In the future you will own nothing and have access to everything

Originally published at:


Wow. I still own my copy of Signal.

Great book but I didn’t think anybody much remembered it anymore since so many things I loved about Whole Earth Review didn’t age well when it came to tech. It can’t be helped though.

I understand there is a community of hoarders for these old books and mags from CQ, WER, etc. I wish I could find them to sell them my collection so I could be a bit more “own nothing but have everything”.


I can save so much money time-sharing this toothbrush!


That’s pretty much how I try to live even presently.

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I’d love to comment on this but I have to hand back my timeshare cell phone…



And then in this future, if the State wants to get rid of me, they shut off the ubiquitous flow of suppliers and replacements and scheduling that rules my life, and I die of thirst or starvation …


I can’t say why, but this is how I feel about this piece.


Of course, I don’t need to clean it after I’m done; it just goes back into the box.

Yeah, where an ‘independent contractor’ chained to a smartphone for 24 hours a day (because he will have to be on-demand for countless services to eke out a living) will schlep it for you (out of sight out of mind) for virtually no compensation, because there are 1000 other starving bastards that will underbid him by pennies to get the gig.


That’s all great and stuff, but I draw the line at having to refer to Larry Ellison as “Your Lordship.”


If you don’t own anything, and have access to everything - what do you need the compensation/pennies for?

The “compensation” of work which is necessary is that it has been accomplished! Bribery is only needed in a society based upon coercion and the promotion of arbitrary toil for its own sake.


Oooh, I actually need a toothbrush right now. I’ll bid 500K satoshis for a transferable lease to it for the next 90 minutes. Uber it over to me if it’s a deal: my GPS coordinates encrypted with my public key follow. But I warn you, it better have been washed, or so help me I’ll leave you such a bad Yelp review.



I’ll add in that for most things, the quality is dramatically improved if the people doing the work are intrinsically motivated (they like what they’re doing) rather than extrinsically (they’re being paid/rewarded/coerced). There’s tons of scientific support for this and almost no contradiction anywhere.

So if you make it easy for people to create then you can just ride it, and only worry about reward systems for the remaining tasks that can’t be automated but there’s a supply/demand gap (janitorial services, EMTs etc.).

It’s not very American, but so what?


Who is going to be excited about scrubbing this dudes turkey fryer? Or washing and folding his laundry?


WHO is going to have ‘access to everything’? Everyone? Who is going to do the dirty work? What will they be motivated by? I didn’t see anything in the article about a basic income, or the end of scarcity. I was basing my first comment on what is already happening with these sort of ‘on demand’ app services like Task Rabbit, Uber, etc…


I gasped when I read that.

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Very few people, that’s why I added…

So, step one you guarantee a dignified living (which we can EASILY afford)

Then, you feed off of intrinsic motivation and enable it as much as you can (skunkworks style). Don’t ramp up rewards for people who don’t need them (the vast majority of the most productive people on the planet aren’t motivated by money past dignified survival)

Next, you automate as much as is possible, another task that intrinsically motivated people are far better at.

Last, manage remaining supply demand gaps with extrinsic motivation (i.e. perks/rewards/etc.)

You end up with a society where the overproducers are enabled, and instead of resources being skewed towards those who are largely useless or who only have slightly above average production (the status quo) they’re skewed towards those doing the remaining tasks that need to be done … So your ‘richest’ people are janitors, nurses, EMTs, and so on. They’re not excited by what they do, but some people will happily do crummy work for a few perks.

It’s science.


I don’t know, that kind of future seems kind of … old.


I should point out that in the present I already have access to everything - if I have enough money. Which is the same problem with the future where your rent everything. Access is still entirely dependent on the amount of money at your disposal.


Didn’t see that part of your post because my cats were bugging out. I agree with pretty much all that. Unfortunately, I can’t ever see that happening in America. We don’t seem to be motivated by efficiency or reason here.

Edit: My reactionary tone comes from a lot of these ‘miracle tech society’ arguments being completely divorced from economic reality.