Parent categories: Economy.

An economic system that frees humanity from unnecessary suffering and meaningless work

YAML Interest

This is a relatively old problem for humanity, but that has been gaining new nuances with each major wave of innovation: the agricultural revolution (arguably where the problem really started), then the industrial revolution and currently the computer revolution.

The problem in its current form is this: humanity possesses both the resources and technology to provide basic necessities to everyone in the planet: housing, food, water and basic medical care. However, the current economic system does not create incentives for this to happen, and there are many other social and cultural impediments. An important point is this: it is a social, not a technological problem.

Of course it is hard to consider this problem without discussing some famous attempts. I will list some obvious ones, while trying to avoid ideological discussions -- one of the social impediments that gets in the way addressing this issue rationally. Of course, this is a highly simplistic summary:

  • Marxism / Communism appears to have failed due to removing incentives for people to work. Extreme collectivism appears to eventually lead to brutal repression, because the only way to survive is then to force people to do what the collective needs.

  • Contemporary Capitalism appears to be collapsing under increasing inequality. Once a small fraction of the population amasses a significant portion of the resources, it becomes capable of creating international organizations that both transcend and dictate local laws, effectively side-stepping democracy.

Proponents of both Marxism, Capitalism and other systems -- let's consider an abstract ideology X -- typically use the argument that what failed was not "true X". "True X" would solve all the problems. Upon examination, "True X" always seems to assume perfect people acting in good faith.

Is it possible to devise a system that does not require ideal humans to work?

We are currently stuck in a situation where resource distribution is done through jobs. The problem is that, as technology progresses, more and more jobs become obsolete. It appears that we are already in a situation where the adult population vastly outnumbers the number of real jobs available. Social scientists are pointing out the phenomena of "bullshit jobs" -- an increasing number of unnecessary and meaningless jobs that are created to maintain social stability. This is tragic: people are being imprisoned for large chunks of their lives simply because there is no sane way of redistributing wealth.

Another unsustainable aspect of the current economic system is its reliance on growth. It is trivial to conclude that infinite growth cannot be maintained in a finite environment, and it is also trivial to observe how destructive this position is to the environment. One simple illustration of this is the phenomena of "planned obsolescence". As with bullshit jobs, planned obsolescence consumes real resources to achieve the abstract aim of economic stability.

How to create the incentives for people to cooperate, maintain scientific and technological progress, increase individual freedom and reduce unnecessary suffering? Can such a system be imagined without falling for the "perfect human beings" trap?

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People abuse and take for granted things that are free. So I think we should be careful to prescribe free stuff for everybody.

Work should be meaningful and should be managed by compassionate human beings. I'm a follower of antiwork, a reddit group for people who work in minimum wage jobs. People are treated like robots and disposed of so easily.

Some work is hard work, dirty, dangerous, but needs to be done. I propose we pay more for jobs that are like this, that nobody wants to do. People shouldn't be desperate to do jobs.

    : Mindey
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Has the myth that "the market economy can adjust the distribution of resources to match human needs" is shattered?

“市场经济能够调节资源分配和人的需求相匹配 “的神话破灭了吗?

I think suffering comes from optimisation. Not from building things from scratch.

People are hired to go through reports, create reports and do analysis. It's boring work.

In fact, all companies run their businesses as I/O processes, that are very visible in the current banking system. I think, the issue may lie very much in the accounting system, that humanity uses. Who defined and continues to define how we should account things, and how to redefine that -- maybe thinking of that may lead to some fruitful results? There's a lot of time that goes unaccounted, and a lot of work, that goes to companies, with monetary rewards, but without a fair share of the equity into those companies, equivalent and proportional to the work results. The results of the people's work are considered "commodity bought and owned", not something that remains in large part the employee's or contractor's ownership. What I mean is if the employer is paid for the work just to get by, then we only covered the costs of the time, which means, that the employee invested the money received as time, which means that in this case, the employee should own 50% of that result created. The system I explain actually in a video, but there is a demo spreadsheet.