regardless of use or price doesn't exist); that different levels of income doesn't cause people to change their purchasing habits; that the income disparity in a market has no effect on the scarcity of products and therefore their prices

          supply curve false assumptions: that individual firms have no affect on their industries or that they don't react to each others' strategies; that factors of production like labour and machines are all the same; **most importantly that an individual firm's actions on a market has no affect on the price of goods (=that the supply curve is independent of the demand curve; that only society/consumers determine the price of goods--just by rationally "knowing"); that firms look to this mythical price as a benchmark for their marginal costs (no empirical evidence shows that this is what firms actually do--they use trial and error and produce as cheaply as possible and sell for as high as possible)

          each set of assumptions cause the "shape" of the demand curve and the supply curve (if it even exists, seeing that it is not really independent of the concept of price--which economists say is related only to consumer market demand) to be the neat lines intersecting at a convenient, "x", but reality says that they are rather a much more complicated relationship of squiggly lines.
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        Sep 8 2012: here is the list of things you got wrong:
        "that people will necessarily buy more of something if its price is lowered" - there is no such claim. the claim is that they won't buy less.
        "that different levels of income doesn't cause people to change their purchasing habits" - no such claim
        " that the income disparity in a market has no effect on the scarcity of products" - no such claim, and it does not even make sense to me

        but this is not my real with your argument. the real problem is the following. the other claims you listed are claims of modern mainstream economics. but mainstream economics does not endorse free market. followers of these theories never stop calling for more and more government interventions to fix market failures.

        the free market guys, including me, never say things like you cited. and of course none of those are needed to justify free market capitalism.
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          Sep 8 2012: Well, I won't bother getting into a war of links. It would also be more edifying if you can show what IS a "correct" claim of the free-market, then. For now, I'll address this thing you claimed to be incorrect:

          You wrote: ""that different levels of income doesn't cause people to change their purchasing habits" - no such claim"

          Yes, there is. In fact, that is the MAIN claim in order for the demand-supply equilibrium to even get further discussion.

          William Gorman, the first economist to find the ONLY mathematical condition where assumptions of the demand curve wrote could possibly be true-ish IF AND ONLY IF:

          "the Engels curves for different individuals at the same prices are parallel lines" this means that "an extra unit of purchasing power should be spent in the same way no matter to whom it is given" (1953, pg 63).

          So, economists have had to assume: if you gave $100 to a rich dude and if you gave $100 to a poor dude, they would spend it exactly the same way--that the idea of income disparity and distribution is so fair, people all react the same way to every product in a market, and it is not an issue. And that's the biggest thing that needs to be held constant for the math to prove that an individual can represent a market; that income distribution is fair and equal. That, in fact, is the main fundamental false assumption that is held by economists who have tried to model the economy based on the actions of one rational, self-interested individual.
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        Sep 8 2012: engel curves work in a household only. there is no such thing as rich and poor within one household, that's the point.

        but anyway, i'm not happy that you reacted to the less important part of my criticism. i regret putting it in.

        the important thing is that these are keynesian and neoclassical arguments, and those guys are not pro free market. if you want genuine free market economics, study the austrian theory. they don't have such silly claims. and no surprise, if you takes these claims, you end up not supporting free markets, but if you take a good theory, you will. smith himself adventured into silliness from time to time. a genius nevertheless.
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          Sep 9 2012: Mr. Pinter, you're being misleading on 2 things.

          First, Gorman was NOT just talking about just within a household, he meant society-wide. And even if it were only one household, the theory would have then been applied to ALL households in a market spending their money all the same way--which has the SAME problem that rich and poor households would not do so, in reality.

          Also, Neo-classicists TOTALLY support the free-market, what are you talking about? Austrians just have added more realistic assumptions to the base model. And Keynesians actually oppose neo-classicists, but in their own twisted way, having assumed the neo-classical models are true, in the first place.

          The point is, a free-market does not inherently beget social welfare, any more than seeking social welfare would necessarily beget profit. They are two separate things, that require separate attention to develop. And each are things required in society. However, one can eat up the other if left to balloon out of control. Free-marketers are always complaining that Keynesian government intervention infringes on economic growth; and oppositely, bloated government proponents demonize capitalists. Both are wrong. The idea at all that social welfare or happiness is rooted in economic prosperity / activity is a narrative developed since the invention of an economy with money. They are separate concepts. We've all been so focused on the economy and think that there's an answer in that. But really, we need critical thinking in civics, ecology, philosophy and life systems.

          I think you think I'm anti-free-market. I'm not. I just think that it cannot claim to necessarily be tied to social welfare, or happiness. It is a profit machine, for profit's sake, which has economic value, not moral etc. Period. To have added value, it would require the humane conscious effort of people to assert that. And without education on how to do that, the economy is void of human values as it is.
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        Sep 9 2012: would not go into that any more, wikipedia is there for everyone. the claim you are citing is nonexistent even in classical economics. not important point though.

        there is no mainstream economist today, let him be keynesian or neoclassical or whatever that would not admit the role of market failures and the necessity for government intervention. they come to that conclusion using the crazy model you described. drop the crazy model, and you lose all the reasonable arguments against the free market.

        "a free-market does not inherently beget social welfare"

        depends on what welfare means. if you define it as "equal healthcare to everyone", than surely, free markets don't provide that. nor "uniform school system". on the other hand, it offers economic progress. it offers rapidly increasing life standards for the masses. it offers schools and hospitals and consumer goods getting better and getting cheaper, more affordable for everyone.

        "It is a profit machine, for profit's sake"

        profit comes from serving people's wants. a want can be just a piece of meat, but also can be a piece of art, or healing a sick child. you mistake the tool for the actor. profit seeking entrepreneurs do not have to care about morals and values. their task is to deliver what the people value according to their desires and morals. entrepreneurs allocate resources to fulfill the most wants. this has nothing to do with morals, it is just an optimization task. if they do evil things, it is because people want them to.
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          Sep 9 2012: well, then we basically agree! i don't "mistake the tool for the actor"--i asserted the same idea as you that:

          "this has nothing to do with morals, it is just an optimization task. if they do evil things, it is because people want them to." I wrote: "the economy is void of human values as it is".

          and why, if we could have a more conscious and humane system, would we want to continue doing evil thoughtlessly, when as thinkers and feelers, we are capable of SO much more? Why don't we examine if humanity really needs more nail salons and Chinese souvenirs if the caustic fumes assoc. with them are neurotoxins? Why not think whether tasty pork rinds are really something we need to buy if they make us fat and end our lives sooner, when there are easily laterally, better substitutable things?

          People who stick to the inhumane void of the free-market dogmatically, are the Dead Weight that would still have kids working in factories instead of going to school; have 18 hour work days with as few breaks as possible; would raze the Amazon down to every last stump to appease hamburger lovers, if there were no busy-body activists. There is no profit in things like public education, employee downtime or preserving aboriginal rights or clean air etc. There is no profit in so many things that make life bearable, and even lovely--often BECAUSE they have stayed out of mad machine of profit. As a self-preserving race, we need to hurry up and identify what those things are.

          I agree that many thoughtful people in the producer class have brought about higher standards of living through the free-est market the world has ever known; but I don't believe a free-market can enjoy an upward sloping trajectory (i.e. be free). Especially on a finite planet, on limited education, limited time, limited cooperation between people--and even the high-standards of living eventually cause a complacency to think and act rationally as before. So a linear dogmatic approach is not realistic.
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        Sep 9 2012: we do not agree on one important thing. and it is that i don't even want business to be moral. not more than a knife. a knife just cuts whatever it is pushed into. let it be ham or a human. but we don't want to reform the knife, for its lack of care. i don't want to make business ethical. i want people to be ethical, demanding ethical things.

        so i don't want a system that does not give people poisonous or unhealthy stuff. i want people to care. or not, it is not my business after all. i'm just saying how it is. pork rinds give some people satisfaction. who am i to weight it against the risk of health problems? it is their life, they have to make it right. i can only suggest or inform. pork rind production will drop to zero as soon as people understand that they don't want that.
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          Sep 10 2012: Ok, well then why not relegate all decision making to machines? That must be the goal of the free-market then. Why, as a person, get involved at all? As a human, you'll just make stupid non-optimizing errors. The free-market will pinch you out too.
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        Sep 10 2012: freedom to do something includes freedom to delegate that something to someone else. someone or even a machine or organization. delegation is just another way of getting the job done.
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          Sep 10 2012: Hi Krisztian, I see that you are still arguing tirelessly in defense of laissez faire capitalism. Certainly one must admire the passion that you put into it, and why not say it, the brilliance of some of your arguments.

          But just a couple comments here (since i cannot reply to your level 3 reply below). You say that famine is as old as mankind, as if that was a justification to accept famine as "this is the way it is". head lice are also as old as mankind and i don't think people accept them just as "this is the way it is", but rather battle them fiercely.

