Category Archives: Economics

I give you ONE wish

Here are the rules:

You get one wish.

It will come true the moment you utter the sealing spell “that is my wish.”

It must be specific, that is, enactable by an omnipotent being (me). Meaning, it cannot be vague, “I wish for world peace.” (What would that mean? And how would any omniscient, omnipotent being apply that to the Universe?)

It can apply to any era in the history of the Universe; to any aspect of existence, any land, sea, creature, peoples or culture.

Go.

For thought fodder here are a few that you might consider. If multiple folks pick similar wishes then I’m sure they will eventually come true. (OK, this might not be possible, but, hey, we’re all living in a material, I mean, virtual world, right?)

  1. I wish that the physics of matter made it impossible for life to evolve.
  2. I wish that altruism balanced aggression in the natural order.
  3. I wish all planets that could harbor life, did harbor life.
  4. I wish that humanity was not alone in the universe and that we would discover this tomorrow.
  5. I wish that telekinetic power was possible.
  6. I wish unicorns existed today.
  7. And elves, flying dragons, 2nd law of thermodynamics defying physics existed too.

 

 


Here come the choppers

When you hear the sound of a helicopter(s), what do you think?

• “Oh, it must be a Life-Flight, or the Coast Guard out saving someone, hurry, hurry!”
Or
• “It’s the authorities come to spy/harass/nab me or someone I know.”
Or
• Nothing, you never hear helicopters or if you do you don’t even wonder about why they’re circling your home, neighborhood, town.

Helicopters are the ultimate urban assault vehicle. They can spy, (now from great distance), travel quickly without worry of terrain, and carry agents who can be dropped to carry out clandestine, “official” business.

When I hear them I immediately think “GO AWAY! You’re noisy, arrogant, and invasive.”

I wonder what most folks thing about the sounds of choppers? Apocalypse Now? The Flight of the Valkyries? FBI, regional police departments? Or the military (domestic or, yikes, foreign)?

Are we trained through media (movies and television) to worry when helicopters start flying? I wonder if there’s an economic threshold. The wealthier you are, the more you think helicopters are here to rescue you (or protect you) and the poorer you are…

 


Oligarchs are evolution

While watching a In a Nutshell episode (below), I extrapolated the concept that intelligent life consumes all of a planet’s resources. It’s like a machine that eats until everything it can eat — gets consumed. But, the oligarchs know this, and plan for lifeboats which are escape pods shot from a planet’s surface out to the solar system to create, and control, life there.

Oligarchs rule a planet’s resources. They can control what gets built, what gets sequestered, what gets jettisoned. What if folks like Elon Musk are actually aware of this and are planning for humanity’s demise. Not their demise. They will survive. They will rule New Earth. They will control the AIs and robots that create the food and build the starships.

What if humanity actually IS evolving, but not genetically, but financially. In the end, if an apocalypse does not kill off all of humankind, then the only folks who will survive the coming resource collapse, will be the rich.


The Content Economy: update

In the spirit of full disclosure the following sites/services were found which may or may not apply to this concept of the Content Economy.

Some strange ones:

Wikipedia has a minimalistic post on the topic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micropayment

Unfortunately, none of these so called micropayment solutions address the situation in a way that makes sense; which is, to allow content economy participants to both earn and spend from the same account. These solutions get close. But they miss the one massive, all important piece of the puzzle: content consumers are contributors too.

We’re all creator/consumers.

Any real solution should all have a single account into which payments can accrue. And from which payments can be distributed.

REF: https://anonymole.wordpress.com/2017/12/05/the-content-economy/

Additional article on the topic, but one that uses blockchain technology (something I don’t see as being necessary for the Content Economy to flourish):
https://thenextweb.com/contributors/2017/08/11/blockchain-makes-online-content-economy-fair-transparent


The Content Economy

If you’ve only just joined us, let me bring you up to speed on my vision of the “Content Economy.”

The Content Economy will be a system of monetary exchange made through micro-payments. But not that micro. A penny or pence or whatever 1/100th of a euro or yuan is.

You will have your content account which you can top-off with $ or, if you’re good at creating content, said account will be your repository for the oodles of AddCents clicks that you will receive.

AddCents is the concept I came up with years ago that I wanted Google to build. Imagine seeing a little G$ next to an article or youtube video. You read or watch — enjoy the content SO MUCH that you want to pay the creator directly — so you click the AddCents button. Ding! A transfer from your account to the creator’s account. (Kind of the opposite of Google’s current adsense.)

Anyway, the idea seems sound. But, Google refused it. And, recently, so did Medium (instead they implemented that silly clap meme). So, what about other, hint hint, content platforms?

If you had a WordPress account that you deposited, oh, $25 into and then instead of clicking that contentious “Like” button you clicked these instead:

AddCents

And you PAY the author of the content, whatever you think it is worth.

You can AddCents to articles, to posts, to comments!!!, to anything attached to a piece of content. But think of this. An author could offer their larger works, self-published novels vimeo or youtube videos, and build a page that hosted them. And then let content consumers pay them DIRECTLY!

