8.19.2004

The new copy of Foreign Affairs arrived today. The only article that jumped out at me was Riding for a Fall by Peter Peterson. He talks about the aging population of 1st world nations and how our spending habits will most likely cause some major problems with the economy in the next few years. I'm optimistic that because of technology the majority of the world will be better off in the future.

What happens when technology replaces a worker? Are we better off because prices go down or does the increasing underemployment counter those gains? I was reading some economic data just for kicks the other day; it turns out that corporate profits are booming while wages are stagnant. Based on what I've read the counterintuitive trend is the result of the rise of "process automation". Outsourcing gets the bad press because it has a face. It's more gratifying tormenting a cabbie than a can opener.

I guess I'm just trying to get a grip on what exactly an economy is. In one article in Foreign Affairs the author catches himself lamenting the slow demise of 1st world dominace when he knows that the standard of living for billions of others is increasing. There is depressing humor in the fact that we live in a democracy where we're supposed to have faith in the opinions of the majority yet we ignore the majority of the inhabitants of the world. Maybe that's the root cause of my anti-Bush sentiments. Unilatteralism isn't democratic. Wikipedia is democracy. Maybe the best hope have for the future of the planet is Moore's law. Computers are becoming commodity items. Access to information is getting cheaper at the same time that content is appearing at exponential rates.
It's a sort of singularity. Increasingly cheaper technology increases access to information. That information increases demand for the technology. I took the software used for Wikipedia and used it to create my own Wiki for my driving simulator. It's interesting that the monetary value of the software I downloaded would be hundreds or thousands of dollars if the license wasn't open source. Check it out here it's the same stuff that's running http://wikipedia.org.

I think I need to read more and write less.

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