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The Coming Automation Abundance

Despite the dangers that automation in technology seem to pose to abundance from employment threats, automation is in fact causing abundance.

Look at recent history and prices have fallen. (all prices listed in 2013 dollars)

-Computers ($14000 to $300)
-Cell Phones ($12000 to $100)
-Movies ($50 to <$1)
-Music ($30 to <$1)
-GPS device ($400 to <$1)

It has gotten to the point where even people on welfare can afford the above things.

So if prices are falling does that mean wages fall too?

Well look at the above industries. How much did employees get paid when the prices were high and how much now? The same.

Why? Because their costs dropped and competition ensured that the savings were passed on to the consumer. It's about margin in business not raw selling price.

Thanks to automation, no product will be spared from dramatic price drops, including food and shelter. Houses can be 3D printed and robots can work farms.

Now, solar cells have just passed oil in $ per watt. Being based on semiconductors subject to Moore's Law, even the energy to do all the work for us is about to become close to free.

There's just one pitfall.

What if gov was selling the computers all along at the nominal 1990 price of $3000. Since nobody competes with gov why would the price ever have dropped. It wouldn't have.

We are on the verge of a near vacation for humanity, if only competition can be preserved.

So if someone tells you that Austrian economics is bad because it results in falling prices, tell them they don't know what they are talking about.

It is the way for us to conquer our basic needs leaving our only challenge left to be what our imaginations allow, thru art and space exploration.

The new dawn of mankind.

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Garan's picture

Yes, with the Exception of one big Monkey Wrench

Preventative Patents and the commodity of thought/ideas.

Who owns automation?

Who owns the right to prevent the use of automation upon which everyone relies?

The result I see is one of huge irony: great abundance along with massive unemployment; inability to purchase (even inexpensive) goods.

So, I would say "Monopolistic Abundance", when taking patents into account.

On solar cells and automation advancement

In my quest to find out why Ron Paul said, "Israel is our friend", I have found one reason is, that Israel is advancing humanity with inventions such as ceramic solar cells.

Ceramic solar cells have been in existance now for 10 years. They are producing energy that helps Israel green the desert. But getting them in America is, right now impossible. Corporations like DuPont, buy pantents for America, and then shop out for MIC bids.. the military is the first to get technology, which helps afford it to the public. Bufget cuts have reduced the capacity to purchase and implement, so many inventions, ceramic solar cells being just one, are shelved until there is a way to afford them.

I believe that America is rethinking in it's quest to live up to the UN Agenda it agreed on. In San Onofy CA, the nuclear power plant is being closed, and this will cost the consumers nearly $2 billion. There was plans to go solar, but this is being scrapped because as technology is advancing, what the plan was, no longer works.

So one reason that automation does not get to the public quickly is that the military and it's dependence on the taxpayer is backfiring as "the quickening" is leaving Americans "in the dark".

Thus, things will not become cheaper, but more expensive paying for what we leave, for where we want to go, while paying to sustain each day.

the PAID hasabara agent strikes agian...

I suggest you look up who the AIPAC really lobbies for... but im betting you already know that since they are paying you. I'm sure those BILLIONS we send over to Israel every year to bomb the defenseless Palestinians could be put to FAR better use in solar power research.

In any case... China and Germany are the big men on the hill regarding the Solar power revolution

Tools of war are not always obvious. The worst weapon is an idea planted in the mind of man. Prejudices can kill, suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has an everlasting fallout all of its own.

I did

I avoided AIPAC, just read what others said about them, and only a few months ago checked them out, and I like many things that they say, though, I don't agree with them 100%, as I don't agree with their idea that the USA needs to support Israel with AID.

I think it's backwards.. I think the USA needs Israel more than Israel needs the USA, and the USA is becomming a liabitily as more Americans are falling for enslavement, not understanding that Jews have always fought enslavement.

China and Germany are like USA corporations, who find the freedom Israel gives it's businesses, where the inventions come, and they take those inventions and patent them in their countries, where they are freer than the USA because the USA is so tied into the MIC.. DuPont, for example, took the ideas from Israel and is sitting on them waiting for a contract that pays... and since the USA is downsizing in military spending.. and the cities are going bankrupt, they are going nowhere, as we are going nowhere in advancing.. Germany and China are in a better position to advance, so they do.

