[ExI] far future

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sat Jan 11 21:59:01 UTC 2014

On 10/01/2014 23:09, BillK wrote:
> If you have spent your life gaining power and riches, this means that
> you have access to resources that the mass of the population don't
> have. Giving cheap energy to everyone else devalues the assets that
> you own and devalues your life spent gaining riches.

This view seems to be pretty popular. Just look at Elysium. Yet it flies 
in the face of most economic theory, and empirically you tend to find 
rich and powerful people spending more effort on making themselves more 
rich and powerful compared to their reference class of other rich people 
than non-reference class people.

My own explanation for its popularity is that it improves self-esteem of 
non-rich and non-powerful people by making the rich and powerful to be 
bad people. Hence it is not so wrong to want to take their resources 
from them, one will look better in comparison (especially given our 
self-serving  biases that make us think we are more moral than the 
average person).

Historically in modern societies, the people who have gained wealth and 
power have typically been the ones that sell something everybody 
wants/needs or get a lot of popular support for their policies. While 
Slim, Gates and Ortega no doubt defend their wealth, they do not look 
like they are wedded to the status quo - in fact, like many modern rich 
people they seem happy to invest in new tech. Let's not forget #19 on 
Forbes, Jeff Bezos and his space projects, #20 Larry Page #21 Segey Brin 
with Calico and loads of robotics, #30 George Soros with the Institute 
for New Economical Thinking, #527 Elon Musk with his space projects, and 
#931 Peter Thiel - these people hardly strike me as pro-status quo).

> People don't much like being told their life's efforts have been cheapened.

This is an explanation for much life extension resistance.

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Faculty of Philosophy
Oxford University

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