          Hunger is not what it used to be a few hundred years ago and life expectancy has doubled, i agree with you completely. But I would not be so quick to attribute it to capitalism. Technological advances I would say. And I would not be so quick to attribute technological advances to capitalism, since the science behind most of these technological advances came from all kinds of countries: Mainly Italy, France, England, the USA, Germany, the USSR, although there have been contributions from all over the world. So I doubt that technological advances are a monopoly of capitalism.

          Now, as the example of China and Latin America can show us, capitalism does not cause poverty, just makes it bigger and moves it from one place to another.

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          Sep 10 2012: Ironically, I'm sure the free-market doesn't "care" about values like freedom either. Its existence runs roughshod over anything non-optimal.
      • Sep 10 2012: hi,

        yeap but it looks like that all agrees that few people in this world uses most of the resources to maximise profits which people like us including banks/stock exchange etc) happy & all over the world everyone appreciates without realising that one day all this profits will not have any value...... if some one cant eat food , how he or she can survives?? thats what is happening in this free economy world...i am not against it and i am for it but at what cost?.... if these balance sheet of companies shows profits to make every investor happy and at the same time they make millions of people unhappy (of-course they don't realise it) because what they consume to generate profit has no value in terms of money...why cant balance sheet of a company values the usage of these natural resources and their shall be one institute which validate that based on how many people really gets basic necessity.......we have beed living in glamorous world and most of us value science and technology based on what tracts us as individual nation and not as one human of this planet.
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          Sep 10 2012: famine is as old as mankind. capitalism has put an end to it a few hundred years ago. today, hunger is virtually nonexistent in the western world. it seems that capitalism does not cause poverty, but instead, solves it.
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        Sep 10 2012: "Ironically, I'm sure the free-market doesn't "care" about values like freedom either. Its existence runs roughshod over anything non-optimal."

        exactly! only people have values and moral. the free market can support anything people support. btw this is not even theoretical. we observe that the strongest states emerge in countries where at one point the market was the free-est. like in the US. that is because the free market brings huge economic growth, and this economic advantage and strength can be the basis of an oppressive, power hungry, expansionist superstate. but the same thing happened in the colonialist nations. britain was a forerunner of limited "government" (aka king at that time), then it became the main culprit all around the globe as a result of it.

        that is why i don't want free market first. i want people to want free market. i want them to understand why it is good. only then it can serve the people.
  • Sep 7 2012: NO.
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    Sep 7 2012: It really scares me to think that one day an automated system will control what I pay and when. I feel money gives me more control. I fear it will happen soon and hope it never happens.
    • Sep 7 2012: Define an automated system. Do you mean automation replacing people in the current monetary system that decrease the purchasing power of the general population?
  • Sep 7 2012: Lets begin with the term "Money". Money is an abstract concept created by us humans. "Currency" on the other hand is one of the manifestations of money. If we understand it right, the currency is already being replaced by numerals. A bunch of numbers decide if one has access to a commodity or service. Manifestations of money will continue to exist one way or the other. So, the future for money does not seem bleak at all.
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    Sep 7 2012: You bet. We have developed the habit of eating, sleeping, and indoor loos.
    These cost moola ... also if you are single .. no money no honey.

    A rose by any other name is still money or he equavlent.
    • Sep 11 2012: I would argue that technology has provided us with the tools of making our lives better. Money and capitalism has nothing to do with technological innovation. It's human ingenuity and curiosity that has brought life to all our innovation, not money.
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        Sep 11 2012: Okay Mats lets play what if. What if you have the best product idea of the century that is the human igenuity and curosity you speak of so how do you get it from your head to the consumer.

        1. Hire a lawyer to patent the idea ... oops money
        2. Need an engineer to design the product ... he wants paid.
        3. Need to manufacture the product ... darn that cost also
        4. Who is going to finance this adventure a bank / capitalist investor .. rats
        5. Advertisements 6. distribution 7. personnel 8. payrolls 9. insurance
        10. and all sorts of other expenses and daily operating costs.

        Mats ... there is no free lunch. Without money or backers there would not be any technology.
        • Sep 11 2012: I think Mats is referring to innovation not production. Obviously the current system relies on money for the production and implementation of technology but imagine if we could get past this. Imagine if we could reach a point where technology is able to meet all the demands of the human population, food, water, services, products etc, a state where people no longer needed money to obtain things. There would still be lawyers, and engineers but maybe they would be happy to do their jobs for the satisfaction of the contribution they are making to society, or because they enjoyed the work, or for the respect the work gave them from other people in the community. It's hard to imagine I know....particularly with the Lawyers but it's not impossible. There are already plenty of examples of people who work and produce when they have no need to financially.
        • Sep 11 2012: Sure, in the current economic model you have to do just that in order to get your product on the market. But, that isn't what DRIVES innovation. Money alone doesn't create an incentive to innovate.
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        Sep 11 2012: OK Billy lets go with innovation not production.

        INNOVATION: Innovation is the development of new customer value through solutions that meet new needs, unarticulated needs, or old customer and market needs in new ways. This is accomplished through different or more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available to markets, governments, and society.

        That ugly ole money just keeps coming up doesn't it.

        • Sep 11 2012: "Innovation is the development of new customer value through solutions that meet new needs, unarticulated needs, or old customer and market needs in new ways. This is accomplished through different or more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available to markets, governments, and society."

          This is what economists wants you to believe. If one was to critically examine history and peer into the documented biographies/mentalities of the greatest scientists and inventors of our time, such a N. Tesla, A. Einstein, A. Bell, the Wright Brothers, and many others - it is found that they did not find their motivation in the prospect of monetary gain. The interest to make money must not be confused with the interest to create socially beneficial products and very often they are even at odds.
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    Sep 7 2012: The idea of get rid of money is utopia. We are talking about limited resource on a limited planet. Therefore dreaming about a future of abundance has its bad effect.
    • Sep 7 2012: We could easily create an abundance of natural resources if we choose to share all of Earths resources and allocate them intelligently based on the needs of the people. There is more than enough resources to feed, clothe, shelter and provide everybody with a high standard of living.

      A World Hunger Education Service report ( "revealed" that "the world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day according to the most recent estimate that we could find. The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food."
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        Sep 12 2012: You are in nowhere of convincing it's not utopia. What I get from your saying is: share them all, free for all. There's no free lunch, remember that. Besides, "free for all" is bad since an effortless human is a dead human in spirit.

        The right idea should be to reduce the cost of transaction, to perfect the market... The future of money is Flexible, Frictionless and (Almost) Free.
  • Sep 6 2012: If i knew how to live without money, i would do so immediately without a second thought. I believe that speaks for everyone.

    Money has turned the world into a game of who can get the most, a game in which every soul's chunk of the world is taken into a postage stamp collection of the top players. Life shouldn't be about money, but while money exists it always will be.
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      Sep 7 2012: " I believe that speaks for everyone."

      • Sep 7 2012: that's true, i don't even think "i'm human" speaks for everyone. There are people who love money, so i guess "large percentage" would be more accurate then "everyone" .
    • Sep 11 2012: If you want to learn about how we can achieve a moneyless society, I highly recommend the book "The Best That Money Can't Buy" by Jacque Fresco.
  • Comment deleted

    • Sep 7 2012: Please feel free to elaborate.
      • Comment deleted

        • Sep 8 2012: Well, our history shows that we managed quite well without money for the larger part of human history. Just a thought.
      • Comment deleted

  • Sep 6 2012: Not really, unless we will quit having a monetary system based - where search for power and controlling others is the main focus - we will not be able to pass to an other system.

    And it's also true what Barry says - we live in world where best of best in a field commands top dollar!
  • Sep 6 2012: no
    • Sep 7 2012: Please feel free to elaborate.
  • Sep 5 2012: Top talent will always command top dollars.

    There will always be a market for hearing the best human voice, in person.

    When automation makes every manufactured thing virtually free, the top singer in the world will be paid millions for a single performance. Then that singer will pay top dollar to see the best play. And the best actor will pay top dollar to see the best football team. The best football player will pay top dollar to see the best baseball team. Etc. And that is just the entertainment sector. The best physicist will pay top dollar for the best assistant. Etc.
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    Gail .

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    Sep 4 2012: We can move out of a monetary system today, but too many laugh at those who know how.

    automated systems, made possible through the use of money BECAUSE we live in a money-based (scarcity based / fear based) culture, are not dependent on money. They are dependent upon willingness and intent.
    • Sep 8 2012: ...and available resources, obviously.
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    Sep 3 2012: Not as we know it today. Absolutely not.
    • Sep 7 2012: Please feel free to elaborate.
  • Sep 3 2012: I was actually making the point that the paradigm of life that we are living is like a game. Anytime we choose to play a new game where the goal is to have a great life experience instead of making money then, we have a chance at World Peace.

