Is it a physical machine or "an economy"?


#1

Is The Machine a single, physical machine?

Or is it many machines?

What if I owned a machine that only produced car tires, and you owned a machine that produced food. Should we trade? Should we use money?

In what ways can the idea of The Machine be met with traditional economies? If you have a bunch of businesses and we trade money, can money be “The Machine”?

How is owning a machine that actually produces everything you need for survival different from having money and access to an economy?


#2

Practically, it probably wouldn’t make sense to have a single physical machine to handle so many tasks. That being said, if there is a lot of modularity to the system, perhaps communities could simply aqcuire the modules that make sense and trade whenever they need what they can’t make.

Combining this with blockchain technologies and advances in alternate currencies would seem to make a quite viable system that doesn’t rely on any larger institution or national organization.

I think one of the biggest problems in making completely isolated systems, communities and machines would simply be in gathering natural resources. It’s highly dependent on the geography what natural resources are available, and trade of such things will probably be necessary unless there is some kind of radical change in the way those natural resources are distributed in the first place.


#3

Natural resources and living systems, in my opinion, are the most important part of a sustainable economic system. They are also the most diverse/interconnected/complex, and thus the hardest to mechanize on a truly sustainable level. With that in mind, I recommend folks check out Permaculture, an ecological design system grounded in ethics.


#4

I’m having trouble seeing how one machine, owned by +100 different people, that produces +100 different things people need, in series, is more valuable that +100 small businesses or machines owned by +100 different people that each produce one optimized product in parallel.

What is the value added?


#5

I’d think that the value isn’t in how it’s divided, but more the concept of having something open source and as highly automated as possible. Open source to make it accessible and automated to add value and enable people to do other things


#6

My thinking wasn’t that it was more valuable, but differently valuable.

In a town where 100 people own 100 businesses, no one person owns all that they need. Each person must coordinate with others in order to get what they need. Further, those with businesses that produce something more valuable can raise prices (I’d expect this town to use money to exchange value) and you will see some people with great wealth while others have little. This is the world we live in today.

In a town where 100 people own one machine with an agreement to share the output of the machine, no one has to coordinate with the others in order to get what they need. Everyone has a common interest in keeping the machine functional, but no one person has any right to claim more of one thing over someone else. This arrangement isn’t in my mind more valuable, but it is different and I think very interesting. I am very interested in eliminating inequality of access when it comes to basic survival needs.

Also, the machine is fully automated. If you had a town with 100 fully automated businesses, that would totally count as “The Machine” to me. The modules don’t all have to be under one big housing to be considered part of the same system.

For me, the possibility of shared ownership and fully automated output create equality of access.

However I think early versions of these Machines will be more suited for caring for 5-10 people, so 1-3 families. And certainly it’s easier to imagine a few families coordinating to operate a machine than 100.