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Russell Richard

Piping Stress Analyst, Piping Stress Inc.

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How would an economic system not based on the acquisition of material wealth work?

The internet is essentially a machine that duplicates products without expending resources. It is a literal cornucopia of content products. The SOPA discussions are demonstrating that the old style economics of one-way distribution will not work for content companies in the present and future. But, what about everything else?

As we gather knowledge about the universe, we are able to create things with greater and greater ease. In the case of just about all content, we have gathered enough information to create a system that effectively generates product for no cost. There is also, usually, no profit - people make things because they want to.

Physical objects are more difficult to generate in this manner. We know this because it still takes effort and resources to make them. However, there may come a time when physical objects are created just as easily as content is created through the internet. What happens then?

What happens when we can no longer rely on profit from making things? How do we create an economic system that isn't based on acquiring material wealth?


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  • Jan 20 2012: Kenneth Boulding once wrote something on what he called the "grants economy." That may be relevant to this discussion. I hope there can be a separation of money income from work. Even Aristotle thought there was something wrong with working for money. The excesses of acquiried material wealth are based upon fear. We live in a fear-based society. If we let go of the bible brainwashing, re-program ourselves to relate to reality as a neutral or positive place to be, we will design systems that are based upon positive assumptions, thereby leading to the creation of economic, social and other systems that will actually work to achieve the stated desired (positive) goals.
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      Jan 21 2012: Is it your contention that we could move away from a wealth-gathering society construct now? Generally, we use money as a reward for good work and great ideas. (Unless you're the government, then you just take money regardless of whether you've earned it.) We have the ability to stockpile money from one generation to the next, and those with a lot of it can fund the ideas of those without a lot of it (investing).

      I agree that somewhere inside of each of us there is a part that is afraid to be without food and a home. It is biological. Those without food and home die. Therefore, if we can buy more stuff, we do. It adds to our home and makes us feel more secure.

      Economics is generally based on the idea that every person always wants more and better stuff than they currently have. If every person in an economic system were to say, "Nope, I have enough. I don't want any more.", how would we get people to innovate and create new ideas and technologies? how would we reward them for making our lives better?

      Do we have to?
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        Jan 21 2012: @Russell
        To begin with - you lock up your car for a month to educate yourself about what you waste and how that waste wrecks your body.
        Second, you admit the difference betweeen "job" and "work" - you see that a job is what you do for money and work is what you do for yourself - then you ask your self, who or what is getting the benefit of your time and effort - is it you? Or money? Then ask yourself if money was worth serving and quit your job, find your work.
        Are you afraid? .. does anyone love you? IF no one loves you .. how did that happen? And if anyone loves you - how can you be afraid?
        I tell you that there is no one on this planet that does the work of Russell Richard better than Russell Richard can.
      • Jan 24 2012: Russell, If people were FREE of generating moneyforsurvival, they would work and create and innovate far more. We should give everyone an amount of money they can live well on and trust the good human spirit to do the rest. People are wonderful. Let's show them the respect they deserve.

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