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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 24 2012: Your premise is flawed. The current US or world economy is NOT based on the aquisition or accumulation of material wealth. Some choose to leverage it for those purposes, others do not. In essence, your question is "how do you wipe out envy and focus energy on the pursuit of better-ment?"

    Any and all ecomonies are based on the exchange of goods and services. At present one cannot exchange intangibles with infinite value such as years of longevity, happiness, wisdom, love or spiritual peace, though we are free to seek and possess those things. There are no rules saying you must accumulate... in fact if you spend too much effort on accumulating, you will die at 40 of a heart attack.

    If you have spent your life pursuing 10 phds, why are you angry at the person who spent their life accumulating $$$? According to your own values, your pursuit was better.

    It seems the premise is based on an #OWS disdain for the accumulation of material items which is fundamentally based a sin called "envy." Spending time this way is as flawed as athiests being mad at God for not existing. It's a game you hate, that no one is forcing you to play, yet you play anyway and then cry because you don't like the rules. Sort of like trying to get back at the popular kids who ignored or teased you in junior high.

    Very few in this world are inhibited from taking care of their own 4 walls. It is envy of others possessions that is the issue, not the other persons possessions.

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