Sunday, December 4, 2011

Postscarcity in Education

"Whenever we think scaling or automating things, or creating things that have zero incremental delivery cost, there's an implicit assumption that it's probably nice, probably good, and it's better than nothing (because of zero incremental delivery cost). But there's no way that it's going to better than the live, expensive, resource-scarce version of it." - Salmon Khan

And whenever we think that, we may be entirely wrong. #rethink #postscarcity

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Global Super-Rich Stash: Now $25 Trillion

Nation of Change: The Global Super-Rich Stash: Now $25 Trillion.
"The 12 lawmakers on this congressional super committee — six Republicans and six Democrats — are trying to trim $1.2 trillion off federal red ink over the next ten years. On their chopping block: Medicare, Social Security, and assorted other programs essential to the well-being of America’s 99 percent.
No one knows how much budget-cutting pain the panel will be recommending. But panel members could actually avoid all that pain — and raise over $1 trillion in new money for investing in America — simply by subjecting all U.S. individual net worth over $30 million to a modest wealth tax. 
An annual 5 percent wealth tax on this overage would raise over $293 billion a year, or $2.9 trillion over the next decade — more than double the $1.2 trillion the super committee is so desperately looking to find.

The most amazing part of this? America’s ultra rich could easily pay this 5 percent annual wealth tax for the next ten years and remain as rich as ever.

That’s because wealth begets wealth. All those trillions of dollars America’s ultras are currently holding don’t sit under some mattress. The ultra wealthy have those trillions invested in assets that generate short- and long-term returns."
Still, taxation is not the ultimate weapon in the War on Poverty, it's only one link of an interdependent logistics chain. Without post-industrial methods of sustainable circulation, nothing will change for the daily subsistence of the 99%.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"The process has clearly begun" - The Economist

Remember the times you pondered the Star Trek economy back in the 60's and thought, "yeah, whatever; it'll be 20, 30, even 50 years before that happens." Guess what? It's been 50 years and our smartphones are way smarter than those chintzy communicators. But don't worry, if you lost count reelin' in the years, The Economist hasn't:
This is what Jeremy Rifkin, a social critic, was driving at in his book, “The End of Work”, published in 1995. Though not the first to do so, Mr Rifkin argued prophetically that society was entering a new phase—one in which fewer and fewer workers would be needed to produce all the goods and services consumed. “In the years ahead,” he wrote, “more sophisticated software technologies are going to bring civilisation ever closer to a near-workerless world.” 
The process has clearly begun. And it is not just white-collar knowledge workers and middle managers who are being automated out of existence. As data-analytics, business-intelligence and decision-making software do a better and cheaper job, even professionals are not immune to the job-destruction trend now underway. Pattern-recognition technologies are making numerous highly paid skills redundant.
Radiologists, who can earn over $300,000 a year in America, after 13 years of college education and internship, are among the first to feel the heat. It is not just that the task of scanning tumour slides and X-ray pictures is being outsourced to Indian laboratories, where the job is done for a tenth of the cost. The real threat is that the latest automated pattern-recognition software can do much of the work for less than a hundredth of it. 
Lawyers are in a similar boat now that smart algorithms can search case law, evaluate the issues at hand and summarise the results. Machines have already shown they can perform legal discovery for a fraction of the cost of human professionals—and do so with far greater thoroughness than lawyers and paralegals usually manage.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What Postscarcity has to do with AIDS, Malaria, Polio, and Poverty

Whenever a cause is seen as sufficiently urgent -- such as millions of people dying if we don't do something dramatic, immediately -- suddenly postscarcity is almost no problem at all, there's enough of whatever is needed to address the blight, in a very short time. In the LA Times, Magic Johnson explains:
"We're on the verge of opening a seventh AHF Magic Health Clinic," he says, referring to his AIDS Healthcare Foundation-sponsored storefronts. "All these people all over the country can come in and get their HIV meds for free. Can you imagine?"
Yes, we can imagine, Magic, and we can imagine this urgency applying directly and immediately to the epidemic of poverty in America, and worldwide. John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, "24,000 people die every single day from hunger and hunger related diseases. At least 24,000."

