20160413 Variations on a theme of Adam Smith

Re: 20160413 Variations on a theme of Adam Smith

Postby tahanson43206 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:21 pm

20180210 Adam Smith Thread

From Reference #1:
Page 1027 Text from “The expense of the peace establishment of the colonies was, ... ” through “ … would not have been undertaken.”

Because this is the second to last page of “The Wealth of Nations” (Reference #1) I will change to considering only one sentence or part of a paragraph at a time, in order to extend as far as possible the benefit of using Mr. Smith's work as a foundation for this thread.

In this section Mr. Smith considers how the acquisition of colonies has resulted in expenses required to preserve, protect and to maintain them.

Looking at the situation from 240+ years later, it seems to me that Mr. Smith is describing the state of mind of a board member of a corporation which has invested in subsidiary operations which have turned out to be less profitable than had been hoped. A significant part of the expense Mr. Smith cites is due to occurrence of wars with European competitors. In 2018, it seems to me that the United States is pouring large sums into low intensity conflicts in multiple locations around the globe, and pouring even greater sums into preparation for large scale conflict with potential state adversaries.

I'm sure I'm not the first to wonder if warfare, or preparation for warfare, is a permanent characteristic of life, and specifically of intelligent life.

In the comparatively benign regime of economic competition, corporations appear to be destined to compete for customers, to the disadvantage of their peers. The regulated regime of sports competition may provide a model that might apply to larger scale human competition, so that actual imposition of destructive force to achieve some desired condition, or to protect some desired condition, might be less likely.


In an attempt to understand how new technology might help the United States to address the present dilemma, this thread will include discussion of “FAB” by Neil Gershenfeld. “FAB” was published in 2005, and in 2018 Dr. Gershenfeld has teamed with his brothers Alan and John to update “FAB” and to try to see into the future of “Personal Manufacturing”. The new book is entitled “Designing Reality”. It is my intention to flow directly from “FAB” to “Designing Reality”, although influences from the 2018 book may show up in this thread as the discussion at hand may inspire them.

Reference #4 Page 22
Title: “Meejin”

In this section, Dr. Gershenfeld introduces a student named Meejin , who took a class entitled: “How To Make (almost) Anything”.

The product Meejin imagined, designed and built was intended for to address a need to maintain personal space. The system Meejin created emulated the functions of porcupine quills, by springing out piano wires to “announce and defend” the wearer's personal space.

It occurs to me that corporations whose ships are attacked by pirates are in need of defensive mechanisms of a similar nature, able to dissuade pirates without harming them unnecessarily.

In my own quest here and elsewhere, I am looking for paths that will lead toward one or more of a class of futures described by numerous science fiction writers over the decades. Without regard to the location in time or space, I've noticed that science fiction authors often assume the presence of a combination of technology which allows an individual or small group to live comfortably. The circumstances often involve a space ship with artificial intelligence which not only transports the heroine to her destination, but provides for every material need, and often for psychological needs of the human.

Humans on Earth in 2018 seem to me to be accumulating knowledge which would facilitate such comfortable living circumstances, and indeed a few exceedingly wealthy individuals are able to approach them. Examples include yachts able to travel around the world. In 2018, to the best of my knowledge, no such vessel is able to operate for a year without restocking supplies. However, apparently there exist nuclear submarines able to operate under water for months at a time without surfacing for anything.

Such submarines show a pathway that can (and does) work when the vehicle is enclosed in a heat sink fluid which provides elements needed to replenish oxygen and water supplies. A space ship such as envisioned by so many science fiction authors would “swim” in a vacuum into which heat could be dumped via radiation. Apparently that mechanism works for space probes which use atomic heat sources to provide power.

Today, I'm thinking about how a decent sized ocean going vessel might provide a suitable environment for an experiment it trying to create a sustainable community. It's not clear to me right now how large such a vessel would need to be, if it were to include all the elements of the “cabin in the woods” imagined last week.

A stand alone ocean going vessel might include:
<> A power supply using fission or fusion to meet all needs for human occupants
<> Water and air treatment to insure pure supplies of these components
<> Food growth facilities to insure ample supplies of fresh produce
<> Manufacturing facilities able to make components of any equipment needed by the facility
<> Communications facilities to keep the crew in touch with the outside world as desired

The optimization process for such a vessel would (try to) find the right mix of people, equipment, space and supplies to allow the vessel to sail without needing resupply from shore facilities.

Modern ocean going condominiums show capabilities that point in the direction outlined above, but like yachts, they are good for only stretches of a few months or so without resupply.

May every member of The Knowledge forum grow financially, intellectually, socially and beyond.
Posts: 426
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2015 3:38 pm


Return to New members

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests