Economics Two Point Oh

On twitter there was a thread where Accelerando and my novels collided:

I thought I might as well share one of the chapters where Strossian economics are referenced (and mocked)

ch 184: Poly kids (2/5)

== 2064: Atlanta Hackerspace, Atlanta, GA, Earth

Maynard leaned over the bench as he tightened the pillow block over stator. There. That was it. He put the wrench down. Once he put the cover plate on the drive would be finished. Now he just had to –

“So, anyway, I was saying that with Economics Two Point Oh we wouldn’t have to be scrounging these supplies, and, you know, buying the ones we can’t scrounge.”

Maynard nodded to Vince, then picked up the cover plate and lowered it into position over the drive core.

Vince sat on one of the workbenches, and leaned back against a tool chest, arms crossed over his chest. “I’m serious, Maynard. The powers that be, here, they’re too locked into their current mindset. They’re like fish who can’t even imagine living on dry land.”

The cover plate fit perfectly. He wasn’t surprised – it’d been machined from the expat CAD file, and all of the pieces had come out decently. Maynard grabbed the screwdriver and reached for the magnetic bowl that held the screws. “Uh huh.”

Vince hopped off the bench and walked to where Maynard was working. “M, man – you’re not listening to me.”

Maynard looked up and met Vince’s eyes. “Yes, I am, but I’m also -”

Vince gave him that cocky grin. “Good.” He hopped up onto the bench Maynard was using and pushed the slate, the multimeter and the magnetic bowl of small parts away as he shimmied back onto the table. “Economics two point oh is something most people are blinded to – they get so wrapped up in the old tit-for-tat property model. They don’t understand the post-scarcity gift economy.”

Maynard sighed and reached around Vince for the magnetic bowl. “Uh huh.” He slide the bowl closer, pulled one screw out and started to affix the cover plate.

“Even the expats don’t get Two Point Oh thinking – they’re still mired in One Point Oh.”

Maynard looked up at Vince and furrowed his brow. “Wait a second. If you support this new economics -”

“Two Point Oh” Vince corrected him.

“Two Point Oh. If you’re so eager for that, then how is going to Aristillus, where you say the people are too dumb to get that model, going to help you?”

Vince grinned. “Good question, M, good question. I never said these expats aren’t dumb. If they were, there’d be no point in going there – we might as well stay home, right? No, the problem isn’t the wetware – it’s the program running on it. They’re just unenlightened. Ideas are like programs – they treat backwards thinking and route around it. Two Point Oh stands on its own. Put it up against One Point Oh, and it will outcompete it. Make it its bitch.”

“But how exactly will Two -”

Vince sighed, good-naturedly. “Selfishness is evolutionarily a dead end. Whether we’re talking copyright, property rights, relationships-”

Maynard put down his screw driver. “Relationships?”

Vince nodded his head while picking up the multimeter and flicking it on. “Absolutely. The scarcity economy made sense when things were actually scarce, but in the digital age, a lot of things AREN’T scarce. So we create artificial scarcity, in all areas of life.” He put the multimeter down. “But you already know that, man – you and Carrie-Ann are poly, right?”

Maynard picked up the multimeter that Vince had been playing with and set it back to DC voltage then turned it off. “Well, yeah, of course. I mean we’re not fundamentalists, or anything -”

“Exactly. So you see how it is. Anyway, my point is that the expats are already part way to the new thinking. They get open source, they get decentralization. It’s about up-from-the-people, not down-from-the-central-authorities, right? But the expats are afraid to follow that to the logical conclusion. They claim they’re against centralization, but what do they replace it with? Corporations. Which is just a petit bourgeoisie version of the police state. Or think of it as the economic version of an exclusive sexual relationship. It all connects- you see that, right?”

Maynard pursed his lips and exhaled. He didn’t like Vince harping on the relationship – especially sexual relationships. Especially after the way he’d been flirting with Carrie-Ann recently. Yes, they were technically poly. TECHNICALLY. Anyway, time to change the topic. “Hey, Vince, I’m almost done with the anti gravity drive. How are the maneuvering rockets coming?”

“Getting there, getting there. I’ve to print out the pumps and supply lines.”

“So the rocket bells themselves are done?”

“Don’t worry about it- it’ll all work out.”

Maynard secured the last screw in the AG drive cover plate. “Vince, there’s not a ton of time in the schedule. We’ve got two weeks until -”

Vince grinned. “I know. It’s under control.”

“I’m working late tonight on the AG drive’s calibration. If you’re going to be here we could order some Thai, and -”

“Would love to, man, but I’ve got to be somewhere.” Vince hopped off the bench. “Catch you tomorrow.” Maynard sighed and reached for his slate. The ebook said that the calibration routines took hours to run. The sooner he got started the sooner he could leave and go to bed.

Behind him he heard Vince shut the door to the hackerspace.

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2 Responses to Economics Two Point Oh

  1. Vince! Shut-up, shut-up, shut-up he’s trying to _work_.

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