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The Importance of Resourcism

Across the world, especially in the developed nations, we seem to have lost our way. Lets take the UK as an example. The current malaise seems rather improbable if we consider that over the last 50 years, we have significantly increased both efficiency and employment. Over this period, the only factor that has moved against continuous improvement for the society is an aging population. This alone does not account for the current failure to create a better society for many people, and crucially, the failure to educate many of our children to a high standard.

Our economists and modern day philosophers seem so bogged down in current economic theory, that they are incapable of creating new visions or new ways for our societies to move forward. The mantra of capitalism drowns out any new ideas for improving society for the good of all. Our young people are dished up every day with the same doom and gloom, without anybody suggesting that there may be a workable alternative. The spectre of the failures of communism, nationalised industries and the success of global capitalism means we now live seemingly without hope and with our hands firmly tied behind our backs as global business dictates the path for our economies, jobs and aspirations.

CST considers here that there is indeed a new path available. We attempt to set out, with reasoned argument, how and why this path can be successful. A path based on a relatively simple improvement in technology, a path that provides opportunities for the whole world, let alone the UK.

To navigate this path requires our political masters to create the environment that leads to Resourcism. CST urges all political figures across the world to consider the arguments set out below. We shall wait and watch as the technical outlook adapts to provide the necessary conditions for Smart Robot Architecture (SRA) and the move to Resourcism. This may be sooner than we think. When this happens we urge these same politicians to put forward a plan to take us all along this path. By default, this does mean taking on global capitalists as they have little or nothing to gain from Resourcism - and will certainly attempt to block such a move.

Timescale to SRA (Smart Robot Architecture)

The run up to SRA may be some years away.  However, the base technologies are already in place, although not fully implemented.

The core technologies revolve around the following processes;

So, we can see a path, not too distant, for these technologies to mature to create the first tentative steps to Smart Robot Architecture (SRA).

Much current work is going into autonomous vehicles.  These use many of the same technologies that apply to SRA.  Companies such as BMW expect to be able to produce fully autonomous level 5 vehicles by 2021, just 4 years hence. Level 5 autonomy would mean that the vehicle requires zero input from a driver to navigate city and highway roads, at least on par in terms of performance with a human driver. This will usher in some wider communication changes and test and improve certain technologies such as big data for image recognition, sensor input and fine control of motorised systems.

The most difficult technology is providing the smartness.  This requires big data coupled with learning technologies & neural networks scaled to provide the detailed results required for real world actions. These also require very large data sets along with the continuous updating of these data sets. These learning systems will be required to impart situation awareness along with the recognition systems. Such learning systems use iterative processing and testing of data to provide best fit solutions, and continually improve their results from experience.

Arriving at ‘smartness’ will require excellent image and voice recognition. Recognition systems have been steadily improving for a number of years and are now very good. These work by fairly simple methods of utilising lots of examples (data) and labeling this data so that a computer can decide if another object is the same or similar. Google for instance has 'google lens' an app that will soon be available on your phone. The app uses image recognition to identify objects appearing in your camera lens in real-time. It means you can point a smartphone at a flower and be told exactly what it is. Also, Google's 'home assistant' will soon allow voice recognition for each family member.

There is no programming here, just lots of examples for the computer to learn from. Neural networks are used because they allow computers to store and use huge amounts of complex data along with the labels and compare the learnt images to a new image. This is similar to how nature works using massively parallel connections, (neurons and synapse connections), that allow data from images to be accessed quickly, stored and compared. IBM's True North chip offers great potential to move the technology in this direction. There are several other new neuromorphic chip technologies that will help these learning systems to scale up.

The output action requires another type of recognition, one of context. Animals know how and when to apply the recognition of an object. A smart system needs to learn similar understanding. The image and voice recognition needs to be put in context too. For limited situations, this is relatively easy, for instance if the system is trained only on one task. The learning and fine tuning required for understanding the situation specific action is not simplistic, but will be possible with advanced neural networks.   Your dog can be trained to fetch the paper, this takes a long time but can be done.  The dog has very limited understanding of why you want the paper, and no understanding of what a paper is, but can reliably manage the task.

