Computer Science as Resource Management

Computer Science holds existing solutions to economic problems.

Many who read about the Resource-Based Economic (RBE) model wonder how such a thing would be possible ever, especially when many consider it to be possible with today’s technology. There is already a well-established science on resource management and efficient decision-making. Computer science has a significant requirement for the wise management of resources and efficient decisions regarding their use. Much of the hard work of understanding and implementing a Resource-Based Economic Model, or more generally a Natural Economic Model (one which does not use price or ownership systems), has already been considered, implemented, and tested by computer scientists.

First, we have to define an “economic system”. According to mainstream economics, it is “The large set of inter-related economic production and consumption activities which aid in determining how scarce resources are allocated.”[i] This is an adequate definition for us to work with, and it is further refined into sectors. There is the primary sector, which takes care of extraction of raw materials. The secondary sector processes the raw materials into products, and the tertiary sector provides services with those goods, such as transportation[ii].

Now, let us examine the definition of a “kernel”. It is “the main component of most computer operating systems”[iii]. This does not provide much information about it, so we need to break it down into its specific functions. The lowest-level function of the kernel is device management, in other words, the basic input/output of the computer. Next, it does memory management, which takes the I/O and stores it in memory to work with. It also decides how to allocate the resources to memory, and often has to work within strict limitations. Finally, it does process management, which maintains the execution of multiple processes, often in systems that can only manage a single process running at a time[iv].

It may not seem immediately obvious, but these functions are analogous, if not identical to one another. Extraction of basic input is analogous to extraction of basic materials, and the others respectively analogous to the other two sectors. The key is the use of real information, and the adaption of behavior to it. Computer science possesses existing solutions to long-standing problems in economics, requiring minimal change to exactly match economic functions. Despite the supposed problem[v], “economic calculation” is possible with computers.

The list of adaptations needed is so terse it can be laid out here in its entirety. To reiterate, a computer takes input (raw materials), stores the relevant data in memory (processes it into ‘products’), and uses it to run programs (services). Thus, in order for a computer kernel to function as an economic system, its input must be raw materials, its memory must be products, and its programs must be economic services.

First, a system to quantify supply and demand into input is needed. On the supply side, this can be done using a rigorous inventory of all resources and energy production capacity. From there, existing inventory and data management solutions can track supplies differentially until more accurate surveys may be completed. It is important to note that supply and demand must be separate values. This is because changes in supply are not reliably associated with changes in demand. The price system treats an increase in supply as equivalent to a decrease in demand, though each tells us more than their conflated change in price does. Not only that, but there is no agreed upon way that a price is composed, nor what information is conveyed in a price[vi][vii]. To contrast, there is no ambiguity over what is in a TCP packet[viii].

The second adaptation required is a memory management system of sorts, similar to a load-balancing or inventory management system. Different types of resources must be distinguished from one another in order to manage them effectively. Again, the price system is too primitive here, because while it may reveal whether there is a change in supply or demand, it provides no other information. The necessary information must be tracked according to their absolute values. This allows rates of change to predict changes of state in the abundance of a resource, such as approximately when a given resource will be exhausted.

An interface containing data and control hooks for industrial processes is the third major adaptation necessary. In the current model, these “hooks” exist, but they are people in a company, providing no certainty or automaticity to any attempted interaction with them. Efficient response to changing societal conditions requires computer control, and there is little reason for people to be in charge of this. It would allow, for example, construction of a new bridge to trigger automatically the production of all the bolts, beams, cables, and aggregates required to build a bridge. This means no need for someone to sit there and call a person that relays information to another person that tells other people what to make at a factory.

To summarize the list, converting a human-based global market economy into a science-based economic kernel requires a short list of changes: Encoding physical inventory into data, the adaptation of existing computational resource management techniques to physical resources, and an interface with productive facilities. This takes care of basic I/O, memory management, and conversion of that data into useful output. The only difficult item on the list is the first; It would require a high-end data center and large-scale, active surveying and data entry. The second is already largely fulfilled by logistics management systems, which track, for example, large retail chains’ product inventory[ix] or a military’s supply chains[x], outside of the price system. The final change can be implemented gradually as a standard, through the already-occurring process of replacing obsolete equipment.

