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Default University of Berkeley : Rich people have a greater tendency towards greed

November 21st, 2012, 18:22
There's nothing lofty about being utilitarian. Considering it lofty - however - tends to be a sign of not wanting to commit to change.

Also, there are no common people - just people.
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November 21st, 2012, 18:27
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
There's nothing lofty about being utilitarian. Considering it lofty - however - tends to be a sign of not wanting to commit to change.

Also, there are no common people - just people.
Well I can assure you that you are an uncommon person
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November 21st, 2012, 18:34
Originally Posted by CrazyIrish View Post
Well I can assure you that you are an uncommon person
Tell me about it
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November 21st, 2012, 18:50
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
There would be no need for bartering. Simply a distribution of available resources, based on need first and luxuries second. No one would need to barter anything, but they could if they wanted to.

A monetary system would be ok in that case, because accumulation by the few would not harm the many. But it's still a needlessly intangible system - and it wouldn't make any sense in the world I'm talking about.
Hardly simple. We do have a historical precedent for that simple "distribution of resources", and it certainly didnt do better than the mixed economy system of the west.

Central planning doesnt work for a host of reasons. Feck, it doesnt even work for the control systems of a car, and it certainly doesnt work for something as complex an economy. It's simply not possible to define need and luxury in a useful and general enough way. It also stifles innovation.

If you otoh decide to decentralise the distribution then you would need a common credit interface and a price mechanism that would end up acting just like money, or you'd be restricted by the resources available locally. Incidentally that is the whole point of having a monetary system.

The "resource based economics" of the zeitgeist movement that you've referred to in the past is just crackpot hogwash and would probably do worse than the historical planned economies (who only really excelled as war economies).
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November 21st, 2012, 19:03
Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
Hardly simple. We do have a historical precedent for that simple "distribution of resources", and it certainly didnt do better than the mixed economy system of the west.
No, we have absolutely NO precedent for even distribution of resources based on needs first and luxuries second.

The only kind of thing we have that resembles this, would be something like small communities of the past like Native Americans before they were introduced to the wonders of civilization.

Biggest difference being they had endless resources and few people who needed them. That's a much smaller challenge than what I'm talking about.

That said, I'm pretty sure a lot of people would prefer that to what we have now.

Central planning doesnt work for a host of reasons. Feck, it doesnt even work for the control systems of a car, and it certainly doesnt work for something as complex an economy. It's simply not possible to define need and luxury in a useful and general enough way. It also stifles innovation.
Central planning? You're talking about human beings. I'm talking about computer-controlled distribution based on years of research into actual needs - which are to be satisfied for EVERYONE, before luxuries are even considered. This is assuming we have enough resources for everyone to have their basic needs met - including food, shelter, and so on. As for luxuries, it would be automated based on what's available and a system of requests.

If you otoh decide to decentralise the distribution then you would need a common credit interface and a price mechanism that would end up acting just like money, or you'd be restricted by the resources available locally. Incidentally that is the whole point of having a monetary system.
There's no price mechanism involved. Money exits the system. You have basic needs - and you have luxuries. If you need something, you get it. If you want something you don't need - you get it if it's there and it's your turn.

The "resource based economics" of the zeitgeist movement that you've referred to in the past is just crackpot hogwash and would probably do worse than the historical planned economies (who only really excelled as war economies).
Don't confuse what I'm talking about with something else. You're referring to The Venus Project - not the Zeitgeist movement. That's not what I'm talking about - though I think The Venus Project involves a lot of similarities and interesting ideas. Especially their stuff about utilising the oceans.

My idea is pragmatic before it's anything else - but it's based on some assumptions. The primary assumption being that we can actually satisfy basic needs for everyone given the resources we have available and those we can produce.

It's also heavily reliant on technology which - while feasible - has yet to be developed. That's why I'm saying we need years of planning and research before we even consider starting anything.
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November 21st, 2012, 19:15
Hoe economy can go bad, and I real *really* bad, can be seen with African chicken markets right now :

And this is not a joke : Subsidized (spelling ?) european chicken producers produce so much of them that they don't really know what to do with them.
The "solution" : Just sell them to Africa !
There, they arrive in such masses and still for so cheap prices, that *local* chicken producers get out of business.
Result : Local markets get destroyed, they become dependent on Europe … not good.
One could call this "indirect economic imperialism", I guess.

