The End of Economics
e are now at the beginning of the final upturn of progress in the earth's history. I call the yellow area "History". That's what history is "The chronicle of changes made in the Earth's civilization". In the far past, changes were few and far between ... now we are rapidly increasing the rate of discovery and therefore 'the rate of change' ... in the far future, the rate of change will diminish because there are not an infinite number of basic things to discover.
This graph is idealized to a smooth curve and we may yet end up in another dark age ... so, it doesn't express any hint of uncertainty. However, in the long run, it should be correct. This phase will last perhaps a few hundred years, as short as a few decades and certainly not in excess of one thousand years. It goes by quickly ... Drink it in while you live ... It only happens once per planet.
How does economics fit into this picture?
Well, the fate of economics depends on three facts which we can surmise based on present knowledge. These are:
The finite supply of basic conceptual principles
The finite velocity of light
The permanence of death
If indeed there are a finite number of basic principles to be discovered, then the curve must be generally accurate.
If the speed of light is unsurpassable, we are effectively "insulated" from the rest of the galaxy and this will serve to stop the population growth at some undetermined quantity as well as undetermined interactions with other races of beings.
And if people die (eventually), then the conduct of human affairs will reach stasis.
Therefore, I believe that enough information is presently available to predict the long term future of economics just as it is possible to predict the long term future of government.
1) Since there will be no work to do (I mean work out of necessity as opposed to work out of emotional or intellectual or physical interest), everyone will have a fixed basic income.
The end of economics is then that ...
Why? Why have any income if everything you desire in material goods can be supplied by programmed machines? It is to prevent you from overdoing it. If everyone can have anything they want just by programming a machine, things will get out of control very swiftly because there are no limits to such desires and the solar system simply can't accommodate all the bizarre wishes of everyone. Secondly, you will need to pay people to do work where the human touch is desired, i.e. to wait and bus tables at a restaurant (you want to be served by a human sometimes ... not a machine).
But if you can have everything you want for free ... what will you buy with your "income"?
This is the one true controlling factor for over-ambitious desires. If you want to rearrange the moons of Jupiter, you will have to collect enough "energy credits" to do the job. Since you will never be able to collect that much by yourself, you will have to find "partners", or you may be prohibited (de jure) by the government (the type I've designed).
A fixed basic income is Communism ... the feminine form of economics. What happens to Capitalism ... the masculine economics?
Well, it doesn't die ... it morphs into the pay scale of those elected to fill the government positions. They get one energy credit per vote represented ... so the top rep might end up with a few billion credits to blow on lunar fireworks or just whatever.
How much energy one credit stands for will be determined by the "chain of command" as outlined in the other entries of this section. You can be sure it will be enormous by our standards.
What do you buy with your "money"? You buy services or a vehicle or a vacation to Mars ... whatever is available. There will be no limit on the energy you may use with your body as the source of that energy. Muscle power will always be "free".
If we are unable to leave the solar system en masse (certainly a small fraction of the population may choose to go ... or come), then the population must come to a finite size. If it is too large those living will find themselves feeling insignificant ... if too small ... lonely. What the final population of the solar system will be is determined by trial and error (I personally believe that number will be about 1/2 billion). It will seek its own level and then be enforced by those elected. This means mandatory birth control ... especially if the human lifespan becomes theoretically unlimited, i.e. you die only when you get ... hmmm ... squashed by a rock accidentally.
Everyone works at whatever they like to do. If you don't want to do anything you don't have to and you will still live an extravagant lifestyle by our standards on your minimum one credit per year income. There won't be any companies as we now know them ... just temporary alliances to get a particular thing done. The basic bullwork will all be done by computerized machines. You do what you want when you want as long as you have the credits to do so and it doesn't run afoul of anyone else's rights (as determined by the chain of command).