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Book Abundance-the future is better than you think
Old 04-11-2012, 09:53 AM   #1
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Book Abundance-the future is better than you think

Interesting interview in Freakonomics with the authors of Abundance, a new book. This part was the most relevant to my thoughts on ER:

This may seem a fairly future forward opinion, but in a 2011 special report for CNN, media specialist Douglas Rushkoff argued this transition is already underway:

I understand we all want paychecks — or at least money. We want food, shelter, clothing, and all the things that money buys us. But do we all really want jobs?

We’re living in an economy where productivity is no longer the goal, employment is. That’s because, on a very fundamental level, we have pretty much everything we need. America is productive enough that it could probably shelter, feed, educate, and even provide health care for its entire population with just a fraction of us actually working.

Our problem is not that we don’t have enough stuff—it’s that we don’t have enough ways for people to work and prove that they deserve this stuff.

Part of the problem is that most contemporary thinking about money and markets and such has its roots in the scarcity model. In fact, one of the most commonly used definitions of economics is “the study of how people make choices under conditions of scarcity, and the results of those choices for society.

The entire article/Q&A can be read here:
Freakonomics » Abundance Authors Diamandis and Kotler Answer Your Questions

I think I'll put down for the book at the library--sounds interesting.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:25 AM   #2
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Very interesting. Thanks for posting.
Now, if we can just relinquish our hoarding instinct & get off our high horse about who is deserving and who is not. (Not claiming that I am immune to either)
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:44 AM   #3
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I guess it intrigued me more because I've been following the India Real Time series in the Wall Street Journal. When I think of what it means to be poor in places like they describe in the series, I'm humbled by the contrast.
Walkin, you might like reading it as well--this is a link to the second one.
Starving in India: A Fight for Life in Bihar - India Real Time - WSJ
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:48 AM   #4
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I think I'll put down for the book at the library--sounds interesting.
A friend of mine was so impressed by the book that he sent me a copy. I'm reading it as soon as I finish my abundance of tax returns.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:06 PM   #5
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I just finished it. Very interesting and quite thoughtful about how the future will be influenced by the young tech philanthropy that is world-focused on the big problems rather than locally on cultural improvements.
The authors discuss singularity and how the ever-increasing power of computing will be a true game changer.
Interestingly, I also just finished Phantom, Ted Bell's latest adventure novel, which also is based on the concept of singularity, albeit one with more malevolence. I'd say Bell has less optimism about a future with computers smarter than humans than do authors Diamandis and Kotler.
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Old 04-23-2012, 12:42 PM   #6
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I'd say Bell has less optimism about a future with computers smarter than humans than do authors Diamandis and Kotler.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:06 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC

We’re living in an economy where productivity is no longer the goal, employment is. That’s because, on a very fundamental level, we have pretty much everything we need.
Except apostrophes.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:17 AM   #8
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Except apostrophes.
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:08 PM   #9
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Sounds like an interesting read. I just put in a request at my library, but it will likely be awhile as the request list is long.
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:46 PM   #10
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Powerplay, put in for Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman at the same time. There will probably be a long wait for it as well, but it is a very worthy and interesting read!
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:52 PM   #11
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Is the author proposing we re-distribute everything per some Marxist plan ?
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:57 PM   #12
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Powerplay, put in for Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman at the same time. There will probably be a long wait for it as well, but it is a very worthy and interesting read!
Sounds good, I'll go look and see if the library has it. Interesting that only one of the 2 large library systems that I have cards for has the Abundance book.
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:18 PM   #13
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Is the author proposing we re-distribute everything per some Marxist plan ?
<snort> Nah, nothing like that. I probably couldn't have made it through it if that was the case!
Actually it is more that the technology available now and what is coming will make it possible to provide the basics (simple food, water, shelter) to everyone in the world. Despite all of the money thrown at these problems by charities, gov'ts, and NGOs, they still persist, and the authors suggest that innovations will provide breakthroughs that can solve these problems.
It is actually nice to read something positive about the future, instead of the gloom and doom that seems to be omnipresent in the news cycle today.
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:57 PM   #14
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Except apostrophes.
Actually, there may be an overabundance of apostrophes. Wouldn't the sentence read better if the apostrophe after the word "goal" were a semi-colon?
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:48 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
Despite all of the money thrown at these problems by charities, gov'ts, and NGOs, they still persist, and the authors suggest that innovations will provide breakthroughs that can solve these problems.
It is actually nice to read something positive about the future, instead of the gloom and doom that seems to be omnipresent in the news cycle today.
Even if it has to rely on a miracle to bring it about. People will be eating one another before some grand scientific advance solves everyone's problems.