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November 21st, 2012, 19:56
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
There's no price mechanism involved. Money exits the system. You have basic needs - and you have luxuries. If you need something, you get it. If you want something you don't need - you get it if it's there and it's your turn.
This simply isn't going to work unless you've got some authoritarian black-n-white bastards running the show. Where's the line between basic need and luxury? Computer? Ask some punk in the middle of an African ethnic cleansing what he thinks about that. Steak dinners? What brand of car? Size of house? Style of clothes? Some of those are the basic fundamentals (food, clothing shelter) and you'll still never get agreement. And that's if we strictly look at division of resources. Let's add some culture to your mix. Gonna serve pork products if that's what you've got? Gonna dress in bikinis or burkas, given the different resource requirement for each? What if one of your citizens is a master gunsmith? What's an appropriate work week?

C'mon, you'll never get your society to agree to that line on anything, let alone everything, unless you limit it to about 3 people with similar cultures and backgrounds. So, the only way to establish the line is to have someone "on high" arbitrarily set it. That principle runs completely contrary to the intent of your vision. Thus, you've got a real pickle right at your foundation.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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November 21st, 2012, 20:07
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
This simply isn't going to work unless you've got some authoritarian black-n-white bastards running the show. Where's the line between basic need and luxury? Computer? Ask some punk in the middle of an African ethnic cleansing what he thinks about that. Steak dinners? What brand of car? Size of house? Style of clothes? Some of those are the basic fundamentals (food, clothing shelter) and you'll still never get agreement. And that's if we strictly look at division of resources. Let's add some culture to your mix. Gonna serve pork products if that's what you've got? Gonna dress in bikinis or burkas, given the different resource requirement for each? What if one of your citizens is a master gunsmith? What's an appropriate work week?
You have a computer running the show. This is not a world for people into divisive cultures. We're talking basic needs - not luxuries. Steak dinners would mean killing animals - and that won't work. Cars aren't needed and won't exist. Size of house is based on family size and will be modular. Clothing beyond keeping out cold and maintaining modesty will be a luxury - but most likely a luxury easily satisfied for everyone. Again, pork won't do - we don't kill animals.

There is no work week - as there is no work as we understand it. If there is a work week, it's one you set for yourself in accordance with what you want to work with - and you can request resources based on a combined request and voting system. People can collaborate in this way as well. Technology will be maintained by a minimal work force that will be based on voluntary service first, and rotation second.

C'mon, you'll never get your society to agree to that line on anything, let alone everything, unless you limit it to about 3 people with similar cultures and backgrounds. So, the only way to establish the line is to have someone "on high" arbitrarily set it. That principle runs completely contrary to the intent of your vision. Thus, you've got a real pickle right at your foundation.
The society is based on people who already agree on the conditions set forth, that's the point. The people we're talking about are people who understand the concept of a utilitarian society. We're not talking 3 people. We're talking thousands of people. These are the people who would begin. The concept is that, through demonstration, the rest of the world would follow over hundreds or thousands of years.
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November 21st, 2012, 20:34
Too many problems DA.

Like dte said, where's the boundary between need and luxury ? If I've had shoes for 5 years and there's a hole in one of them, do I need new ones ? What if my whole day I'm in my room and I only go out 3 times a month ? Is it still valid ?

Your computer won't exist for a long long long long long long time anyway too.

Also, who's going to program all of the decision-making aspects into the computer. Someone has to.