The knowledge base of how things work and the specification of just about all physical things and processes is relatively easy to make available from cloud based systems using fast wireless communication. This means that once the basic recognition and action technologies are finely tuned the ability for autonomous systems to do smart stuff is in place.

Amazon has a competition ending in November 2017 for a 'chat bot'. The idea is to create a chat bot that can carry out a convincing and interesting conversation on a chosen subject for 20 minutes. The prize is half a million dollars, but if we can get close to this, it would be another step toward creating a smart computer.

There are two obvious paths moving towards SRA.  One is to couple new chip technologies, (True North etc), with big data locally into automation systems.  The  other is to use cloud based big data, as is done now for ‘ok google’ and Alexa.  Perhaps, a combination of these strategies will provide the best path. It would seem sensible to use global, fast communication technology for the knowledge base rather than attempting to embed this in each autonomous unit.  It is after all the way we have evolved our human knowledge base & we can now access a great deal from the internet almost immediately. This would also offer the possibility of remote checking and monitoring of all autonomous systems in real time.  Perhaps even sending a stop signal where appropriate.

Lets consider how a smart system can work.  The recognition and context systems detect where, who and what is required, (eg to make a cup of tea for your companion).  The cloud knowledge base provides the process in terms the recognition systems understands, (eg pictures of devices, descriptions of processes and specific technical information such as timing).  The actual making of the tea and delivery is then simple to achieve even though the automated system has never made a cup of tea before.

Timescale for SRA?  This is the testing question and it is extremely important as it affects what we do once we can accurately predict it.  We see that the smart systems are the key here.  Apart from a few recognition systems little has been achieved with True North or other neuromorphic systems yet.  Until we create a fast powerful neural network and show it can be taught to provide smart actions based on understanding the context, this timescale question can only be approximated.  CST's expects it is almost certain to fall between 15 and 50 years. 

CST’s best guess to SRA is less than 30 years.  If this is correct, then children born today will be living in a completely different world within their ‘working’ lifetime.

See at the end for a more detailed discussion of the technical challenges we face to get to SRA.

Exponential Driver Post SRA

Robots and labour first make the tools, facilities and power systems to make robots. This is a complete path to assembly from the simplest components. Robots themselves can then make more robots by themselves. This provides an exponential increase in robot production. Lets say in year five of the robot self-assembly after SRA, there are ten robots making robots at one per month each. In an idealised process, by the end of the twelfth year from SRA, we have 358 million robots. 

This shows that ‘when’ we get to SRA and true self-assembly – where the assembly system is completely autonomous – including power, tools, production of all materials, transportation of all of these – then we have an exponential explosion in available robots for every other task.

This won’t happen in the real world, as humans will start using the robots being produced rather than allowing them to simply reproduce, but it demonstrates that we shall not be wanting for robots or automatic systems. This shows that the potential timescale to create a robot economy, one that requires very little human input for manufacturing and most services could be very short once we hit SRA – perhaps only 15 years or less. Over those years the initial production systems could be ramped up with the intent and design for these intermediary processes and systems are to be self-assembled by the next generation of robots.

This is an inevitable conclusion - once the smart robot is available, there is no reason why a self-assembly process will not be achieved. The only issue will be the economic process that allows for continuing robot production past the point of profitable return within the current capitalist economics system. The major delay in creating a post SRA exponential robotic explosion may well be the current economic system - threatened with its own demise by this very act.

Impacts Post SRA

Consider, several years after SRA, we have as many robots as we need.  These robots (being smart), can make and implement power systems such as solar and wind and tidal, dig out the ores from mines and quarries, process materials, create infrastructure such rail, roads, power distribution systems, make all vehicles and transport, make food, (bio vats and vertical farms), manufacture all electronics, computers, home devices, tooling, factory built houses, with autonomous systems driving the cars, lorries, trains. (The admin systems are already becoming more automated with the linking of data systems so these likely will be complete before SRA).

The key resources will become; land, air, (water), minerals, ores, scarce elements and the rare earth’s such as Tellurium used for electronics. Land of course is the main issue – who gets which bit?  Some systems are limited by these – transport, food production, solar, wind & tidal power, access to the sea, housing all directly linked to available and usable land resources.