    Have a look at my book, I think you will agree with my ideas:

    • Sep 8 2012: This looks really interesting, Kirk! I will definitely have a look at it.
      • Sep 8 2012: Thanks Mats, I think that we have a great deal in common philosophically on this subject. The more that humanity sees life from the perspective of what it can be, the more that humanity will realize that how we are living now is truly insane!
  • Sep 3 2012: Kevin: you are right; there is a long history. And I'm not against any amount of revivals, but to be honest about it, most people seem to prefer a more modern level of consumption, and general effficiency, that global currencies provide. Just like any other concentrated power , it is quite a trick to keep it from being corrupted, as our present arrangements have been. But regulations can be humane , and useful. Aren't we glad of the protections, (limited as they may be) againstt poisonous food that the FDA provides?. I wouldn't mind at all to see stifling regulations against Wall St. firms marketing fraudulent and defective "Derivatives" for example. Let those guys earn their bonuses the old fashioned wy
  • Sep 3 2012: I was not suggesting that money is not essential, merely that the present setup of our financial system is unsustainable, in great part just because of all this vast amount of data, economic knowledge about "markets", etc. which seems to have had the effect of clouding the judgment of these captains of finance to the point where they just can't be trusted with much that's important, like people's pensions, etc. Even when they are honest, which is certainly in question. It has been many years since I took a course in Economics, but I distinctly remember that it was supposed to be serious, and not about gambling.
  • Sep 3 2012: TT: Good question. What I was suggesting was that our present system is unsustainable, because those who purport to "lead" it, don't seem to be able to understand it, partly just because of their vast, unprecedented amount of data, along with extensive knowledge of "markets", and "economics". It seems to cloud their judgement. I am giving them credit for being honest, here ;(though there is perrshaps a good case to be made that they aren't.),,,As an example: the whole field of "Derivatives" (what W. Buffet called "toxic time bombs") These ingenious , creative inventions were surely based on what all the experts in economics and markets thought was the most up-to-date "data". Yet it was a disaster. Or perhaps you agree with Wall St. that it is really OK?!
  • Sep 3 2012: Mark:Oh, you're rightabout the difficutly. Recorded history, right up to the present moment, can be seen a one long effort of societies to eliminate , or at least make invisible, their "minorities", i.e. people of a significantly differing culture, such as the Amish.. I venture to say it predates recorded history. This campaign does not seem to have had any great successes, unless you include total annihilations. I guess you could count as successes those cases where the "integration" actually benefitted the former minority, like say the Irish Catholic immigrants to American, and where on closer examination, the supposed differences were actually minor. But most fester for centuries. As to why, it seems to be mainly about political "power" , and the concomitant manipulations of it , such as the British "Divide and Conquer " Strategy, which is so responsible for such a lot of present day conflicts. My own thought is that people are not smart enough just to stop, but that there may be "Safety Valves" , such as the US used to be for Europe, and which terraformed planets might be for future generations. It would be a vast venture, but a lot more civilised than what we have been doing.
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    Sep 2 2012: So you read the memos Mats? I would be very interested in your interpretation. You could email me.
  • Sep 2 2012: we develop ourselves by possessing the resources that useful to human beings,and later becoming the society and becomes to be the monetary system ,just because psychologically we need something to confirm our value.base on this,i believe what we can do is just make a better use of the money and resource of the earth.but no way to leave it.
  • Sep 2 2012: Mark: It is true as you say, that many social reforms have failed, along with their societies. But that doesn't exactly mean that it is "inevitable", but perhaps rather that monolithic societies are not the way to go. Observe that all the time, there were societies existings alongside, but not connected, such as the Amish have been for many generations, and others throughout the world. If our paradigm were to change, so as to promote that kind of "Separate but Equal" societiy, not only would we be conducting interesting experiments, but might develop some more humane lifestyles, with a more sustainable lfespan. Not everyone has equal tolerance for excitement and "change". Le's remember that it has been established that even "Changes for the Better" are stessful.
  • Sep 2 2012: Money is really a handy, efficient form of bookkeeping. I had the experience years ago of spending a few years in a money-free economy , namely iin the old US Army. There is nothing imossible about it, but (even without the damage) it is clearly not for everyone being rather monastic.
    It has proven to be creative, at first sight, "capitalism" has certainly led to a much higher form of civilization, in terms of production, but the essentially fascist organization, together with a groups cyclic forms of fashions as to morality, seems to lead inevitably to lethal abuses. In short, it is probably unsustainable. It leads to "out-of-the-box creativity", but in many cases, that means cheatiing and fraud, the creativity of the Stupid. It is probably an inevitable cycle. The Wealthy, in any empire, don't seem ever to have had the insight and will to self limit their aggressive pursuit of more pwer, to the ultimate detriment of everyone, including themselves.
    With unlimited power sources (such as Thorium LFTR power plants could provide), it might be possible to get beyond a debt-money-servitude economy, but there would still be the problem of assigning "credits" or whatevver for new , untried projects, whose ramiifications might not be immediately obvious. In the Army, everyone got the same clothes, but what if you want to explore another planet?
  • Sep 2 2012: Please read my new book "The New Game (World Peace)" I believe that world peace cannot be achieved unless we shift the paradigm from "Monetary Consumerism" to "Great Life Experience"
    Please check out my book and pass it along!
    • Sep 2 2012: I submit that Pope Paul was right, and pithy, when he said "If you want Peace, work for Justice". It would not take a Paradigm shift to have World Peace, but merely educate people to the fact that there are countless cities which have populations larger than a great many of the hundred some "Nations", but yet in the cities , there is "
      Peace", in the Nations, Not so. For the simple reason, basically, that people have accepted that murder should be illegal in cities, but have not accepted that in the case of" Nations": they can kill whoever they like; there is no Law against it., as there is in cities. That, plus the fact that there is no mechanism in place to carry out any International Laws, even if there were any, is why there is still War. As the participants so pathetically claim: "We had no alternative but to go to War". Yes indeed , they had no alternative. And furthermore, by common consent, they are not guilty of Murder, even though an Alien visitor might assume that they ought to be.
      • Sep 2 2012: I agree with some of what your are saying. However, if you look at life as if it were a game that we are playing... all things are skewed to that end. If the game that we were playing for all of humanity was to ensure that our fellow human beings have a great life experience, life would look entirely differently.

        Of course there would still be disagreements, people who simply want to dominate others etc. but that would be the exception not the rule. Changing any protocol within the game of Monopoly does not change the fact that the endgame is to acquire as much as you can to win. If you really want World Peace, then you have to play a different game.
        • Sep 3 2012: Kirk: Yes, I do look at life as a "game we are playing". I don't quite understand your objection to that idea. Our lives seem to me to have a great deal in common with "games". How do you look at it, and what would the objection be to the game idea?! Are you a Presbyterian?
  • Sep 2 2012: This should be an economics questions. Can a viable economy exist without currency? (It may not necessarily be paper money but still a currency acting as money.)

    I found this paragraph very politically charged and biased with very little evidence to back iup the claims within it. Was this question submitted just to attached these statements for viewing?
    "In our digital age, where banks and even nations fail through reckless monetary spending and policies, it seems that our money system is becoming the big elephant in the room, yes even obsolete. Automation replacing humans seems to be one of the fundamental contradiction of capitalism and may be the demise of the system itself leaving the possibility of fascism to flourish if we fail to arrive at any alternatives."

    How does a political ideology get promoted through technological advancement? Are you implying that the internet and computation has lead to the promotion of fascism?

    This question should be asked to economists and behavioral scientists.
    • Sep 2 2012: About 30 years ago there was a book titled the "Death of Money", the main point of which was that thanks to computerization, it was no longer possible for any human being to ascertain the total amount of money in circulation, it had become unstable and unmeasureable . Logically, it would seem to follow that money managers, banks, etc. would not be able to function reliably, even if they were honest. So : it is more than just an "Economics" question; it affects everyone.
      • Sep 2 2012: You seem to misunderstand something here. An economic question does affect everyone. It's just a discussion without data or extensive knowledge in markets and economics will just boil down to everyone trying to yell louder then everyone else.

        I never said it doesn't affect everyone just that the question isn't something you can answer here by people with no to little expertise in economics.

        "Logically, it would seem to follow that money managers, banks, etc. would not be able to function reliably, even if they were honest"

        How would this lead to money not being used at all though?
  • Sep 2 2012: I hope the future of money is in local currencies.
    • Sep 2 2012: Kevin : that idea has been thoroughly tried . It didn't work out that well.
      • Sep 2 2012: Hi Shawn
        Local currencies are gaining some momentum as communities attempt to take back some control over their destinies in the midst of the globalization tsunami. Admittedly, it takes a lot of civic effort to establish and maintain such initiatives but it is encouraging to witness small groups of individuals committed to local-living economies.
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    Sep 1 2012: Have any of you read the Citigroup memo's? You're falling behind if you haven't.

    I say for the record, I do not have any copies of the Gitigroup memos on my computer or anywhere in my possession.

    You have to hunt around the internet to find them. They are on the move and Citigroup is actively chasing them down and squashing anyone with them on their site.
    • Sep 1 2012: I haven't. How exactly are the memo's relevant for the future of money?
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        Sep 1 2012: You should read them. Citigroup has a small army of lawyers trying to remove them from the Internet.

        If a small group of humans could consolidate all the wealth, and the power to protect that wealth, into their hands, they could make slaves of the rest of us. Or/and, keep our numbers small and manageable.