The biggest financial supporter of Israel is Germany, and China is very open about their support, but this has everything to do with the genius that is advancing humanity in Israel and nothing to do with the religion or politics connected (which is all we hear about here in the states.. just start looking at Israel and see for yourself how many times YouTube says, "This is not avaiable in your country").

USA AID biggest goes to the UN, then afghanistan, and if you see the ME, which has several non-states, Palestine being one, they fall under the nation of Islam.. thus, as a nation, Islam receieves more AID than Israel.. the differnce is with the AID to Israel, we actually get a return in military support IF we need it. They don't ned our support. We need their support for the oil that we are now giving to China and the EU.

The problem with Palestine is not Israel.. it's the UN and Islam which keeps them stateless. Thousands of Palestinians (those who live in occupied Palestine and those who live in the stateless unoccupied Palestine go to schools and the hospitals in Israel because Palestine is made to be unsettled, blaming Israel is easy, but it is not appropriate, because Israel's biggest problem is that so mnay people from all over the world want freedom and build illegal settlements, the government takes responsibility for them only because Israel does not believe that the government's job is to protect the people, but to protect the rights of the people. The people don't have the right to build on unoccupied Palestine, even if a Palestinian sold them the land.. it is illegal for Palestinians to sell the land, but they do it for an income, and knowing it is illegal, once the houses are built, the file a complain to the PA, who telles the Kennset, who bulldozes the houses because Israel isn't going to let thise who took money as a bad real estate deal, get the houses too.

It's not Israel's fault Palestine sucks. It's the UN's and Islams, both enslavers.. who have found a friend in liberal America that also wants enslavement for the USA.


Maybe i am missing something, but it seems the numbers given as the base are massively skewed. Sure things get cheaper, of course they do and should. Thats health competition. However materials at some point become a major contributor. In fact, in a world where production is effortless, materials will be basically what you are buying. All that said, I dont see how a cell phone (maybe even the most expensive cell phone of that era) relates to the cheapest cell phone today and how that is any indication of anything. Cell phones started as a doctor/lawyer tool where the ultra rich would have one as a mere want for latest and greatest technology. Now, we pretty much all need them... its not a want for many people, its practically a requirement. And the prices have not considerably dropped, the competition for your monthlies has done nothing to reduce pricing... Even phones today are exorbitantly expensive unless you are starting a plan with someone. Even a cheap junk non smart phone is over 100$ without a plan renewal. Also consider that those few doctors and lawyers were few and far between so the network overhead was probably not that profitable even with the higher pricing. Now you have billions of people using cell phones and the profits are soaring with no alleviation in the cost.

Your computer cost is way off too. Unless you are talking fringe starters, the average early computer was expensive but not that expensive and certainly 300$ does not buy you a "good computer". 300 buys you a sort of acceptable machine loaded with subsidized adware. For a real computer you are still looking at nearly 600 (I personally wouldnt spend less that 1500 for what I need). Again it is also something to be considered as need and want. Very few early adopters Needed one. Especially home users.

Music, and Movies are also a similar problem. Where can you go for a 1$ movie? And music, its a dollar a song.... the average album even with digital distribution with no overhead is over 12$.

I dunno, I guess what I am saying is that yes it is true that things come down in price, but not unless profits soar. Personally I think that prices hit a "I am willing to pay this much for that" point and then remain virtually the same.


Yes, you are missing the point.

Cell phones got cheaper because of new innovations in electronics/automation and competition drove the prices lower.

Don't know why you think a base cell phone can't be had for $100. In fact it can be had for free with a 40 a month phone bill. Even iPhone is $99 with a plan sign up.

You didn't see high end computer machines costing $10,000 around 1980 in the dollars of it's day that only have a fraction of the capability a $300 machine can do today? It doesn't have to be a new computer, you can easily get a used laptop for $300 that can do all most anyone wants to do.