As with many bleak statistics, we don't like to acknowledge them too publicly; the Deaths from Poverty numbers are likely understated, yet that is still nearly 9 million people dying from poverty every year. How many die from AIDS every year? The high estimate from international AIDS charity, Avert, is 2.1 million for 2009, about 5,700 per day. Tragic? Of course. Unacceptable? Of course.
"When he was asked in a televised interview who owned the patent to the [polio] vaccine, Salk replied: "There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?" (Wikipedia). Yet, today Monsanto seems determined to patent the entire world's food supply." This contrast neatly illustrates the fundamental standoff between the pragmatic postscarcity and inertial scarcity world views. 
The good news is, we can save those 9 million dying every year from poverty without any of the expense or complexity of formulating and distributing modern pharmaceuticals. To make an immediate difference, to begin saving lives TODAY, what we need to do is declare the basic human right to a subsistence basic income and declare it in effect by reason Humanitarian Emergency. We are talking about a plague 6 times the magnitude of AIDS.
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." - PKD
Perhaps if people haven't been able to comprehend the argument from logic and reason, they may need a slogan to get behind. I'm we can do better, but here's a first take, "If you're against the Basic Income Guarantee you are sentencing 9 million people to death again, this year alone; you killed 24,000 yesterday and are in the process of exterminating that many again, today. By your current philosophy and actions, you are steadfastly committed to growing that number, every day and every year, for the rest of your life. That about sums it up, right?"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Accelerating Change and The Corrosive Effects of Relative Poverty

Clip: “Poor people have been demonized, poverty has been criminalized. 42% of our precious children, of all colors, live in or near poverty. That is a national disgrace,” Dr. Cornell West.
As we've written over the past several years, we believe that America on the whole is a magnificent Success Story, one of the great success stories of all history. Yes, even in spite of such startling statistics. What we have attempted to convey is the fact that, as the result of Capitalism’s success – not it’s failure – we subsequently carry the burden of a sobering existential obligation; to responsibly model the end game and exit strategy for industrialization, so that other nations and civilizations may follow. This is not hubris, this is accountability.

Just 235 years into our American experiment, it would number among history’s greatest travesties should we arrive at this pinnacle of achievement, only to collapse under the obesity of our own gross overconsumption, strident fundamentalism, and self-entitled, hoarded super abundance. In the context of the sheer scale of our technological achievements, history will mock us far more harshly than it mocks the downfall of earlier experiments in Democracy. Yes, looking back, it is oh so easy to see the obvious mistakes that those unenlightened ancients made. Surely, we are so much more sophisticated than they. Or are we?

Current Economic Reality

Author Philip K. Dick wrote, timelessly, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing it, doesn’t go away.” Today, we can’t get away from the inescapable reality that we live in the miraculous, robotized, space-faring, techno-utopian future imagined by our 18th century founders. We’ve made it. We have arrived. Great, great, great Grandma and Grandpa would be proud. Except for the fact that we haven’t slowed down for even a nanosecond, to take notice, to reflect. To introspect. To understand.

Accelerating change, like the very universe around us, is accelerating itself. How can something infinite, be expanding? Yet, that’s what we observe, thanks to the kind of fundamental research that enables Nobel Prizes. This is the reality that won’t go away, even if we close our eyes, hearts, and minds to it. We observe and interact with multiple artificial intelligences – from sophisticated, high frequency trading stock market bots to smartphone apps – extended and amplified human minds, where millions of hipster hip pockets are packed with a full blown Global Multicast Station, live-streaming anywhere an internet packet carrier signal can be found; where augmented social cognition, and synthetic life are ho-hum, everyday features.

So cheers to us! We made it. We have arrived. I'll hazard to propose that it’s safe to say, from such a vantage point, no thoughtful person argues against the fact that 19th century industrial capitalism is the very best way to transition a society from agriculture, to industry, to material abundance. Of course it is, okay Larry Kudlow? History has proved time and again that capitalism works -- for a particular phase of industrial development and cultural evolution. Today, we have successfully traversed that road. We did it! Good for us! Are we encouraging ourselves enough, yet? Maybe not.

Marshall McLuhan said, “The future of the future is the present; and that is something that people are terrified of.” An insight to which Alexi Murdoch might respond, “Its only fear, only fear … that keeps you locked in here.” So, we find ourselves living Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock, hunkered down in isolation, hoping Kurzweil’s Singularity will be nice to us.