        Is such a thing possible? Citigroup thinks so.
        • Sep 1 2012: Without knowing the details of the memo's and reading into your undertones, I would actually go so far to say that this move from Citigroup, if true, would be a natural one, in the current socioeconomic system. Forget about ethics, greed, evil and power hungry bankers, because this is in fact the intended condition of capitalism and the money system in general. Infinite economic growth on a planet of finite resources is bound to fail. What these banks are showing us is the true nature of profit, how destructive it is and nothing more. It's a system disorder. And a big one. And what the people within these banks and the rest of the world fails to realize is that once this "enslavement" is implemented to the equation, the system collapse. It stops. With an increase concentration of wealth and automation of labor, people being replaced by machines, to meet profit demands, who then are gonna buy the products when the middle class has no purchasing power and the working class has no jobs?

          What we are seeing taking place all over the world today is the end game of capitalism and the money system itself. It is coming to an end. It will most likely turn out ugly and painful when it crashes and that reason alone is why we should begin to seek alternatives to our current socioeconomic system and provide viable solutions and stop this verbal masturbation of who's right or not.
        • Sep 2 2012: What are the memos about? You have yet to tell us what the memos explain, the most important detail to any revealing document.
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          Gail .

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          Sep 4 2012: Such a thing is already here and you are a slave. It's just that those who own you have convinced you to call your slavery - "FREEDOM!!!".

          Think about it. Are you willing to give up all money and posessions? if not, you are owned by them and those who convince you that your life will be better being owned by your possessions. The Plutocrats appreciate your willingness.
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        Sep 1 2012: How can you be so full of words yet entirely empty headed?

        1. READ the MEMOS.
        2. Respond in an informed manner.
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        Sep 2 2012: Mats, you have to find them and read them yourself. It has to do with a plan to manipulate the markets and consolidate the wealth of the "World" into the hands of the 1% wealthiest people on the planet for reasons unknown to me at this time. You have to hunt them down yourself. google "Citigroup memos".

        They are being moved around by people who are trying to make them public.

        As I said: I say for the record, I do not have any copies of the Gitigroup memos on my computer or anywhere in my possession.
        • Sep 2 2012: This sounds exactly what happened right before the stock market crash and this kinda behavior shouldn't surprise anybody in the current socioeconomic system.
  • Aug 31 2012: in future ....only plastic money and mobile money have future...cause they have easy and safe to carry....
    load money in mobile and pay when needed... i hope that function comes in fashion soon,,,,,,we are doing mobile banking on shops in india . and transfer money in state bank of india's customers accounts.
  • Aug 30 2012: I remember sputnik. Today I can call up images on my computer of humanity's farthest outpost in the solar system - a moon of Saturn. When I was born there was no atomic bomb, no civil rights movement, no ACLU, no internet. I believe that if we were to put our talents to work we could do it in less than twenty years. But the problem is not the lack of technological expertise, the problem is the lack of the political will to do the thing. And the ultimate question for me is can we do the thing without destroying our entire civilization first.
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    Aug 28 2012: A rose by any other name ..... The problem for all other systems is to find and set a value on what ever the instrument is. How many apples buys a watermellon. How much wheat for a pig. With the monitary system we have a set standard of measurement. That standard is adjustable from one country to another. Two truck loads of pigs from France to Italy for a painting would be cumbersome and difficult at the least.

    If all resources were available through technical resources (?) why would I want to work. That is the problem we have today. Free medical, free citizenship, free education, free housing, free food, free, free, free ... why would I want to work? The putitans saw this upon arrival in America and devised the Puritan Ethic Law. If you are capable of working and do not ... You will not share in the food, housing, and the labors of others.

    No I think that there has to be a reward for services and labors. Without those efforts we would deplete the resources and be in real danger for our existance.

  • Aug 28 2012: Viral petition in favor of a Global Basic Income Guarantee :)
  • Aug 28 2012: Money is a commodity and the most convenient quanitative representation of value. You could have something worth say, "5 apples" or any item, but the singular value of this item is not as consistent as money. So the question then becomes, is it ever possible to see an economic system that utilizes something more efficient than money? In general no, I think money could be digitized and the efficiency of an economic system would be relative to the speed at which this information is exchanged.

    I forsee that processing power would become a new form of wealth on top of this exchange. It already is, its just not widely recognized.
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    Aug 28 2012: I agree that we are reaching a serious problem in our economic system. However I don't think that money is the elephant in the room. Currencies occur in many cultures because they are so useful. Whether its gold coins, bit coins, dollars, cell phone minutes or cocaine, people will find things that are univerally valued in their culture and use them as currency. Its too difficult to trade without it.

    The elephant in the room is not the obsolescence of money. It is the obsolescence of labour.

    Automation and robotics are slowly but surely making human labour worthless. Its a long process that has been going on since the invention of the loom, and we have only scratched the surface. Eventually AI and robots will be able to do anything humans can do and more. We live in a society that depends on the exchange of labour for food and shelter, and we have no way of providing these in a situation where they are no longer necessary.

    This will challenge the viability of capitalism, though it may not bring it to an end. Only time will tell. However, even in a world run by robots where everybody is out of work, people will still trade using currency. Its just too darn convenient.
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      Aug 28 2012: finally i got it. i'm in the groundhog day movie. you people keep repeating the same thing unchanged, until i can find an answer that is 100% convincing? it is like a never ending loop. conversation opens about some v.p. crap, you come in and tell that machines will do all the work.

      and then i come in and tell: machines have replaced all the work we did 5000 years ago. today, in the western world, nobody is sewing clothes with a needle, nobody weaves by hand, nobody uses hand mills, nobody picks fruit or harvest grains. machines do all this. yet, we don't have 100% unemployment. it is because as old jobs are taken over by machines, we pick the next task that nobody did before, because we didn't have enough time and resources. we heal each other. we cut each other's hair. we decorate each other's houses. we commentate sport events. we make movies.

      as the economy develops, work hours are shifting from agriculture to industry, then to services. what is the next stage? it might be entertainment or the "experience industry". we might have personal coaches how to enjoy a light+sound+drugs concert. we might have designers who individually design tools or furniture for us. what seems to be wicked twisted luxury today can be routine tomorrow.
      • Sep 2 2012: Hahaha groundhog day movie! Brilliant! ;)
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        Sep 2 2012: lol, That's how I feel when I go to the "science is a religion" conversations. I just had to quit going to them.

        I admit that the effects of continuing automation are speculative. However, the current developments in robotics are very much unprecedented. Turning to history may not be as informative as you say.

        For instance, you say work is being moved from industry to services, and I agree. However, those service jobs pay less, have fewer benefits and generally do not allow for as much opportunity and upward mobility as the industry jobs that existed before.

        Will there be enough of a market for people to make a decent living in entertainment and services? Can the whole economy be transferred to to that? One of the consequences of automation in the past has been a sharp concentration of wealth. Will that restrict the market for services? Or perhaps it will limit the market for robots since human labour will be cheaper.

        No one really knows. However, the time will come when there is no task that truly requires a human. It will be unprecedented, and not directly comparable to the industrial revolution.
      • Sep 9 2012: :"machines have replaced all the work we did 5000 years ago. today, in the western world, nobody is sewing clothes with a needle, ............. yet, we don't have 100% unemployment". definitely true, but in 1860 in italy (but it's easily extendable to other parts of the world) unemployment was a meaningless word (in agricolture there was a work place for everyone, with the exception of very little children and very old/ill people,), today only c.a 22 mln people work on a population of 60 mln => c.a. 38 mln people don't work even if many are in their age for a job. i do agree with you that there will always be the possibility for new jobs, but not for the mass. i'm pretty sure you'll consider jeremy rifkin's ideas rubbish for the opinions you share here, but i don't (though i never take ideas of anyone as if they were dogma, let's say i agree on the general sense of what he has written and that he usually gives good arguments for his theses) and in "the end of work" i do agree on the point that without a radical transformation of our idea of work, there will be more and more "useless" human beings: there ain't any big shift from services to employ millions of people who're loosing their jobs. in western countries we're assisting to a dangerous wealth concentration tendency which doesn't allow to predict anything good as the work of millions os individuals simply is no longer needed, and the tendency surely is not compensated by a few new jobs like those you were talking about. control of resources implies power and unfortunately the most of those who hold them just want more resources and more power. can't really see how free market can get rid of selfishness and avarice of an incredibly little number of excessively wealthy people, but i'm open to change my mind if some evidence some day should ever arise. we're both young enough to see who all this will evolve in the next decades.
  • Aug 26 2012: Here's a thought. If we can move from non-consumption to consumption, we can also move from consumption back to non-consumption, right? Unlimited economic progress in a world of finite natural resources is bound to collapse, unless we evolve the economic concept into something sustainable.
    • Aug 27 2012: Mats!
      Consumption is not the problem. Sustainable consumption is beautiful, like plants consuming light. Sharing resources and ideas increases the wealth in our lives, and liberates us to move up the trophic chain. Our evolutionary clade has perhaps never been primary producers, instead "we" have always relied on others for sustained metabolism, pleasure and life. Technically speaking, the only way to go back to non-consumption if to augment us with photosynthesis. (I´ve been dreaming of that since I was 12 years old :) As long as the producer is not to parasitic on Gaia, consumption is "sustainable".