Netflix is $7.99 a month for unlimited movie watching. So you watch 8 or more in a month then it's less than $1 a movie.

Go to YouTube and there are free full music albums posted of nearly every artist. Cost? $0.

How about a plane ticket to Europe being much cheaper now than in the past? Can you explain that one away from something other than competition from innovation?

That's exactly what's going to bring the rest of our basic need costs lower. New processes and automation and competition.

To all those who can't see how this could work

under a free market, I'd like to offer some suggestions.

One of the biggest complaints against Abundance is that it will put people out of work. To that I say, "so?" Is it really work you want or is it the money? Is it really the money or the items you had planned to purchase? Is it even those items or is it the service they provide to you?

What people fail to understand is the idea that advancement has replaced a dozen power-hungry, resource heavy, labor intensive products with one highly automated, cheap and efficient device. We first got the desktop computer to replace many things and now we're replacing as many as dozens of devices with the cell phone. Considering that just 20 years ago, many mothers took their kid to the ER to get instructions on nursing a bad cold while today that is virtually behind us... I would estimate the number to be much higher than "dozens". More like hundreds.

So, as we lose jobs, we also need less spending money. But it doesn't stop there. With decentralization, we are seeing the beginning of a new trend that we've never seen before in history. When one person figures out how to decentralize something and make it via cheap, home computer-type creation, it now only takes days to months for the entire world to have it available. Picture the 3D printed gun for example. One file copied everywhere and it went viral. Consider some other every-day object being duplicated that way. Objects like a mouse, a monitor, a 3D printer, a cell phone or even a bicycle, car or computer. Those offer a peek of what could become possible but let's consider how other things could change things. What happens when one viral "file" gives everyone a perfected product in home DIY aquaponics or home gasification? What happens when someone shows how to rewire a common household motor and hybridize the first 40 miles of your car? What will happen to the oil companies when they can't stop this? The possibilities are endless and most haven't even been thought of yet but with 2 billion new minds hitting the internet conversations in a couple years, this won't take long.

I believe the end-game lies in the people taking back control of wages. They'll either start companies that out-compete existing ones or they'll run the banks' out of the game but it will happen. Once it does, retirement ages will plummet because wages will follow the value that human labor continues to play in an otherwise automated factory. When we lose 1/4, 1/2 or even 4/5ths of the work force to this, one person will again be able to support a thriving family alone. Then, after 8 years of work, retirement comes, offering a long and happy future with the family. Leaving one's career that early allows 4 more people to enjoy full careers from that same position during the traditional 40 year career. This cuts the number of needed workers to 1/10th of current rate. After this, too many things will happen to discuss here.

Peter has many good solutions listed in his book

But he makes almost as many bad assumptions.

First off, in the technologies he supports, he lists GMOs, cultivated (lab grown) meats, desalination filters and PV as the world's saviors. While these techs do exist and would make a difference, they completely discount either the natural way nature works or they rely on lots of manufacture from scarce materials. Neither is sustainable.

Secondly, he strongly advocates that the will (money) to do the great breakthroughs we need will come from the techno-philanthropists funding X-prize type contests. He fails to realize that genuine breakthroughs lead to a great deal of intellectual property that simply will not risk going public that way.

He also feels that tech-unemployment is a problem to be solved by government handing out to the underprivileged.

Hopefully, he will soon become enlightened by learning that a much better way would be the decentralization of both money and production so that monopolies/oligopolies and the corruption they exude simply cannot exist. After all, if everyone can locally make 99% of what they need and they stopped spending money outside their community, how could banks and their derivative governments and corporations exist?

I hoped that "Abundance" would get to this point in the last third of the book but then I turned a page and he ended it with no explanation. That remaining THIRD OF THE BOOK is filled with graphs and references!

Another take on falling prices

Yes, there are falling prices on items like these. However, it is the day-to-day things and must-have's that are rising in price. This is why the government doesn't include food and energy prices in their inflation numbers anymore. If they were still included, it would show high inflation rather than deflation.


CPI contains food and energy. Look

What is not included is education and land ownership because those things aren't basic needs.

