[FoRK] Chart of the Day...
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.
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
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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