Society Doesn't Know How To Deal With Abundance

from the we're-hard-wired-for-scarcity dept

There's a great post about a recent Clay Shirky talk that highlights one of the key reasons why I think so many people have trouble understanding the economics of abundance. In the talk Shirky points out that, as a society, we're not really hard-wired to deal with abundance:
Abundance breaks more things than scarcity does. Society knows how to react to scarcity.
Indeed, if you look at all of human history, probably 99.999999% of it has been about dealing with the issues of scarcity. In fact, our entire original economic philosophy (which is really just two and a half centuries old) was based on "resource allocation in the presence of scarcity." Historically, abundance just hasn't been an issue that we've had to deal with very much. And the problem is that people try to apply the mental rules of scarcity to abundance and they basically kick out an error message. It's a "divide by zero" sort of problem. You get infinity as a result, and you think it's wrong.

So the response is almost always the same. Rather than actually trying to deal with what abundance enables, people try to force abundance back into a feeling of scarcity -- which they're comfortable with. That is, they try to apply artificial rules and restrictions to make the abundance feel like it's scarce, so that they can understand it again.

But, that's not how disruption works. Disruption changes the old models -- and abundance can be disruptive in very significant ways. And disruption doesn't happen in an orderly transition, such that those who are stuck on the old models can gracefully and gradually learn about and switch over to the new models. As Shirky says:
It's easy to say "preserve the best of the old and combine it with the best of the new," but in revolution, the best of the new is incompatible with the best of the old. It's about doing things a whole new way.
Indeed. This is a point that is brought up by our critics a lot. They claim that content creators and the like shouldn't even try to shift over to the new models while the old models still have some life in them or while the new models aren't really well proven. There's this belief that they can hang onto the old, and gradually add some elements of the new, and then eventually make the jump. But, what Shirky points out more eloquently than I ever could, is that much of the new stuff is really incompatible and very much in conflict with the old. If giving away your content increases new opportunities, how do you square that with an old business model that was built entirely around the scarcity of content?

No one doubts that this is difficult, and at times requires a big leap of faith. But there's no question that there are many things today that are abundant, where they used to be scarce. And that presents a huge challenge. Yet, time and time again, we've seen that when something becomes abundant it is not a bad thing -- but an opportunity to do something even larger. It's just that it's incredibly difficult to do that if you're still hanging on to the old ways.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    ohh really, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 9:36am

    it doesn't

    ok give to me then. i have little , let me try ....

    more like people with so much dont want to give any to anyone cause they think they have some right to wealth at the expense of others.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 9:45am

    The honest artists out there aren't having that much of a problem with this stuff.

    The dishonest artists and the non-artists, well, I guess that's a different story.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    MrSonPopo, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 10:06am

    Division by Zero = Infinity

    I'm sorry Mark. I love your articles, but I gotta correct you here. You can't divide by zero, what you can do is to get the limits of a function around 0.

    But many functions won't behave like "the limit goes to infinity", but rather to some other results, a traditional example is "function goes to minus infinity from one side, and plus infinity on the other side".

    Anyways, keep up the good work,

    MrSonPopo

    PS:
    related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limit_of_a_function

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Modplan (profile), Mar 11th, 2010 @ 10:08am

    I'm glad this post came about, as it brings up an issue that is at the heart of disruption:

    Why do companies that are run well and according to all known good rules of management still fail?

    Answer: Business models are not absolute, they're fit for purpose. When the situation and purpose change, so too do the business models.

    It's more difficult to change the already existing system to fit the new situation than it is to simply start over. Especially when all the incentives tell you the low end or emerging market isn't enough to placate your companies needs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 10:13am

    I agree to a point...

    I don't think society as a whole doesn't know how to handle abundance. I think it is the people in control of scarce resources that don't know how to handle it. People understand it quite well, hence the unwillingness to pay for abundant goods. The captains of industry are the ones refusing to change and clinging to the past. They want to keep things as they were where they had control. I think it is really more of a control issue. There is plenty of money to be made with abundant goods, as you prove here every day, but there is little control over abundant goods. The power players like the control as much or more than the money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Just Another Moron in a Hurry (profile), Mar 11th, 2010 @ 10:16am

    Re: Division by Zero = Infinity

    Since we are all about correcting things here, his name is Mike. Not Mark.

