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

Clearly, the author is an Eloi, and the Box is maintained from below by the Morlocks.


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

Until you don’t have access to anything and still own nothing.


Yeah, that’d be a pretty dramatic change, wouldn’t it?

However, a corporation can provide food, housing, and shelter for somebody and what we’re really describing here is a collection of skunkworks projects with some infrastructure to cross the ‘Ts’.

Then if you give people control over their entire group’s lives top to bottom (putting us in line with Dunbar’s number) they can create groups that are on the same general page (less drama) and as a corporation you can always fire the people who just can’t survive without peeing in other peoples’ cheerios.

Throw in an ‘OK Cupid for entire lives’ option and let people cluster.

That way it’s more a ‘civilization of choice’ thing instead of ‘you all have to agree with each other based on where you were born’, which is kind of a silly concept when you think about it.

(this plot has been in the works for a while) ;)[quote=“thirdworldtaxi, post:20, topic:81485”]
Edit: My reactionary tone comes from a lot of these ‘miracle tech society’ arguments being completely divorced from economic reality.
SO AGREED! There are so many big dreams out there that have no mechanism to work in the real world (The Venus Project, RBEs in general, intentional communities) or just have no mechanism to grow and flourish (little communes making hammocks sigh )

Lots of them are predisposed against corporations because they’re ‘evil’, and IMHO they’re totally missing the ball. The attitude should be min/maxing, not ideological purity.


It is, however, SEVERELY limited by quality, and some aspects of our economic system greatly reduces the quality of life…for our selves and (more importantly…because we go crazy for others before we do ourselves) for those we care about.

We have the technology for a Wearable Holodeck (AR+Haptics on steroids) for everyone, yet our resources are focused on military exoskeletons instead of wearable haptics. We have TONS of productivity that goes absolutely nowhere. Our entertainment is controlled by a skewed minority (would YOU be giving Michael Bay more millions to make Transformers movies?)

And then there’s healthcare, which is horribly crippled by our economic system. DME is a freaking nightmare. We’d already be killing cancers with custom viruses (one of the surest things) by now if we had an ounce of focus.

Wealth only buys you what exists in the context you’re in…and our context could be a LOT better.


That’s inefficient, because it results in people buying orders of magnitude more stuff, most of which at any given time is not being used. Ownership fixes utility in place, rather than helping it to flow to where/when it is needed. Not to mention that it presupposes a superstitious relationship between agents and objects.

One glaring economic reality is that if the exchange of currency is somehow supposed to help manage the distribution of resources, it doesn’t do this especially well.

Yes, ownership is often inefficient, but I can sell these items at any time. Why should ownership transfer be any less liquid than renting?

As to the rental economy, rental prices vary radically depending on the field. Car rentals are pretty efficient. You can rent a $25,000 car for $60 a day, or about 0.24% of the retail price per day. Convention furniture rental, not so much. I’ve seen prices that seemed to be the wholesale cost of the furniture, per day, for chairs. Roughly 50% of retail price per day. And, in between, I’ve seen Audio visual rentals go for between 5 and 10% of the retail purchase price per day.

Renting, in and of itself, doesn’t make everything efficient.

1 Like

This seems kind of backwards to me. I suspect that it is a holdover from hierarchical colonial systems which place greatest value upon management, aristocracy, and other layabouts. Over time, people in some cultures have been conditioned to believe that the necessity of a job is inversely proportional to its pay. This contrived “society of spectacle” is why one can find entire populations who would prefer to become famous for playing football or acting in movies rather than plumbing, growing food, or teaching children. People are deliberately rewarded for pursuing their own irrelevance.

The accomplishment of necessary tasks is its own reward/goal precisely because they are necessary. It is not difficult to demonstrate that performing necessary tasks has more value than performing frivolous ones, despite many having been conditioned otherwise.

I was not suggesting the rental of anything. Rental itself implies that things are owned by some other party, rather than not owned at all. What I am getting at is the automatic movement of goods and services to where they are needed at the moment, instead of obscure rituals about transactionality.

And you can read it without owning it here!


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

Hey, I’m halfway there!


