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Sponk
August 11 2012, 11:59:27 AM
I read this.

http://johnquiggin.com/2012/08/08/how-feasible-is-a-guaranteed-minimum-income-crosspost-from-ct/

Kinda only understand a bit.

Thoughts?

elmicker
August 11 2012, 12:22:00 PM
There are nations that still don't have a minimum wage? Cripes.

TheManFromDelmonte
August 11 2012, 12:25:28 PM
Congratulations elmicker, you fell for it.

Read the article not the thread title, it's about citizens income not minimum wage. ie. paying people for doing nothing just because they're a person.

elmicker
August 11 2012, 12:38:23 PM
It's an interesting policy, one that certain lib dems in the UK are fond of, but I don't like his analysis of it. He doesn't consider the moral hazard issue and ignoring wage inequality makes everything just a little too convenient; in reality to make things not entirely self-defeating there'd need to be a massively disproportionate tax hike on high earners and businesses. He's probably entirely right, though, it probably is financially viable, but could you imagine any western government trying to do it? The scandinavians, perhaps, but for anyone else it'd be electoral suicide.

Hel OWeen
August 11 2012, 01:45:03 PM
First off, I'd change the thread title to either TFA's "Universal Basic Income" (which still doesn't make it clear what's meant without reading TFA) or something like "Unconditional Income", "Citizens Income". "Minimim wage" is rather misleading and means something completely different.

That said, it's an interesting concept. I've been thinking about this for a while now, but haven't made up my mind yet if I'm for or against it. I do however see the need for a different concepts in the long run than our nowadays "money for work"-concept. We'll continue to replace more human work with machines. Which means fewer work to distribute for all people. We already don't have enough work for all. I even think the technical problem of how to finance is the lesser problem. How and when to "flick the switch" to that new system seems to be the bigger challenge.

Aramendel
August 11 2012, 05:12:00 PM
First off, I'd change the thread title to either TFA's "Universal Basic Income" (which still doesn't make it clear what's meant without reading TFA) or something like "Unconditional Income", "Citizens Income". "Minimim wage" is rather misleading and means something completely different.

+1


That said, it's an interesting concept. I've been thinking about this for a while now, but haven't made up my mind yet if I'm for or against it. I do however see the need for a different concepts in the long run than our nowadays "money for work"-concept. We'll continue to replace more human work with machines. Which means fewer work to distribute for all people. We already don't have enough work for all. I even think the technical problem of how to finance is the lesser problem. How and when to "flick the switch" to that new system seems to be the bigger challenge.

I do not think there will be a real switch, it will be a gradual thing. We have already something like that in many countries in the form of "unemployment benefits". In the long term the payout duration for those will expand until it finally reaches "for life".

untilted
August 11 2012, 08:23:32 PM
I do not think there will be a real switch, it will be a gradual thing. We have already something like that in many countries in the form of "unemployment benefits". In the long term the payout duration for those will expand until it finally reaches "for life".

then you must have lived under a rock for the last 20-30 years or so. ever since the neoliberal rethorics of the 1980ies onward, unemployement got framed more and more as an individual failure than as a systemic characteristic.
1. unemployment benefits are for the most part NOT unconditional, as they usually require a pre-unemployment income of a certain level before they can be claimed.
2. there's a strong tendency to tie them to "activiation" of the individual on the labour market (prime example being germanies agenda 2010) ... this usually includes taking up lower-than-minimum-wage jobs (actually the unemployed don't recieve a wage in this case, but a "compensation" added to their unemployment benefits). the idea behind this was to get the unemployed into irregular forms of employment, with the hope that these might transform into regular ones. sadly it doesn't work this way - more often than not these employments are a road to nowhere for the unemployed, while companies profit from cheap labour.
3. unemployment benefits rarely get extended, more often than not they get cut back - esp. since the economic crisis hit.

Aramendel
August 11 2012, 09:54:19 PM
1. unemployment benefits are for the most part NOT unconditional, as they usually require a pre-unemployment income of a certain level before they can be claimed.
2. there's a strong tendency to tie them to "activiation" of the individual on the labour market (prime example being germanies agenda 2010) ... this usually includes taking up lower-than-minimum-wage jobs (actually the unemployed don't recieve a wage in this case, but a "compensation" added to their unemployment benefits). the idea behind this was to get the unemployed into irregular forms of employment, with the hope that these might transform into regular ones. sadly it doesn't work this way - more often than not these employments are a road to nowhere for the unemployed, while companies profit from cheap labour.
3. unemployment benefits rarely get extended, more often than not they get cut back - esp. since the economic crisis hit.

