[FoRK] Chart of the Day...

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Wed Jun 9 04:44:24 PDT 2010

On Jun 9, 2010, at 0:02, "Stephen D. Williams" <sdw at lig.net> wrote:

> I wonder if the solution, probably in the distant future, is  
> guaranteed reasonably priced housing / healthcare / etc. through  
> some mechanism that doesn't generate its own gigantic money sink.

All ears.

Tempted to point out that a perpetual motion machine would solve all  
our energy woes, too... ;-)

Here's the thing:  there will be no such thing as "post-scarcity" in  
the physical world, no matter what technology develops, because  
scarcity is relative and resources are finite.

You could probably provide some cost-effective baseline existence by  
uploading those folks who can't or won't be productive in vivo, but  
even the maitenance of their existence in simulo has a cost in terms  
of substrate resources, energy, and compute cycles that could be  
directed otherwise.  Short of some Tipler-esque magic trick, that is.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not suggesting that technology won't continue  
to improve the mean standard of living beyond anything we can likely  
imagine, assuming we dodge the various existential risks. But absent  
some changes in human nature it won't "cure" want, envy, and some  
notion of poverty.

> With children and a mortgage, it would be hard to be over half.

Not so, but this provides a nice teachable moment.  Don't forget that  
with incomes taxes and witholding, particularly witholding to fund  
entitlements, a big chunk is gone before you even have it to spend on  
mortages, kids, etc.  Then factor in e.g. a non-scaled AMT, then all  
the usual state and local property, income, sales, one-off licensing  
and registration, double-dipping for the use of already publicly- 
funded services and resources, and other taxes and I'd hazard a guess  
that a surprising percentage of the population is over 40% already.  
Close enough to half for government work. ;-)

Then factor in the dilutive effects of inflation to feed voracious  
deficit spending, the most insidious tax of all, and you have a grim  
picture indeed.

And absent some massive about-face on spending and entitlements, it's  
about to get a LOT worse. Absolutely shocking to me that, even as the  
US rushes to become more like e.g. the U.K. and Europe, those polities  
are waking up to the harsh and austere futures they now must face.



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