TED Conversations

Andre Hoogeveen

Specialist, Apple Computer Inc.

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What benefits and challenges might arise as a result of transitioning from a monetary system to a resource-based society?

In other words, if we were to eliminate all forms of money and bartering, what changes - large and small, positive and negative - might we see?

Thus, imagine a world in which there is a comprehensive accounting of the planet's resources, such as fresh water, arable land, minerals, and animal life. Further contemplate that technology and automation have begun to eliminate dangerous, boring, or repetitive jobs. Finally, take a moment to ponder the possibilities if each person were given the opportunity for a quality education and the ability to reach their highest potential.

Indeed, there is a lot to take in, and no single answer could account for the many facets of such a scenario. Nevertheless, from a position of sustainability, I think we must realistically look at what the monetary system has done, and what ever-developing technology will do.

As you consider your possible answer(s), please reflect on the following:

- The effect of education on the birthrate.
- Ownership of the Earth's resources.
- The concept of "usership" as opposed to the "right of possession".
- The inevitability of "technological unemployment".

I thank you kindly for reading this, and for taking the time to answer!


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    Aug 14 2013: Why should we forsake a system that has relentlessly and continuously decreased the scarcity of resource availability. (http://www.masterresource.org/2010/04/population-consumption-carbon-emissions-and-human-well-being-in-the-age-of-industrialization-part-i-revisiting-the-julian-simon-paul-ehrlich-bet/#more-9145)
    That has provided us with a near perfect mechanism to let supply meet demand, one that incorporates our best (wisdom of crowds) estimate of future supply and demand, so that impending shortages are caught early on and dealt with as fast as possible. And a system that has without exception broken through any Malthusian plateau ever encountered
    How many bureaucrats in ‘resource accounting’ could ever come even close to resource estimation abilities of the ultra dynamic market system, of resource amounts that are seriously in flux and changes, due to technological development, economics, social political events and the weather among things, every second.

    My best guess for the greatest challenge for a resource-based society, would be the billions dying because of the scarcity it will cause. Because incentives will lack for suppliers to meet demand, and the shared ideology, which is needed for it to work, will not be ubiquitous, some will abuse the system (just like in communism).
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      Aug 14 2013: What about the hundreds of millions who are suffering in poverty NOW, Victor? As more and more jobs disappeared due to technological development, when will our money-bound system finally work for them? Rest assured, wealthy industrialists and factory owners have no problem displacing people with machines and robots.

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