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« Complex Nanotube Circuits | Main | Drexler and Feynman in the Wall Street Journal »

January 08, 2010


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The type of social organization you describe has been advocated by radicals since the start of the twentieth century if not before. Back in the 1920s, the technocracy movement came up with plans for everyone in North America to enjoy a solid standard of living with only a small amount of labor. Of course, these dreams went nowhere. In practice, capitalism has prevented the productive power of technology from being used rationally for the common good.

Molecular manufacturing will extend this disparity between technical capacity and social reality to its extreme, prompting either the collapse of the current economic system, increasing repression to maintain the status quo, or some unstable compromise. As many had said, it should be similar to what the digital revolution did for information sharing, only applied to physical objects.

Chris Phoenix

Summerspeaker, you touch on questions that I'll be discussing.

Note that I haven't described a social organization - only a theoretical technological possibility. A number of different societies could be built around that possibility. Whether any of them would be stable, or desirable, is a more difficult question.

Tom Craver

What would you include in necessities, besides food?

And wouldn't it be more useful to come at it from the other direction - assume every material good and many services we have today become free. What will people still have to pay for, and how many hours-worth of those things will they typically consume in a week? What scarce goods, like land, sun/air/view rights, will still persist - and how will their price be equated to hours of human effort?

Miguel Mendez

The group of Mauricio and Humberto Terrones at IPICYT are confronting serious laboral issues affecting their work and to theirs students. More info at:


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