And then the ultimate problem. Alright, let's say everything does work the way you wanted it to and a minority live in this secluded land where everything works perfectly. What about the kids ? They might not like the idea or might just want to relax at home instead of being a productive member of this society. What do you do with them ? Kick them out ?
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November 21st, 2012, 20:41
If there's no work week, who will dig your resources out of the ground, or harvest the crops, or turn the ore into steel or turn the steel into a machine or run the machine to make the hammers that build those modular houses? How do all these functions get done? Volunteers? You actually think someone will volunteer to spend their day in the salt mine (or the corn field, or what have you) when there's no "penalty" for not doing so? Even if every citizen is a genuine volunteer at heart and maintains that attitude from birth to death, how many folks do you think will show up at the sewage treatment plant when they could just as easily volunteer to count all the ballots you're planning? And even if you claim you'll set up a mandatory rotation (so much for your "free" society) at the sewage treatment plant, who is going to volunteer to be there every day to train each day's rookie how to run it?

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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November 21st, 2012, 20:41
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
Too many problems DA.

Like dte said, where's the boundary between need and luxury ? If I've had shoes for 5 years and there's a hole in one of them, do I need new ones ? What if my whole day I'm in my room and I only go out 3 times a month ? Is it still valid ?
If you have a shoe that will cause a potential health problem, then you have an actual need - and you will get a replacement. That said, this isn't a capitalistic society where products are made from cheap material, which are meant to be replaced in a short time. Products will be made from optimal materials - and they will be created to last.

Your computer won't exist for a long long long long long long time anyway too.
The technology required exists today. It's the research into what we need and what's required for optimal living conditions that's the challenge. Beyond that, we need to build machines that will last and be easy to maintain. The sophistication isn't the problem - it's the challenge of what's optimal for lasting capacity.

Also, who's going to program all of the decision-making aspects into the computer. Someone has to.
The people in charge of programming are irrelevant. It's the conditions themselves that's the challenge. We're not talking about an AI that makes decisions. We're talking about simplistic distribution models.

And then the ultimate problem. Alright, let's say everything does work the way you wanted it to and a minority live in this secluded land where everything works perfectly. What about the kids ? They might not like the idea or might just want to relax at home instead of being a productive member of this society. What do you do with them ? Kick them out ?
The kids will be brought up in this new society - and I'm willing to bet that the VAST majority will look at the alternative (as in, our current world) and run away in utter disgust. However, they would be completely free to leave as long as it exists. Remember, it's not an exclusive or isolated society - but a voluntary one.
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November 21st, 2012, 20:45
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
If there's no work week, who will dig your resources out of the ground, or harvest the crops, or turn the ore into steel or turn the steel into a machine or run the machine to make the hammers that build those modular houses? How do all these functions get done? Volunteers? You actually think someone will volunteer to spend their day in the salt mine (or the corn field, or what have you) when there's no "penalty" for not doing so? Even if every citizen is a genuine volunteer at heart and maintains that attitude from birth to death, how many folks do you think will show up at the sewage treatment plant when they could just as easily volunteer to count all the ballots you're planning? And even if you claim you'll set up a rotation at the sewage treatment plant, who is going to volunteer to be there every day to train each day's rookie how to run it?
Almost everything will be automated - and all we'll need will be a minimal work force to maintain machinery - as far as we can't automate the maintenance.

You're thinking in terms of our current society - where all our systems are subject to economic reality, political interests and limited resources. Imagine a world where there are no limitations beyond what the Earth will provide.

This will start small - with only a few people, and the resources required to maintain a few people. There is no set number - but let's say a few hundred or a thousand people. Then, it will grow - as the mutually beneficial relationship with the current society grows.
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November 21st, 2012, 21:00
So, effectively you're proposing a society functionally similar to the ship from Wall-E. Machines do it all while we revel in our indolence and think deep thoughts.

I understand that you're stipulating a rather magical boost in technological capabilities, but that seems like a rather wide-eyed expectation. About a decade ago, the Japanese got extremely excited about "lights out" factories—ones that had no workers beyond maintenance crews. Those facilities have largely failed, or have been redesigned to include human workers. The reason? Robots simply don't have the compliance to deal with variation. The tolerance stack on anything more complicated than a toothpick will eventually, as a statistical certainty, result in a situation that robots simply can't handle.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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November 21st, 2012, 21:05
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
So, effectively you're proposing a society functionally similar to the ship from Wall-E. Machines do it all while we revel in our indolence and think deep thoughts.
I can imagine that's the kind of scenario you have in sight when hearing about this, yeah

