Saturday, June 09, 2007

Plenty of Jobs left to do in the Old Economy

Ahh karma economies, they are wonderful things. If you haven't already done so, you may wish to read Michael Goldhaber's essays on The Attention Economy on First Monday. An attention economy is evolving right now. Attention economies also figure prominently in fiction such as Elf Sternberg's Journals of Kennet Ryal Shardik.

But there's plenty of life left in the old material economies. Especially if we remove some of the perversities heaped upon them. For example, by substituting a decentralized negative-interest currency such as was used in Worgl, Austria to lift it out of the middle of the Great Depression. The bankers wouldn't like that though. Fuck 'em. Such a currency is necessary because there are still a million different jobs to be done in the physical economy. And millions of people unemployed or underemployed or badly employed that could perform these jobs.

A few thousand nuclear reactors have to be built across the planet. Thousands of kilometers of high speed rail track has to be laid in North America alone. Thousands more kilometers of subways and tramways. Fiber optic cables to every home. Sewage systems have to be rebuilt, water treatment plants completely redesigned, desalination plants built in the hundreds if not thousands, the electric supergrids have to be completely revamped. Tens of thousands of parenting centers have to be built. Entire cities have to be built in developing countries, and rebuilt in the USA. Undersea mining of copper and iron ores.

And just for fun, a nuclear-powered Orion spaceship, rebuilding the capital sector to use amorphous metals, 3D printers, and rebuilding companies from the ground-up on an anti-authoritarian basis.

There's no lack of meaningful, valuable things to do. There's no lack of resources with which to do them either. There's plenty of uranium lying around and with that uranium there's plenty of copper and zinc and everything else. There's plenty of potential workers going spare in useless sectors like the military, management, police and the law. They're just being wasted by a financial system that doesn't give a damn about creating meaningful wealth. It's time to change that.

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