After SRA, we shall suddenly wake up to the limit of the world resources.  Funnily enough the key old resource – oil will not be an issue, as we shall be able to harness almost limitless energy from the sun as it provides 20,000 times what we currently use every day. Automation post SRA shall be able to create massive systems of solar power across the world even if we forget about nuclear and the rest.  This power can be turned into hydrogen and piped around the globe by (new) distribution systems.  The robots and autonomous systems are likely to use small fuel cells that turn hydrogen into electricity for power with just water as a by product.

However, other resources shall put a limit on what we make and do, even with almost limitless robots.
It is important to note that current world resources will not effectively limit the number of robotic systems we require – the world has more than enough resources for that.

It shall become instantly clear to all individuals that the limiting factors are just resources and the ownership of those resources.  Resourcism will be born. Quite soon, the resources limiting our endeavours will be land to inhabit and roam where we wish, especially coastal regions and the availability of transportation.

Imagining A New Economic System

The ability to imagine a new economic system is crucial to the ability of our society to move to a Resource based system. A simple example shocks us to re-evaluate the way we consider current economics. See John's got a new motor.

Resourcism & Debt

Debt is owed to individuals or businesses (representing their savings). It is taken out of the money supply by the central banks to balance the increase in money supply caused by increased spending.

Once the SRA point has arrived, the robots expand exponentially, and the ability of mankind to do things, (almost anything), is only limited by the resources of the planet.

What does not limit what we do and make is the availability of the money supply.  The robots will be able to make whatever we choose without anyone putting any money in.  Once we get to SRA plus 5 to 10 years, the millions of self powered, self replacing robots will continue to do what we wish them to – no need to pay.

Leaving aside (the particularly tricky) issues of politics, individual company & national interests, means that the global capitalist use of the money systems shall mean nothing.  Money will not limit, or change the amount of production or services.  The limits shall be based solely on the world resources.  Resourcism shall become the new mantra.

So, clearly debt as it is just the promise to pay back the savings of individuals & companies will also be irrelevant as this money, if paid back, would not or cannot influence production.  Debt is dead and buried forever.

Moving to Resourcism (from Capitalism)

After SRA there is likely to be a circular argument – the money system (& debt) will only be needed to satisfy the current capitalist systems based on large corporations and these corporations will hang on to the current money system to provide for their need to exist.

The really tricky bit is finding the solution to how we transform from capitalism to Resourcism without a third world war or very blood revolution.  If the people who have the ‘money’ now try a land grab on the rest of the population, it is very likely to be a repeat of the October revolution or worse.

It would be possible for a country like China to make a stand and move to a resource based system.  As a one party political system with refined control over their society and communication systems, they could impose a move to a different economic system and make the first completely autonomous robotic factory system, showing that robots can be made by robots which then go on to make more robots. Interestingly, China has a leading exponent of this type of technology. Baidu does similar things to Google and is closely associated with the government. It is investing heavily in neural networks and big data systems.

If a move like this happened and was seen to be effective with improving the prosperity for the people, then other countries may follow.  This would lead to an unstoppable movement away from capitalism to Resourcism. There are all sorts of potential threats to this process.  The global capitalists hold huge power.  The people who would lose most are the rich and the resource owners including landowners. 

Countries themselves may go for a land grab as it will be clear that land has become the most important resource by far.  Land dictates many other resources such as ores and minerals that will all be in short supply in future along with places to build and live.  Land will not suffer from some of today’s constraints as large automated building processes and power systems will enable successful deployment of hot, cold or arid conditions.  Water provision will also be taken care of using desalinated sea water, pumped if necessary over hundreds or thousands of miles.

This may lead easily to robot and drone wars, as these can be deployed quickly by the more advanced countries against the less advanced without much loss of life.

Basis of a New Economic Theory – Post SRA

Summarising the logic of the economic change we face;

Smart Robot Architecture, SRA, which is much more limited than intelligent robots, think dog rather than ape and potentially in reach within 30 years or less.

Post SRA takes labour out of the economic equations, which means nearly all the historic and current economic analysis does not apply.