I understand that you're stipulating a rather magical boost in technological capabilities, but that seems like a rather wide-eyed expectation. About a decade ago, the Japanese got extremely excited about "lights out" factories—ones that had no workers beyond maintenance crews. Those facilities have largely failed, or have been redesigned to include human workers. The reason? Robots simply don't have the compliance to deal with variation. The tolerance stack on anything more complicated than a toothpick will eventually, as a statistical certainty, result in a situation that robots simply can't handle.
You seem to think we're talking about sophisticated machinery - and we're not. This isn't some kind of futuristic AI controlled scenario where machines are making decisions. The technology is not new and has been feasible for decades. The reason it hasn't been built is that there hasn't been a need for it.

The "boost" is about lasting capacity and expandability. It's about minimal maintenance requirements and optimal materials. Basic models could be built within a few years - but what we want is to maximise lasting capacity and minimise the need for maintenance. This is part of the years of research required - and if we're to develop new technology - it wouldn't be machinery as much as new and superior materials.
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November 21st, 2012, 21:13
@D'Artagnan

Some questions:

1. How is hard work rewarded?

2. How is incompetence and lazyness dealt with?

3. Will everyone get the same "amount" of luxuries or are some privileged?

4. What role will vice play?

5. Will there be birth control in order to avoid an exponential growth of the population that the Earth would not be able to support?

6. What measures will be taken if some members of the new generations do not agree with this world view and do not cooperate?

7. Will there be censorship of any kind?

8. How much time is there between a petition for a luxury item/service and the actual delivery?

9. What if someone accidently eats some of the best Spanish cured ham and goes on a crusade to convince the population to slaughter all pigs for consumption?

10. Will beer be considered a luxury or necessity for people of German origin?
(Btw, will there be Paulaner weissbier?)

11. Can people choose the graphical locations for their houses?

12. Assuming that entertainment (i.e. music, film, sports, games, etc.) is a luxury, how is it treated?

13. Will there be an army and/or police force?

14. There will apparently be no cars but will there be other means of transportation?

Well, there are many more questions but I have to stop somewhere. After 20 years of thinking about it I am positively sure that you have a very well argumented answer for each question .
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November 21st, 2012, 21:14
It doesn't matter whether you make your goods from gold, unobtainium, or rancid butter. Something will still have to convert the raw material into a desired form. You're proposing that machines will do that, unattended beyond roving repair crews. Statistically, that's simply not possible. It doesn't matter whether your robots are made from gold, unobtainium, or sculptured doggie doo—it becomes a simple issue of tolerance stacks, and there's simply no way out of that numerical reality. Human input will allow you to mitigate the damage a bit (but never eliminate it), but you've already stipulated no human input.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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November 21st, 2012, 21:31
Originally Posted by Asdraguuhl View Post
@D'artagnan

Some questions:

1. How is hard work rewarded?
There is no hard work required. Hard work is rewarded with the result of it.

2. How is incompetence and lazyness dealt with?
It's not. It has no detrimental effect on anyone except those who would want to be competent and active but aren't.

3. Will everyone get the same "amount" of luxuries or are some privileged?
Everyone will have the same access, yes. No one is priviliged.

4. What role will vice play?
Vice is a subjective term - and that will not change.

5. Will there be birth control in order to avoid an exponential growth of the population that the Earth would not be able to support?
It will be controlled if it interferes with the survival or basic needs of other people.

6. What measures will be taken if some members of the new generations do not agree with this world view and do not cooperate?
Agreement is not required. However, if people won't work within society - they're exiled.

7. Will there be censorship of any kind?
I consider it unfeasible to have zero censorship - but I would want to support as little of it as possible.

8. How much time is there between a petition for a luxury item/service and the actual delivery?
That would depend on the luxury item and the delivery technology.

9. What if someone accidently eats some of the best Spanish cured ham and goes on a crusade to convince the population to slaughter all pigs for consumption?
Slaughter of pigs is not acceptable - and will result in exile, more than likely.

