Sunday, September 15, 2013

The consumer driven economy is for people who don't naturally automate things

Consumption doesn't improve economy or humanity in general. Neither does production. If you want to help, start automating things.

Imagine that the entirety of human society ate ice cream sandwiches and that there were only two jobs in society: people who make churn ice cream and people who bake cookies. A society focused on consumption would ask everyone to eat more ice cream sandwiches. When an ice cream churner eats more sandwiches he'll have to buy more cookies. And in order to buy more cookies he'll have to spend more time churning ice cream. The cookie baker is getting the same message about consuming more; he spends more time baking cookies to trade for his ice cream. At this point, both of them are getting fat from their excessive consumption and working harder pay for it all.

Is the world better off? Both already had enough ice cream sandwiches before they were urged to consume more. Both are now working harder for things they don't need. When they grow old and die, the world is pretty much the way it started.

Of course, if they were intelligent people they'd try to improve the production of cookies and ice cream. With increased automation they'll get more product for their effort instead of just working more. And unlike working harder, the process improvements can be passed on to the next generation.

Did they need increased consumption to drive that improvement? Would they not have automated the process just for the sake of having to work less? Is it true that we will only automate the processes we're working on once we're working long hours for things we don't need?

We all know working long hours to buy the Nike's that commercial sold you is foolish. Fewer are willing to admit the culturally-exploratory, finding-yourself vacation experience we read about on a travel blog has pretty much the same level of benefit to society. If we want to break the cycle of working long hours just to get fat, let's stop working those long hours, stop spending that money, and use that time to automate something. It's the automation that frees us from the consumption/production cycle.


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    1. All for sale, all for sale
      It's all for sale, all for sale

      Welcome down to planet Earth
      Please don't ask us what it's worth
      You will notice that the world you found
      Is slightly tattered and worn down

      Someone sold us every stain
      Now if you wish to complain
      There's an open spot at 6 PM
      It's when Caucasia is listening

      If you're tearing down my world
      Please just try to do it gently
      If you're tearing down my world
      Please just try to do it gently
      There is love inside
      For a dream that has to die
      -- Pain of Salvation

  2. Long understood... expect by those pariah called *politicians* who think higher job numbers are somehow a good thing.

  3. Welcome to Austrian economics.

  4. I mostly agree, but disagree with "Fewer are willing to admit the culturally-exploratory, finding-yourself vacation experience..."

    As I explore the world, I understand people better. By understanding people's origin cultures more, I become better at dealing with people from that culture. As I become better at dealing with people, I improve my lot.