If we’re talking a Utopia, it IS backwards. But I don’t design for Utopias, I design bridges that work in the real world with real humans and naturally herds them in a generally harmonious and productive direction.

Let’s take ‘pay’ out of this as the only possible reward system. We’re an incredibly diverse lot and we all like different things. Heck, it’s worth something to me to have a home WITHOUT a lawn to mow (I hate the things…water-wasting islands of invasive species that provide nothing and waste tons of time). Instead let’s simply focus on things that people personally find valuable and leave it open there. Lots of us don’t value ‘pay’ at all, instead we value autonomy, access, and the feeling of accomplishment and growth.

So restate as ‘those who are filling in the gaps nobody else is jumping to fill get dibs on defining their rewards’. We can prepare for the necessity without encouraging or embracing it. That’s far better than the alternative of not having anybody willing to wipe old-people butts, isn’t it?

Ahh, if only that was true for everything. It is not. Certain tasks are more rewarding in themselves than others and while we can embrace our variety that doesn’t mean we’ll always have enough of everyone to fill every task a human needs to fill.

The goals can still be automation and the minimization of exactly that sort of perspective, but I live in a world where backup plans need backup plans…and creating societies takes all of those issues and ramps them up to ten. It’d be reckless to just assume best case scenarios.

Similarly, there are some roles that are more in need, but less fulfilling than others. Sure, it’s not hard to gather groups of people to play role-playing games and have their antics turned into web comics, and it’s reasonably easy to find people to do the sort of analytic work that I do. But what about the painstaking process of genetic analysis and engineering? Do we prioritize curing cancer, or having fun?

We always want every task that can be done by somebody who is intrinsically motivated and enthusiastic to perform that task…not just because it’s obvious from a workload standpoint but also because the quality is far better and they’re far more effective than somebody who needs an external impetus.

But, barring some magical enlightenment, even our most generally harmonious societies have had to create some mechanism to guarantee that less desired tasks get performed, and if we really want to serve the greater good then we’re going to have to expect to be more on the ball…not less. We can still embrace pleasant surprises.

Humanity doesn’t change, but we can work with the analog scale…minimizing one side and maximizing the other.

That’s an orders of magnitude improvement over what we have… and that’s all we need now. Once we’ve raised people in a less mad world we can let them come up with better ideas. We’re all by definition unqualified to be making these judgement calls.


“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.”

Weeeeel, that assumes the 1% will donate the land and resources they’ve controlled for the good of humanity.

Which really does mean you’ll live in the company store, eat the company food, wear the company clothes and drink the company water - as long as they get paid by you.

You can’t 3D print more land or mines.


But you can 3D print land mines, which is pretty close!


The point of this might be what Oscar Wilde was getting at: the real aim of (a good) society is to make poverty impossible. Once you don’t need to own things have access to them, and if this access can be made available by cooperating in a labor pool that is really efficient, then you can work a lot less, and get to use a lot more, and never worry about being poor.


I clicked on this expecting it to be another rant about how Netflix, Steam, etc. are leading us to a dystopian future where we just have access to content rather than owning it. But no, it’s about extending this to the physical world and actually praising the result…


I’m way out of my area here, does camping gear really have rapid improvements happening all the time? I can’t exactly imagine Coleman stoves or tents or things making major leaps.


I’m also a little unclear on why his rentals will be “pristine”. I mean, it’s camping gear.

Dunno about yearly improvements, but LEDs have radically changed camping illumination. And we now have some very different ultra light and efficient stoves than we used to. Dunno.


Access costs. We’re talking about availability, not replicators.

1 Like

I’m sorry purchasing unit Steampunkbanana; you’re not authorized for that transaction.

I’m remembering an old Night Gallery tv show where a guy’s automated meal card got mangled & he couldn’t get them to authorize a new one and he couldn’t feed his family. He comes back to the office the next month for his new card. The lady issuing them asks however did you feed your family - pans back to the guy missing an arm.

We live more in the Elysium universe than the Star Trek universe. Whenever someone’s trying to sell me on the next big thing that will fix everything- I’m checking my wallet.