      About unlimited economic progress... "Economic progress" has been calculated using inaccurate metrics. Pavan Sukhdev did a talk on trying to refine the metrics...

      If we redesign the metrics, our "economic growth" system can keep progressing basically until we go extinct, the "growth" will reflect our idea of wealth, and our idea of sustainable, and these conceptions of wealth, what we consider relevant to our wellbeing, our economy, will soon approach steady states on earth that could last a loooong time before disrupted, but as long as there´s some continued social evolution of ideas and technology, that will count as wealth "growth", and then there´s always space...

      But I think, like I think you think, that we will separate our resource economy metrics from our social idea economy metrics. A resource based economic system (on earth) does not grow or shrink much, since the biomass and earth-mass is quite constant, but matter can always increase in levels of order, we can organize it into technology or biological life, so even there will "economic progress" be able to progress. And the social idea economy should be able to progress until we are socially, culturally, fully evolved.

      When that happens, we should go have a beer :)
  • Aug 25 2012: The better question is can you come up with a better economic system and prove that it is more efficient then currency?

    When technology outstrips demand so much that goods and services are nearly worthless. That may never happen though, but this is speculation from someone who doesn't study economics.
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    Aug 24 2012: If we could devople a system to exchange our efforts without central control we say bye bye governments
  • Aug 24 2012: Buy Gold before money goes all digital.
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  • Aug 23 2012: The origin of money might as well be the origin of air. You say that the concept of money will always be relevant and that the physical representation of that power will shift with emerging technologies. I have a question to ask about the dynamics of how and why you think that a shift in technology will change the way we operate in social means? I'm not asking you to predict the future but I would just like to have a valid reason from you to justify why you think human behaviour will adapt in a positive way to the increase of technology? Understanding that the idea of 'trade' and 'purchase' and 'debt' are the implications stopping the progression into a healthy society should be known as the 21st century oblivious, next to nothing us 1% ... What 'Krisztián Pintér' the somewhat capitalist 'splinter' may believe works perfectly ok monetary system = an exploitation of the social structure as a means that the system runs on the survival of the fittest rather than a survival in unity thus the competitive nature which you find implicates your life now, as you mentioned 'you can't take it seriously' ... Why so serious?
  • Aug 23 2012: Is there a future for any intellectual construct? Money is a tool that was created centuries ago as a conduit of power. It is clearly a product of the available technologies and processes of the time it was conceived. The concept of money will always be relevant but the physical representation of that power will shift with emerging technologies.
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      Aug 23 2012: can you tell us more about the origin of money?
      • Aug 23 2012: Here's a great article on the history of money.
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          Aug 23 2012: wasn't a real question. but if you decided to help us out, we need a little more help. where in your article can we find the part about "created centuries ago as a conduit of power"
      • Aug 25 2012: @Krisztian - The origin of money is a matter of record. My comment was addressing the question of the relevance of money in future economies.

        The "conduit of power" is obviously not a direct quote from the preamble, but rather a personal perspective. I'm certain the comment section of TED was created to allow different points of view.

        To clarify the statement in question... indirect exchange, directly created wealth based on indirect means. Which is the source of wealth for every fortune 500 company on the planet. And of course, no one questions the power these companies wield in the free market.
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          Aug 25 2012: you still fail to make sense, but now you fail to even be consistent with yourself.

          we can agree that money is many thousands of years old, and was not created a few centuries ago. also we can agree that every community over some complexity develops some form of money on their own.

          yes, money is very much responsible for the success of big companies. and small companies. and every company. and the people. you can not condemn the air just because bank robbers can do their stuff only due to the oxygen rich atmosphere. it does not tell much about anything.

          for money allows the scale of division of labor we have today. the division of labor is the central element in human civilization.

          let me guess, you are also a subscriber of the venus project / zeitgest crap, or "learned" from the money masters "documentary".
      • Aug 25 2012: @Krisztian - You still fail to understand, and you insist on restating my comments in an inaccurate, inflammatory manner.

        I did not write "a few centuries". I wrote "centuries ago". If you do the math, centuries add up to thousands of years.

        I didn't condemn money in my comment, I stated "money will always be relevant ".

        You appear to be letting your contempt for the venus project / zietgest colour your perceptions. I didn't mention them, and my comments don't align with their doctrine. Perhaps it's the language barrier, but your incensed response is misplaced. Have a nice day.
  • Aug 23 2012: No.
    • Aug 23 2012: Would you care to elaborate? Every opinion is valued.
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    Aug 22 2012: What we need is a molecular assembler. If we could create machines using nanotechnology, which pull particles that already exist from the environment (air) and reassemble them into items, we wouldn't need money on the same scale that we do now. The more we learn from CERN and advancements in nanotechnology, the closer we'll get to creating this. Once it's possible, though, it could have the ability to recreate gold and silver. Most likely, we'll end up with "virtual" money and cash registers will be outmoded. This would likely cut down on robberies, but there are plenty of possible complications. When we eventually do convert, there will have to be an agreed-upon world measurement of the value of a credit, unit, dollar, or whatever the term might be. This would demand an almost incomprehensible level of cooperation between and within every government in the world. It's my belief that attempts are already being made secretively. It's possible that all of the rumors about changing to Euros and the price of gold going up so high that it lowers the value of a dollar indicates that those might just be the "steps" the world leaders are taking in order to accomplish a virtual monetary system.
    • Aug 22 2012: Interesting! Just like a Star Trek replicator, right? If we had such machines and everybody got access to them, we wouldn't need money at all. There would be such an abundance of resources and material that money would render itself obsolete. Stealing and robberies would no longer exist and national boarder would no longer make any sense. In actuality, many of these technologies are not that far away. Are you familiar with 3D-printing? Fuse this technology with nanotech and we got a zapper! Use the same technologies on a large scale with fully deliberate automation systems producing and distributing goods and services and we can feed, clothe, shelter and make a quality of life never imagined before to the entire planet!
      • Aug 23 2012: I can assure you sir, unless if you are a Full-Metal Alchemist, or if you have the Philosopher Stone, no amount of nanotechnology can convert 3D Printing base materials of nothing to output something. That very concept breaks the extremely fundamental law of conservation of mass/energy.

        I'm quite familiar with 3D printing (hoping to buy my own ZPrinter 650 someday ;P) and let me tell you sir, the base materials runs from extremely cheap (polyamide, ceramics) to normal (resin) to extremely expensive (titanium, silver, steel).

        You know, in the future, what I think will happen is that although the Star Trek replicator will cost money to buy, and repairing it when it breaks down will cost money. The energy source to power it will cost money. The base materials for the Replicator to use will cost money.

        The interesting thing is, what form will this money come in?
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        Aug 24 2012: I have been aware of 3-D printing for a few years, now and think it would be wise to invest in those businesses at this time-whenever they go public. If you're interested in the replicator idea, check this out:
        It's still a theory, of course, but I believe that with the recent discovery of the Higgs Boson, we could possibly crack the puzzle of how to assemble atoms into a molecule without it losing form from lack of attraction to one another. The Higgs boson gives it's mass to hadrons, which acts as a gravitational field. This field could be what attracts hadrons to one another to form atoms. When all of the components have come together to create an atom, the atom now possesses the combined field strength of it's components. This gives the atom enough attractive force to start attracting other mass-compatible atoms to form molecules. By measuring this interaction with the Large Hadron Collider, it appears as though the hadrons are pretty much "flying" by, pulling mass from Higgs bosons (and possibly other properties from hypothesized bosons and elementary particles) and attracting one another, becoming atoms. The atoms "clump" together, forming molecules, and so-on, as though something is "speeding into existence."
        I've interpreted the discovery through a long series of Wikipedia definitions. If you have the patience and diligence, you could try to piece the available information together yourself and form your own understanding.
        • Aug 24 2012: I don't know about you Nicole, but molecular assembler is the LEAST of the technology that I would be working on if the recently discovered “Higgslike” particle is actually Higg's boson.

          IF what they at CERN found really was the "God Particle", heck, we now hold the power of matter, space and time; the universe itself! Why 3D print food, clothes, houses, when you can print a brand new, whole universe itself? Molecular Assembler? Pah! With the Genesis Assembler (TM), you can now play Sim God, in real life! Are we having fun yet? ;)

          ""I've interpreted the discovery through a long series of Wikipedia definitions. If you have the patience and diligence, you could try to piece the available information together yourself and form your own understanding"" - Or you can buy the book called 'God Particle' written by Leon Lederman, former director of Fermilab, available from Amazon. ;)
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    Aug 22 2012: "James, I invite you to read about a resource based economy"

    i hate that i'm always right. i have successfully guessed that your "knowledge" comes from the v.p. crap.
    • Aug 22 2012: I am sorry you feel this way. I invite you to read and learn more about it and contribute to a healthy discussion on it afterwards.
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        Aug 23 2012: i don't need to read more about it, i have read enough already. it is nothing else but idealist communism with magic (supercomputers). i can't wrap my head around the fact that so many people take it seriously.
        • Aug 23 2012: "i can't wrap my head around the fact that so many people take it seriously."