Resourcism ties a new value of ‘money’ to actual resources – as these will become the definitive factors of 'what can be achieved / made / distributed’. Without a labour market, current economic thinking does not makes sense as a system:-

Impact on current Economic theory

Current economic theory is based on the interactions between:-

Invisible hand (Adam Smith) – this is based on human needs and interactions and how these affect the economy.  It is unlikely to change whatever system we use to define economics.

Food supply vs population - not important provided today’s new technologies can be safely delivered long term.

Utilitarianism (Bentham) - becoming increasingly significant as labour is removed from the economic theory.  New types of organisations will be required to provide for individuals joining together along with resource allocation and ‘doing useful or pleasant things’.  CST has already put some thought into what these might look like that work for and not against the society as a whole.

Labour theory of value (Ricardo) – soon to be almost irrelevant for the wider economy.

Free Market Economy (John Stuart Mill) – new communication systems (internet, apps, big data) makes this more efficient and there is no reason why this will not continue.  People/consumers of Resources will continue to choose the value they place on each resource.

Marx – communism leads to an alternative imposed state control by small number of people or dictator – unless a new system of control is found (eg AI led) then it posses no useful solutions for Resourcism

John Maynard Keynes – quantative easing et al – this will cease to be relevant under Resourcism as the money supply has to be fixed directly to existing Resources.  Once such a money system replaces the current ones, the current systems will be seen as irrelevant as there can only be one set of existing resources.

Milton Friedman’s free markets – this eventually means one person owning everything, it is only useful in the transitional period between Capitalism and Resourcism.

John Kenneth Galbraith on the rise and rise of corporate power – the result of Friedman’s ideas, now creating a ‘have & have not’ society and may increasingly do so left to a totally free market economy.  Without labour, this system becomes redundant. There will however be great difficulty in moving to Resourcism as, by definition the resources are finite.  It will become increasingly obvious to all mankind that we do not need labour or capital to create wealth. But the “haves” will not let go of their greater share without a fight.

Robert Heilbroner ideas for a review of economic theory -reflect that we need to take into account ‘all’ factors.  This is why CST takes a different approach as the capitalist view of labour and work is becoming redundant and will increasing do so over the next 50 years or less.

The new Economic theory of Resourcism

Discussion on Resourcism

Resourcism can only occur some time after SRA & after the exponential rise of robotic systems.   When Resourcism becomes possible, humanity will be awash with almost all basic needs such as food, water, housing, transportation, all manufactured goods and plenty of free time to indulge themselves.

Debt and interest become obsolescent.  The money system is essentially fixed.  There will be, of course, numerous local and other money systems that people devise for whatever ideas or devious means they may have.  Human nature is not going to change.  But at the back of all this free endeavour shall be the finite, known, shared resources.  The money system will accurately reflect this and allow free exchange of a persons fare share of these (significant) finite resources.  The administration of such a money system along with the sharing and swapping of resources will not be an issue as we have already similar fully automated systems for regulated transactions. (See Blockchain).

For many years after Resourcism takes root, there will be a need for some employment.  How this will be shared and paid for is not clear.  The major tasks will be in research and development in many fields, plus strategic planning, oversight, decision making and specific tasks that cannot easily be carried out by automatic systems (eg surgery).  These are going to be limited in numbers across the population as a whole, maybe a small percentage of the population. The total is difficult to speculate on with any certainty but probably no more than 15% to 20% of the total employable people. (The UK spends less than 2% of GDP on R&D).

A new type of organisation can replace all existing corporations and capital bodies.  These organisations will reflect the desires of free individuals and they will be able to create ideas, research, new resources but they will not be able to amass resources or control use of resources for themselves or others.  Any resources produced or created are part of the whole and freely available in the free shared market system.  This does not prevent individuals creating their own resources to keep for their own use and pleasure.  CST has already put forward a model for this type of organisation; see a new type of organisation.

This provides many interesting real and philosophical questions to what man & women will get up to.  The ‘purchasing’ of goods and services that stand outside the moral imperatives of the post SRA era (take drugs & sex as examples in our era).  Other money systems will no doubt be created to purchase illegal activities or products.  How much these distort the economic theory of Resourcism will be seen as it unfolds.  As all the basic need of individuals will be freely available, this distortion may be small – but humans seem to have the knack of surprising us.  Perhaps people will choose to live in zones that are outside the formal resource based systems and continue to suffer indignities, persuasion, slavery and worse?  No doubt, as and when technology allows, many will take to space adventures, creating new economies of their own choosing on other planets.

