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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 21 2012: @ Scott, LOL I think you missed my point as I wasn't clear. I agree completely with you that capitalism is a good economic system, a great one in fact. The weakness is not capitalism, it is how humans use it. Capitalism doesn't create vast wealth or inequality, humans use of it does. I also agree that the capitalist economies in the world today are making the greatest strides in technology to get us to a hypothetical point down the line where basic needs are covered and the idea of physical currency is challenged and the only value beyond physical currency that I can imagine right now would be a knowledge/acknowledgement for service/commodity based evolution of our current system. The basic capitalist model is wonderfully elegant & simple - I'm just playing around with the type of currency from a physical one to one that is not.

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