          Fair enough. But that doesn't mean that you have the right to undermine the opinions of others. That doesn't contribute to the conversation. It's just useless space frankly. I'm sorry to be blunt about this, but I was really hoping for a healthy discussion on this topic as I am very interested in it and at the same time learning a great deal about it. So, I would be more than gladly to hear your proposals or your predictions on the future of economics or money or whatever you want to call it.
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        Aug 23 2012: this conversation is not about the v.p. crap i hope. but about money. and i contributed a lot to that conversation, i'm sorry if you can't find.

        there is already a lot of conversations about the v.p. crap, no need for one more.
        • Aug 23 2012: The conversation is about the future of money and if there is one, yes. A resource based economy is just one of many conversations that is equally important as the other ones as it offers a solution to our current problems.
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        Aug 23 2012: "resource based economy" lacks meaning, thus can not be important.
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        Aug 23 2012: probably we have different idea about what is "through".
        • Aug 23 2012: Well, please elaborate then on what is lacking in its meaning. Critical thinking is important and if there is anything that I am for, it is just that.
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        Aug 23 2012: critical thinking starts with asking "what is our current economy is based on"? turns out that resources. the economy itself is nothing but a giant system to distribute resource to maximize the output. because resources can be put together in virtually infinite different ways. which arrangement maximizes the amount of demands served? that is all that the economy does. nothing can be more "resource based" than that. but in fact every economy has this goal, so all other economic models are just as "resource based". it is just a meaningless term. buzz word.
        • Aug 25 2012: Hey I know because I have seen you around on TED and don't relay care about ideas or conversation just proving yourself right even when your blatently wrong but if the " buzz word" of resource based or access based economy scares your world view look up participatory economic system Wikipedia has a good overview. Could with relatively little difficulty could be implemented today.
        • Sep 3 2012: Krisztián, one cannot know the sea if too afraid to swim beyond the pond. I have certainly watched some of your arguments defending the 'Free Market' (another buzz word for capitalism), and found that you provided some valid arguments to your point of view, but money by no means stays at managing resources. I think you know better than this. First came barter, then money, now it is time to free ourselves from this enslavement and social stratification. You see, money of course means power (in the current system), and you have no problem stating that nothing more resource based than that? Not even when institutions exist such as The Federal Reserve, The European Central Bank (institutions that of course are private, not public). No problem at all with fractional reserve banking? With lobby for vested interests? Not even for the invasion of other countries by means of economical warfare? What about the bank bailouts from the crash of 2008? Now, perhaps one might say, the politics of one were at fault, or there wasn't enough transparency, but that is only swimming in the pond. Money is the corrupting hand of nations, and even culture. No problem at all with advertisement? With all its artificiality? Perhaps the one standing in the loop might be yourself. Ever asked that question?

          Regardless of the nature of the debate, I appreciate your comments and responses, for they illustrate you having a great deal of knowledge pertaining the 'Free Market' (there goes that buzzword again), and I learn much about the present state of affairs. Needless to say, the money system will collapse on its own accord, unless we finally get an understanding of what it takes to be truly free of modern servitude. Human Resources we are even considered by this corporate mentality. I can only imagine how the top individuals of this money pyramid see the general population... sheeple perhaps? What a detrimental factor this consumption loophole generates. Dare to swim beyond the pond into the sea.
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    Aug 22 2012: +James Zhang
    I know what money is.

    >Or you can have a factory/assembly line make the same car in a few minutes

    It is a discussion of hypothetical technology capabilities. There is a theory that we are getting closer to technological singularity. Will “these” powerful machines have a singularity-like chart of their manufacturing time costs? Becoming faster and faster from year to year to the level of “almost” instantaneous manufacturing(like computer boot time). If we talk about scarcity of fast machines so yes, it’s not post-scarcity :) Anyway we cannot definitely state that time will be always a sensible cost for manufacturing. And also we cannot definitely state the opposite.
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    Aug 21 2012: Money is want, not need. In the future addressing the need will eliminate money as a socioeconomic factor.

    Money is not value, money is a pseudo-value for a plutocracy of faux-aristocracy. Progress, production, performance has value, but is not money. I would not want to live like a king with gold/gelt/money and have no value to humanity, I would seek a job cleaning public bathrooms, sweeping streets, flipping burgers, teaching ... heck, why not fair and reasonable wealth distribution to create value. Amassing wealth is for fools and tools, there is so much that can be done by US and EU with a new and stable economic model that eliminates money (or any other token) as a socioeconomic factor.
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      Aug 22 2012: want and need are the same things. the distinction is purely arbitrary. a need today was a want 50 years ago, a dream 100 years ago, and nonexistent before that.

      money is not "a value" nor a "pseudo value", because money is commodity, and value is a concept. they are not even in the same league. however, money *has* value. the value of money lies in the fact that you can exchange it for goods. it is not that difficult.
      • Aug 22 2012: Want and need are absolutely not the same thing. Needs are based on the necessities of life. Like food, shelter, clean water, and clothing. Wants are based on artificial needs that stem from the environment you grow up in and the values you get from that same environment. This is why certain people want different things than other people. Because they come from other backgrounds and have different values.

        Wow. Money is a commodity? You can't eat money, you can't build a house with money. If you were stranded on an island with one million dollars, you couldn't survive on that alone. You need resources in order to survive. Natural resources. Like food, shelter and clean water. Therefore, money, is basically useless. You should not be the one to question the validity of other people's claims, when you seemingly can't grasp basic concepts like wants, needs and what money is made of.
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          Aug 22 2012: if clothing is necessary, how our ancestors 100000 years ago survived with no clothing?

          wow, there are commodities we can't eat. also an iphone would not help me on an island.

          you have much to learn. won't happen, as you think you don't.
        • Aug 23 2012: as far back as recordable humans have used clothing, even if it was animal pelts.
          it is a necessity because you will die from exposure with no clothes on for a certain length of time
  • Aug 21 2012: I'm not sure if I understand your question; are you talking about money specifically, foreign exchange, or economics? Because the very basis of money, ie. a medium of exchange whose value is agreed upon by both parties, will never go away. Although it's form may different from time to time, but the precepts stays the same.

    Now from your questions, it seems that you jumbled up three totally different ideas, related only by a thin strand of imposing value on things.

    In the future, money will still exist, if not electronically, then telepathically! Although some form of physical currency, backed by an institution may still exist, whose value may not be agreed upon by the users of said currencies, but nonetheless are coerced into using it, due to the fact that there is no better solution at the current time.
    • Aug 21 2012: Imagine if somehow there was no system, and you were asked to choose between one that was free, equitable and sustainable, or one that promoted greed, inequality and pollution, which one would you choose? There's no comparison.

      The fact is, our monetary system is mathematically unworkable with its ever-increasing debt, it creates and promotes inequality, and is detrimental to life itself through its prioritization of profit over people and planet. The only reason we are still using this system is because we haven't adapted to our new capabilities, and it's simply easier to maintain what we know rather than start a new.

      Therefore, I believe, money is not essential to life. Resources are what we need to live, not money. Money is just a tool, invented to help organize the distribution of scarce resources. Modern technology now offers us a potential abundance of these resources such as food, water, shelter, and a high standard of living. We can procure, produce and manufacture all of life's necessities more easily now than ever before. The only thing scarce nowadays is money itself!
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        Aug 21 2012: "The fact is, our monetary system is mathematically unworkable with its ever-increasing debt"

        and you know that from where? let me guess. either zeitgeist / venus project, or the money masters movie.
      • Aug 21 2012: Oooookaaaayyyy, Mats.... you do realize surfing while under influence is bad? Lay off the bong pipe and start getting some exercise or something. Remember, not all mushrooms can make you fly to the moon.
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    Aug 21 2012: +James Zhang
    I neglected the question of time and space finitness in such large scale since nor scarcity model neither post-scarcity model affects it. So I use only labor(the machine labor is industrial, the human labor is like a hobby) and resource to argue optionality of money. With deeper look on post-scarcity and technology development at all there are questions of course. E.g. what could be after Kurzweil’s “The Universe Wakes Up” if it will be. Or what will be if machines evolves to the level of intelligent life form?
    • Aug 21 2012: The machines will learn the concept of money, understand it, and apply it in their own cybernetic society.
      • Aug 22 2012: How could machines learn a concept unless we programmed them to? Machines doesn't have ambition or feelings. If you smashed a laptop in front of fifty other laptops, they wouldn't care.
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        Aug 22 2012: Machines are not "self-aware" or "curious". How would they be able to "understand" the concept of money or cat?

        Also, it took a machine millions of pictures of a cat to recognize and remember a cat. A human could recognize a picture of a cat instantly.
        • Aug 22 2012: You equate the ego or id and the need to know things as prerequisites to understanding abstract concepts. I beg to differ on that point. Psychological state of mind should not be used as a tool when measuring intelligence, artificial or otherwise.

