March 13th, 2002


Cory Doctorow stole my mojo!

Awhile back, I thought about how people could live with the least amount of governance, came up with "Anarchy must be earned", and went into how moderation could be used to create a utopia/dystopia (pick a card, any card...)

So, I go off to SXSW and find out that Cory Doctorow is writing a sci-fi book called Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, about a society based on "reputation economies in a far-future, post-scarcity world where ad-hocracies run the only scarce thing left, which is location-based amusements." Admittedly, it's not the same thing, but it is similar.

As for the scarcity argument, however... I don't know. I would like things to become less scarce (as would many others), and some things are becoming less scarce (i.e. anything that can be digitized), but I still have immense faith in mankind's seemingly unlimited capacity for greed and overconsumption.

Overconsumption is business-driven -- it's even good for the economy! Why encourage people to overconsume though, when others are going without? Why not, for example, export more food to starving third world countries? Easy... there's no money in it. It's cheaper and easier for businesses to get Americans to eat more than they should (and thereby sell their goods locally into a wealthy economy) than it is to export it and have to sell to people who can't afford to pay as much.

In other words, when the US gives government subsidies to US farmers, what they are actually doing is using our tax money to feed us more than we need, tacking inches on to our waistlines in the process. And of course Bush's steel subsidies will further polute the environment and make conditions like asthma that much more severe for millions of Americans.

And I bet you thought we only spent our tax money to kill people in other countries...