There is already a type of software for managing large corporations’ logistics, called “Enterprise Resource Planning”. This is a computer system with automated tools for customer service, manufacturing scheduling and testing, project management, accounting, and supply chain management. These type of systems could provide a strong basis for an economic kernel. With this information, there emerges a list of equivalent resource-based economic structures to those in a market economy. Many of these have been described by The Venus Project and The Zeitgeist Movement in the past, but not all. The most obvious replacement is that of the price system with the above described “I/O” control system.

It is hard to find a decent definition of anything in economics, so I will attempt to concisely define “price system” myself. A price system is, “an emergent, stochastic, irreversible encoding scheme for data about resources based on supply, demand, and other factors.” The definition makes it obvious enough what its primary function is, which is a message-passing interface for economic data. Considering the major and well-known problems with the price system, such as the paradox of value and the ubiquity of negative externalities[xi][xii], it seems that it serves this function poorly. A price cannot even provide absolute data, only relative, and there are many competing “theories” on what a price actually is, none of which are falsifiable[xiii].

The replacement for the price system is called Direct Resource Tracking (DRT). It is an empirical, deterministic, unencoded (or at least, reversibly-encoded) scheme for data about resources. There would be a “central” server (in reality a reverse proxy) so that all the data is in one place. This ensures the data is falsifiable and can be audited at any time by any entity. The determinism ensures that it is an easily computable function of the kernel. In combination with a human interface, it would provide feedback to everyone regarding the sustainability of current economic activity, as well as the equity of resource distribution.

Ownership can be defined as a relationship between two entities in which one maintains exclusive access and control over the other. This is one of the utmost issues with current economic solutions and the essential cause of deprivation. It is somewhat important to have mutual exclusion over resources, but only when they are actually in use. Mutual exclusion is used frequently in computing, especially in recent years, where multi-core processors must share common resources in a computer. It is utilized to ensure that two processes operating on the same data does not lead to an invalid state. Typically, mutual exclusion from a computer resource is implemented through the use of semaphores, which are simply counters that only allow a certain number of concurrent processes to access memory at a given time[xiv].

The replacement for ownership, therefore, is the semaphore. A sedan, for example, would have a semaphore with a maximum value of 5. A mobile phone would have a binary semaphore, also known as a mutex, so that it has only one user at a time. Unlike ownership, the semaphore is not acquired permanently, only to be released when the holder sells the product or dies. It only provides mutual exclusion for use, not possession. Even if a product is scarce relative to the demand for it, those trying to acquire a lock on the semaphore can be queued, so that everyone who wants can access the product in a fair manner. A coincidental advantage of this method is its provision for highly-accurate, real-time tracking of demand. Money, on the other hand, cannot actually track demand, since those who cannot afford something do not provide “price signals” to affect the state of the economy[xv].

A market is “a structure that allows the exchange of goods and services”. Since there is no ownership, there is little purpose in exchange, so again a replacement is needed. In the RBE case it is fulfilled by two new structures: For one, a Lock Acquisition System (LAS), which manages semaphores for resources and exposes the data about their demand. The other is the Access Center (AC), which is a physical location for using, taking, and allocating resources. These can easily be made to interface automatically with the LAS for convenience. The market system is supposed to distribute resources according to expressed preferences. By using things at the AC, one expresses their preferences, which are encoded as data. For products that are consumed on use, this is measured in discrete units of products or mass of bulk resources. Those that remain after being used are measured in use-time. This data can then be used by the kernel to manage the distribution of resources on the large scale.

Finally, speculation is “a form of risky investment intended to provide [stochastic] protection against shortages.” Speculation can be rather destructive, being a form of hoarding, and possibly resulting in price changes that make the speculated-on resource harder for some to acquire. It relies on both price and private property, and thus would not be able to exist in a non-market economy. Instead, an RBE would use something called Selective Overproduction and Load Balancing. This would be a planned overproduction of certain resources in order to ensure the prevention of shortages. It uses computable functions to determine the class and magnitude of the excess production, and automatically moves the excess to regions experiencing a shortage. Load balancing is already used as a sort of disaster prevention[xvi].