Mind The Gap

We are already here.  As fairly simple robotic systems remove people from factories, farming, many data task, we see jobs disappearing forever.  This is already impacting economies across the world, often with no significant advantage for the many, as the capitalist system provides the additional efficiencies made to the owners of the capital.  The most obvious cases of this are Google, Apple, Microsoft et al.  Here these companies employ relatively few and use hugely automated data and manufacturing processes. Their output is sold world wide and they make huge global profits.  If we had the time, these businesses would be faced with more competition and the efficiencies would move down to the purchasers.  It is likely that before this happens SRA will be upon us.

There is no simple answer to the current dilemma.  We shall continue to see the demise of jobs and probably not much increase in living standards for many employees and self-employed until we make adjustments for the coming change to Resourcism.

If we try to squeeze these global companies they just move to a nation with a better (tax) offer.  It seems unlikely that the world shall suddenly create a moratorium on global business.
Perhaps the ‘markets’ (that no one understands, even CST), is already taking into account the unseen hand of SRA.  Just maybe, the economic word is, with historic low interest rates, reflecting the coming demise of debt and interest?

Unfortunately, history suggests that even when the writing is on the wall, the status quo and pressure of the rich (and therefore powerful) will maintain capitalism far longer than necessary for the rest of the population.
A key issue in (the near) future may be the reluctance for corporations to invest as there will be no point in corporations investing in long term infrastructure projects. They will not be able to leverage any future capital or payment from these (due to the end to supply and demand as we know it).  They haven’t worked that out yet but how long will it take to see the writing on the wall?

The Importance of Understanding SRA Now

In this interim period where labour is still part of the economic system, then individuals require some form of payment (or the won’t work), this creates increased money supply with no immediate output, (as the investment takes time to provide an output, eg 15 years for nuclear energy, education, and research (especially robotics, AI)

This causes inflation – more money same supply, unless this money is provided by the system as debt, (mainly representing savings).
Lets consider debt as a balance to avoid inflation – ie we must take money out of the system – we do this by the central banks providing a promise to pay back at a future date and we take the money from current people & businesses (mainly pension savings), on the expectation of getting it back (with some interest) at a future time.

If we expect the society to move to a massively reduced labour market, (some years after SRA), we, as a society, could choose to increase the debt as it will never be repaid. Increasing debt gives us the leverage from current money available to create value added research and promote other useful services.  This means less available for spending on non essentials - in other words, instead of people spending money on non essentials, it is saved.  This use of the current money system moves the society more quickly toward SRA and should alleviate loss of earnings and services as automation reduces the labour market.

Once the SRA point can be predicted, then it is pointless in attempting to manage debt – as this debt will soon be meaningless.

How can we manoeuvre this debt so that it does not create market instability as the debt gets very large?

Our current money system dictates that interest payments will grow and grow as the debt is considered too large by the markets. Perhaps we need a new paradigm that allows us to ‘futureise’ the dept based on future efficiencies for the society.

If, for instance, we set up a special long-term SRA bond that offers significant benefits, (eg interest, plus say, reduced tax, improved healthcare options, first in line for a personal smart robot).  The period for repayment could be based on a timescale definition of SRA.   When this Bond needs to be repaid, the goods and services to cover the promises would be available.  There could be no interest payments or tax reduction but, well, you should’t believe everything the government tells you.


A Paradigm Shift in Thinking

There is significant difficulty for most observers to understand how we can move to Resourcism.  Firstly, there is the challenge of understanding how technically these new autonomous systems can and will work.  And, secondly there is the need to be able to understand exactly how a new economic system can be introduced and then work efficiently.

Understanding the Technical Issues

Few people are have the technical oversight to understand the many technologies involved with creating autonomous, smart systems, that can do many different tasks and communicate well with humans.  For most of us this is a step too far in our normal appreciation and acceptance of what is possible.  We need to break the steps down into distinct parts to enable this understanding.