People are confused. Utterly dependent on vestigial routines staying the same, even as accelerating change has become the new normal. Yet, somehow, we know deep down in our knowers that 19th century methods are simply not viable means for adapting to the sustainable 22nd century planet, presently under construction. Right now, today, we are creating that world.
NOTE: Unfortunately, MSNBC's clip-n-share didn't generate a new thumbnail for this second clip; it's not a dupe. So, mute the commercial if you prefer, but please don't skip it, it's brief and explains the corrosiveness of relative poverty better than I'm able in this short space.
Clip: "This really isn't about Wall Street, it's about a society in which our values are out of whack," says Howard Dean.
No less than former libertarian and Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan is equally quick to explain that growing and unsustainable resource skews threaten American Capitalism, itself. Yet, from Hollywood, to Silicon Valley, from Hamptons cocktail conversation to tea party affairs, relative poverty is dismissed as irrelevant, when compared the the utter blight of absolute poverty. A mistake that both cocktail and tea party crowds make is failure to accurately assess the corrosiveness of all poverty, period. Relative poverty is, in essence, another thinly veiled form of institutional corruption; a topic that Lawrence Lessig has been tirelessly educating us about, for years (Loss of Trust and Other Ramifications of Institutional Corruption). As Howard Dean and Joe Scarborough put it, “When Americans no longer believe in the system, then you know we have crossed the Rubicon."

The Poor Will Always Be With You

Without waxing religious, many readers will doubtless be playing that partial tape in their heads. The poor will always be with you. It’s a convenient cliché commonly used in proper prosperity gospel company to dismiss our own personal responsibility with full Pharisaical self-righteousness. Jesus was not exactly the most cynical character in history. He wouldn’t say, “The poor will always be with you, so feck ‘em.” Rather, he said in a hundred different ways: take compassion on, and care for everyone in the community. Take care of the least. When you take care of the least, you care for me. It’ll be easier for a rich man to get through the eye of a needle; and so on. This isn’t the place for a sermon, only to dismiss another fatuous objection to doing the right thing for our communities, our country, and humanity.

I have no doubt that the best place for mainstreamers to begin getting educated about the magnitude of poverty in America will be Tavis Smiley and Cornell West’s collaboration, “The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience“ series now airing on PBS, October 10-14, 2011.
“Poverty in the United States is cyclical in nature, with roughly 13 to 17% of Americans living below the federal poverty line at any given point in time, and roughly 40% falling below the poverty line at some point within a 10-year time span. Poverty is defined as the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 43.6 million (14.3%) Americans were living in absolute poverty in 2009, up from 39.8 million (13.2%) in 2008.
The poverty level for 2011 was set at $22,350 (total yearly income) for a family of four.
Seriously. Imagine a couple trying to live on $22,000, let alone four. No individual will be riding high on the hog with a $1,200 monthly Basic Income Guarantee, or $14,400 annually, in 2011 US dollars. The 2006 American Enterprise Institute book, “In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State” called for $10,000 annually.

Similarly, when commentators use the inconsequential sounding, "15% of Americans are poor," remember that means 15% in absolute poverty. Like understatements of unemployment that use the low-ball U3 number instead of the closer-yet-still-understated U6 number, beware the "15% poor" deception. At least double that number barely subsist, not far above the official boundary. Don't just believe us or the commentators; double check our numbers and sources, do the homework for yourself at the U.S. Census Bureau and online. We're always happy to publish your corrections and better data.

So the fundamental challenge – and it is mostly a mental frame of reference challenge – at this historic juncture, is to continue the American Legacy of Einstein who said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge," of Henry Ford, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business,” of Abraham Lincoln, “The fiery trials through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation,” and of Patrick Henry, "Give me liberty or give me death."

“As if” Liberty is not American Liberty

Wage slavery is not liberty. Working paycheck to paycheck, often at more than one job, in order to provide just the essentials of life is exactly the life that our sharecropper great grandparents lived. Work the land as if it were you own, but it will never actually be yours. You are owned, cradle to grave. That’s not the 21st century that our forebears had in mind.

America's opportunity and obligation today is to demonstrate the real incentive for the billions of human beings living on less than $2/day to adopt the model that served us so well, to pass the baton to them – not by clawing back 19th century manufacturing jobs that they need to advance – rather, by proving the attainable pay-off. The actualization of authentic and abiding liberty from tedious toil, and the flourishing realization of substantive economic justice for all.