    :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 10:17am

    Re: I agree to a point...

    Case in point is Apple with the iPhone. They could make as much or more money by opening up the phone, but then they lose control. People have some ingrained belief that because they created something they get to control how it is used.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Greevar (profile), Mar 11th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re: I agree to a point...

    I invented the wheel! You can only use it for moving fruit!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Ryan, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 10:33am

    Re: I agree to a point...

    I think society as a whole does have a problem understanding. People don't not pay for marginally free things because they understand economics in a macroscopic sense, but because they choose the courses of action that are best for them, which happen to be forecast by economics.

    However, I see a complete lack of understanding of what economics is all the time from the general public. The best example I can think of is jobs. When technology warps the market such that something previously scarce is now more abundant, there absolutely should be job loss; otherwise, we're being inefficient and wasting resources by retaining jobs that are no longer needed, and ones that would be of more value to society if they were eliminated and the manpower reallocated elsewhere. Yet, we waste billions of dollars on "stimulus" projects and other boondoggles, prop up the USPS, GM, housing, etc. because we are unable to understand that scarcity changes based on either increased supply or decreased demand.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Ryan, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: I agree to a point...

    Not to mention that you cannot make a distinction between businesses and the public. Businesses are the public, and the decisionmakers of those businesses are by and large the most intelligent of the public. Priorities will change based on whether an individual is a low-level worker at an IT company or Steve Jobs, but that doesn't change an individual's inherent comprehension of economic factors.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Kacela (profile), Mar 11th, 2010 @ 10:41am

    We must learn how to deal with our greatest abundance:

    The government. It's size and scope must be greatly reduced into scarcity if our Republic is to have any chance of a future.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Somebody, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: I agree to a point...

    You really stretched this out in order to reach your political motive...I agree to a point with the job analogy. For example, we should be looking into trains or another form of freight which would eliminate trucking jobs and significantly reduce road cost/oil consumption. That is something that would take decades to develop. I'm guessing you don't work for USPS or GM and I'm also guessing you haven't struggled to pay bills/find work...Good for you...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Re: I agree to a point...

    I agree that business are people, unfortunately people hide behind the business to do things they might never do in their own name.

    While they are supposed to be the best and the brightest, that also gives them the "they know best" attitude, hence the attempt to control the product and the people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Somebody, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: Re: I agree to a point...

    I agree tat decisionmakers are generally the most intelligent of the public. Unfortunately, this does not mean that the have what is best for their country in mind. It is what is best for their company or more importantly, themselves. The unfortunate outcome of the free market, as the US operates, is limited competition/fewer, bigger companies. Once markets shrink to a few decisionmakers, the economy depends on their success. If they screw up, the economy pays the price big time since they are large enough to affect the success of other businesses relying on their success. The real problem is the lack of control/monitoring of this runaway train.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 11:24am

    Decision makers, absolute power corupts absolutly

    "I agree tat decisionmakers are generally the most intelligent of the public."

    OMG WRONG. you could do an IQ test of the conservative party of Canada versus say i dunno any university faculty and get the real picture.

    NO the truth is htey most understand that being bribable means they get easy riches for stripping our rights and freedoms so someone can profit , and that is usually someone who also afterwords offers them a job

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    jjmsan (profile), Mar 11th, 2010 @ 11:28am

    Re: Division by Zero = Infinity

    You can in fact devide by zero. You get what is called an imaginary number. That is also done for the square root of -1

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Somebody, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 11:40am

    Re: We must learn how to deal with our greatest abundance:

    Should free enterprise and private companies be left to sell/control the basic essentials that allow this country to operate (energy, education, safety, & health)? I do believe that if laws that are on the books weren't perverted/circumvented a lot of the biggest problems we have today would not be as bad. If you think the government sucks at what they do, then you have a valid argument but don't forget that the people have the control over what it does and how it does it. If you don't think they do, then you should go into politics and fight to change it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 11th, 2010 @ 11:40am

    One of my favorite books of all time ...

    One of my favorite books of all time is the "bunny book" also called "Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines " done by Ralph Merkle of Xerox Parc and Robert A. Freitas Jr. In it they describe the history and the state of the art in self replicating machines. At the rate we are going with in 20 years we will have this technology. We already have MS robotic studio, Rep Rap and several other projects both software and hardware, working towards building machines that can make copies of themselves and other devices. These technologies when mature will be extremely disruptive.