1. Of course they are conditional. I.e. the time you can get them - which I mentioned - IS a condition. Just as the time conditions will be loosened in time so will be the other conditions.
2. See 1. That they currently have conditions and that unsurprisingly the state does not really want to pay freeloaders and tries (not necessarily successfully) to re-introduce them in the workforce does not change my argument. Which isn't that unemployment benefits are right now an "Universal Basic Income" but that they will in time slowly evolve into one.
3. Again, and? Did I claim they will expand without interruption or backwards motion? No? Or that this change will happen fast? No? It is essentially a question how wealthy a nation is. If there is an economic crisis the benefits will of course be reduced. But the point is - the more wealthy it becomes the more will these benefits be expanded. And to repeat - I am not saying this will happen fast. I am not talking about timeframes of 20-30 years, I am talking of 200-300 years.

Jolin
August 12 2012, 04:00:46 PM
There are nations that still don't have a minimum wage? Cripes.



I do not think there will be a real switch, it will be a gradual thing. We have already something like that in many countries in the form of "unemployment benefits". In the long term the payout duration for those will expand until it finally reaches "for life".

I'm going to assume the article was aimed more towards first world countries? Asking because I know many nations that not only do not have a minimum wage, but do not have unemployment benefits either.

Qwert
August 12 2012, 07:08:22 PM
This came up in my college ethics class in a thought experiment about socioeconomic policy.

Thought experiment was roughly as follows:


You are a designer for socioeconomic policy that has the power to implement any plan you come up with.

You have been contracted by a single person on the planet Earth to develop the system that is the best for them.
Other than their humanity, you have no more information on this person, including age, race, religion, economic situation, work ethic, etc, except that they were chosen completely at random.

Interestingly, all 5 groups in the room ended up with some sort of guaranteed minimum income, with the stipulation that you could work to make more money above it.

JForce
August 13 2012, 08:51:44 AM
I'd say most modern countries have this in several forms.

Here in NZ we have an unemployment benefit, but along with that go various subsidies for families, sickness, accomodation etc depending on your earning level.

There is an ongoing discussion at the moment about a "living wage" - which is a set level, above the minimum wage, that is considered the bare minumum to "live" on. It's a way of highlighting things like minimum wage not raising in pace with inflation or the consumer price index and other economic indicators.

Overall I am quite torn about all this stuff.

I earn well enough that I have never had any assistance from the government, but I know growing up that it was hard for my parents with 2 kids (later 3 but by then their long term hard work was starting to make a difference) even with both working full time jobs.

My immediate reaction is "lazy people get a job" or "sucks to have your art history degree how about learn2do something we need" but I also know that it's not quite that easy. The reliance on "the market" to sort it out pervades this area of socioeconomics, and I don't know what the answer is.

Lallante
August 13 2012, 09:54:27 AM
It's an interesting policy, one that certain lib dems in the UK are fond of, but I don't like his analysis of it. He doesn't consider the moral hazard issue and ignoring wage inequality makes everything just a little too convenient; in reality to make things not entirely self-defeating there'd need to be a massively disproportionate tax hike on high earners and businesses. He's probably entirely right, though, it probably is financially viable, but could you imagine any western government trying to do it? The scandinavians, perhaps, but for anyone else it'd be electoral suicide.

Actually the arguement is essentially "fuck the moral hazard" so he doesn't need to further consider it.

Hel OWeen
August 13 2012, 01:14:57 PM
My immediate reaction is "lazy people get a job" [...]

Can't tell for NZ, but I have first hand knowledge of the German unemployment office ("Arbeitsamt"). From that I can tell you that of course there are a couple of lazy bastards, who prefer living off of welfare. But the vast majority of unemployed people is eagerly (and later deperately) looking for a job. The problem is, as I mentioned earlier, there isn't enough work to distribute. At least not for providing a fulltime job to those who need/want one, which enables them to earn their living.

Frug
August 13 2012, 04:20:40 PM
First off, I'd change the thread title to either TFA's "Universal Basic Income" (which still doesn't make it clear what's meant without reading TFA) or something like "Unconditional Income", "Citizens Income". "Minimim wage" is rather misleading and means something completely different.
Also C.


