Welcome to the year 2030. Welcome to my city – or should I say, “our city”. I don’t own anything. I don’t own a car. I don’t own a house. I don’t own any appliances or any clothes.
It might seem odd to you, but it makes perfect sense for us in this city. Everything you considered a product, has now become a service. We have access to transportation, accommodation, food and all the things we need in our daily lives. One by one all these things became free, so it ended up not making sense for us to own much.
All in all, it is a good life. Much better than the path we were on, where it became so clear that we could not continue with the same model of growth. We had all these terrible things happening: lifestyle diseases, climate change, the refugee crisis, environmental degradation, completely congested cities, water pollution, air pollution, social unrest and unemployment. We lost way too many people before we realised that we could do things differently.
November 11, 2016
Here’s how life could change in my city by the year 2030
[Auken also says:
Author’s note: Some people have read this blog as my utopia or dream of the future. It is not. It is a scenario showing where we could be heading – for better and for worse. I wrote this piece to start a discussion about some of the pros and cons of the current technological development. When we are dealing with the future, it is not enough to work with reports. We should start discussions in many new ways. This is the intention with this piece.
The “devil’s in the details” as they say. If you think about it just a little bit you realize it isn’t even possible. A few examples:
- Auken’s statements are self contradictory. Everything is free? Then what is “employment” about then? They claim, “It is more like thinking-time, creation-time and development-time.” Do they get paid for this or not? If yes, then who are the consumers and do they pay for the products and/or services? If they don’t get paid, then what is their motivation to product a product and/or service someone is interesting in using?
- They don’t explicitly say this but it’s implied that all the services are supplied by artificial-intelligence/robots. So what of crime control? Even if one were to concede there was no physical need for sustenance, shelter, entertainment, etc. there will be still be crimes of violence. Conflicts over relationships, insults, broken agreements, etc. Who pays for the cops, lawyers, judges, and prisons? Keep in mind that in a place where everything is free fines are meaningless.
- Accommodations are not all equal. Who gets the penthouse overlooking the ocean and who gets the street view of the recycling center? They’re both free you know.
- They don’t own anything, really? Not even clothes they say. Yet, I just demonstrated that a claim on quality of accommodations is going to occur. What about the dress they were married in? Or the food they ordered which just arrived from the robot pizza joint down the street? And what of the food they made themselves? Or the photographs they took, the art object they made, the diary they kept, or the book they wrote?
There will always be markets with sellers and buyers of property. They may be black markets in a time and place where thugs attempt to create a utopian world of free everything and equality for all, but markets will always exist.
Auken vision is not one of “for better or worse”. It’s one of reality or delusion.—Joe]
Ayn Rand’s work is a good rebuttal to these drug dreams. If that’s all they are…
Joe, you make good points.
My take was simpler: human nature being what it is, communal ownership simply seems not to work well – or at all, long term – with social structures much larger in scale than an extended family.
Until human nature changes this can’t work.
Nature or nurture; either way, the plan is to force the change.
Human nature doesn’t change. Last century, the communists liquidated 130 million people because they wouldn’t (couldn’t) change.
If everything is “free” nothing has value; not your labor, not your intellectual property, not even your life. All such “experiments” have ended in chaos. After the chaos, either a dictator emerges to force people to perform the necessary labor to keep things working (sorta) or much less frequently a general consensus to scrap the “everything is free” society for rampant capitalism. You’d think that after all of the object lessons of the last 300 or so years, we would have figured this out and quit trying to make “everything free.”
This fantasy of everything being free is a frequent one in literature. I forget which Asimov novel it was, but there was a whole planet in which the people had everything done for them by robots, each had an estate or garden, all to himself, or herself, and yet murder came into this paradise, a murder to be solved by Asimov’s protagonist.
I also remember a science-fiction story I read some fifty years ago. In it, the second coming occurred, and people rose from the dead, mountains, seas, trees plants, water all disappeared, as well as clothing. The world was transformed into a featureless white plain with recently arisen people everywhere. As there was nothing to be kept as property, no food or water was needed, and nothing to create inequality among the people, some spoke of it as having become a heaven. One said it was actually hell, as people couldn’t ordinarily find in themselves what to do on a rainy afternoon, and now the whole world was nothing but “rainy afternoon.”
The Pilgrims in 1620 originally had a plan imposed upon them by the people bankrolling their trip across the sea and settlement to own everything in common and pay off the debt. They followed this plan for two or three years and then in the face of repeated hunger abolished it in favor of individually owned fields and woodlots from which each was able to work for his or her own profit. They were devout Christians so I think they were able to find the authorization in the Bible to do this, rather than fixate on the common ownership depicted in Acts. Other societies were unable to do this and chose the dictator path.
This fantasy of everything being free and obtainable without effort or consequence is the fantasy of childhood, or more accurately, infancy, when someone or something else provided one’s needs without toil, or care, or even expressing the need before the need was met.
