Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The audacious #postscarcity plan to #endhunger with 3-D printed food

Per NASA via @Temporary Human:
“A day when every kitchen has a 3D printer, and the earth’s 12 billion people feed themselves customized, nutritionally-appropriate meals synthesized one layer at a time, from cartridges of powder and oils they buy at the corner grocery store. Contractor’s vision would mean the end of food waste, because the powder his system will use is shelf-stable for up to 30 years, so that each cartridge, whether it contains sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein or some other basic building block, would be fully exhausted before being returned to the store. Ubiquitous food synthesizers would also create new ways of producing the basic calories on which we all rely. Since a powder is a powder, the inputs could be anything that contain the right organic molecules.”

Sunday, May 12, 2013

America: Utopian Project from Day One. @rortybomb #BasicIncome #EndPoverty

Washington Post @rortybomb:

"taking a moment to think ... shows that the core projects of balancing what markets do in our economy and the general commitment to democracy would still continue, and could even be amplified, with a universal basic income."

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

It's Also About Preventing 40% of Our Food Wealth Going to Waste

Certainly #postscarcity is eventually about nano-assembled, Star Trek replicator, instant-on-demand, horse-meat-free meatballs for 9 billion; but on the way to that golden future, it's immediately about improving the effective circulation of resources on hand.

Last August, TheAtlantic's Brian Fung explained, far too politely, in our estimate, How 40% of Our Food Goes to Waste.

Brian wrote, "In a country where overeating is basically a national pastime, the fact that the United States grows more than its citizens can eat, drink, or trade away is remarkable." We not only consider such a remarkably infamous feat utterly unconscionable, we find it an equally deplorable and all too apt as analogy for the way America  produces, hoards, and wastes wealth of all kinds. Call it a Cash Hoarding Obesity epidemic, the direct result of an insatiably self-indulgent, obliviously obstinate culture that congratulates itself for attaining the loftiest pinnacles of industrial efficiency and machine intelligence while completing, cluelessly failing to achieve -- in the alleged most advance economy in the world -- even the most rudimentary standards of human decency articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 25:
  • (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
Here's what America's Cash Hoarding Obesity looks like in more accessible visual terms (looking past the pointlessly pejorative interlinear mischaracterization of #socialism, which is another needless distortion we'll continue to take up in other entries.)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Grandpa's Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren is here. It's Us.

Via BigThink:
In a 1930 essay called “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren,” the economist John Maynard Keynes wrote that “assuming no important wars and no important increase in population, the economic problem may be solved, or be at least within sight of solution, within a hundred years.”

If productivity continued to increase by just a few percent every year (which it has, and much more), then through the miracle of compound interest we could be eight times better off in 2030 than we were in 1930. And, with that much wealth, we would finally be able to satisfy everyone’s basic needs. We might still want more, but what Keynes called the “economic problem” would be be solved. For the first time in human history, our problem would be not how to provide for ourselves, but what to do with all our free time.

Krugman argues that we may be seeing what economists call “capital-biased technological change.” As machines become more productive, the people who own them may be keeping a larger share of the profits. At a recent talk, according to Owen Zidar, Summers asked us to imagine what the world would look like if machines could make or do anything. In this world, robot butlers could free us from work by providing us with the necessities of life. The problem is that in this world the profits of robot labor would go only to the people who own the robots

[E]conomic inequality is increasing just as we are finally beginning to have enough to provide for all of our citizens. The same technology that makes us rich as a society gives the people who control it the power to take home a larger and larger share of our income.

This is not the world Keynes imagined. We are richer today than any society before in human history. But if innovation slows and inequality continues to grow, the economic problem will remain as bad for most of us as ever.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Inevitable Obsolescence of Human Labor

It's just not theoretical anymore. the forecasts of the past century or so have come to pass. We're here, now. We need to be in the present when we're making public policy that shapes and guides the next steps into the future.

Baxter: Ushering in the Obsolescence of Human Labor