I do agree, Sarah, that your idea is a much more attractive thought.

Ha
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Old 06-18-2012, 06:55 PM   #16
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Read the book [Abundance] and bought 10 copies to give to friends and clients.

Potential of 9 billion (by that time) to have affordable access to food/water/shelter/education/healthcare/communication by levering new technology and global (internet enabled) collaboration is the basic idea. Hard to imagine a world where that happens, but I enjoy the challenge! Highly recommended book.
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:01 AM   #17
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I'm adding to this old thread, as I just viewed the author's TED presentation, and thought it was very good. I'll need to go back and listen to the Freakonomics podcast. Fortunately, I recalled the word "Abundance" in the thread title, so was able to search and tie it together (I guess a few brain cells are still functioning?).



The first few minutes, he does a good job explaining why we respond to negative news (basic survival instinct). At ~ 2:35 he gets into the advances made in the past century, and how much life has improved on average. Also ( ~ 3:20) an interesting take (that I've heard elsewhere) on our current definition of 'poverty'. Interesting example of technology taking scarcity to abundance @ 6:40.

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Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
Is the author proposing we re-distribute everything per some Marxist plan ?
I didn't take it that way - more along the lines of a rising tide lifts all boats. As tech comes down in cost, everyone (almost everyone) benefits.


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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
<snort> Nah, nothing like that. I probably couldn't have made it through it if that was the case!
Actually it is more that the technology available now and what is coming will make it possible to provide the basics (simple food, water, shelter) to everyone in the world. Despite all of the money thrown at these problems by charities, gov'ts, and NGOs, they still persist, and the authors suggest that innovations will provide breakthroughs that can solve these problems.
It is actually nice to read something positive about the future, instead of the gloom and doom that seems to be omnipresent in the news cycle today.
Quote:
Originally Posted by haha View Post
Even if it has to rely on a miracle to bring it about. People will be eating one another before some grand scientific advance solves everyone's problems.

I do agree, Sarah, that your idea is a much more attractive thought.

Ha
I didn't come away thinking that he was naive and saying technology was going to solve all the problems ('there will be poor always'?), but that overall, technology keeps raising the standard of living. And that technology is progressing exponentially.

I do think he over-sells the current state of 'green energy' - you can't really compare raw costs in $/KWh without including the cost of storage or 'peaker plants' since most of the green energy is intermittent.

It was uplifting, and I needed that! Well, unless we use that technology to blow ourselves up!!! (buzz kill)

-ERD50
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:43 AM   #18
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Inside the book is a section of how technology is being applied to transform healthcare. Quite remarkable. The same advancing trend in technology will imo make it possible to have greater expanded healthy life spans... but you need to be around for another 15-20 years!
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:59 AM   #19
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Interesting! Glad you dug that up, I will check out the TED talk when I have time.
And I think you'll like the Freakonomics story--they do an excellent job of editing and producing those segments and they are almost always a real pleasure to hear.
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:29 PM   #20
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Not sure how I missed this thread the first time around (I often appreciate Sarah's posts) but I enjoyed the TED vid and I requested the book from my local library. I consume too much negative news, it will be refreshing to read something else, thanks youse guys...
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