    "disruption doesn't happen in an orderly transition, such that those who are stuck on the old models can gracefully and gradually learn about and switch over to the new models."

    With that I fully agree. Now look into the future where the entire manufacturing base can be replaced by something you keep in you garage and can be easily expanded based on what you need and want to build. The only things that are valuable then are the raw materials that are used for building things. Even the raw materials will loose their value as people improvise and use different materials.

    People think that unlimited copies of music and videos are bad. That is just the failure of the media industries. Imagine the failure of the manufacturing base as people dont need to buy from them any more.

    Now thats disruption ... and a game changer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Comboman, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 12:01pm

    Early Societies Dealt with Abundance

    I disagree with the basic premise that 99.9999% of history was about dealing with scarcity. Early societies dealt with abundance all the time, and as a result virtually everything was free. If you were hungry, you killed deer. If you were thirsty, you got water from the river. These things were abundant, in fact for all intents and purposes they were infinite since they were renewable and supply was far greater than demand. It wasn't until the population started increasing (in any given area) that economies developed in order to deal with scarcity both natural (depleted resources due to overpopulation or natural disaster) and artificial ("No shooting the King's deer peasant!"). It's no coincidence that the areas of highest population density (Middle-East in the Bronze Age, Europe in the Middle Ages) also had the most advanced economies of the time. So it's more like 95% of human history was all about abundance, 4.9999% was about scarcity, and now were into a new phase of abundance again (at least for virtual goods) and (surprise, surprise) we naturally expect them to be free.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I agree to a point...

    The real problem is the lack of control/monitoring of this runaway train

    You have hit the nail on the head and this is what I have been saying. Unlike Obama and his cronies would have you believe, capitalism is not failing. Unregulated capitalism is. And by regulation, I am not talking strict regulation, but common sense regulation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Overcast (profile), Mar 11th, 2010 @ 12:38pm

    It's not really 'abundance' in terms of 'digital media'.

    It's infinity. Which humans can't really seem to grasp - and it's expectantly logical for a 'finite' being, such as humans.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: Division by Zero = Infinity

    I'm sorry Mark. I love your articles, but I gotta correct you here. You can't divide by zero, what you can do is to get the limits of a function around 0.

    But many functions won't behave like "the limit goes to infinity", but rather to some other results, a traditional example is "function goes to minus infinity from one side, and plus infinity on the other side".

    Since we are all about correcting things here, his name is Mike. Not Mark.


    He's good at math, not people skills.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    dvoechnik, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Division by Zero = Infinity

    You mean (1/0)^2 = -1? :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Mar 11th, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: I agree to a point...

    You really stretched this out in order to reach your political motive...

    i don't think it's stretched out. i think that jobs are a political football and both sides have really rosy outlooks on how to create jobs: one side wants to pull the restraints off of capitalism so businesses can grow and create jobs. the side wants to restrict big businesses so new markets can be created and entered into. nether side will ever succeed so it's all going to stay the same: business will go unchecked until it causes huge problems, then it will be checked in misguided ways that cause other more severe problems.

    I'm guessing you don't work for USPS or GM and I'm also guessing you haven't struggled to pay bills/find work...Good for you...

    a lot of technology types, myself included, got wiped out in the last bubble-burst cycle and ended up looking for work and not finding it until the tech sector got back on its feet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Mar 11th, 2010 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: I agree to a point...

    "People have some ingrained belief that because they created something they get to control how it is used."

    Yes it's one of the most insidious flaws in the human psyche. They get hooked onto this control thing and it eats away at them from the inside - they become like Gollum from the Lord of the Rings.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Mar 11th, 2010 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: I agree to a point...

    When technology warps the market such that something previously scarce is now more abundant, there absolutely should be job loss; otherwise, we're being inefficient and wasting resources by retaining jobs that are no longer needed,

    True but most job loss in the west in recent years has been unrelated to technology but rather related to an economy which relies on exploiting the structural differences between first and third world economies.

