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A Parallel World (Or Not)


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II have been considering a hypothetical world which mirrors our own in the limit where all the work that 'needs' doing is automated, there is just enough food and shelter for all and there is no need to work. The government then issues vouchers for people to exchange for what it thinks they need from the system, the vouchers are recycled by the government and all is well. However, then people begin to stockpile vouchers and a secondary market forms for luxury items that some people make by performing non essential work, and the system is left short so the government has to print more vouchers. The stockpiling increases and the government has to print yet more.

What is the problem with this system (other than ideologically it looks like communism) - it does not matter that there is no essential work in my mind as long as the allocation system works. It does not matter if there are more vouchers in circulation than resources unless the excess vouchers are cashed in. Seems to me the biggest problem is the stock-pilers that are trying to beat the system.

Now imagine those vouchers are issued as debt and the population has to tempt vouchers out of the hands of the stock-pilers by doing non essential work to repay the debts, and we have our world - framed like this saving seems immoral.

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I wonder if there could be a more enlightened "safety net" for those gentle souls who don't wish to starve or freeze but also don't want to do some meaningless McJob. (Ironic name, serving food is actually useful... a lot of office jobs, not so much.)

They would have to do something [for the collective] in return for the basics but they would not be forced to compete in a game who's rules they never had a say in. You could leave capitalism to those who are more materialistic and so have a 2-speed economy with voluntary participation.

But maybe capitalism only works if you have some unwilling participants and no such safety net?

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II have been considering a hypothetical world which mirrors our own in the limit where all the work that 'needs' doing is automated, there is just enough food and shelter for all and there is no need to work. The government then issues vouchers for people to exchange for what it thinks they need from the system, the vouchers are recycled by the government and all is well. However, then people begin to stockpile vouchers and a secondary market forms for luxury items that some people make by performing non essential work, and the system is left short so the government has to print more vouchers. The stockpiling increases and the government has to print yet more.

What is the problem with this system (other than ideologically it looks like communism) - it does not matter that there is no essential work in my mind as long as the allocation system works. It does not matter if there are more vouchers in circulation than resources unless the excess vouchers are cashed in. Seems to me the biggest problem is the stock-pilers that are trying to beat the system.

Now imagine those vouchers are issued as debt and the population has to tempt vouchers out of the hands of the stock-pilers by doing non essential work to repay the debts, and we have our world - framed like this saving seems immoral.

The problem is that vouchers is not for the government to print (at will) unless government is printing the voucher in exchange of what it produces (and Soviet experience tells us that they don't produce many interesting things. They may be good at making air craft carriers or Mic Jet, but consumers' don't want that)

Money represent a social relationship where money is received in exchange for favour/serivces/goods rendered. Some amount of printing is tolerated, but it is not something to be printed at will.

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II have been considering a hypothetical world which mirrors our own in the limit where all the work that 'needs' doing is automated, there is just enough food and shelter for all and there is no need to work. The government then issues vouchers for people to exchange for what it thinks they need from the system, the vouchers are recycled by the government and all is well. However, then people begin to stockpile vouchers and a secondary market forms for luxury items that some people make by performing non essential work, and the system is left short so the government has to print more vouchers. The stockpiling increases and the government has to print yet more.

People would need to save anyway, at least over the short term assuming their access to new vouchers doesn't quite match up with when they spend the, For example, if there is a big holiday in which people give each other gifts, then that would create a non-smoothe consumption profile as people save for xmas and then spend all at once.

The obvious solution is to place an expiry date on the vouchers. They'd then start at face value and depreciate towards their expiry date.

Saving is not immoral as long as in aggregate what is being saved is what is needed to maintain the means of production and offset normal wear and tear of existing structures, educate kids etc.

Saving as a means of attempting to corner or partly corner the market in vouchers is arguably immoral.

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