Money saved on media entertainment etc thus far can be used to buy food and shelter. In fact there's nothing else now necessary to buy. Instead of going to the movies, watch your movies for nearly free at home and go to a park. Also free.

Moore's law isn't useful any more

It was a prediction that ultimately proved false. Besides, nowadays we are seeing more actual gain by increasing efficiency rather than power.

However in some regards you are right. The technological singularity is very likely to happen some time before 2050. It will be very interesting to see what happens here. At that point, virtually any technology you can imagine would quickly become as ubiquitous as paper, there would be no way to prevent its distribution. I think the whole world would be open source.

It is also scary to think what will happen when large portions of humans are given a free ticket to ride with virtually no obligations and nearly unlimited luxury... Will it mellow people out, or will they get bored and go nuts and start devastating wars?

Still hanging by a thread

It's not quite dead yet.

It's certain to run into mother nature and die eventually. The smallest electron pathway obviously can't be smaller than one atom wide.

Mother nature will rear her head long before then. Quantum mechanics will take over, and some electrons will just decide to "be somewhere else" sometimes, perhaps Maui?

Of course, some possible new developments could simply render Moore's Law obsolete.

Even if this isn't a real quantum computer, I suspect it will be created eventually. Some of it's ideas may be incorporated into the next generation of consumer devices one day, if the AI it makes doesn't just take over the world. ;0

Just open the box and see

The new dawn of man ?

I dont see how it is the dawn of humanity when society is filled with slovenly, self indulged, grown brats living in virtual realities....

Sounds beautiful...NOT.

Do you really think YOU (OP), useless eaters, YOU and ME, will be kept around for this new dawn of mankind? Sorry my friend this beautiful world your pining over doesn't include us.


Liberty = Responsibility

if having basic needs free is so bad

Then would we be better off being forced to buy our oxygen in order to breathe? That's the broken window fallacy.

There would still be an economy it would just be one of disposable incomes.

For the record

The BWF is about destroying property so that there is economic activity stimulated...


Liberty = Responsibility

My dad once told me and I have yet to see it prove wrong the real world I have to live in each day: " anything that is free, you paid too much for, or you will".

Good luck with all the free your expecting. Could answer my question please.

Do you really think our wonderful central planners will be allow you and I to live in your wonderful dream world?


Liberty = Responsibility


Do they prevent you from nearly free access to music and movies? Or computers? Cell phones? GPS directions? Oxygen?


Nearly free?
Concerts are $100
Movies for an adult $14
Ball game same thing.
Nearly free? We live in different worlds.

Oh wait, I get it. That new dawn of humanity were if I stay in my home and isolate I get nearly free DIGITAL entertainment.

If want to enjoy entertainment performed by humans in the company of other humans nearly free isn't quite accurate.

My computer is far cheaper than it was in the past - but free inst a fair description.

Oxygen? How silly. Or not. My exhaling is about to be taxed if the social engineers get their way. Hard to inhale without exhaling every now and then. There goes that free...

I think we have very different ideas about living and therefore we value these topics very differently, not wrong or right, just different.

I will stand my Pops statement...if it is free you paid too much for it, or your about to...


Liberty = Responsibility


So you don't see the life of humans as gotten much easier as they learned to harness electricity? That's what this is about. Until then we had to do manual work everywhere, and now we don't nearly as much and it's only getting better.

So in order to be entertained you need to buy your relationships? Not enough to just go into your downtown area, get a 99 cent coffee and talk to whomever? So DIGITAL is your issue? You realize that if you go out to a movie that is also DIGITAL right?

A plane ticket to Europe now costs a fraction of what it once did. That's not digital. Explain that one.

You just made the point why it's not silly to bring up oxygen. We're at a crossroads and this is what is at stake. We let gov control everything and we pay for even that. If not, then other basic needs like eating become CLOSE TO free, like breathing. Therefore, stay on the activism path, and maybe it's not as hard to win as it seems, since in the long run markets always win.

Notice I said CLOSE TO free. I capitalized it to keep you from having another titty attack. CLOSE TO. let me do it one more time. CLOSE TO.

