3174Re: [nanotech] economics, nanofacturing, and the social implications
- May 31 10:03 PMFirst off, as it has already been said, it may be a good exercise to
take a look back over the last sixty to seventy years, and find all the
many different things that were said "will" be happening by the year
2004. One must realize that predictions, from weather to financial to
temporal, are almost always wrong.
That said, the ideas you put forth sound very compelling.
"Anyway, a system such as that would allow communities to build their
own vehicles, make their own toasters, etc. If it could become
cost-effective, I can even envision smaller versions of the system in
your home. You pay for the elements, the compounds, and the design of
whatever product you wish to have. "
If I might make a few suggestions for the setting?
1) Have municipal governments incorporate waste extraction and garbage
disposal with the supply of "elements and compounds." This of course
would only be for large scale or problematic trash. Many houses would
likely be able to extract their own materials from garbage, much in the
same way one composts vegetable peels in their back yard, except that
items such as scrap metal, wood, plastics, yard wastes, anything really,
would be processed. These materials could be trunked directly into
building repairs, or the creation of household products. Food may even
be possible if the assembly process is intricate enough, and organic
materials utilized properly.
2) A possible scenario might involve an end to, or decrease in, what is
generally termed as hydraulic despotism.
The term comes from the British occupation of India. The British
constructed irrigation and plumbing systems that carried water inland,
creating cities in areas where they couldnt have existed before. Then,
once civic design and population density was past the point of no
return, they jacked up the taxes to oppressive levels. The populace
tried to resist. . . but then the British turned the water off. People
had no where to go, and died in the thousands from dehydration and
dysentery. The water came back on once the taxes were paid.
In Europe and North America we are also subject to a similar, if not
more benign, form of hydraulic despotism. Water, sewers, electricity,
telecommunications, food distribution, natural gas, petroleum; all these
are infused items that make our urban centers possible. The scale of
nanotechological development you are describing might reduce many of
these dependencies to inconsequentials. It would be interesting to see
if this resulted in the resurgence of the Ashram/Kibutz systems.
3) You might explore an open-source community of pattern designers.
People might create designs that people could download for free, or
very low cost, and then use them to create them in these assemblers you
propose. So if I can get the pattern for a kick-ass sports car designed
by my genius cousin in Hamilton, or furniture from a carpenter I know in
Berlin, and get insane amounts of scrap from my drinking buddy down the
road. . . well. None of us have got any need to buy anything from
anybody; we just pool our resources, and there you go.
As for the state of capitalism, well it is a product of the industrial
age, an age that demanded massive social communities called nations.
You might want to pull out your history books and do a bit of a review
there. These massive social communities called nations predate the
industrial revolution by more than 5,000 years. Names like Babylon,
Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, The Persian Empire, England, India, and
Japan, are a few names that pop up as minor examples.
In regards to capitalism, many of the aforementioned cultures used cash
money, had banks, interest rates, loans, investors, etc., and all
predate the industrial revolution. My personal favorite is the use of
compressed bricks of tea all over Asia prior to the late 1800s, and the
basing of local currencies on tea. Granted, we in the West have indeed
raised mamon to a near fetishist level, but whether one uses a ten
dollar bill, two live hens, or a Roman silver denarius to purchase food
from the market, is immaterial. Were still talking about an object
being given the function of representing value in an abstract form for
the purposes of exchange. Cash may not be the medium used, but there
will likely be money of some sort. And theres no reason to assume
these monies will be earned or exchanged in the same manner we do today.
The new economy would actually contain elements of both capitalism and
communism, with local communities existing as corporations (corporations
that, nonetheless, had competition from within).
I personally got a good chuckle out of that one. To put forth
capitalism (which is basically feudalism with value transferred from
land wealth over to monetary wealth) and communism as reference points,
and then call upon the corporation, whose power structure is fascist,
was quite amusing. Id suggest looking at socialism, unless the
fictional society you are creating has the totalitarian bents endemic in
the three power structures you mentioned.
Your plot idea sounds refreshing to my ears, and similar on a few points
to a story Ive been drafting. We should compare notes.
- << Previous post in topic Next post in topic >>