          It seems that somehow you are contradicting yourself. If a machine does not understand the concept of a cat, how would it then be able to recognize and remember a cat when it sees one?

          Sure, currently it took a machine millions of pictures to learn to recognize cat, while it only takes a human child only a picture or two to achieve the same. Don't forget though, humans had what, 1 to 2 million years head start? While AI and machine learning ala Minsky & Papert is, what, less than a century old?
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        Aug 22 2012: If we did not want to know more, how could have advanced into this high level of intelligence? If I program a machine to simple add 1 to a number recursively, it will do that forever until it physically can't anymore.

        It seems there's a fundamental definition miscommunication here. What's your definition of intelligence?

        A machine can only execute code from the 0's and 1's, the binary language. However, I don't think us humans read things in binary language, the fundamental structure of the languages are just simply different. There have been theories saying that there are trinary languages and even maybe quadrary (I think that's what it's called). In quantum computing, there are things called quantum bits, or q-bits. A q-bit can be a 0 or 1 or both at the same time. A bit, the language that machines today use, can only be one or the other.
        • Aug 22 2012: I repeat, You equate the ego or id and the need to know things as prerequisites to understanding abstract concepts. Psychological state of mind should not be used as a tool when measuring intelligence, artificial or otherwise.

          No, there is no definition miscommunication here my friend. Only different approach. You adopted the psychometric approach which included self awareness and emotional knowledge as part of the measuring tools. I on the other hand, went with 'Mainstream Science on Intelligence', an editorial statement by fifty-two researchers who stated that intelligence is :
          'A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—"catching on," "making sense" of things, or "figuring out" what to do.'

          In this situation, after seeing millions of pictures of cats, a machine finally figured out the concept of cats and what a cat should look like. Give or take a few centuries, and I'll bet my left kidney on this, machines will eventually figure out the concept of money.

          The rest of the stuff you wrote is.... irrelevant. What the heck does binary language has to do with intelligence and machine learning? If you're trying to equate machine 0's and 1's with the human neuron On and Off, I'm afraid you're shooting way off the mark. Quantum computing will accelerate algorithm computation, sure, but speed of calculation does not equate machine learning! It's totally irrelevant and extremely distracting to tell the truth.
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        Aug 22 2012: What do you mean by "psychological state of mind?" Which part of what I'm saying refers to psychological state of mind? If curiosity is part of this psychological state of mind that you're referring to, then I disagree with you and I think curiosity is what is needed for higher level of intelligence. Unless perhaps curiosity is the effect and not the cause for intelligence or perhaps it is both the cause and the effect?

        "A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience"

        Hmm, a machine could reason, plan, solve problems if the AI is good enough to. It can even think abstractly, though this is very difficult to program. It can comprehend complex ideas because if it can think abstractly but it can also compute massive amounts of data, and we can make the machine adaptable through learning from experience eventually too. I can see that.

        But can a machine wonder about things or express interest/fascination or find "human" ways to express emotion through body, art, etc. despite the practicality of such actions?

        Unless you categorize that feeling of wonder and curiosity as some emotion, and there is a huge separation between emotion and intelligence, which is what you've been saying this entire time.
        • Aug 23 2012: Ahaha, you actually answered your own question! ;)

          This phrase "that feeling of wonder and curiosity as some emotion". What is feeling? Is it not emotion? Intelligence CAN understand emotion, but it's not really part of it.

          By the way, I think we have hijacked poor Mats Kaarbo thread long enough. If you would like further discuss about artificial intelligence 'feel' free to open up a new conversation regarding this. I will be 'happy' to join you in discussing all about AI, Neural Network, Fuzzy Logics, Marvin Minsky, Alan Turing and his AI test, et cetera, since I deduced you seem to have a background in Computer Science and this area is something of your interest. Do you know LISP? I was introduced to Clojure and Common LISP by Ed, a genius friend of mine. If you really are into AI and such, you most definitely need to learn LISP.
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        Aug 23 2012: "Ahaha, you actually answered your own question! ;)"

        Yeah about that... lol

        " If you would like further discuss about artificial intelligence 'feel' free to open up a new conversation regarding this."

        Sure, but I think I'm gonna take a break from this discussion for a bit. Will most likely post something about AI in the near future...
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      Aug 22 2012: @Kirill

      I still think that time/space applies to everything that we do. I'm not fully understanding what you're trying to say, and maybe this contributes to that language barrier, which is pretty unfortunate.
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    Aug 21 2012: >wow, time is unlimited? that's certainly new to me

    let me know when the time in Universe will stop, I have many things to be finished. About "individual's time" I wrote in the same message.
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      Aug 21 2012: i don't know about you, but for me, time is always a factor

      but you are welcome to think in time of the universe if you so desire. you can tell someone: do not mind that the production will end one million years in the future. it is nothing compared to the age of the universe. see how far that gets you.
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        Aug 21 2012: I think I’ve explained enough what I think about individual’s labor, time and hierarchy of needs in context of discussion.
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          Aug 21 2012: so you just dropped in that 'time is infinite' observation is some sort of colorful story? we are talking about our time at hand. time is a factor that always will be scarce.
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        Aug 21 2012: I already understood that you see no difference between hobby and industrial labor in context of time spending. You spend your time always and everywhere and for no money. For example here and now. You need money not for your spent time, you need money to spend your next time the way you want. And the way you want requires products and services that are scarce today.
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          Aug 21 2012: i see a lot of difference, just like i see difference between a good job and a bad job. but this is not a fundamental difference. we do things in order to improve our wellbeing. leisure or hobby is directly enjoyable. work enables us to enjoy ourselves better in the future. in addition, work can also be enjoyable in itself, but does not have to be.

          this has nothing to do with scarcity though. time is scarce because i want more of it than i have. i need to economize time, i need to decide what to do in the next minute or hour. i can not do two things at a time. if i try to teach you economics, i can not read an interesting article. that is why time is scarce. econ 101.
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        Aug 21 2012: >time is scarce
        It is pretty obvious statement in this context and I’d definitely use it in a discussion if it makes any sense. So what is the fundamental relation between time and money? Not in our current economy. The conceptual relation. Relation for all parallel universes. As I pointed you need money not for your time. Directly you need money for resources since they are scarce. If they are non-scarce you don’t need money for them and spend your time the best you can. And I mentioned post-scarcity in the sense of resource scarcity, not time.
        If you mean some particular cases when time is an attribute of service or product. E.g. not all resources are scarce and only 100 people per year can become immortal. So yes money will be needed since it is not completely post-scarce society.
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          Aug 22 2012: You can have one mechanic make a car from scratch and it'll take him, say a month to do. Or you can have a factory/assembly line make the same car in a few minutes. One is clearly better than the other. Would it make sense to pay for the service of the mechanic equally to paying for the service of the assembly line?

          Money is just some representational way of measuring how much time/effort/work it took you to do your job. It is completely relational to our current economy. Before we had money, we had simple trading, from specialized professions. But it got really hard to measure trading when you have conversions like 5 chickens for 1 wagon, so there needed to be an easier measurement tool.
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    Aug 21 2012: Money comes and money goes as long as the system of the world remains as it is. It may change in form or appearance; but Gold will remain valuable and value will always be given to needs, so that only those who can pay will have access to such.
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    Aug 21 2012: ... mostly shady.
    • Aug 23 2012: Would you care to elaborate? Every opinion is valued.
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        Aug 23 2012: I will, so here are the details:

        As you stated yourself, the monetary system failed to serve the majority of the people, due to its immanent flaws and corrupt usage, yet instead of question it openly, a tremendous effort is taken to keep things as they are.

        As money is the backbone of our economy, the system is based on scarcity and debt, and empoweres only those who are in control of the money, which, in return, act as a survival instinct for the system itself. By this, and regardless the degenerative effect this has on society, it takes a complete system failure before there is a chance to learn for a better.

        A resource based economy, which you mentioned as well, is the only way for mankind to evolve not just technological but also of civilization. Unfortunately the already well established concept of 'property' and 'nations' will not allow such a concept to become true one day, as no one who had to share would do this freely and would do all in its power to prevent things to change.

        Automisation has never been used to 'free' the people and its contradictive realtion and effect on capitalism has just been postponed in the opening of the global market. The technology for automisation is already there and applicable in many fields. Yet as long there is a country where people have to work on ridiculous wages and as long national policies allow their companies to flee their own job-markets for profit reasons, there will be no installation of automated production for the common good. Our societies wouldn't even know how to deal with it but to take it as 'unemployment' and this because this new form of 'freedom' only works on global scale and on open accessable resources only.