Additionally, if you give a great review of a novel — why shouldn’t you be able to earn money for that too?

Effectively, this paradigm becomes a self serving, self propagating economy where everyone can pay for content or earn money for content. Everyone can participate in the Content Economy.

If you like this — send me a penny. (I wish!) Or petition WordPress to implement this concept.

Cite:
https://goo.gl/AuHKV1
https://goo.gl/PaEPKg
https://anonymole.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/google-addcents/

 


Calorie Commute Cost

What is your commute worth?

Don’t ask me. I work from home. My commute is about 10 feet. But, if I had to commute what would it be worth?

Why are we doing this? Primarily, I wanted to figure out what would be a reasonable value to charge to drive someone to and from work, say, if you had a fully automated vehicle and wanted to share it with everyone who could afford it – like Uber but without a driver. What could you charge? And, also, I wanted to know, if I have to get a on-site job, what would be the cost I’d have to add to my paycheck to take such a job.

Let’s start with a few numbers.

  • 20 miles to work site, 40 miles round trip.
  • 100 calories burned by the average human body walking one mile.
  • 500 calories that can be purchased (on average) for one dollar.
  • 40 mph average speed of a “commute” vehicle.
  • $40 dollars per hour cost equivalent lost while driving.

[Now, I know I’m mixing my metaphors here – human calories and vehicle speed – but I’m just looking for ballpark here. I could got with gas + maintenance + vehicle cost, but that would vary just as much.]

Energy:
It would take 4000 calories for a human to walk that far (round trip).
At 500 calories per dollar (see cite below) that’s 8 dollars round trip.
Time:
At 40 miles total at 40 miles per hour that would be $40 per day wasted in traffic.

So we have:

  • $8 * 250 days = $2,000 / year (energy)
  • $40 * 250 days = $10,000 / year in time (time)

If we double the dollars per calorie cost (more reasonable given today’s food costs) then the price per year for energy goes up twice to $16 / day or $4,000 / year. Just for energy.

At this point we have $14,000 per year cost to commute.

Now, the time would still be a factor in using a fully automated car, but the $16/hour cost to pay for the travel (energy + rent the vehicle) is really low. There is no way to rent a car out (and pay for fuel) at that price. And even twice that at $32/hour — during rush hour — would be inadequate — regardless of time considerations.

[What does Uber cost? Apparently about $2/mile which would push the cost up to $80/day to use Uber as a commute solution. Which oddly enough is pretty close to the $32 + $40 that we’d spend in travel+time. But sheesh, who wants to pay that?]

So, realistically, by NOT commuting, I’m saving between $14,000 and $18,000 per year.

How do you feel knowing your commute costs you over $15k per year? Imagine telling your boss that having to sit in that little beige cubicle, within shouting distance of her, costs you personally, fifteen thousand dollars a year! Bloody hell! Let me work from home!

What about the investment concept? If a fleet of automated vehicles could operate efficiently at a cost between about $30-$50/hour  then such a solution “could” possibly be an economic winner. ‘Course, you could try and ride the bus…

~~~

Cite: http://efficiencyiseverything.com/calorie-per-dollar-list/


Chinese Millennials

Will Chinese Millennials diverge from their elders’ and ancestors’ infatuation with consuming the world’s endangered species?

“Worth thousands of dollars on the Chinese black market.”

That statement alone should make you shudder with regards to what the Chinese economy is set to do to the world’s endangered wildlife. With nearly 1.4 billion people, 70% of which are up and coming middle class — many of whom will be subscribing to the traditions of their ancestors — China will soon be eating, drinking, buying and owning the world’s critically threatened species.

Elephant ivory. Rhino horn. Exotic bear, tiger, simian, marsupial and fish organs. The consumption of all of these and hundreds, if not thousands, of other medicinal and collectible parts of animals, are all on the rise in China.

Yes, the Western world had, as its toy, for centuries, the undeveloped world. The United States extracted one of the greatest tolls on the planet as it sucked at the planet’s resources before, during, and after the country’s golden years. And then the rest of the industrialized world caught on and replicated America’s rapacious exploitation. Colonialism started it, but transnational corporations are finishing it. And yet, through it all, the West seems to have found religion. They’ve realized the detrimental impact they have on the species of the world (or so they would have us think; I do believe the West is trying to be a good curator now).

But China and India (and the other countries of Asia?) they’re just getting started in their consumption cycles. If just a third of China’s middle class all want to own an ivory trinket of some sort (to honor tradition, or establish a wealth designation) that alone will have 300 million Chinese buying carved ivory — extracted mostly through illegal sources — effectively wiping out the entire African elephant population.

And that’s just the elephants. A million apothecaries all trying to get black bear pancreases, or tiger penises, or pangolin fetuses, or totoaba bladders (a fish), will utterly destroy the populations of such species.

So, I ask, will the Chinese Millennials alter the future of their people and reject such ancient superstitious traditions and help save, rather than consume, the world’s endangered species?