Adam I. Gerard

Toward Gift Economics #2

Just a sketch

Continuation of ideas sketched out previously in Toward Gift Economics #1 and Future Governance.

Work Units

A work unit is envisioned as a convenient abstraction of the necessary materials and thermal resources required to achieve some uniform (and indexed) way of making, modifying, maintaining, moving goods.

  1. Robots will soon be capable of all 4M (making, modifying, maintaining, moving per the above) in a closed-loop fashion.
  2. Robots will mine everything, robots will transport everything, robots will make everything, and repair them.
  3. Rather than struggle with what would really be an antiquated economic theory (envisioned during the early days of the first factories), we should reap the benefits of new technologies, eliminate deficiencies of the existing system, and carry forward the benefits of it.

Rather than maintaining costly, unsustainable, systems that require the infinite micromanagement of humans we can do better.

We can create a more equitable social arrangement that preserves status quo wealth while embracing universal human control over robotic automation.

What is Necessary

  1. What is physically, biologically, and medically required: nutrients, food, water, air, etc.
  2. Essential items or services required for social functioning and participation: transportation, communications, education, shelter, etc.

Each required good or service can be divided into the quantity of work units required for all such human needs to be met.


Vast surpluses would be a strategic priority and incentivized object - no Potato Famine, no Great Leap Forward.

It would be of the utmost importance that maximal stockpiles and surpluses of all necessary items be secured at all times to mitigate for disaster and avoid calamities (experienced by many economy systems and likely any future one as well).

Decades worth of stockpiles should be maximized.


Centralized, command-style economic, systems do not work in the long run. They are prone to corruption, tyranny, and mismanagement.

Read: Why the Soviet Union Collapsed, about the Economic Calculation problem, and the failures of command-style economies.

Alternatively, federated, redundant, architecture is often used to manage similarly complex engineering systems.

The same must and ought to be employed to accomplish the above. Such policies would include fail-safes for critical production, redundancy, multiplicity of robot types to prevent systemic failure, etc.

The Irish Potato Famine occurred partly because of poor land use, poor agricultural practices (no crop stockpiling possible, no crop rotation, poor soil practices, cruel British exporting of stockpiles), and reduction of the economy to a single good (potatoes). These can be mitigated and prevented.


I think such systems would require democratic governance - Democratic systems governed by Axiomatic Law, and largely referendum driven with key elected or appointed positions to augment popular votes (policies advanced under the Obama administration in favor of referendums).

The advent of a futuristic Economy of Abundance would make human-labor optional.

a. In recognition of the wide-view of intelligence (that intelligence in other species and systems is actually quite common), I also think robotic intelligence and various AI systems ought to be classed per some kind of three-tiered system. For example, all brutal, dangerous, or extreme work restricted to level 0 machines (no consciousness).

b. Per the above the populace would be protected through strong civil liberties.

People would earn some post-money equivalent equal to their pro-social impact (along with needs being guaranteed and met):

  1. Someone who helped manage and improve robot productivity.
  2. Someone who creates a work of art cherished by millions.
  3. Someone who saves another’s life.
  4. Someone who volunteers to work alongside robots anyway.
  5. Etc.

Such systems would likely be highly scientific and quantified - with most decisions being subject to analysis and justification through data (rather than by gut, whim, or mere fiat).

Robust security and enforcement would likely comprise the bulk of law enforcement through a mix of voluntary human and robotic defense systems.

a. Mandatory genetic auditing (and potentially, modification) would be required after a certain number of violent or capital crimes.

b. Capital punishment would be commuted to cryonic freezing leaving the possibility of full life restoration on future acquittals or evolution to a better ethical system.

There are no known proven cryonic systems for humans at this time. Tissue damage still occurs during freezing as well as thawing. However, given major advances freezing small animals as of late, the possibility that this will reach widespread use is likely at some future point.

I believe that most if not all political, racial, and religious violence ultimately stems from wide-spread economic causes. Would such a system like that above result in less violence? Less oppression? I think so and hope so. I believe experimental and raw real-world empirical data likely supports those conclusions as well.