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Howard Yee

Software Engineer @ Rubenstein Technology Group,

TEDCRED 50+

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How would society change if everything we needed to survive was provided for?

What would happen to us if whatever we needed for basic survival was provided to us without any consequence? I am not talking about a form of communism, but more like a garden of Eden, where everything is bountiful and no end is in sight.

How would society be different? Would we self destruct out of boredom? Would we stop producing art if there is no drive for financial gain? Do you think we would produce art otherwise strictly for social status? Would those who have no drive to produce crafts decide to harm others due to boredom?

I would like to think that many would definitely self destruct leaving only those who are truly interested in pursuing crafts and scholarly work.

As a side question, if the outlook of this situation is positive, shouldn't we, as a society, focus on technology to obtain this? (Renewing energy and Von Neumann machines and such)

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    Jan 25 2012: for an example look into the history of the columbia river basin indians in early contact with whites the describe a society where everything need toi survive was abundant.
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      Jan 26 2012: Ultimately, the natives were wiped out or suppressed to extremely low populations. Doesn't that say something about the average human's greed? Regardless of whether there's a small population of humans who have the best intentions in mind, there will always be those who are destructive. Even if supply is abundant, land is not. Would humans ultimately overpopulate the earth such that there's physically no space left on earth to house people? The science of proxemics suggests that we would eventually destroy each other due to intersecting personal space alone.
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    Jan 26 2012: well the cultures had different values, the Indians had no use for gold for example and the whites envisioned a much higher population density which required the land to be worked, and of course a huge factor everywhere that European and non European cultures made contact was disease, which was more destructive than guns to the Indians. Still I think that the point you make that people are greedy to a society destroying fault is true.
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    Jan 26 2012: An artistic/cultural renaissance or decadence. Most likely, pockets of both.
  • Jan 25 2012: People would be free, happy, creative, more productive of whatever they produce, since they are producing for the right reasons. Human relationships would be better, more honest, more fulfilling.
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      Jan 26 2012: I agree that ultimately those left over would be those who wish to be productive and improve relations with each other. However, I feel like the world is so overpopulated that there are so many dissonant factors that those factors would wipe out any attempts by the group of well intentioned people to be "free, happy, creative, and productive".
      • Jan 26 2012: Howard, When in doubt, assume positive. (one of my basic, often repeated sayings) I feel that there are the exact right number of people in the world right now. Those dissonant factors will dissolve as soon as power in all realms is equally distributed between males and females. This would require females and males to acknowledge their equality to each other and act accordingly.