An Economic Singularity

An economic singularity would be an explosion of economic growth that goes nearly vertical and moves us into unknown economic territory. The factors that can hold back economic growth are lacks of: the capital that allows production, the means and mechanics of production, and the demand that consumes goods and services being produced. In order for an economic singularity to take place, those limitations would have to be nearly completely lifted away.

Capital is not just money, but an entire spectrum of things that enable production. Information and raw materials usually come first.
The experience needed to make a good entrepreneurial risk decision and the willingness to commit time, energy and resources to a project is also part of capital. Ownership of land, factory, office space, or the money to obtain them, as well as the availability of those items are all essential. Production can require machinery, equipment, knowledge, skill, energy and more. Demand is created when products and services are desirable, available and priced for easy consumption.

The economic singularity probably begins with changes in production, which create new products more efficiently (cheaper) and in new ways. Nanotechnology and 3D printing will drive this. Instead of going to a store to go shopping, you will shop online for the design you want, then either print a small item at home, or pay somebody else to print it then deliver it. This creates both an increase in demand and new kinds of demand for new kinds of products. The increases in demand and production will in turn create new jobs and new businesses and feed the supply of available capital for business to expand.

In normal economics, this all takes a lot of time and dampening factors can offset the natural growth feedback. But under singularity conditions, the growth and change is greatly accelerated and normal dampening may be bypassed. The rapid growth can feed upon itself in positive feedback and grow even faster.

An economic singularity is likely to produce more availability, cheaper products, and create a blossoming of personal wealth and an increase in standard of living. Wealth/poverty definitions will be changed. Drastic changes in jobs and career paths are likely as old job types fade away and new ones are created. Less time at work will be required and more leisure time will be available. Self sufficiency will be far easier to reach and maintain. Deflation of currency value might be another consequence.

Governments are likely to shrink in size and power but at the same time, their ability to deliver more social services to the needy for lower cost will expand. Both the spirit of individual responsibility and complete dependence on government support are likely to increase, creating more social divergence. Technology tends to magnify human effort and human characteristics and an economic amplification will expand the entire spectrum, perhaps solving some problems, but also making other ones worse.

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