        Because of this need of fundamental change in habit, mind set and the true interest in the common good for all the people, this change is most likely not to happen. Therefore the monetary system will continue and its future will be as it was ... mostly shady.
        • Aug 23 2012: This is why we need to elevate people to middle class, the middle class won´t do shitty jobs, I wont :) I´d rather automate it, even if it means working really hard to create the technology. So until holistically rational economic thinking is part of our social norm and we adapt to the new status quo of a global community, and until technology becomes so sophisticated that even low-wage workers aren´t worth it, we need to come up with ways to de-incentivize people to work on ridiculous wages that allows companies to flee their own job-markets for profit reasons. We could do this by just giving people money, basic incomes, until better social norms replace money. Elevate people enough to avoid the psychological biases that shifts attention to short-term gratification and makes people do shitty jobs with shady, shitty long-term profit yeild. This is definitely achievable, change is in the air, let´s make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
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    Aug 21 2012: The future of my money is it gets spent. We are temporary friends and all too rapidly say goodbye until the next paycheck or dividend.
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    Aug 20 2012: >There's no such thing as a free lunch.

    You talk in context of traditional economy model when resources are scarce and people need money
    >in order to gain the benefits and basic necessities to live

    The described _hypothetical_ model is post-scarcity. So:
    1. Resources are unlimited
    2. Manufacturing and service providing are completely performed by machines including repair, producing and evolving of these machines themselves.
    So no human is forcedly involved in the process and no machine asks money for its work. Also no resources are scarce and they don’t have their value since they are renewable.

    People involved only in creative labor and have no need in money. They can only satisfy their higher needs such as self-actualisation, esteem and love/belonging w/o necessity to satisfy basic needs like physiological and safety needs. Where is the need of money in such model?
    >There's still some amount of work/service to society that you need to perform

    what exactly? Why people need to perform some amount of work? because they have to use some amount of resources and work of other people. This is the only objective reason of _necessity_ to perform some work. But these work and resources are not scarce now. So in post-scarcity it is not required. But people will still perform some work for society and w/o money. Why? Higher needs. Self-actualisation, esteem and love/belonging. Why an artist with money paints what he wants and not what his customer wants? Because he needs to satisfy his creativity and he doesn’t need to draw ads banners for food to satisfy it. In post-scarcity this artist will continue to paint works of art and when he became hungry he’d just switch on the magic box which would made a burger for him.
    The only scenario when it’s not possible in post-scarcity is preventing people from using non-scarce resources and services _forcing_ them to work for it. But what is the reason of forcing inefficient people to work while the machines do it much better?
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      Aug 20 2012: Money is simply just a tool, an incredibly flexible representation of material needs. It's just a universal measurement that people can use to do whatever they want, only after they've done their share of work and contributions.

      "So no human is forcedly involved in the process and no machine asks money for its work. Also no resources are scarce and they don’t have their value since they are renewable."

      The machine still requires maintenance, it still needs raw materials to work with, it still takes a fixed amount of time to perform its services, and it still needs to be repaired when broken. The machine does"ask" money. It demanded effort, time, and possibly money to be able to be created, which without time and effort, it could not be made.

      Everything is scarce and everything has a cost. For example, time is a cost to everything we do. So even when something is seemingly "free" it still costs some time to do it. If it does not cost any time and effort to do something, then we pretty much become Gods and break laws of physics lol.

      "But what is the reason of forcing inefficient people to work while the machines do it much better?"

      Exactly. This is when the inefficient people getting replaced needs to find new worth in society. Some may die out fast because they couldn't, while others may find new skillsets, a new market of demand, and niche off of that instead to adapt to the new playing field. This is natural selection.
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        Aug 20 2012: >The machine still requires maintenance

        Maybe I wasn’t very clear describing the _hypothetical_ model in my start comment and in several other comments. The machines will maintain, evolve(develop), produce new ones and repair themselves. This is so called superintelligence in conjunction with renewable and unlimited resources and energy. So no scarcity. Yes, it is hypothetical model as I mentioned since we are discussing future and we are free of current technology level in discussion. So we can discuss the concept, but not its implementation.

        >For example, time is a cost to everything we do

        What do you want for your 10 mins of labor of love if you have 100 billion dollars? For example I don’t want anything for my labor of love since I don’t _need_ anything.
        It’s a conceptual discussion. I just suggested my model with its constants and it’s more interesting to discuss it as concept because discussing the possible future implementation is like proving god’s existence(or the main question of Universe and everything) since we can’t verify yet. So if you disagree that such concept can exists even hypothetically we just have different views on the subject of this debate, not on the subject of this concept.
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          Aug 20 2012: "The machines will maintain, evolve(develop), produce new ones and repair themselves."

          Sure they'll be perfect laborers/soldiers, but things change in the future and they would need to be able to adjust to the change too. I think we can reach this state you're describing, but it would have costed many many years of effort for us to reach that point. Also, they would still take up space, because as of right now, I don't know if it's possible to accomplish that state of utopia without 0 space.

          "What do you want for your 10 mins of labor of love if you have 100 billion dollars?"

          If I can improve education instantly within that 10 minutes, and be able to reach out to everyone my ideas, I would do it.
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        Aug 20 2012: >Also, they would still take up space

        yes. Even w/o post-scarcity we’ll need much more space and resources than our planet can offer. And at this point I think about Space.
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          Aug 20 2012: Hmm...

          I'm not sure if we can achieve something that takes 0 time or 0 space to accomplish, unless we somehow harness the power of wormholes or something. If we do that though, wouldn't we pretty much become Gods? We create something without literally losing a thing.
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        Aug 20 2012: >I'm not sure if we can achieve something that takes 0 time or 0 space

        hmm it seems I’ve misunderstood you. Could you explain why we need 0 time or 0 space to accomplish it even hypothetically?
        >We create something without literally losing a thing.
        e.g. I have 1 kg of material. I create a thing of it. I want another thing to replace this one. I recycle this thing back into material and create the new one w/o wastes(e.g. material is made of nanobots). This is recycling.
        There are plans to mine asteroids. It is a great source of resources. This is _conditionally_ unlimited resources(the way to asteroid is made by machines and they have enough mining to fulfill their needs). There is also a concept of inorganic life. Forcing inorganic matter to divide. Everyone knows what would have happened with planet if the bacteria began to divide indefinitely. It’s just a couple of concepts not more.
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          Aug 21 2012: Well I was under the impression that these things would have 0 cost, which to me, also meant that it would have 0 cost in time/space as well.
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        Aug 21 2012: >Well I was under the impression that these things would have 0 cost, which to me, also meant that it would have 0 cost in time/space as well.

        I see. Well:
        1. Universe/Space is unlimited. Besides recycling I think it is also possible to go beyond the limits of the Earth with such ultimately high technology level
        2. Time. Time is unlimited too. Time of the individual w/o the needs is his will to spend it or not(may be such ultimately high technologies will also offer us the immortality?) Time of the machine is energy which is consumed. And which is theoretically renewable.
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          Aug 21 2012: wow, time is unlimited? that's certainly new to me
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          Aug 21 2012: There's quite a few theories that say that time and even space is finite. Light can only travel as fast as the space, the medium, which allows it to.

          But we don't know for sure whether time/space is finite/infinite, they're all just theories.
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          Sep 1 2012: Unlimited Universe and space.

          You know, if I think about it,
          if in the beginning there was nothing, wouldn't there be nothing still, having nothing to alter that situation with?

          Does that imply that something has always existed?

          Could we call that eternity?

          Wouldn't it be great if there was a thumbs down button?
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        Sep 1 2012: In the very near future, machines will repair themselves and each other. It's being done now.

        Machines will replace "ALL" labor in time.

        This was understood at the turn of the 20th century and this path will forever be pursued. The intellectual elite coupled with the wealthy have always understood that the world they wanted to live in could not exist unless the worker could be replaced by machines or turned into a retarded slave that would never complain.

        Algorithms will replace most white collar workers. The big dream of most old people today is a radio controlled Lawn mower, so they have already been developed and are being sold. There goes the lawn maintenance service along with the majority of immigrants jobs. The list goes on.

        Excessiveness on an individual scale has never really been a problem because an individual can only eat so many fish at a setting. On a larger scale, excursiveness becomes an issue. Nature abhors excessivness and constantly creates remedies. Nature wants balance.

        The world you guys are talking about existed for a short time after the plague. The wealthy had to grow their own corn and the peasants were rich with food and comfort. It didn't last long.

        Study how that short age of comfort was transformed back into chaos and you will have a good understanding why most of you suggestions and ideas won't work until mankind has evolved in some way, which may (more than likely) never happen.

        Technology will continue to grow until someone creates a suitcase sized fusion bomb or some home-hobby-genetic-lab creates a virus that wipes us all out. Then it's game over.
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    Aug 20 2012: Mats, I get what you're saying about automation replacing humans.

    New technology will do things so efficiently that you no longer would need blue-collar workers and those other automated tasks that humans have done.

    Ideally in a sort of super-advanced society where machines do all the labor for us, the only thing left for all humans to do pretty much is then to become more creative as a whole.

    However, currently, a lot of people aren't prepared for the new technology assembly lines replacing them. We're caught in that transition phase right now. When they're fully replaced, what are they supposed to do? If they don't find a way to survive the changes, they pretty much get naturally select'd out of society eventually. But if they do survive, it would be because they found something that can help them survive, such as creativity or finding new skillsets to niche off of, etc.

    So that's why I would like there to be re-education institutions out there to help people survive society and become of use. Maximize our efficiency of amount of work everyone can do, not let people go to waste, they're all valuable.