Noted for Your Nighttime Procrastination for September 4, 2015
For the Weekend...

Preliminary Initial Notes on the Economics of Star Trek

Over at Equitable Growth: Preliminary Initial Notes on the Economics of Star Trek:

  • Look, 1776 North America was a very rich country by 18th Century standards because of the enormous land to labour ratio, and yet still 75% of our people were farmers engaged in growing your 2,500 calories per day plus essential nutrients plus other things...
  • Today, here in the United States, we are down to 3% of the labour force who are growing our food...
  • Going from 75% to 3% means as far as basic calories and nutrients are concerned we have gone 95% of the way to the Replicator as far as basic calories plus essential nutrients are concerned... READ MOAR
  • Agriculture has been the occupation of most of the human race since the invention of, well, agriculture...
  • Roman legions conquered much of Europe and some of Asia on basically a big loaf of barley bread a day, plus some salt and garlic--plus whatever squirrels they could catch, and whatever greens they could gather where the legions were marching...
  • They were happy to have this diet as long as they had sufficient salt attached to it...
  • That 2,500 calories plus essential nutrients plus enough protein was the destiny for most of human history...
  • That average diet of bare calories and nutrient--even with 75 to 80% of your labour force devoted to producing it, produced adult males whose average height was maybe 5’2″ or 5’3″...
  • Such a diet! If you were to try to give it to your children today Alameda County Child Protective Services would come and take your children away and you would never see them again... On comfort:
  • We [lucky enough to be here in the middle-class North Atlantic] have solved scarcity with respect to food, have solved scarcity with respect to clothing...
  • Consider that the average Prussian noble family in the 18th Century had one gown suitable for court appearances to be shared among all of the females--and these are people who are nobles, these are people with a "von" in their surname...
  • Last time I was in Britain, we went to Oliver Cromwell’s house in Ely--the house he lived in when he was parliamentary representative: the ceilings are seven feet tall...
  • When I was 25, my house in Waltham Massachusetts was more comfortable and had many more square feet per person than Oliver Cromwell’s house--plus we had appliances, and we had central heat and air conditioning...
  • Nathan Rothschild, the richest man of the world in the 19th Century, died when he was younger than I am of an infected abscess in his back. We don’t die of infected abscesses.”
  • People regard Riker as a weirdo because he would rather be second-in-command to Picard than to control his own spaceship. And it’s pretty clear that that quest for honor and authority is a feature of society, rather than errors by screenwriters who haven’t gotten the memo...

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