That said, it's an interesting concept. I've been thinking about this for a while now, but haven't made up my mind yet if I'm for or against it. I do however see the need for a different concepts in the long run than our nowadays "money for work"-concept. We'll continue to replace more human work with machines. Which means fewer work to distribute for all people. We already don't have enough work for all. I even think the technical problem of how to finance is the lesser problem. How and when to "flick the switch" to that new system seems to be the bigger challenge.
I was talking about this just last night by sheer coincidence. Well, ranting my opinion. I suggested that the whole "flick the switch" problem could be avoided by gradually allowing individuals to become more self-sufficient. If we could solve the energy problem and if automation reaches a certain point, people could provide for themselves while requiring relatively little in terms of outside purchases. For example, we could soon print our own electronics and with free power we could grow more of our own food. I expect test-tube meat to become viable in the next decade or three which would be awesome. Advances like these can gradually make money far less important.

But I admit not having considered the serious problem of land ownership. It's going to be a really, really hard transition and I expect people will kill eachother to maintain social hierarchies, animals that we are.

Liare
August 13 2012, 06:36:19 PM
My immediate reaction is "lazy people get a job" or "sucks to have your art history degree how about learn2do something we need" but I also know that it's not quite that easy. The reliance on "the market" to sort it out pervades this area of socioeconomics, and I don't know what the answer is. something like this would allow all those "useless degree holders" to do what they spend so many years on, rather than flipping burgers at minimum wage just to scratch out a living.

let's have a honest show of hands here, who spends most of their working hours dealing with essentially pointless things that can best be defined as "make work" ?

it's not bad in some sectors, especially the sectors that focus primarily on making as many people redundant as they can via automation, mostly because there's a large market for these kind of things, but as soon as you move beyond these sectors you start seeing the signs of a growing number of people who, to be frank dont do much other than sit around having meetings and pushing pointless piles of paper around, certainly some governmental regulation seem to serve no other purpose but forcing that kind of "job" into existence.

and then you have unemployment on top of that, along side the whole 1st world "useless degree" circus and the increasing automation in even high skill positions things do start to look a bit bleak, don't they ? (and let's not forget the elephant in the room, outsourcing)

the most interesting side effect of a "citizen wage" type thing is that it's going to absolutely murder the traditional "service" positions, if the majority have enough to make the ends meet and live comfortably then why would they take up the job say as a barista for a minimum wage along side fairly bad working conditions and brutal hours ?

the answer is of course the majority would certainly not, forcing the employers to increase the wage/improve working conditions enough to make it attractive, but why do that when you can yell in the media, or slip a large wad of cash to the nearest politician ?

Aramendel
August 13 2012, 07:21:10 PM
I suggested that the whole "flick the switch" problem could be avoided by gradually allowing individuals to become more self-sufficient. If we could solve the energy problem and if automation reaches a certain point, people could provide for themselves while requiring relatively little in terms of outside purchases. For example, we could soon print our own electronics and with free power we could grow more of our own food.

The problem I see with that would be that it would be rather inefficient to do so. You would end with people having some amateur level in most things, but not with really being good in all of them. Also, the individual scale would be too small to allow efficient automation.

It would be quite likely cheaper for the government to produce food themselves and give it to the population for free than to give everyone the means to produce his/her own food for free.

Frug
August 13 2012, 07:52:18 PM
I believe the whole point of personal automation is that you're not supposed to be an expert in doing it. It's not like you sit there designing the ipad and then printing it. You download the schematics and print those.

Also I don't know what you think is hard about growing home hydroponics, but whatever is hard about it now (not much) will be made easier as we advance in biology over the next century. I have friends doing it as a hobby and the only reason I don't grow some of my own food is because of electricity costs and currently i have a small apartment. The space issue could be remedied for many people with things like dedicated spaces in new building construction, and homeowners don't have such a problem with it. I also did mention that this is primarily supplementary food that would increase self-sufficiency, not replace all food, although I'm not sure I believe that would be very hard given another century of advances either. A personal meat-grower is not exactly a far fetched prediction for 50 years from now.

Hel OWeen
August 14 2012, 08:49:15 AM
As nice as it sounds, the "home grown" food supplementary, while a good or even necessary addition of the traditional supply chain, opens up a can of worms elsewhere. Say someone wants to "optimize" his results. How do you make sure he doesn't use some harmful substances? As long as he just "poisons" himself and his family/friends, I'd still be OK with that. But what about substances that propagate over to other people's gardens/barns? Think "Monsanto-polluted" plants, for example. Or growth-stimulating hormones spreading to groundwater.

Lallante
August 14 2012, 09:22:18 AM
What would the point of individual microfarms (which would inevitably, even with perfect technology, be vastly less efficient than macro farms) be apart from some pointless "FUCK YOU IM INDEPENENT" chestbeating?

elmicker
August 14 2012, 11:32:25 AM
belter weed

Hel OWeen
August 14 2012, 02:21:28 PM
What would the point of individual microfarms (which would inevitably, even with perfect technology, be vastly less efficient than macro farms)

Are they more efficent? (Serious question)

From other efficency discussions, I remember that it depends on what circumstances you take into account. Sure, from a purely amount of food per square meter produced-measure, industrial sized farms are far more efficient. But is that still the case when taking costs of transport and things like that into account?

Aramendel
August 14 2012, 03:31:35 PM
As you said, it depends.

If you live in the middle of hermitville, nowhere it is likely that you will be better off growing your own food. Assuming you do not need to receive a lot of water, soil, fertilizer, seeds, power, etc, which you cannot get out of your vicinity, in which case you would likely again be better off with macro farms.

In urban areas where both the transport times are small and space is at a premium (and where by far most of the population lives) macro farms should easily win.

Cool09
August 14 2012, 04:22:29 PM
Which is exactly the way it is now... how is any of this relevant to the OP?

Lallante
August 14 2012, 04:39:34 PM
What would the point of individual microfarms (which would inevitably, even with perfect technology, be vastly less efficient than macro farms)

Are they more efficent? (Serious question)

From other efficency discussions, I remember that it depends on what circumstances you take into account. Sure, from a purely amount of food per square meter produced-measure, industrial sized farms are far more efficient. But is that still the case when taking costs of transport and things like that into account?

Yes, enormously so in terms of cost, size, energy use, resources, manpower required etc. Probably a 10+ x multiple.

Transport costs are a small fraction of food cost these days, hence cheap exotic fruit in every supermarket.

untilted
August 14 2012, 05:48:05 PM
What would the point of individual microfarms (which would inevitably, even with perfect technology, be vastly less efficient than macro farms)

Are they more efficent? (Serious question)

From other efficency discussions, I remember that it depends on what circumstances you take into account. Sure, from a purely amount of food per square meter produced-measure, industrial sized farms are far more efficient. But is that still the case when taking costs of transport and things like that into account?

Yes, enormously so in terms of cost, size, energy use, resources, manpower required etc. Probably a 10+ x multiple.

Transport costs are a small fraction of food cost these days, hence cheap exotic fruit in every supermarket.

efficient use of energy and ressources is more than debatable.

1. modern industrialized agriculture & the food industries rely heavily on fossil fuel - not only as fuel for the machinery and transportation, but also in the production of fertilizers (and at last don't forget the ressources needed for packaging needed for long-range distribution and relatively long-time storage)
2. monocultures usually have the following effects: increased use of herbi- and pesticides, increased use of fertilizer (or land) as the soil gets drained from nutrients .. not to mention secondary effects on the country like removal of trees and hedges and similar.
3. sustainability is a non-topic for consumers a few thousand km away from the actual place of production. e.g. draining of ground water for plantations doesn't bother the consumer in ANY way as these long term problems usually aren't reflected in the price of the products sold. only when it's to late the price might spike (or there will be new places sought after that aren't drained of ressources yet) old forms to solve the problem of the use of commons don't work in any reliable way, local politics of distribution are displaced by a globalized "market".

e.g. an interesting article (here (http://greenwabii.com/?p=589) in english, here (http://www.monde-diplomatique.de/pm/2010/08/13/a0052.text) in german) here argues that more traditional ways of farming that go against the classic principles of industrialized agriculture (large-scale, labour-efficient, heavy reliance on machinery and chemicals) might be literally more fruitful than top-down projects that apply an industrial logic (technocratic governance, centralized decision making, decentral execution following pre-set rules/steps)

Lallante
August 14 2012, 06:07:15 PM
What would the point of individual microfarms (which would inevitably, even with perfect technology, be vastly less efficient than macro farms)

Are they more efficent? (Serious question)

From other efficency discussions, I remember that it depends on what circumstances you take into account. Sure, from a purely amount of food per square meter produced-measure, industrial sized farms are far more efficient. But is that still the case when taking costs of transport and things like that into account?