Let’s be clear, my fellow Americans: liberty from tedious toil has nothing to do whatsoever with the end of WORK. Nor does the end of the J.O.B. as the only legitimate Justification Of Being as a contributing, valued member of civil society spell the end of productivity. As you study the dozens of web sites linked herein, you will learn that the concepts of work and job are as different as hope is from optimism. The former will always be with us; the latter are merely indicators of a particular set of conditions.

Where Do We Go From Here?

There are a number of ways to demonstrate true American Leadership for the 21st and 22nd century, to not reject the dynamism of free markets, but to increment Capitalism (to use the programming notation, Capitalism++) into healthy and sustainable hybrid econo-systems. Most assuredly, new ways and means to raise the bar for humanity will emerge as the extended and augmented intelligence of the global cognition grid evolves, adapts, and becomes an increasingly natural and seamless feature of the fabric of global civilization; what Kevin Kelley refers to as The Technium; toward what Ray Kurzweil refers to as the Singularity.

Presently, there are two undeniably obvious realities which we can leverage to our advantage. First, and this one might surprise you, Wall Street's very own A.I. High Frequency Trading bots Secondly, over a half century of exhaustive and comprehensive scholarship and successful Case Studies for a Basic Income Guarantee; a simple matter of scaling up the long successful Alaska Permanent Fund. The two are like peanut butter and chocolate.

The first proposal is straightforward. Clusters of HFT bots can be programmed to maximize revenue for a handful of people, or they can be instructed to fund Basic Income. Yes, we still want and need markets. Yes, the coolest new cars and electronics might come from Namibia in 2024; good for them, is good for all of us. Yes, there will still be people astronomically richer than most of us. No, there will be nobody living in tents, cars, or under bridges for want of sufficient minimal greenbacks or equivalent. Mental health and homelessness? Yes, an ongoing challenge. In every case, Basic Income is a permanent economic stimulus that will only improve corporate sales.
Note to Wall Street: If your mighty trading bots are smart enough to create the Giant Pool of Money and fractal tranche synthetic CDO's, then they're smart enough to figure out #BasicIncome in the U.S. and worldwide. You don’t get it both ways.
As for the second approach, oil is rightly accounted the common resource of all Alaskans, hence the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD). Similarly, so is the collective output of our highly advanced technium: aka, our GDP, the sum of all our efforts. From veritable armies of unpaid parent-labor raising the next Intel or IBM executives FOR FREE; to tutors; to volunteers; to peer counselors and friends and clerics who provide everyday psychological services that would otherwise cost hundreds of millions of dollars on the open market. People's lives contribute inherent value. Social capital is the substance of all enduring value.

If all that's too much to grok, it can't get simpler than The Basic Income and the Helicopter Drop.

Couch Potatoes, Cheetos, and the Idiot Box

The raggedly tired 18th century Protestant specter, as we all know, goes something like this: “most of you – yes, you, readers – will sit in front of a 1950’s style 3-channel broadcast idiot box with a bag of Cheetos all day, happy to barely breath or think, bloating to maximum body mass and then popping in 40 or 50 years, all on a $1,200/mo. basic income.”

The first and most obvious problem with that argument is that this is the year 2011. Similar to opposition of marijuana legalization, people who are prone to do that are obviously already doing so. Remember the part about reality being that which doesn’t go away, just because you don’t believe in it? Yep, they’ll probably continue to do so until we learn better ways to reach them and help them heal; all too often from the injuries of post traumatic stress disorder suffered in childhood, at the hands of abusive parents who themselves were being pummeled by poverty – absolute and relative – who didn’t know any better themselves, for absence of role models, and were ill equipped to protect themselves and their families from the devastating psychological impacts of fighting for survival in such a hostile environment.

Moreover, as varieties of self-destructive behavior becomes apparent, this too is of greater benefit, for we will finally be able to better identify those of you – yes, you, if you choose to play the humans are lazy sloths card, because you likely most fear that others will act as dysfunctionally as you suspect of yourself – who need the help, education, and encouragement to lead normal, functional, balanced and productive lives.

The New Normal++

For most of us, the Basic Income Guarantee will simply encourage us to not give up in between work assignments; to not settle while seeking the best opportunity for both us and our next employer collaboration; maybe, to scrape by long enough to really create that work of art or literature; or enable these 40 lazy space engineers to keep helping that amazing, game-changing startup until they can connect with customers to really make a go of it. Instead, those engineers will be on the skids; told that they are not above taking a job at McDonalds or Wal-Mart if that’s what it takes to be a responsible human being.