Thanks Windy! You stole my thunder. We already tried communism here in America.
Joe’s right. The law of supply and demand is absolute with humans. As even communist countries still use some form off capital to make their system work.
Seems to me the only difference in the two is control.
And who gets to apply it.
BOHICA is the future!
Solaria, from Asimov’s The Naked Sun maybe?
In the series starting with Caves of Steel.
“Everything is free and everybody shares equally” is the philosophy of a child. Adults know better.
Leftists are simply children who have refused to grow up and become healthy, functional adults.
I’ll agree the characterization of their mindset as “children” is fair. But when they have nukes at their disposal you can’t think of them in the same way as you can children.
It seems to me that all these “everything is free” people share a similar trait: they are all lazy as hell. If everything is free, then they don’t have to work at all. Stuff just appears.
When everything is free, playing video games all afternoon has the same value as tending crops in the hot sun all afternoon.
That can’t work out to well for socioty.
Soylent Green is people!
So in this Utopia/Distopia, what happens when the ruling class determines that your dream time and development time is of less value than anyone else’s? Away go the free services, and if you’re lucky, you get to try to survive in the dark underbelly of this shiny society. There will still be blue tarps and homeless, they just won’t let them sully the image of “your” city.
It is the siren song of mass destruction and mass death, and almost no one can resist its allure.
They include “clothes” in there by the way, because sex is one of the easiest ways to control the young “Ignoratti”, and the ignorant young have always been instrumental in all communist revolutions.
And since hardly anyone will bother taking the whole ten seconds required to find it in a web search, here’s the direct link to the latest encyclical, Fratelli Titti at the Vatican web site. I’m spoon-feeding it to you, directly from the source– the pope; the second-in-command to the Prince of the World (i.e. satan’s bitch). Now you have no excuse.
From now on you can never say that you weren’t forewarned.
In it you’ll find the essence of everything Karl Marx, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Musolinni, George Soros, et al, ever said: It’s masterfully performed prose, a beautiful symphony of the poetic expression of love and charity, all couched in the presumption of the authority of “god”.
And all the world wondered after the beast. Revelation 13:3
You can make fun of the pope’s work, and of the world leaders (including our own president and Supreme Court) who support it, and you can point out the massive errors and lies all you want, but it IS coming to a theatre near you. Many of you who thought of yourselves as “conservative” will succumb to its allure (most already have, but don’t realize it yet). The Roman Fascisti are as committed to it as anyone ever was committed to anything; far more committed to growing and empowering their system of evil than We the People are to upholding the perfect law of liberty.
It was all really obvious when Obama was so excited to meet this pope.
It was all Obama could do to keep himself from curtsying.
I have to wonder what you know the ultimate conclusion will be when the power that be are finally done with there 200 year plan of the world and society you envision, how long it will last and what will happen after if/when it falls. If it falls and we are not simply under it until the human race becomes extinct.
You always say that what you say it saying is inevitable but they are nothing but vague platitudes.
Just look at the promises being made to the select few that qualify for the climate economic justice program that Inslee is going to try to impose on WA. The rest of us will just have to pay and pay unless we too buy into the program and even then we will still have to pay and pay but will feel that it’s justified.
And why not. The only promises that I see are the ones being put forth by the leftists and they have NO competition, only, potshot criticism from the isolated conservatives.
Where are our plans for the future? Why should people even want to be a conservative? What are we offering? How do we want to shape our future? Without plans, then any destination is acceptable including the ones put forth by the leftist.
I can think that I understand how Ida got there since we live in the richest period of history when it comes to consumer goods – it only takes little fantasy extrapolation. Add to this the widespread belief that if you can dream it then it can be made real and that there is nothing that we cannot do using science and tech.
As an example, Musk has built up a fortune by promising everything electric and promising to colonize Mars and beyond. And it’s not just Musk – this is what tech is all about and has been about: making magic real. Of course, underneath the magic is reality and if you don’t understand it then it is magic.
Meanwhile we’re the ones that are bursting their bubbles by pointing out that the real world is full of limits including limits to knowledge. And we, of course, are horrified that Ida’s views are becoming the dominate view. Yet, why would they even consider our views as relevant?
What dreams are we selling? What is our vision of the future? Drudgery, hard work, difficulties of every kind, along with failing time and time again?
Like everything else we hold dear, the Protestant work ethic is now considered an anachronism. And tech and the belief in tech is the cause. And yet, I among many others, have spent our careers promoting and doing tech. We’re the magic sales[men].
Welcome to hell.
There are actual living humans who read Cory Doctorow’s “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom” and didn’t see it as a red flag warning with flashing lights. Including the author.
When Eloi attack.
“All in all, it is a good life.”
Sounds like settling for less, to me. “A” good life.
Two grams of chocolate, but comforted by thinking that *everybody else* gets only two grams as well. May her hijab rest lightly on her.