Your absolutely right

I am not disputing that life has gotten "easier". I am disputing that that society is on a path towards a wonderful world of abundance. There will be, and always has been abundance for some. 2/3rds of the world still live on $2 a day or less.

I also dispute that every convenience is always a positive. Dishwasher and washing machines, huge positive. For all of these gains though there is risk of societal atrophy in a physical, mental and spiritual sense.

Technology's benefit on society will be amplified by a factor based on our morality. I don't mean religion, I mean morality. A sense of right and wrong, stealing is always wrong etc.

Due to our societies complete lack of morality technology is being used by the state to enslave us. The people's benefit of technology is keeping us distracted on cheap entertainment/programming.

We have different value systems so we these things differently. Again, it isn't a right or wrong, just different.

I respect your opinions on this and hope I am very wrong and you are very right when it all plays out. For my children's sake.


PS. Didn't I write "nearly free"? I got that you didn't mean free.

Liberty = Responsibility

There are always going to be people

who completely miss the capabilities of their current state of human development. These people could dismissively be just labeled cynical and the rest of us could move on. IMHO, that's almost what we need to do because regardless of what we say, they will negate any progress as bad in some way or another. The only way to convince them is by example.

I've posted here numerous times about the potential for our current technologies to completely eliminate every monthly expense we have, to go local and to retire in as little as 8 years. In doing so, we would then pass our job to the next family to support. This would eliminate 2/3rds of the lifetime expenses of that family while cutting unemployment at a faster rate than technological unemployment puts them out of work. This, then, translates to giving the power of money back to the people (it becomes a worker's market, not an employer's market like the last century), taken back from the banks and the commercialization mindset. And finally, as the banks lose it, we regain control over society. If that doesn't qualify as raising people's standard of living, I don't know what would.

All it really takes is a completely free market mentality, applied while embracing technology and genuine long-term sustainability.

venue ticket prices are kinda not at fair market prices

computers are a much more accurate trend of what is coming in all industry subject to process innovation.

venue prices are inflated to ridiculous prices in most cases. if seats go unfilled then naturally the price should go lower but can't because of fixed pricing.

Tools of war are not always obvious. The worst weapon is an idea planted in the mind of man. Prejudices can kill, suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has an everlasting fallout all of its own.

Where does the income for the

Where does the income for the average wage earner come from? He has no job in this future. Equity, bonds? You need $1,000,000 invested, and returning 6% income per year to get by.

His money no doubt comes from government. He is useless.

What you're imagining isn't nirvana unless you're a wealthy technocrat.

there would be more disposable income

Still an economy and money. Just not for basic needs. They can work for a space or underwater exploration organization.

You don't have to work you said, so does that make you useless? You retired young, so too will everyone else because basic needs will be so extremely affordable.

NCMarc's picture

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi can solve tons of simple automation tasks. We will soon have 20 maybe even 100 computers in our homes controlling all kinds of things.

Look into it.

A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges. - Ben Franklin

automate me some dam turnips

and gasoline, good buddy
holler at me. ready yet

Read "The Player Piano" by Vonnegot

I think the future is already written. We will learn to live with less and like it. How? people consider virtual goods comparable to real goods. Max Keiser used to joke about it but its true and the federal government will adjust the cpi accordingly. Virtual reality products will be compared to real and lower the CPI. Cost of going to a virtual movie theatre $3,down from $15. Cost of buying virtual car over real car (made equivalent by virtual commuting), $100, down from $30000.

It's an interesting

It's an interesting observation that your listed examples are also useful for tracking and diverting the attention of the public as well.

quite a broad criteria

what happens when food production is automated and nearly free? Will you say it also falls into this category because it can be GMO engineered to cause cancer and autism?

You consider music to be a distraction? And every single movie no matter who made it or with what intention?

One thing I didn't put on there is a cost of a round trip plane ticket to Europe. A small fraction of what it was in the 1940s and 1950s. Do you also consider that a distraction?

Technology is causing life to get better and there isn't always a victim.