The Forthcoming–Behavioral–Economics of Abundance

From Brad DeLong’s page, “Over at Project SyndicateEconomics in the Age of Abundance: BERKELEY – Until very recently, the biggest economic challenge facing mankind was making sure there was enough to eat.”

Really? Sigh… the usual observation is that the two accounts of prehistory are that of plenty alternating with famine as the human condition. That the economists are stipulating “after” the “dawn of agriculture” is good, as it does away with the vast stretch of human prehistory that came before agriculture and which seemed to be free from debt and, after the last ice age, famine.

But the article’s thrust has more to do with the “economics”—and thus, really, the very idea of property as modernity has it—in the context of radical abundance. The great thing about reading Brad (and for that matter, the others at Project Syndicate, etc.) is that the analyses and ideas are not only quite comprehensible but also ricochet among some sci-fi writers, most notably the late Iain M. Banks (the Culture series was all about living in endless abundance), Charles Stross, Ken MacLeod—-and probably some others deprived of being Scot (and, yes, there’s a lot of guy economics here, something that, given Elinor Ostrom’s collaborative work on collaboration, well…..)

 

Source: The Forthcoming–Behavioral–Economics of Abundance