Yes, enormously so in terms of cost, size, energy use, resources, manpower required etc. Probably a 10+ x multiple.

Transport costs are a small fraction of food cost these days, hence cheap exotic fruit in every supermarket.

efficient use of energy and ressources is more than debatable.

1. modern industrialized agriculture & the food industries rely heavily on fossil fuel - not only as fuel for the machinery and transportation, but also in the production of fertilizers (and at last don't forget the ressources needed for packaging needed for long-range distribution and relatively long-time storage)
2. monocultures usually have the following effects: increased use of herbi- and pesticides, increased use of fertilizer (or land) as the soil gets drained from nutrients .. not to mention secondary effects on the country like removal of trees and hedges and similar.
3. sustainability is a non-topic for consumers a few thousand km away from the actual place of production. e.g. draining of ground water for plantations doesn't bother the consumer in ANY way as these long term problems usually aren't reflected in the price of the products sold. only when it's to late the price might spike (or there will be new places sought after that aren't drained of ressources yet) old forms to solve the problem of the use of commons don't work in any reliable way, local politics of distribution are displaced by a globalized "market".

e.g. an interesting article (here (http://greenwabii.com/?p=589) in english, here (http://www.monde-diplomatique.de/pm/2010/08/13/a0052.text) in german) here argues that more traditional ways of farming that go against the classic principles of industrialized agriculture (large-scale, labour-efficient, heavy reliance on machinery and chemicals) might be literally more fruitful than top-down projects that apply an industrial logic (technocratic governance, centralized decision making, decentral execution following pre-set rules/steps)

You are comparing apples and oranges. Your comparison is modern agribusiness vs future microhydroponics. You should be comparing future macrohydroponic intensive farming with future microhydroponics.

In that article he builds a super-rigid straw man then knocks it down. Yes, if large-scale automatically meant inflexible and tone-deaf then smaller flexible methods would be better, but it doesnt.

Frug
August 14 2012, 06:36:26 PM
As nice as it sounds, the "home grown" food supplementary, while a good or even necessary addition of the traditional supply chain, opens up a can of worms elsewhere. Say someone wants to "optimize" his results. How do you make sure he doesn't use some harmful substances? As long as he just "poisons" himself and his family/friends, I'd still be OK with that. But what about substances that propagate over to other people's gardens/barns? Think "Monsanto-polluted" plants, for example. Or growth-stimulating hormones spreading to groundwater.In the past 50 years we've gotten quite good at identifying toxic substances and reducing/removing/outlawing them from public consumption. I'm assuming 50 years from now we'll be extremely adept at knowing what is and isn't toxic so I doubt this is a rational fear. You might have a point, though, about fertilizers getting into the water in general. Any home use system would have to be very efficient and recycle its own water as much as possible to prevent runoff.


What would the point of individual microfarms (which would inevitably, even with perfect technology, be vastly less efficient than macro farms) be apart from some pointless "FUCK YOU IM INDEPENENT" chestbeating?
The benefits of growing your own food may be small but not hard to identify, so I suspect you're being a bit hyperbolic again, especially if you've ever known someone who does it. The food often tastes better, it's fresher, you have psychological benefits of growing your own (especially with children and healthy eating) and of course independence which is the topic at hand.



Are they more efficent? (Serious question)
One of the premises when I brought it up was that we solve the energy problem first, be it solar or fusion or some other magic.

If you forget about that premise, definitely not. But the point of mentioning it was that as technology gets better, the difference in efficiency both shrinks and matters less if the negative effect of inefficiency that we're concerned with is pollution.

Dorvil Barranis
August 14 2012, 06:52:24 PM
So did we spend thousands of years developing division of labor, just so we could one day go back to everyone doing everything for themselves? Heck, why stop at food, people won't need money if they sew there own clothes out of burlap sacks either.

Liare
August 14 2012, 07:25:56 PM
the whole obsession with homegrown food is to avoid the most obvious dependency in any form of communism.
"we dont like you, so you can starve to death" kind of situations, you know the same kind of yoke that keeps everybody toiling away if they can find some place to work.

i personally think that moving forward, a lot of especially food items are going to be local and seasonal again, i dont think strawberries at Christmas is going to be long term sustainable but abolishing the division of labour is unlikely and i doubt it's ever going to happen because, regardless of what economic and social system you prefer, it makes a whole lot of sense unless of course you are that angry old bloke living on a 40 sq. km ranch, all alone.

