QuestionLet's suppose tech advances so far in the next few centuries that material goods become practically free to produce. What do you think the new wealth indicator would be?
      – BorgClown, 2009-12-04 at 14:57:34   (8 comments)

On 2009-12-04 at 14:58:00, BorgClown wrote...
Food? Land?
On 2009-12-04 at 15:25:22, Lee J Haywood wrote...
All wealth is founded on resources we take from the Earth. Cultivating food is fairly sustainable, but many goods that rely on mining aren't. Many people make money selling services, including computer programming, but they do so whilst relying on others to provide them with food. So even if you designed and built your own house and produced all your own household goods and provided only a service for a living, you'd still need others to supply food and raw materials to you. So I don't think 'wealth indicators' are relevant other than to say that you have accumulated money - i.e. you could have pretty much any job or provide any service, including farming, and potential be rich. For example, you might see the owners of chip shops here driving around in expensive cars simply because the mark-up on the price of potatoes is so high. It's not what you do or sell, it's the profit you make doing it that counts.
On 2009-12-04 at 21:11:12, BorgClown wrote...
I meant really inexpensive, like building your own house out of generic blueprints and any raw material an army of nanobots could find on site, or cheap edible lichens or bacterial cultures, you'd feed them only with rocks and dirt and never be hungry. If material goods are inexpensive, wealth would be irrelevant, what would you expend your money on? That is, unless wealth meant something else, like land plots or new classes of luxuries.
On 2009-12-05 at 11:13:10, Melchior wrote...
Non-material goods like services, land, time. Not sure how it would work in practice though; presumably the dirt and rocks and stuff would run out, then only the rich could afford to buy the necessary raw materials.
On 2009-12-05 at 14:39:08, Thelevellers wrote...
Non material goods would be it I guess - music, TV, film, literature - these can only be made with money, so would (possibly) have to cost money, or stop being made. I would quite approve of such a change myself, putting value in a well stocked library of music and litterature... Of course if culture continues along current trends then the tv library would be all X-Factor, the music library full of X-Factor finalists and the litterature library full of their autobiographies! HORRORS!
On 2009-12-05 at 16:25:27, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Money is for the exchange of goods and services. Even if you can make things yourself, you still need the blueprints and there will still be inventions where the IP is protected (c/f Second Life). But as I said, it doesn't matter how inexpensive things are provided you can make a profit and sell things in bulk - even goods or raw materials, but particularly services. The only way money could become irrelevant is if everyone's needs are met and mankind's goal becomes personal development. But you were asking about wealth indicators, not money itself.
On 2009-12-08 at 04:14:01, BorgClown wrote...
Then happiness would be a measure of wealth, and as it happens nowadays, people would exaggerate their happiness to appear more wealthy.
On 2009-12-08 at 18:06:07, Lee J Haywood wrote...
At the moment countries measure success by GDP, which is well known to be largely unrelated to happiness. Your 'wealth' ought to include life satisfaction, not just monetary value.