"Super Education" or other technological privileges?

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,281
Brassicaland
#1
The concept is from Liu Cixin (刘慈欣)'s short story of Wages of Humanity (赡养人类):
Some privileged humans from Earth #1 (not quite Superman; in the story, there are 4 versions of humans created by aliens, and our earth is the latest version) have supercomputers installed, and almost any abilities and skills can be purchased; these render the privileged humans way superior to regular humans (the difference is similar to regular humans to dogs.)
They call such "super education" 超等教育.
In the story, due to expenses of super education, regular humans fall behind and finally, 99% of wealth and resource is in the hand of one person.
Some may ask about resistance of regular humans; alas, they were no match to the robots that protect the supreme owner.
Due to automation, the regular humans are useless as manual laborers.

Now, stop the speculation and get back to reality.
How do wealth and resources concentrate in the hands of a few?
What would happen if such super education becomes available?
What led to the so-called 99% claim?
Can we improve resource allocation?
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,467
Dispargum
#2
"How do wealth and resources concentrate in the hands of a few?"

Very few people are completely altruistic and uninterested in the accumulation of wealth and power. Most people desire wealth and power, at least to some extent. However, talent is not evenly distributed across the human race. Income is a function of one's talent and usefulness to society. People who can and do contribute useful products and services to society are rewarded with an income proportional to their value. Those who do not contribute do not earn an income.

Laziness is also part of the human condition. Most people have a point where they become comfortable and satisfied so that they are no longer willing to make the effort to accumulate more wealth and power. Many people never reach this point so that they continue to work right into the grave, but most people have a point of comfort and satisfaction beyond which they will not continue to work. A few people will never be satisfied.

If you've ever wondered why do mega-billionaires keep working, accumulating more and more wealth and power, it's because for all intents and purposes they have no point of satisfaction. They think of wealth of power in completely different terms than do most people. Most billionaires see life as a competition with money as the means of keeping score. These billionaires are intensely competitive. There are philosophies and religions that celebrate (or rationalize, depending on one's point of view) the accumulation of wealth and power. Most billionaires have bought into these ideas that wealth and power are intrinsically good and desirable for their own sake.

"How do wealth and resources concentrate in the hands of a few?" It all comes down to motivation. How much wealth, power, resources, etc does a person want and what are they will to do to get it? In the final analysis, most people are not willing to do enough to truly become wealthy and powerful.
 
Feb 2017
425
Minneapolis
#4
"How do wealth and resources concentrate in the hands of a few?"

We can certainly point to various social and cultural reasons but there are practical reasons related to the modern world, mainly mass-communication and mass-transportation.

An example, say, would be if I invented a gizmo that turned out to be useful and popular. In pre-industrial eras, I wouldn't likely profit that much from the invention. My horizon for making and selling it would be small. But bring in mass-production, mass-communication and mass-transportation and suddenly my horizon is much broader and wealth comes to me from a much larger area. In other words, technology allows more wealth to get focused on me.

There's other economic dynamics like this that serve to concentrate wealth that I would say are technical in nature and have little to do with the personalities or morals of the wealthy.
 
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VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,281
Brassicaland
#5
National Debate 2012: Causes of Economic Inequality

Economic inequality is passed on. Access to certain technologies or benefits will be based on income, and the "haves" are often unwilling to share. Certain medications, enhancements, life-extending technologies, and other services are not going to be widely available to the "have nots".
What if skills and abilities are commodities as well?
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
2,774
Las Vegas, NV USA
#8
It depends on what time period you're using. Men like the JD Rockefeller were not born into wealth. Others like JP Morgan were, but greatly their expanded inherited wealth. Both were opportunists who used any means necessary to expand their holdings usually at the expense of others in the unregulated dog eat dog climate to the late 19th century US. The modern internet billionaires were either savvy inventors or were able to market the inventions of others. Opportunities for accumulating great wealth were more restricted before the 19th century. It was more a matter of the landed aristocracy trying to hold onto what they had. However money lending and trading offered opportunities for those positioned to take advantage.

Once wealth is established, it creates a new "aristocracy" who have the resources to invest and expand their wealth further over generations. Generally self made billionaires have high energy. They are focused and often ruthless. They are usually not intellectually gifted, but highly goal oriented.
 
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VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,281
Brassicaland
#9
It depends on what time period you're using. Men like the JD Rockefeller were not born into wealth. Others like JP Morgan were, but greatly their expanded inherited wealth. Both were opportunists who used any means necessary to expand their holdings usually at the expense of others in the unregulated dog eat dog climate to the late 19th century US. The modern internet billionaires were either savvy inventors or were able to market the inventions of others. Opportunities for accumulating great wealth were more restricted before the 19th century. It was more a matter of the landed aristocracy trying to hold onto what they had. However money lending and trading offered opportunities for those positioned to take advantage.

Once wealth is established, it creates a new "aristocracy" who have the resources to invest and expand their wealth further over generations. Generally self made billionaires have high energy. They are focused and often ruthless. They are usually not intellectually gifted, but highly goal oriented.
In the short story, even these personality traits are commodities, and they call it super education.
 
Nov 2015
1,747
Bye, bye
#10
"How do wealth and resources concentrate in the hands of a few?"

We can certainly point to various social and cultural reasons but there are practical reasons related to the modern world, mainly mass-communication and mass-transportation.

An example, say, would be if I invented a gizmo that turned out to be useful and popular. In pre-industrial eras, I wouldn't likely profit that much from the invention. My horizon for making and selling it would be small. But bring in mass-production, mass-communication and mass-transportation and suddenly my horizon is much broader and wealth comes to me from a much larger area. In other words, technology allows more wealth to get focused on me.

There's other economic dynamics like this that serve to concentrate wealth that I would say are technical in nature and have little to do with the personalities or morals of the wealthy.
Dear Murffy,
With your sharp little fangs it seems you know how to bite into the core of problems....

:rolleyes:
Murffy.jpg


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) defines globalization as
"the increasing economic interdependence of all countries in the world, caused by the increase in the volume and variety of cross-border transactions in goods and services, as well as international capital flows, and by the accelerated and widespread diffusion of technology."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globalization#Global_justice_and_inequality

Clearly the answer seems to be technological privilege rather than education in the strict sense.
 
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