Scarcity to abundance

After reading Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures for many years, I started also reading his partner Albert Wenger. He doesn’t blog as often as Fred, but when he does it’s at Continuations and its typically super insightful.

Albert’s writing helps provide insight into where we’re heading at the highest levels of society. The air can get a bit thin where Albert operates, but what he’s writing and thinking about are things that seemed destined to trickle down into mainstream social discussion and eventually the public policy arena.

His talk from the DLDconference gets into some of the themes he’s been writing about for a while. The biggest theme is that we’re transitioning from a world of scarcity to a world of abundance. In other words, from a world where “whenever you wanted more of something there was an additional cost” to a world of zero marginal cost.

He also touches on how transitioning to a world of abundance will intersect with public policy, specifically the idea that with fewer things to physically make, it might be necessary to “decouple income from work” through a basic income guarantee.

The lingering ethos of the Protestant work ethic might make this concept extremely difficult to implement here. But it might also be a much saner way to approach social security than the current hierarchical, bureaucratic central government model we rely on.

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