[ExI] Economics 2

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Thu Apr 24 01:11:09 UTC 2008

On Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 12:48 AM, ben <benboc at lineone.net> wrote:


>  Here's a concept from a work of fiction (Stross' Accelerando), that gave
>  me the willies: Economics 2. The idea is that a Singularity almost
>  inevitably leads to a super-efficient economic system that leaves no
>  room for the kinds of mental activities that we value so much, like
>  enjoying life, fun-having, etc. In fact, it's so efficient that it
>  basically squeezes out all trace of consciousness.

I read Acclerando.  I really like Charles Stross' work.  He sometimes
reads this list and posts here.

>  Is that likely to be one of the serious problems that we face?

I doubt it.

>  If it's even the tiniest bit likely, how could we avoid it?
>  It sounds to me like the kind of attractor that, if it got started,
>  would suck everybody and everything in.

Our current understanding of economics makes underlying assumptions
that may or may not be even true.  Economics needs to be rooted in
biology and that has not been done yet.  We have discount economics
along the time dimension, with things becoming less valuable as the
promise of them recedes into the future.  Something like that occurs
with distance.  For example, the resources of the asteroid belt are
currently worthless.

How this translates to a post singularity world is extremely hard to say.

>  This is the kind of nightmare scenario that i hope somebody can
>  convincingly demonstrate belongs firmly in the realm of fiction (i.e.
>  can provably never happen).

I don't think "economics 2" is spelled out in enough detail to decide.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list