The old normal wouldn’t blink to say, “yep, unemployed rocket scientists should compete with high school kids at McDonald’s if those are the only jobs available.” Utterly absurd.

Human beings are inherently industrious; not indolent, slothful, and lethargic. If humans were so deficient by nature, we would literally be hanging from our toes in the trees along side our kin, or evolution would have taken us out, long, long ago. We are not lazy and useless, by nature. We are imaginative, daring, productive, adventurous, curious, persistent, and creative creatures.

That's what implementing a Basic Income Guarantee says about us. That’s why we utterly reject the cynical, hateful violence of the brutish, bare-knuckles political opposition who's only arguments consist of red-baiting character bashing, "we'll become like those lazy Europeans, Marxists, Communists!" Oh, do you mean those lazy Europeans at CERN who invented the World Wide Web and are now pursuing the Higgs boson? Or the scientists in Moscow who put the first human being into space and without whose cooperative leadership there could be no International Space Station?

Bottom Line: The truly lazy people are those too torpid to think through the opportunities and obligations incumbent upon our generation. Here is what laziness looks like in 2011: demanding predictable, interchangeable, easily performed jobs, jobs, jobs, so you can vacate your mind for 8 hours a day of monotonous distraction and then go home and consume, consume, consume the rest of the planet into oblivion. That, is laziness.

The fear of Breaking the Job Trance is what keeps us locked in here. Maximizing human opportunities to do exciting and meaningful WORK is the solution. That simple distinction may be the most important one that we realize, stepping forward, leveling up our world game, to Capitalism++.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Where Do We Go From Here? Martin Luther King Jr. on #BasicIncome #99percent #OccupyWallStreet #OccupySF #OWS

"We are demanding an emergency program to provide employment for everyone in need of a job, or if a work program is impractical, a guaranteed annual income at levels that sustain life and decent circumstance.  It is now incontestable that the wealth and resources of the United States make the elimination of poverty absolutely practical." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? 1967.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Recalcitrant Religious Fundamentalism #OccupyWallStreet #LondonDeclaration

High Priests protecting the Golden Calf while Monetary Mullah's observe, from on high.
Source: TheAtlantic

London Declaration: Immutable Human Right #1: Freedom from Poverty.
"We, the signatories to this ‘London Declaration for Global Peace & Resistance against Extremism’, affirm that all humans everywhere possess inherent dignity and immutable rights: these including freedom from poverty, oppression, fear and prejudice and freedom of belief, worship and expression."
Source: TheAtlantic

Friday, August 26, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It's not fun. It's not acceptable.

All for the want of a measly $1,000/mo. basic income that would cover housing, healthcare, food so that human beings can have enough surplus attention to even begin thinking about how to become more productive.

Thanks for the outstanding work at InvisiblePeople.TV

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On Scarcity Logic and Abundance Logistics

It used to be that the poor didn't have a voice, because we were uneducated and people could play word games to placate us and make themselves feel justified in the sociopathological hoarding that causes our plight. Not any more. Today, a master's degree is the bachelor's degree of 1980. PhD's are likewise oversupplied to the point of diminishing returns. What we have today is a very large population of educated people for which the manufactured scarcity model of circulating resources simply will not work, any longer. This isn't a matter of debate, it's a matter of observing and comprehending that which is vs. that which we wish were true.

The Scarcity Logic to which most fundamentalists and Tea Party types cling, which won't see the fates of the global poor -- here and abroad -- as equivalent until we all start dying at the same rate, is a major roadblock on the path to sustainable postscarcity. I understand their confusion, but it's not okay to let that confusion set domestic, much less global, policy.

29,000 Dead in Past 90 Days. Inexcusable. Raising taxes on the Top 5% or even Top 1% so that we, as a nation, can continue to provide the humanitarian aid that makes us a humanitarian people is not a long term solution; but it is better than doing nothing, until we can move forward into a reasonable Mixed Global Economy that works for everyone.