10. Will beer be considered a luxury or necessity for people of German origin?
(Btw, will there be Paulaner weissbier?)
There is no distinction based on nationalities. Beer is a luxury item.

11. Can people choose the graphical locations for their houses?
They can request a location - but it will be based on availability first - and time of request second.

12. Assuming that entertainment (i.e. music, film, sports, games, etc.) is a luxury, how is it treated?
Treated in what way? People are free to produce these kinds of entertainments - as far as resources are available and they're willing to cooperate to create them.

After creation, consumption is free for everyone - naturally.

13. Will there be an army and/or police force?
Crime will be all but impossible, based on a built-in biological monitor in every single member of the world society. This will include positioning, biorythms and all feasible details that can be monitored. All this information will be networked to every member of society at all times. Essentially - there will be no outward secrets of any kind.

That said, the vast majority of crime motivators will be non-existant.

Law enforcement is likely to be required at some stage in some form. It will depend on the response to living in a society extremely unfamiliar to us. If such a force is required - it will be obligatory learning for all members of society who're capable of enforcing it.

My suggestion is to prepare for it and put it in place - but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that we won't need it.

14. There will apparently be no cars but will there be other means of transportation?
Yes, there will be a society-wide public transportation system - most likely lifted from the ground - and built for efficiency and lastability.

Well, there are many more questions but I have to stop somewhere. After 20 years of thinking about it I am positively sure that you have a very well argumented answer for each question .
I am but one person. I have possible answers to the most common questions. That doesn't mean I have the perfect answer for every question. It would be stupid to suggest so.
Last edited by DArtagnan; November 21st, 2012 at 21:55.
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November 21st, 2012, 21:36
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
It doesn't matter whether you make your goods from gold, unobtainium, or rancid butter. Something will still have to convert the raw material into a desired form. You're proposing that machines will do that, unattended beyond roving repair crews. Statistically, that's simply not possible. It doesn't matter whether your robots are made from gold, unobtainium, or sculptured doggie doo—it becomes a simple issue of tolerance stacks, and there's simply no way out of that numerical reality. Human input will allow you to mitigate the damage a bit (but never eliminate it), but you've already stipulated no human input.
I have not stipulated no human input. The idea is to start by researching exactly what's required for basic needs - and whether we have enough to support the people that are willing to join. Then, we will need to project for future expansion.

At some point, we will arrive at a reasonable point of optimal resources for the required machinery - and we will build it. If human input is required - then we will ensure it - again, based on a voluntary workforce first, and a forced rotation second.

Let's say a thousand people begin this society - and we'll need, say, a few dozen adults to maintain the machinery. That means requesting people first, and if needed - creating a rotation between ALL capable individuals second. People who join, will already have conceded to this.

Those numbers are pulled out of my ass - but they should serve to get the point across.

Think about Native Americans and how they handled the division of the workload - and you'll get the idea.
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November 21st, 2012, 22:19
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
There is no hard work required. Hard work is rewarded with the result of it.
So basically, to work hard is simply voluntary and the results should be rewarding enough. And if the results are bad? O well…I still get my fixed amount of luxury items/services. Hmmm….

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It's not. It has no detrimental effect on anyone except those who would want to be competent and active but aren't.
So I could in principle sleep all day or sit on the couch all day watching television and I would still get my fixed amount of luxuries. Hmmm…not too bad actually.


Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Everyone will have the same access, yes. No one is priviliged.
So I don't have to lift one finger? Hey, I am actually starting to like your world .

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Vice is a subjective term - and that will not change.
Well you know, alcohol, drugs, prostitution, gambling….the stuff that prevents you from commiting suicide out of pure boredom .

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It will be controlled if it interferes with the survival or basic needs of other people.
The one child per family policy?

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Agreement is not required. However, if people won't work within society - they're exiled.
What if others who do cooperate oppose the exile because they are close to them?

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I consider it unfeasible to have zero censorship - but I would want to support as little of it as possible.
Makes sense.


Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
That would depend on the luxury item and the delivery technology.
Ok, let me state an example:
A father gets up on a beautiful sunny Sunday and wants to take his wife and kids to a place he knows at 100 km distance where there is a beautiful lake where they can go sailing, do some sightseeing and go to a fancy restaurant that evening before returning home.

