A thought experiment illustrating what is wrong with the economics
of today’s developed countries.
You built a space station which has room for one million inhabitants.
You are its BDFL (Benevolent Dictator For Life) and you are responsible
for initial allocation of property rights among the settlers coming
to live in your space station.
You already paid up all inventors for all patents being used by the
space station, and you are licensed to do whatever you want with all
relevant patents as long as you do it in the space station.
The space station is highly automated. Everything is recycled and
all energy sources are renewable. The space station is environmentally
friendly in that it does not pollute the space with any un-recyclable
Human labor is needed mostly to repair and improve machinery.
The employment needs of the space station are as follows.
– 1000 engineers and technicians to maintain the food and air production
– 1000 engineers and technicians to support the energy collection,
distribution and disposal (in the form of cooling) systems.
– 10000 highly trained medical practitioners, who attend to diseases
of the general population.
– 10000 workers of all trades involved in housing construction and
– 1000 workers to maintain the cloth production facilities.
In other words, 23000 people are sufficient to support the basic needs
of 1,000,000 people.
The question now is what system is to be used to fairly “distribute the
income” among all inhabitants of the space station?
If the 1000 maintainers of the food and air production facilities “own”
the facilities and earn all profits from selling food and air, how will
other people (besides the other 22000 who have other jobs) pay for the
food and air?
The communist solution would make those 1000 maintainers slaves who work
to their best ability, and get only their share of food and air, like
everyone else in the space station.
If people don’t have to work for their food, air, housing, clothes
and medical attention – the spacestation will become full with
freeloaders. Those freeloaders would prefer to follow other interests
than contributing to the maintenance of the space station. So there
must be some relationship between work and benefits.
On the other hand, if there are no jobs for most of the population, how
can they prove that they are not freeloaders in spirit?
How the problem is being solved by today’s Earth
The way the developed countries of the Earth solve the above problem
is as follows.
1. More than 2.3% of the population are still needed to provide the
basic needs of the whole population.
2. Several jobs are essentially “make work”. Entertainment, fashion,
religion officials, advertising, competition of brands which are
essentially the same, tourism, spectator sports, laws which stand
in the way of utmost economic efficiency.
3. Taxing the income of producers and using some of the proceeds to
Historically, any “excess prosperity” was disposed of by means of
wars. Nowadays, as wars went out of fashion, spectator sports substitute
Disadvantages of today’s solution
When people must prove they can work by actually hold a job in order
to get life’s necessities and luxuries, jobs must be created even if
by artificial means.
When jobs need to be artificially created, demand for the work must
be pushed up artificially.
Demand is pushed up artificially when people are brainwashed into
buying goods and services which they don’t really need, and even going
into debt for this purpose.
When people are not in the mood of buying goods, economic depression
sets in and people lose jobs and are impoverished – even if there is
plenty of food and other life’s necessities.
Proposed solution: smarter make-work
We must recognize the fact that large part of the economic activity
in developed countries is make-work with no real value. We must also
free ourselves from the ideological constraints of Marxism, Communism,
and their capitalistic counterparts.
Once we have passed this intellectual hurdle, the following solution
presents itself (described in the context of the spacestation).
The 1000 engineers and technicians, needed to maintain the food and air
machines, need say 20 years to train for their jobs. Let’s pay them
good salaries also for the years they spend training. We’ll also allow
them to retire after one year of actual work. Let’s also train also
a group of replacement workers, who will pitch in if there is an
emergency which requires coordinated work of more than 1000 workers.
Then each one of 40000 inhabitants has something to do for 21 years
(20 years of training; half of them will have one year of actual work,
and the other half will be prepared for “reserve duty”).
We have similar arrangements for all other essential professions.
Given that people need extra skills to cope with emergencies, it
is possible for all of them to be as busy as they like to doing
(by learning or working) something which is of value to the society.
In short, everyone will be paid also for the time he/she spends
training for his/her job.
Industrious people will spend more time learning new skills, and they
will be paid better and be able to enjoy luxuries. Less energetic
people will spend less time learning, and they’ll be paid proportionally
less. But this is fine as this was by their choice.
- 1000 מהנדסים וטכנאים כדי לתחזק את המכונות שמייצרות אוכל ואוויר.
- 1000 מהנדסים וטכנאים לתמיכה במערכות לאיסוף, ביזור וסילוק (ע”י קירור) אנרגיה.
- 10000 אנשי רפואה שעברו הכשרה מעמיקה, שמטפלים במחלות של האוכלוסיה הכללית.
- 10000 עובדים בכל המקצועות הקשורים לבניית בתים ולתחזוקתם.
- 1000 עובדים לתחזוקת המפעלים לייצור בדים.
איך נפתרת הבעיה בכדור הארץ של ימינו
- יותר מ-2.3% מהאוכלוסיה עדיין דרושים כדי לספק את הצרכים הבסיסיים של האוכלוסיה הכוללת.
- עבודות רבות הן בבסיסן “עבודה יזומה”. בידור, אופנה, כהני דת, פרסום, תחרות בין מותגים שהינם עקרונית זהים, תיירות, ענפי ספורט שיש להם קהל, חוקים שעומדים בניגוד ליעילות כלכלית מקסימלית.
- מיסוי ההכנסה של היצרנים ושימוש בחלק מההכנסות לתמיכה בלא-יצרנים.
חסרונות של הפתרון של ימינו
כשצריך עבודה יזומה, צריך גם לקדם באופן מלאכותי את הביקוש לתוצרי העבודה היזומה.