futuristic economics

As a team project, The Squirrel (AKA: Le Boyfriend), and I have taken up reading a book by one of his favorite economists. The book, unlike sci-fi, gives a look at the future not based on the fancies of imagination, but a model grounded in extrapolations based on physics, economics, sociology, psychology. EM [Emulated Minds] are when we can scan, upload and copy minds, and, through economic pressures, only the best, most economically productive minds can afford the costs of maintenance (servers, coolers, other equipment) to survive.

As EM’s are a crop of the best humans, reading the intro to the book was oddly appropriate for a day people often rest all their aspirations on for a reboot. Perhaps we will read more tonight to commemorate a holiday I otherwise don’t care about.

A century ago most economic futurists imagined that labour would earn higher wages and spend them on rising living standards. But for the past generation, labour has used its income simply to carry a higher debt burden. Income over and above basic needs has been ‘capitalized’ into debt service on bank loans used to finance debt-leveraged housing, and to pay for education (originally expected to be paid out of the property tax) and other basic needs. Although debtors’ prisons are a thing of the past, a financial characteristic of our time is the ‘post-industrial’ obligation to work a lifetime to pay off such debts.
—  Michael Hudson, From Marx to Goldman Sachs: The Fictions of Fictitious Capital, and the Financialization of Industry