People are disappointing. As a venture capitalist, even in a World After Capital, you can help to identify and encourage experiments, large and small, that will help us move forward. Two steps forward and one step back.
Experimentation is required. Small countries like Finland, Iceland, New Zealand or Switzerland, some of which are already toying with UBI, will provide instructive experience for all. In the age of big data, we can monitor every aspect of their lives to uncover positive and negative effects.
We are free to learn, but do we have the propensity? H. L. Mencken said that most people never have an original thought in their lives, and I believe that to be true. Many such people draw pride and dignity from doing even the most mundane jobs, because they are supporting themselves and their families.
This entire section seems far too normative to me. It is easy to prescribe frugality and sustainability for all. Indeed, we might very well hear these nostrums from the senior party members from China and Russia as they jet to Paris for shopping.
Psychological freedom should surely encompass being able to react and form attitudes that are natural and inherently human. Some real people will be envious, shallow status seekers. They have had the freedom to be ignoble or virtuous; it is fundamental to our growth and happiness.
Has there ever been such a case? Surely a less expensive solution to any problem will find its way into the market in a massive, total turnover, or will trickle in one company at a time. Companies that fail to adopt it will be beaten in the market.
Really enjoyed this book, but one thing I feel is missing is how this free society you describe will regulate itself so that it does in fact achieve the knowledge aspirations you describe. This section focuses on self-regulation and individual choices, but if it were up to everyone to manage his own attention wisely, I’d imagine many wholly free people would fall into a trap of social media obsession, porn addiction and drug use. I’d like to know what kind of institutions you think will ascend to thwart anomie. Will schools teach children about wholesome time management? Will religion, either new or old, theistic or otherwise, preach cat video moderation? Will the government rehabilitate the World of Warcraft junkies? Which institutions will guide our newfound freedom, and by which principles will they abide?
I find it interesting that you bring up democracy and governance at this point, after talking a lot about UBI (which assumes the existence of a very strong government). I'm also personally skeptical of the necessity of a nation-state in the first place, and believe that the nation-state is going to have far less power over the next 20 years or so.