The key areas for development towards smart systems are those of context and reliable action based on this context. Recognition for both visual and voice is already advanced. For image recognition the error rate has dropped down to 4.7%, this is almost the same as human capability.  Recognition for human gestures and facial expressions is also improving fast.

The path towards SRA has been focussed on systems that attempt a small range of actions.  Such systems are used in mainstream manufacturing, being trained on specific such as the assembly of parts.  These are not smart in the sense that they can apply wide actions in context.  There are already neural networks that provide good results for specific task based on massive data sets.  These include areas of medicine, where the neural system provides more accurate up to date information than the medical consultant can achieve.

We have recently seen neural network trained systems win games against humans.  IBM’s Watson convincingly won the American Jeopardy game show against several past winners.  This demonstrated that it is possible for a neural network to interpret speech and context to a high level.  Google’s Deepmind system beat the champion go player in Seoul last year, and has just won again, beating the current champion, in May 2017.  This game is not like chess, it has a creative aspect in which humans excel and the first win astounded many who thought it impossible.

In January 2017, an insurance firm in Japan replaced more than 30 employees a system based on IBM's Watson Explorer.  The system was introduced to increase productivity by 30 percent, and will give the firm a return on its investment in less than two years.

Emerging systems are now available for interacting with humans to provide a service. Enfield council worked with IPsoft, to build a new “cognitive agent”named Amelia. Her personality and social skills are based on natural language processing and the system learns how to interpret the emotion expressed in a human voice, so as to know how to respond appropriately. The hope is that callers won’t even notice that they’re not dealing with a human.

Over time we shall use more powerful neural networks and better training processes that continually improve the ability of such systems to interact with people and use particular actions depending on the environment they detect around them.  There will become a point in time when these systems seem truly smart and can apply a large range of skills, in context.

The underlying process for this recognition and context is not difficult to understand.  They all use what is called machine learning.  This does not use logical programming that has to be written.

The machine learning approach is to collect a lot of examples, and specify the correct answer for a particular input.  A machine learning equation then takes these examples and produces, on its own, a best fit for the answer. This best fit system weighs up the examples learnt to produce the best guess.  If we do this right, such a learning system works for new cases just as well as the ones it's trained on.  And when the data changes, it can easily be retrained on the new data.

All these current systems use a huge amount of computing power, mostly within special units containing racks of linked processors and memory.  These also use a massive amount of electrical power.  Currently most of the neural network systems work using GPU (Graphic Processing Unit) that were initially developed for image possessing. Due to their parallel nature they fit the processing tasks for neural networks that require massive amounts of data throughput.   The next advance will see these systems become more efficient and consume much less power.  There are a number of specialist new types of electronic processes, (such as TrueNorth), that should help this transition.  These are built to create an electronic system that mimics the way neurons and synapses work.  Some of these neuromorphic systems (eg BrainScaleS) use analogue circuits and produce spikes emulating brain activity.  IBM’s TrueNorth uses only one thousandth of the power of a normal chip to do the same image processing task even though it has 4 times the number of transistors of a normal CPU.

Understanding why we must move to Resourcism

All of us have lived in an era where money, debt and commerce is part and parcel of living.  To understand that it may be possible to live without these requires some imagination.  We see our lives as consumers and workers, where money is the core element that makes the world go around.  To suggest that money is not linked to the output of work leaves us a little bewildered.  On what basis would we have or not have goods and services? On what basis would young people ever manage to ‘clime the ladder’ when there is no ladder?

First we need to start by considering the nature money – after all, it is only a tool created by man. This tool has been essential to oil the wheels of commerce.  It is likely that some similar tool is required to allow sensible, easy transactions between individuals, we shall probably still call this money, but it does not have to work like the current money system.

The difference between a money system based on commerce and one based on a Resource driven society is how we define and control the money in circulation.  We know that the current money supply expands and contracts depending on many factors including lending & borrowing, savings, and growth.  We also know that its purchasing power is not guaranteed over time but is dependant on market forces, ie how people and companies consider what it is worth.