P.S.
One of the kids already had his/her share of luxuries

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Slaughter of pigs is not acceptable - and will result in exile, more than likely.
You mean no cured ham? You cruel cruel D'Art .

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
There are no distinction based on nationalities. Beer is a luxury item.
Well, it was more of a joke to emphasize dteowner's point on culture.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
They can request a location - but it will be based on availability first - and time of request second.
Man, I so wanted to live in that area and this lazy tv watching console retard got there first.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Treated in what way? People are free to produce these kinds of entertainments - as far as resources are available and they're willing to cooperate to create them.

After creation, consumption is free for everyone - naturally.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Crime will be all but impossible, based on a built-in biological monitor in every single member of the world society. This will include positioning, biorythms and all feasible details that can be monitored. All this information will be networked to every member of society at all times. Essentially - there will be no outward secrets of any kind.

That said, the vast majority of crime motivators will be non-existant.

Law enforcement is likely to be required at some stage in some form. It will depend on the response to living in a society extremely unfamiliar to us. If such a force is required - it will be obligatory learning for all members of society who're capable of enforcing it.

My suggestion is to prepare for it and put it in place - but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that we won't need it.
Very good point. You forgot to mention the neck collar with explosives.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Yes, there will be a society-wide public transportation system - most likely lifted from the ground - and built for efficiency and lastability.
Hmm, some fine piece of aeronautical engineering then? I would love to contribute to that. No easy task though, gonna have to work overtime to get it done on time, so I gonna need some smart co-workers and a boss with good organisation skills. But will I be guaranteed to have competent co-workers and most importantly a competent boss?

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I am but one person.
Thank God!

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I have possible answers to the most common questions. That doesn't mean I have the perfect answer for every question. It would be stupid to suggest so.
No, but 20 years allows for some polished fine tuning .
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November 21st, 2012, 22:33
Originally Posted by Asdraguuhl View Post
So basically, to work hard is simply voluntary and the results should be rewarding enough. And if the results are bad? O well…I still get my fixed amount of luxury items/services. Hmmm….
Luxury items are not based on what you produce or how hard you work, no. You seem very focused on rewards - but you seem oblivious to the concept of working for the result - and not a reward beyond the result.

So I could in principle sleep all day or sit on the couch all day watching television and I woukd still get my fixed amount of luxuries. Hmmm…not too bad actually.
There would be no fixed amount of luxuries. So, no.

So I don't have to lift one finger? Hey, I am actually starting to like your world .
There would be no societal demand, beyond the possibility of being part of a rotational workforce.

Well you know, alcohol, drugs, prostitution, gambling….the stuff that prevents you from commiting suicide out of pure boredom .
Suicide is an option and would not be illegal. As for the "vices" you suggest - they would not be illegal in the society. Gambling and prostitution, however, would work very differently - if at all.

The one child per family policy?
I already answered this.

What if others who do cooperate oppose the exile because they are close to them?
Oppose? I don't get it.

Ok, let me state an example:
A father gets up on a beautiful sunny Sunday and wants to take his wife and kids to a place he knows at 100 km distance where there is a beautiful lake where they can go sailing, do some sightseeing and go to a fancy restaurant that evening before returning home.
I'm not sure what that has to do with delivery. If someone has made a restaurant somewhere - then it would depend on the speed of the public transportation system.

P.S.
One of the kids already had his/her share of luxuries
You're not listening. There is no set share of luxuries.

Hmm, some fine piece of aeronautical engineering then? I would love to contribute to that. No easy task though, gonna have to work overtime to get it done on time, so I gonna need some smart co-workers and a boss with good organisation skills. But will I be guaranteed to have competent co-workers and most importantly a competent boss?
What? You can volunteer to maintain it, if you wish.

Thank God!
So, you're religious?

No, but 20 years allows for some polished fine tuning .
In a select few areas, yeah. But you'd be surprised how complex it is to design a system that's workable and which seems feasible to someone who is extremely pragmatic - like myself.
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