The purpose of this chapter is to examine and discuss post-scarcity society.
I will first discuss the nature of capitalism as it exists today. This is not a new idea; Marx wrote about it extensively in Capital. However, I believe that his analysis was incomplete and that he did not take into account some important aspects of modern capitalism such as its technological development. For example, while Marx believed that capitalists were exploiting workers, he failed to realize how technology had made it possible for capital to be transferred from one person to another without any loss or gain. In fact, the transfer of money itself has become so efficient that many people no longer need to work at all. This process of automation is known as ‘digitalization.’ The result is that capitalism has been able to grow exponentially and now dominates every aspect of our lives.
Capitalism’s growth and dominance have led to a number of problems. First, capitalism creates inequality between classes which leads inevitably to conflict. Second, capitalism encourages greed and short-term thinking over long term planning. Third, capitalism causes a reduction in social welfare programs which reduces the standard of living for most people. Fourth, capitalism encourages the creation of monopolies and cartels which limits competition and increases prices. Fifth, capitalism promotes a culture of consumerism which results in increased pollution and waste. Finally, capitalism encourages a war mentality among politicians who use it as an excuse to expand their power base.
In order to solve these problems, I propose that we replace capitalist economics with something else. I am a strong supporter of what is known as post-capitalist economics in literature. Post-capitalism refers to a socioeconomic system which no longer relies on capital, either in the form of money or in property (e.g. real estate). Instead, it describes an economy based on automation. In a post-capitalist society, all goods and services are provided such that they do not require any labor. A post-capitalist society would be a money-less one as well, since money is only useful as a means of representing labor.
The first step towards such a system would be the implementation of automation, distributed manufacturing (a system for manufacturing goods in small factories across the world, rather than large factories in one place), and automation of agriculture. These technologies could then be used to provide basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, transportation and medical care.
Next, we must address the issue of wealth distribution. Capitalism tends to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few people, creating a class system where those with more money are able to buy better housing, nicer cars and other luxuries. We should therefore implement policies which redistribute income away from the rich and toward everyone else. This would look like the following:
1) Universal Basic Income (UBI): Everyone receives a regular payment regardless of whether they work or not. This would eliminate poverty by eliminating the need for people to work in order to survive. It also eliminates the need for corporations to pay employees, and could be used to pay for other social programs.
2) Free Public Transit: Rather than having to buy vehicles, everyone could have unlimited access to public transportation. This would massively cut down on traffic in urban areas, improve air quality, and promote a feeling of togetherness.
3) Free Education: Rather than having to pay for education, it would be provided free of charge to anyone who wishes to enroll. This would eliminate the need for students to take out loans, which often causes them to end up in debt.
4) Free Health Care: Health care would be provided for free, rather than at a price. This ends up saving money in the long-run, since very few people end up in the emergency room without insurance.
These policies would also help to reduce the amount of labor needed to be performed, resulting in an increase in automation. This creates a positive feedback loop as less labor is needed and automation is able to provide more goods and services.
The next part of restructuring our economy has to do with the nature of money itself. Money in a post-capitalist society is useful only for two reasons: keeping score, and facilitating trade. In other words, money’s only real purpose is in measuring one person’s productivity relative to another’s. In any advanced technological society, however, it is unnecessary since labor can be easily distributed through automation. Money as a tool of measuring productivity can then be replaced by a non-monetary system, which could take the form of compassion points that measure altruism, or simply reputation.
In any case, the monetary system that we use now cannot be sustained by a society with completely automated industries and the burden it puts on the economy due to these necessary labor requirements. A fully automated society will require a different monetary system altogether.
There is already an alternative currency already in use that does not require any work or money creation to maintain: Bitcoin. This is a digital currency that can easily be used for internet transactions and even some physical stores are now beginning to accept it.
The final, and most important step in restructuring our economy is implementing cybernetic implants (advanced forms of biotechnology and nanotechnology meant to enhance the human body). These implants will allow us to live much longer, healthier lives, and we’ll no longer be limited by age. With this technology, we’ll be able to extend our life spans indefinitely. This would mean that all of humanity will become immortal.
These implants would take the form of some sort of wirelessly connected device that could connect to your brain, or a small chip inserted in the arm that could connect to your nerves. These devices would allow for effortless automation and instant access to the internet without any need for external devices.
The implants could also function as a universal translator, giving everyone access to instant translation and communication with one another. This would lead to a great unity and a stronger, more intelligent human race that could easily outlive any potential threat
Humanity then will have finally achieved the state of “atteriality”, in which physical labor has become completely useless and the amount of resources consumed by it immensely decreased.
In such a state, everyone can be educated and need not work to survive, and yet work if they so choose to. Humanity can enter a new era of post-scarcity in which not only resources and goods, but time itself, is no longer a scarce resource.
We have already seen the beginnings of post-capitalism in the form of communism and socialism. These socioeconomic systems are based on the idea that all people should contribute to society according to their abilities, and receive according to their needs. I realize that these systems have not worked as planned in the past, however I believe that with the advent of automation they can be made to work successfully.
The success of these systems will eliminate the need to ever work at all. People can then devote all their time to leisure activities, and no longer will there be any need for consumerism. Since automation will have made most goods and services free, people can focus on more important issues in life, and truly advance as a species.
In order to implement these systems, I believe that we should take a measured approach. We should begin by implementing automated factories and integrating them into our current economic system. This will raise the standard of living for the average person and provide them with actual tangible benefits. Once people become accustomed to these benefits, we can eliminate the concept of wealth by making most goods and services free.
The final step would be to implement the implant infrastructure I mentioned earlier. The implants will allow for the instantaneous transfer of thoughts and memories, as well as a new universal language and currency and an efficient global communication and manufacturing network.
Since the majority of people will at that point have implants, they will also have the ability to access interactive virtual reality environments and the internet through their thoughts. It will finally make communication easy and efficient for everyone.
After these systems are implemented, I am fairly certain that we will be able to create a “utopia” for everyone. Our children will likely see the implementation of full automation and implants (which I fully intend to participate in developing). It will be a new golden age for humanity, with all of our needs provided for easily and no want beyond our imaginations. A true paradise, where we might focus on more important issues, like music and art.