Monday, July 16, 2012

But it's all about the transition.


People are starting to understand what this whole post scarcity thing is all about. Stuff in the works RIGHT NOW is going to make people healthier, stuff cheaper, food better, energy more abundant, and a bunch of other very good things.

But. it's all about the transition.

It's all well and good that widgets and gizmo's are getting cheaper because robots are making them... but now people don't have jobs.

It's all well and good that health care is getting better... but we can't afford what we got  NOW.

It's all sorts of great that the internet is starting to show up everywhere...but the monthly fees to get it are killing us, and they want to charge by the megabyte?

It's fantastic that we can now feed the whole world, but a scary monopoly is trying to CHARGE us to do that, and corner the market on FOOD.

We got robots that can build houses now out of concrete, one 3d printed layer at a time... We have factories that can build manufactured homes at a rate of several an hour... but houses cost a third of your monthly salary for thirty years. And after that... property taxes change that to a fifth.

SURE stuff in the works will make all of these things so cheap to produce that they could give them away for free... but why would the people making these things want to do that?

As long as these things are coming at us top down... that is, someone gets a good idea, forms a company, makes a product and sells it for PROFIT.... This is the way its got to be. Like it or not.

The transition is going to be painful. Capitalists will wonder why no one is buying their stuff, because they don't realize they got rid of all the jobs of the people who wanted to BUY their stuff.


But.

What if instead, the guys without a job got together, and built a wireless mesh network so they could get the internet (or a version of it) for free?

What if they owned 3d printers capable of making more 3d printers? or at least a great deal of the parts. And then used those to make robots?

What if they got together, and used those robots and each other to make one hell of a garden? the kind of garden that can feed thirty people?

What if they had solar panels, windmills, and water purifiers on their apartment building... Things they installed themselves that makes that building efficient enough for the ten families that live there to no longer need to pay for water, or power?

What if a neighborhood got together, and REALLY started to communicate again... swapping what they needed with each other.. helping however they could? Trading from their garden with other gardens... building with their printers and giving their stuff to other people around them....

What happens when instead of top down... we built this all bottom up?

Well yeah, it won't be perfect. It's gonna be messy.

 Egos and greed will get in the way, people will hoard, mistakes will be made, some of them costly mistakes.

It will be ugly. and makeshift, and cobbled together.... duct tape and wd40, sweat and dust. But it will be ours. 

And the stuff this iteration makes will be used to make better versions of the next iteration. Better robots will take out the sweat. Better 3d printers will remove the duct tape, Clever solutions removing the dirt, the greed, the egos...

well, maybe not the egos.