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Old 01-10-2012, 11:02 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The Middle of Puget Sound
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Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
The slaughtered will no longer be a threat.

Such peasants could be a threat.
What "threat"? Owning an automated factory will mean nothing. It won't give you any power. This is like a medieval peasant imagining that the drivers of combine harvesters would be the most powerful people of the modern era. After all, they control the food! Think of the power!

Except the driver of the combine isn't rich, is he, because anybody could do his job. The owner of an automated factory isn't going to be rich, because the first thing someone's going to build with their automated factory is another automated factory. Wait, second thing. The first thing will be a fully functional sexbot. The second will be another automated factory.

A magic factory that produces an endless cornucopia of goods and services would make you a wealthy man--today. A factory in the future that produces the exact same cornucopia, except there are millions of other automated factories would be worth nothing. What good is it? If can make you anything you want? Yeah, and so can any other factory. You can produce piles and piles of diamond necklaces? Yeah, and so can any other factory. Those diamond necklaces are worth nothing, because it costs nothing to produce them. The goods and services pouring out of your factory are worth nothing, and so your factory that can produce literally anything you can imagine is also worth nothing.

By that I mean, if you take a hammer and carefully smash your factory to bits, you won't be any worse off than you were before. Yeah, you won't have a river of manufactured goods pouring out any more. So what? You can get any manufactured good you can imagine for free, there are piles of them everywhere, or would be if robots didn't follow around behind people scooping up their discarded trash and dumping it back into hoppers to be used as raw materials.

In a world where every material good costs nothing to produce, material goods are worthless. People who have ownership of factories that make these material goods will be as rich and powerful as people today who have all the air they could ever want. It's the abundance of air that makes air worthless. Yes, you'll die in minutes without air. On a planet where air has to be laboriously manufactured by hand, the people who controlled the air supply would control the world. On a planet with a blanket of air a mile thick, it's ludicrous to speak of controlling the air.

Yes, there will be times and places where future people in a world of prosperity will have to work hard to make sure they have the material goods and services they need to live, just like there are times and places today where people have to work hard to make sure they have enough air. If you're in a submarine, or a burning house, or climbing Mt Everest, or visiting the Moon, you have to laboriously carry your air with you. That doesn't mean that the air barons rule the world.