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The future of money

 
 
Cyracuz
 
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 11:12 am
What will happen to the economical system when humans reach the point where everything can be done by machines and robots, and humans as labor is no longer needed?

If that goal is ever achieved, would there be any point to money?
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Type: Question • Score: 5 • Views: 5,737 • Replies: 68
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 01:57 pm
@Cyracuz,
I assumed many years ago--and assumed that most people assumed the same--that with the cybernetic revolution the world of labor would change, that workers in most branches of production and even service would become obsolete. With the inevitable result that when most people are permanently unemployed capitalism would either be abolished peacefully or become intolerable and abolished violently. Marx's prediction about the decline and fall of capitalism was founded on the wrong reasons. Revolutionary inter-class resentment would not be sufficient (except in the second case mentioned above). But the abolition of jobs would. We simply are going to have to organize our world so that people are enabled to have a dignified life just because they are good cooperative citizens willing to work when society needs their help.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 02:38 pm
@Cyracuz,
I think if we ever reach a point where everything is done by machines then we'll have a bigger problem than just money. Even if all labor can be done by machines, materials will always carry an inherent value and will need to be traded.

Money is just an arbitrary physical representation for the value of a barter. And bartering for either goods or services is never going to end. If machines can do the work, then the machines themselves will become the goods (materials) and will carry a value of their own.

If you're talking about super-science like cornucopia machines (machines which can build themselves from raw atoms), then you're talking about a Singularity event which will shock our entire civilization right to the core and may very well threaten the survival of humanity.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 02:56 pm
As always, there will never be unlimited goods and services. Noone can have everything, so there is going to have to be some sort of allocation or rationing system. We wouldn't have to call it money, of course.
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Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 04:09 pm
But will we ever get there?
The way the economic system works now, it seems to perpetuate more of what is happening now. More money, more consumption and more mass production of temporary solutions, like electronics with short lifespans and low durability. Can this development be stopped without massive consequences to the general flow of money? As I understand it, global economy is based on money, not resources.
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Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 04:13 pm
@JLNobody,
Quote:
I assumed many years ago--and assumed that most people assumed the same--that with the cybernetic revolution the world of labor would change, that workers in most branches of production and even service would become obsolete.


At that point, capitalism would be pointless. But doesn't capitalism stand in the way of that ever happening?
vikorr
 
  2  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 05:10 pm
@Cyracuz,
I'm guessing that :
- the world will descend into anarchy, as severely bored people find the smallest things start irritating them
- people will get even fatter, leading to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease epidemics
- lots will escape through virtual computer games (contributing to the above epidemics)
- food will start including more 'feel good' ingredients (contributing to the above epidemics)
- more people will binge on alcohol and drugs (the alcohol of course, contributing to the above epidemics due to high sugar content, and adding liver disease to the mix...the drugs are anyones guess)
- neighbours will hate neighbours, people will cheat on their partners...

...hold on - that's todays world.
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 07:54 pm
@Cyracuz,
If by "money" you mean actual cash (coins and specie), that's virtually obsolete now. Plastic cards (either credit or debit) have taken its place. As for the notion that in the future all "work" will be performed by self-replicating machines and human "jobs" will no longer be available, it seems to me that's what the Luddites claimed would happen at the time of the so-called Industrial Revolution, nearly 200 years ago. Didn't happen then, won't happen now. The most brilliant of machines still need to be programmed. There will always be jobs for skilled button-pushers with well-callused thumbs.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 09:00 pm
@Cyracuz,
Yes, Cyracuz, when labor becomes obsolete (and noone is earning money, i.e., there are no consumers) capitalism would be pointless. But you ask if capitalism will not stand in the way of that happening. I'm sure it will try. The global context might help the "one %" prolong its existence by finding markets in other countries. I've not given thought to how that might happen but the global context will certainly complicate the picture.
Procrustes
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2011 12:24 am
@Cyracuz,
Two words... Coolness Credits. But seriously, it depends what kind of machines we build. If the machines require laws like Asimov's three laws of robotics or just a big button that says switch off, then we might not have a problem with robots logically turning against us to protect ourselves from us. But in terms of the money problem, I refer you to my first suggestion...
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Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2011 08:20 am
@Lustig Andrei,
By "money" I mean legal tender, whether in the form of paper notes and metal coins or in the form of digital numbers on a computer, money is still money.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2011 09:40 am
@JLNobody,
Quote:
But you ask if capitalism will not stand in the way of that happening. I'm sure it will try.


It already does, if I understand it correctly. It is a self perpetuating system, and the only outcome is increasing debt all around. The biggest motivator for anything is financial gain, which is why it stands in the way of humanity outgrowing it.
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2011 08:38 pm
@Cyracuz,
Without money, or assets (which is what money is representative of anyway), what would the masses strive for (and I'm not talking about the absolute minority for whom internal growth is enough)?

Men are genetically programmed to go out and 'hunt' - to provide...I'm guessing the suicide rate would go through the roof.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2011 08:43 pm
@vikorr,
So if you could do whatever you wanted without worrying about earning money to make a living you would kill yourself?
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2011 10:25 pm
@Cyracuz,
We are talking generics (as well as genetics) here Cyracuz.

Besides of which, under your system, there is nothing to say that I could do 'whatever I wanted'. I'm sure all the hotels in the Carribean would be booked out decades in advance....probably same with all the really fun things and places.

And what happens if in this self same world we run out of natural resources to build new things (after all, fully automated labor could mine at an enormous rate)?
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2011 10:42 pm
@vikorr,
Hah, and how would we decide who got the penthouse suite? Or would everything be the same size?
Procrustes
 
  0  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2011 11:56 pm
@vikorr,
It's not about the size but how you use it. Wink
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 Dec, 2011 12:02 am
@vikorr,
Hence my question on allocating resources. Your penthouse suite is a scarce resource.
Procrustes
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 Dec, 2011 12:14 am
@roger,
The type of people hoarding resources vs those who try to live sustainably will show themselves to be apparent. In this world of automation would there be laws against hoarding of such resources? And whose job will it be to allocate them?
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 Dec, 2011 01:50 am
@Procrustes,
Well, money was a good allocator, but it seems we don't have it anymore. Laws against hoarding (using) scarce resources? Does this really sound like an improvement?
 

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