    It is a kind of economic version of the story in Asimov's novel "The Gods Themselves"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gods_Themselves

    Unfortunately exploitation of cheap labour in the third world has the side effect of importing third world economics into the west - which will result in disaster for the poorest third of the population in the west - plus the economic equivalent of the "supernova" in the Asimov novel...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2010 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: I agree to a point...

    That's profound. Youve altered the way I think about this forever.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Mar 11th, 2010 @ 3:53pm

    Re: Early Societies Dealt with Abundance

    Early societies dealt with abundance all the time, and as a result virtually everything was free. If you were hungry, you killed deer. If you were thirsty, you got water from the river. These things were abundant, in fact for all intents and purposes they were infinite since they were renewable and supply was far greater than demand.

    Not abundant, and not infinite, not in the sense of economics. Abundant doesn't mean there's a lot of them, and infinite doesn't mean renewable with a large supply. Consider sunshine and air as abundant and you can see how different those are from deer. If you want a deer to eat, you have to go find one, get close enough to it, kill it, butcher it, and take it back to the village. If you want water, you have to carry a container to the river and carry the water back.

    Compare that to the process of getting more sunshine (when it's daytime and not cloudy). Abundant deer meat would mean you could walk outside your tent in the morning and pick up as much of it off the ground as you want. And this would be true every day forever, so there's no need to store any for later either.

    Hunting parties, weapons, tools, and probably a lot of social structure was there in part to deal with the scarcity of food. Other scarcities were water (unless you live right on the bank, you have to go get it), shelter, clothing, and perhaps mating opportunities.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 5:05am

    Abundance & Insight

    An ever greater number of people means increasing scarcity of the things which matter. While there seems to no limit to the amount of uninformed drivel on Internet as evidenced by TechDIRT babble about patents and FREE it is a fact that useable water is increasing scarce and that cleaning up what is available is increasingly expensive. The same is true of air which is loaded with pollutants and must be filtered.

    Increasing population means that pathogens have more opportunity to mutate and more rapid spread. It is only a matter of time before we have a pandemic and at this time it is prudent to sterilize air in HVAC system with UV C, thereby killing airborne viral, bacterial and fungi. So eliminating increasingly more pathogens and more virulent pathogens is now a new cost of being able to breath.

    One of the interesting things is that when Mike Masnick talks about abundance it is usually in the context of copying others intellectual property. When someone makes something which belongs to others "abundant" they are thieves. All the rationalizations in the world will not change this.

    One thing which is not abundant for inventors is time to develop and perfect their inventions. This can take years and in some cases a lifetime.and during that time the inventor needs to have income just like Mike Masnick needs income from giving big companies "insight" which keeps those companies happy enough to pay his freight.

    So how is it that Mike Masnick deserves to make a living based on as much as the market will bear from his "insight" but inventors should should not make a living from their "insight" because people like Mike Masnick believe that the value inventor's "insight" should immediately drop to the marginal cost of reproduction?

    The patent system grants inventors a limited time of exclusive use in exchange for the inventor fully disclosing their "insight" to the public while Mike Masnick keeps his "insight" scarce and doles it out a bit at a time for hard cash.

    Tell me, which of the party's "insight" has the most value to society? Who is most deserving of compensation, those who keep "insight" scarce or those who share their "insight" broadly in a way which allows others to build ever greater "insight"?

    It is also important to recognize that not all "insight" is created equal and that some "insight" is probably more bull than real "insight" :)

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 5:08am

    Re: it doesn't

    "more like people with so much dont want to give any to anyone cause they think they have some right to wealth at the expense of others."

    Those of us who have the gumption to work hard and build wealth deserve the fruits of our labor.

    It is time that you develop some self respect and earn your way.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 5:11am

    Re: Re: I agree to a point...

    So don't buy Apple products. I don't because they are crippled by design.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Christopher Anderson, Mar 12th, 2010 @ 6:44am

    Supply Side Assumption - linear growth

    Great post on the economics of abundance. It brought to mind the standard supply and demand graph. In trying to combine the two ideas (abundance and the supply line) together, it appears that the standard graph assumes that supply only has linear growth or decline; which we know in times of access to new technological developments, that is not true (e.g. computers, youtube, cars, process breakthroughs, new materials, etc...). It seems that sudden curves in the supply line are the cause (direct or indirect!?) of a shock to the system, or paradigm shift. To me it seems the linear graph of supply and demand is a great exageration, as we know that demand at certain times can change drastically as well. Perhaps the purely numerically model with linear assumption, is too naive to match our present economical understanding. My intuition suggests that a new model should incorporate assumptions based on our cognitive, emotional, and social functioning.