This is a circulation problem, it's about Abundance Logistics. One key reason for the logistical lockup is the common misguided thinking that proclaims those in western relative poverty should feel grateful, because they aren't in the absolute poverty of Somalians. Believe me, we're grateful; and the only reason anyone could possibly believe that we are not equally emotionally traumatized and desperate is that you've never walked a single step, let alone a mile, in our shoes. We're just Invisible People, but we will no longer keep silent.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Great American Poverty Tour

Is this the model we expect from the Greatest Society On Earth? Or this? Or this?
Beginning Friday, Cornel West and PBS host Tavis Smiley will take to the road with a 15-city “Poverty Tour” to raise awareness about the plight of impoverished people. 
They’ll visit soup kitchens, public housing projects, and farms. They’ll stay with low-income families and along the way they’ll try to assess whether Obama’s policies are working. 
“This is a way to galvanize as opposed to complain,” West said. “Both parties have rendered the poor invisible. The only thing we have left is to dramatize their plight.”

It's long past time to grow up and out of emotionally hijacked redistribution rhetoric.
New American P.I.I.E. - Permanently Inadequate Intermittent Employment
@CornelWest: I try to tell the truth. 
When 40% of our children are going hungry, 
I'm going to get morally outraged at that.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The End of Poverty

A Feature Film

John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, author, "24,000 people die every single day from hunger and hunger related diseases. At least 24,000. That doesn't need to happen, we have plenty of resources, so that shouldn't happen; it happens because of the system we've created. We can say, without a doubt, that this system is an absolute failure. From the most rational, objective economic standpoint it's a failure. Less than 5% of the world's population live in the United States. We are consuming over 25% of the world's resources and creating roughly 30% of it's major pollution. That's a failure."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Idiocracy vs Postscarcity

Mark Taylor in Nature News suggests that we mustReform the PhD system or close it down. Awesome. Are we so pathologically obsessed with the status quo that we'd actually institute a systemic policy that intentionally retards the advance of knowledge and the continued growth of human intelligence? Really? It's not news to readers of this space that:
Higher education in the United States has long been the envy of the world, but that is changing. The technologies that have transformed financial markets and the publishing, news and entertainment industries are now disrupting the education system.

We'd rather shut down universities than contemplate ways to transcend this brief blip, this historical aberration known as the industrial capitalist, and post-industrial information revolutions? Why not declare victory, and move on to the next model? On the other disheartening hand, if the best that our best and brightest "surplus PhD's" can collectively figure out is to turn back to pre-middle ages, perhaps we deserve the inevitable zombie apocalypse idiocracy, after all.

Dude, that would totally suck. Let's please not.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Poison Pill for the Scarcity Zeitgeist Zombie

In How to Kill a Debt Monster (The Ingenesist Project) explains:
Suppose someone discovers a new form of energy that is free for all to use with no negative environmental impact. Suppose that another person creates a device that allows people to communicate telepathically. Suppose someone discovers an anti-gravity machine that can transport people and objects cheaply and rapidly. Suppose someone invents high-yield perennial food crops that don’t need to be replanted every year.

Each would deposit huge amounts of economic value while simultaneously wrecking havoc on the financial system. Oil companies would go out of business, telecoms would go bust, transportation industries would cease, and agribusiness would fail, etc.  Millions would lose their jobs and mortgages would collapse, etc.
This is the straightforward conundrum humanity faces at the inflection point from a scarcity to postscarcity existence. We achieve such overwhelming surpluses, in so many domains, that the Scarcity Game is literally laughed out of existence.

While the scenarios above illustrate the point well, we don't have to wait for telepathy to see these forces at work, right now. Today. Present tense.
  1. We have the "new form[s] of energy that is free for all to use with no negative environmental impact." They are called solar, wind, and geothermal.
  2. We have the devices that allow people to effectively communicate telepathically. They're called smart phones, bluetooth headsets, mobile chat, and SMS. We all have fun with this every day as we use this "digital telepathy" to talk with friends about the other people who are standing right there in front of us.
  3. As for perennial food crops, okay, this one maybe has a little ways to go; however, there's no debating the magnitude of the productive disruption created by improved technologies, genetically modified crops, and the bombastic Brute Forced Scarcity of various subsidies which are only in place in order to prevent the collapse of food prices described, above.
Obviously, postscarcity isn't evenly distributed, yet. However like William Gibson's future itself, postscarcity is indeed already here. What's a bit counterintuitive is the discovery that it actually isn't about distribution at all, it's about circulation, sustainable flows, transpiration at the economic capillary level; at the edge, where all True Value is -- and always has been -- ascribed, created, and exchanged.