Aramendel
August 15 2012, 12:34:03 PM
One of the premises when I brought it up was that we solve the energy problem first, be it solar or fusion or some other magic.

Which makes it pretty useless as tactic to avoid the "flick the switch" problem.

Increased self-sufficiency would be something which could develop as next step after Universal Basic Income, but it won't help with establishing it in the first place. Whatever advantages increased self-sufficiency has, higher efficiency isn't one of it. In short, just like UBI it would cost society more money to implement and maintain than the alternative.

Hel OWeen
August 15 2012, 02:58:04 PM
Are they more efficent? (Serious question)
One of the premises when I brought it up was that we solve the energy problem first, be it solar or fusion or some other magic.

If you forget about that premise, definitely not. But the point of mentioning it was that as technology gets better, the difference in efficiency both shrinks and matters less if the negative effect of inefficiency that we're concerned with is pollution.

I think it's not only a energy/technology problem. Even assuming "free energy", there still a couple of pressing problems. I'd say you need a high rise in the world's population education level first. Only then would farmers in Africa/South America realize that the forrests they burn and the fresh-water they waste only to grow the foods we westerns do like so much, don't do them good in the long run. This is what I meant when I wrote


I remember that it depends on what circumstances you take into account.

My experience is that we often tend to restrict efficency or cost calculation to direct and obvious factors. We also take for granted that "common goods" (soil, air, water etc.) are for free (yeah, I know, over-simplified, but you know what I mean). We don't take indirect costs/ramnifications into account. For example even with free/unlimited energy, we need a vessel to transport goods around. may that be a ship or a plane. Those need to be build from something. Are those resources renewable?

Liare
August 15 2012, 05:16:41 PM
talking about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrous_metal_recycling perhaps ?

plastics is another matter, though it is often just burned and turned into energy that way. (we do that with a lot of our plastics, burn it off and turn it into central heating/electricity depending on time of year) while most plastics might be petrochemical products they are not directly dependent on crude oil, assuming enough energy expenditure it's perfectly possible to synthesize the materials entirely.

of course, the future likely wont have lots of 1€ chinese plastic crap, but that's not really a loss for humanity as a whole, as far as i can see.

Frug
August 15 2012, 08:07:38 PM
Even assuming "free energy", there still a couple of pressing problems. I'd say you need a high rise in the world's population education level first. Only then would farmers in Africa/South America realize that the forrests they burn and the fresh-water they waste only to grow the foods we westerns do like so much, don't do them good in the long run. This is what I meant when I wrote


I remember that it depends on what circumstances you take into account.


Oh, well if you want to consider all the fucked up ruined places and societies we have, then yeah. A lot of those places barely have rule of law, and I can't see anything penetrating those societies except slow, tedious education and cultural/legal reform. I'm talking about developed nations, and also assuming we don't, you know, nuke eachother to oblivion in the next 50-100 years. Although given how topsy-turvy undeveloped countries can be, maybe it would be easier to undergo quick reform. God knows they seem to kill eachother trying every day.


My experience is that we often tend to restrict efficency or cost calculation to direct and obvious factors. We also take for granted that "common goods" (soil, air, water etc.) are for free (yeah, I know, over-simplified, but you know what I mean).
Free energy would go a hell of a long way to solving air and water problems assuming it was clean. Soil... yeah we seem pretty terrible at managing that. It certainly wouldn't stop us from bulldozing rainforests, but at least Brazil would have a reason to stop building their newest horrible dam and flooding a chunk of the amazon. Anyway I am under the impression that energy production is the single biggest issue facing humanity today, followed by how we treat our land and spread like vermin.


For example even with free/unlimited energy, we need a vessel to transport goods around. may that be a ship or a plane. Those need to be build from something. Are those resources renewable?

We're certainly sucking up our resources like animals, but I don't think the problem of resources on earth has approached the point that we need to worry about running out of the stuff to build those types of things. As Laire says, we can recycle and synthesize things decently already. Stuff like rare earth metals might be a problem soon but we can also focus on inventing cheaper tech that doesn't need rare materials.
http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/134305-so-long-silicon-researchers-create-solar-panels-from-cheap-copper-oxide
Yay rusty solar cells.