A money system based on Resources is fixed, since the resources are fixed, at least until more resource is found.  Furthermore, the value will be more stable as everyone will know what they can achieve with it.  This type of resourced based money supply is becoming technically easier to define and control. Within the digital world, the money can be accurately defined as a digital currency.  With technologies such as BlockChain, the transactions, (all of them), can also be structured so that the result of transactions can be relied upon. 

Digital control means that we could technically create a money system that is fixed to world resources.  By aggregating the current resources at a fixed point in time, (using the valuation based on a standard currency at that point in time), and then choosing some nominal value for our new digital currency.  This money system only makes sense when used within a non commercial system.  It cannot grow; therefore it cannot be lent or borrowed.  Nor can it be transacted with interest.  This does not mean that humans will not do such things between themselves.  But, the money in circulation, by definition will be fixed.  The only way the money supply would grow would be if new basic resources are created.

To show how our entrenched ideas of the economy can be quickly changed, lets take a simple possibility that will be practical just a few years hence.  Imagine we now have standard autonomous vehicles, these drive themselves and provide taxi services.  Now consider that a local charity purchases a vehicle to help transport disabled people.  The charity owns this vehicle but does not wish to make a profit. This electric car is linked to the internet and it has its own banking service.  People use their phones to call the taxi which delivers them to their destination and charges their swipe cards at the point of delivery.  This cost is small and covers the power used, servicing and a charge for the depreciation of the car.  This money is held in the vehicles bank account.  The car takes itself off to charge its batteries, then on to a service check, paying with its own money, before going to its next call.  It works 24/7 and in five years time when its batteries require replacing it pays from its own bank account for a new vehicle.  No one owns the new car.  It carries on with its dedicated task of providing for disabled people, forever. (see John’s got a new motor)

Consider how this could be extended in the future post SRA.  Robots and autonomous systems will produce as much as required for most of the necessary core products and services.  No one needs to own the autonomous systems.  These autonomous systems repair, service and reproduce.  Each individual is provided with an equal share of the fixed money supply. All goods and services will be given a nominal price along with a maximum value that can be purchased by one individual within one time period.  As the basic resources are plentiful, individuals are free to consider the resources and services that are more limited.  Such limited resources are likely to be travel, availability of housing and holidaying in selected areas, along with such services that cannot be undertaken automatically.  These would be limited by use and this would depend upon their availability.  Individuals would be able to swap these limited resources depending on their needs at that time.  Such swapping could be carried out within a digital framework that is fair, limited and one that prevents coercion or misuse. (BlockChain).

Many people will consider this a very restricted system.  While these limits exists to create a fair share of scarce resources, the ability to swap and make the best use of available resources will help provide more personal freedom.  If the overall system is to work and work fairly, it must allow as much choice as possible, and provide consistent, unfailing support against misuse. Humans will find many ways around these constraints.  But that is the case now, as many companies and individuals find ways around such things as paying their fair share of taxes.

To many this new type of economy based on shared resources will be seen as too restrictive.  What we have to ask therefore; is there another, better way that ensures the world can continue on a path of success for the majority of our (likely to be post SRA) 8 or 9 Billion souls?  The ‘carry on regardless’ path will end either in massive warfare, or in complete breakdown of our modern societies.  Such breakdown is likely to create an ‘us and them’, with the powerful living without restraint while the majority live hand to mouth.

Currently, there are some ideas regarding the loss of jobs to automation by the introducing a living allowance that is enough to survive on without working.  Clearly therefore, there is already a growing desire to create a new provision for non-working people.  But, with the current money and economic model, this type of tinkering will not hold water for long.  If the majority of people are not working and living on a subsistent handout, we are creating the beginning of the true ‘us and them’ society. 

The rich and powerful will never relinquish their ‘right’ to hold capital and continue to amass their fortunes.  It is simply flying in the face of human nature to suppose that this will ever change by reasoned argument.  Furthermore, the global nature of modern economies, the holders of capital, are not based in any one domain.  It is therefore, (as we already see), very difficult to change the economic levers on global organisations, (such as tax).  The idea that we should tax the use of robotics is about as misguided as Canute and his tide.  This type of intervention cannot stop the inevitable rise of the robots, and if this is done within the current economic system, however modified, it must lead in the end, to most people and their children being disenfranchised from economic success. Resourcism is still an economic system but one designed to work, as and when, labour has been moved from the equations.

