What if we all lived in Lotos Land? See the details and follow-up questions.?
Yeah, it’s a hypothetical, so feel free to pass it by. I wanted to post in Social, but for some reason that’s not possible. Consider it there.
Imagine that we had a machine that could replicate any manufactured, processed, painted, sculpted, written, cooked or otherwise human-produced object. As part of this scenario, the machine itself could also be perfectly copied and would work the same for everyone. (Ignore “energy”, “resource” and “space” issues for now.)
So… everyone could have a Maserati. And a pickup truck, airplane, Winnebago, yacht, house on the shore (and in the mountains and in town), or any number of all of those things. We could all own copies of the Mona Lisa, and every other piece of art we wanted (and the owners of those things would agree to them being copied). I was going to say that we could have 14 billion Mona Lisas, one for the home and one for the office, but then I wondered… “Who would have an office?”
We could all eat the exact equivalent of meals cooked in 5-star restaurants, as long as someone cooked the original meal to be duplicated. (Or we could eat, also “for free,” whatever was grown in gardens or orchards or farms anywhere. However, since we couldn’t replicate a living thing, we couldn’t have any meat that hadn’t already been processed, or a copy of a piece of processed meat. But that wouldn’t bother anyone, because no one anywhere would ever be able to distinguish the copy from the original, forever.) Essentially there is “zero difference” between any copy and any original.
Maintenance of the machines would be a non-issue. Since they could be copied, if yours got a scratch on it because you attempted to replicate a jumbo jetliner, for example, and you dinged the thing as the wings passed through, then you could junk the machine itself and get a copy from any of your neighbors for free.
You can have any thing that you want, at no cost. (Which would hardly matter, since the concept of “counterfeit currency” ... and currency itself… would have no meaning.)
However, this near-Nirvana isn’t quite perfect.
Humans would still age, sicken and die from the same things that afflict them now. Ditto for animals and plants and every other living thing. (On the plus side, if you need prescription medications or medical equipment it’s all yours for the asking.) In addition, humans would be no closer to perfection than they are now in any other way, either. We’d still be subject to pride, anger, jealousy, gluttony, sloth (all of the seven deadlies and any others you want to think of) and would still suffer from various mental impairments, so we’d still hurt each other and ourselves unnecessarily from time to time.
Now the questions:
What would be the role of artists and “knowledge workers” in this society? Since the factories would generally shut down (presumably), and there would be no more need or desire for “money”, what would be the role of, say, doctors, lawyers, athletes, painters, writers, sculptors, singers and actors?
How would we compensate any of them for what they do?
Do you think we would even have any?