2017/0/05 Knowledge Forum
Thread: Adam Smith "The Wealth of Nations"
Book 4, Chapter 7, Part 3 Pages 638-693
20170305 Update for Reference #1, Part III Pages 638-693.
This part of Chapter 7 is too long to try to cover in a single post.
The subtitle is:
Begin Quotation from Page 638:
Of the Advantages which Europe has derived from the Discovery of America, and from that of a passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope.
For this weekend, I will consider enjoyments and industry.
20170305 Page 638 Paragraphs 1 through 4
Mr. Smith closes this opening sequence with:
The general advantages which Europe, considered as one great country, has derived from the discovery and colonization of America, consist, first in the increase of its enjoyments, and secondly, in the augmentation of its industry.
Since my purpose in undertaking this study is to try to anticipate how the future may unfold for human beings building communities away from Earth, I would like to stop here to consider the vision of Edward M. Lerner, for a digital communications based economy between solar system and interstellar communities, combined with the vision of Eric Drexler and many others for atom assembly machinery able to sustain an advanced civilization through distributed manufacture of complex structures.
The Star Trek(r) vision of a matter replicator is interesting, and I am not saying here that it cannot happen. Instead, I am simply pointing out that Nature has been assembling objects an atom at a time for millions of years, and the most likely path for humans is to follow Nature's example.
The implication is that atom assemblers will take large amounts of time to build various objects. It takes a few months for Nature to assemble a seed of a plant, for example.
An acorn can be assembled in the course of a season, for example.
Thus, as a rule of thumb, I would expect humans using atom assemblers to take about as much time as Nature requires to assemble objects of comparable size and complexity.
Nature uses a form of parallel processing in building structures such as an acorn. I would expect that humans would try to implement parallel processing to the maximum extent possible.
I would expect manufacture of an object such as a screw of modest size to take a week.
Today I'd like to present for consideration an object which I think would quite reasonably be expected to take a month to complete. I am thinking here of a shaving blade, or the more complex shaving device offered by Norelco,
Here is an example:https://www.walmart.com/ip/3pcs-Replace ... /818843867
A replacement shaver head package from Walmart (or Target, or similar vendor) consists of three blade assemblies and three cover assemblies.
I can easily imagine a person setting up an atom assembly enterprise to make these components. Output might be one assembly every week or two, and an individual might own or lease multiple machines.
Norelco recommends replacing blades once a year, although in my experience a blade set can last for as long as eight years. Either way, there would be a recurring market for replacement blades in a community on the Moon, Mars or anywhere else away from Earth.
I am not suggesting that other ways of shaving will become practical and popular. The Norelco shave head example is intended for illustration of how an economy might evolve in future.
The designs for the replacement shave head components would exist in digital form, and the designs could be (and most probably would be) exchanged between remote communities.
Picking up on Mr. Smith's remarks above, it seems to me that new or improved digital designs would be exchanged between communities just as physical objects were exchanged in Smith's time, and the exchanges would result in both increased “enjoyments” and increased industry, as various individuals and groups seek to improve their trading capability by designing new and improved digital designs.
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