If anyone can come up with another solution CST will be glad to hear it.  Whichever way you cut the cloth using current economics, CST fails to find a reasonable solution.  Capital will only seek capital and the rise of the robots within our current economic system can only mean that this capital becomes increasingly concentrated.  Once this has reached a certain point, the ability for the majority to enforce change will be negated.  The only hope would be that CST is wrong about the exponential rise of clever automation.  Considering an extended timescale, not to ever get to SRA would seem very unlikely, so it’s not a matter of how, but only when.

There are of course other avenues such as building local economies.  This still requires legislative power to stop global organisations from leveraging their wealth and capital ownership on the rest. For instance, if local authorities insisted that only small local companies and individuals could be licenced for trade within their boundaries, and a local digital currency was issued to keep the money supply buoyant for local trade, this would allow for more individual employment.  Consider that post SRA, this local authority provided free robots, transport, power, water, food and general services – what would be the point of local businesses?  Apart from the hairdresser and possibly some trades people, what would the local people provide that would earn them a decent living?  So we are back with the same basic issue – the old economics simply does not work. Resourcism is still an economic system, but one designed to work, as and when, labour has been taken from the equations.

Under Resourcism, individuals can go on to achieve anything they wish. Even more so than today, people will be able to spend their time doing (almost) exactly what they wish. With the proposed new organsation model, Resourcism releases peoples own time to work alongside other people in any area they choose; hobies, sport, research, education, music, the arts, etc etc.

Understanding how we can move to Resourcism

This means that we need a plan to transition to Resourcism.  Resourcism and all that it conveys, will not be implemented by the global commercial operations as it is against their interests.  There is a clear requirement therefore to consider exactly how the majority can move to Resourcism without a bloody revolution.

As we have already mentioned it may be possible to see a country such as China move to Resourcism.  The mainstream western economies will need another route.  Perhaps, in future, as we move towards SRA, when the technologies are becoming stable and there is a clear timeline for such clever robotic architecture, the politicians could provide a communal production system.  This could be mandated to provide robotic production that is owned by everyone or no one. Post SRA, when we achieve the predicted exponential rise of robot production, the capital based businesses will not have the ability to insist on a continuation of their imposed systems.  We, as a society, could move sideways to an alternative parallel economy as we would have the means of production.  Marx would have been pleased with this consideration. Although, within any one country, this would have limits within the overall economy, it should provide enough of a lever to bring the global businesses into a sensible conversation for change.  Without such a powerful hand, the owners of capital, the money people and global business will prevail.  This is why it is so important to plan ahead and for politicians to understand the potential future issues.

Such communal ownership sounds a lot like communism.  However, if we apply communal ownership within our plan for Resourcism, the old difficulties of a command economy, of concentrated power structures and corruption will not occur.  The path to Resourcism is based on a modern communication systems providing non-corruptible provision for a fair playing field.  No previous political system has been able to achieve this as the technology simply didn’t exist.  As our digital systems are already quite advanced, by the time we need to move to Resourcism these technologies will be mature and stable.























A New Economics - The Economics of Resourcism


In the near future, mankind is going to face the challenge of automation. CST considers how this disruptive processes will impact the current economic system and provide a game changing opportunity for us all.

CST starts by considering the timescales and issues leading up to SRA (Smart Robotic Architecture).  The impact of SRA is considered as a discontinuity for the labour market, due to the exponential rise of automation.  If we are to escape from war or worse, we consider how this exponential component inevitably leads to Resourcism.

CST reviews the main elements of current economic theory and ask how moving away from a labour supply changes the existing theories and includes a discussion on the importance issue of debt.  The basic tenets of Resourcism are set out, with a discussion of the effects and consequences including how human nature can be accommodated within this new paradigm.

Finally, there is a review of the Gap years between now and SRA.  This considers how we may utilise the prediction of SRA to manipulate our current economics, helping to alleviate the loss of jobs to automation, an outcome that is already apparent in our economies.  Such intervention will also serve to bring forward the timescale for SRA. At the end there is a more detailed discussion about the technology and promise of Resourcism

May 2017

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