    an interesting thought... mmmm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 7:49am

    Re: Abundance & Insight

    "Increasing population means that pathogens have more opportunity to mutate and more rapid spread. It is only a matter of time before we have a pandemic"

    "The patent system grants inventors a limited time of exclusive use in exchange for the inventor fully disclosing their "insight" to the public"

    Take these two statements and do a thought experiment.
    Suppose an inventor comes up with an idea to fix the problem in your first statement.

    Based on your second statement he then receives the right to arbitrarily stop the world from receiving the benefit of his invention - and thus the power to allow an avoidable global disaster to happen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re: Abundance & Insight

    The fix to that problem is to greatly lower population and then the pandemic risk goes way down.

    Conversely, if there is no reward for finding a cure then why in the hell would I or any other inventor dump our life, soul and financial resources into addressing the cure if all we are going to get is kicked around?

    Remember that nature will relentlessly continue to develop new ways to kill people so if those producing the inventions are not fairly rewarded then they will not have the will or resources to do their work.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2010 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: I agree to a point...

    You shouldn't have a signature that is longer than your actual message, it's incredibly arrogant and shows how little influence you actually have. If you notice, people with a lot more influence than you list nothing more than their name, sometimes not even their full name.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Abundance & Insight

    except the medical research groups get a LOT of money from the public to pay for their research. Yet they spend more on Advertising and keep the drugs out of the public's hands unless they can pay a premium.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Mr. Oizo, Mar 12th, 2010 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Re: Division by Zero = Infinity

    What a nonsense. Where did you hear that. 1/0 is a complex number ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I agree to a point...

    And I argue the opposite, that you should sign what you write and be big enough to stand behind what you have to say. If you did this you might have some credibility.

    I may disagree with Mike Masnick but he is at least willing to stand behind what he has to say, while you are not. It seems to me that small mindedness is far too common on TechDIRT.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 12th, 2010 @ 4:29pm

    Re: Re: Early Societies Dealt with Abundance

    There was a huge effort required to get all that free stuff, the end result being that it was not free.

    The same is true for inventions, in that the inventor invests staggering effort to produce the invention and to teach the invention with a patent. That effort is not free. Granted there are plenty of people who think that things should be free, leaches on society, but nothing is really free.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2010 @ 2:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I agree to a point...

    I'm not referring to using a name or not, I personally don't like having my name all over the internet, but for those who do, great for them.

    Rather i was referring to all your posts with 9 lines beyond just your name even though the actual content of your post is a single line message. It comes off as extremely egotistical.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    TJ, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 12:31am

    On the other hand...

    That's interesting, and it's completely contrary to an article I was reading just last night here:

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/Nature-Community/1975-03-01/The-Plowboy-Interview-John-Shutt leworth.aspx

    (start on page 13) where it's argued that Europe was *bathed* in abundance starting around 1500, and then lists all the ideas and attitudes we 'created' as a result. And suggests that those days are over.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Best Website Designer, Dec 8th, 2010 @ 3:15am

    I agree to a point

    That is true. Society just knows to react to scarcity but not to abundance. If it reacted to abundance the same way, then we would have had everything in this life.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Mushet, Oct 11th, 2013 @ 9:54am

    Abundance Economy via Nano Replicators

    Once we could build functional personal nanofactory replicators, would an abundance society work? Everyone would have endless supplies of replicators and replicated matter made from abundant atoms in dirt, air, water, and cheap chemicals and energy from the sun and stars.

    The only scarce stuff would be rare elements like gold and platinum (who cares?) until we get working fusion power to transmute hydrogen into them, and, scarce human services and information, until the information is out on the web, then its open source.

    People would be able to spend their time doing what they want, gardening, reading, fishing, eating and drinking anything they want with no side effects because nanomachines maintain perfect physical body structures, studying, inventing, travelling, etc.

    Does anyone here see any flaws in the human side of this? Don't say there are flaws in the physical side because we know nano robotics and related are possible based on the laws of chemistry, physics, and biology.

    What would YOU all do if YOU personally had these nanofactories?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This