It seems that the development requirement to adapt existing computational methods to economic functions are minimal. With the development of a small number of key projects, these systems could be realized on the timescale of around a decade. Several systems already exist, while the rest have the framework already laid out, or at least proven and tested methods. Finally, unlike economic solutions, all of these are computable and falsifiable, sustainable and equitable. The development of an economic kernel would be one of the most revolutionary projects in human history.

[i]  “Economy Definition,” Wiki, Investopedia, n.d., http://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/economy.asp.

[ii]  Zoltan Kenessey, “The Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and Quaternary Sectors of the Economy,” The Review of Income and Wealth (April 20, 2012).

[iii]  The Linux Information Project, “Kernel Definition,” LINFO, May 31, 2005, http://www.linfo.org/kernel.html.

[iv]  “HowStuffWorks ‘Processor Management’,” HowStuffWorks, n.d., http://computer.howstuffworks.com/operating-system.htm.

[v]  “XXVI. THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF ECONOMIC CALCULATION UNDER SOCIALISM: The Problem,” Ludwig Von Mises Institute, n.d., http://mises.org/humanaction/chap26sec1.asp.

[vi]  Louis O. Scott, “The Information Content of Prices in Derivative Security Markets,” Staff Papers - International Monetary Fund 39, no. 3 (September 1992): 596.

[vii]  Kenneth D. Garbade, Jay L. Pomrenze, and William L. Silber, “On the Information Content of Prices,” American Economic Review 69, no. 1 (1979): 50–59.

[viii]  J.H. Young, “TCP Packet Structure,” Computer Science Now, August 23, 2006, http://www.comsci.us/datacom/tcppacket.html.

[ix]  B. Booen, “The Top 10 Automated Warehouses,” Warehousing, March 8, 2011, http://www.supplychaindigital.com/warehousing_storage/top-10-automated-warehouses.

[x]  G. R. Gustafson, Logistics Management Systems in Desert Shield/Desert Storm-How Well Did They Do? (DTIC Document, 1992), http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA251296.

[xi]  Nicholas Stern, The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review (Cambridge University Press, 2007).

[xii]  Rob Dietz, “Negative Externalities Are the Norm,” The Daly News, April 2012, http://steadystate.org/negative-externalities/.

[xiii]  Mark Thoma, “Economist’s View: ‘Science’ Without Falsification”, June 29, 2012, http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2012/06/science-without-falsification.html.

[xiv]  Dave Marshall, “IPC:Semaphores,” Academic, Programming in C: UNIX System Calls and Subroutines Using C, March 1999, http://www.cs.cf.ac.uk/Dave/C/node26.html.

[xv]  Roger W. Garrison and Israel Kirzner, “FRIEDRICH A. HAYEK,” Auburn University, n.d., http://www.auburn.edu/~garriro/e4hayek.htm.

[xvi]  Pablo Valerio, “Load Balancing for Disaster Recovery,” Dell, February 14, 2011, http://content.dell.com/us/en/enterprise/d/large-business/load-balancing-disaster.


Comments

congrats!

Simple and beautiful. Only thing I don't understand is the term "falsifiable". What does it mean in this context?

I'm glad the article is easy to understand, thank you! Falsifiability a condition for scientific laws/theories, which just means that it is possible to make some observation which proves the law/theory to be false. E.G. if you saw two masses repel one another, then you would prove the law of gravity to be false, and thus a corrected version of the law must be constructed.

I can make a falsifiable statement that 1.12Mt of copper was extracted last year in the United States, and that based on nothing but me looking at a graph I drew of its extraction rate, it will probably be 1.15Mt this year. From the last USGS survey in 1998 and using the data from the last 14 years, I estimate that the US has 533Mt of it left. If another survey is done that finds we actually have only 490Mt left, we have proven the original survey false and can look for as yet unidentified sources of error and figure out how to fix them.

On an interesting side note, there was a spike in copper production in 2008, which may have a link to the crash.

Thank you Ryan for the explanation! You made it very easy to understand.

The other is the Access Center (AC), which is a physical location for using, taking, and allocating resources. These can easily be made to interface automatically with the LAS for convenience logistics services

The primary function of the price system is to restrict access to certain resources, services or commodities. And monetary "economists" keep promoting the myth that price system must exist solely for efficient tracking of supply and demand. Load of crap.

This article is a great example of logical and efficient economic model, but its a very opposite of today's restricting, ownership promoting monetary price model. Many things must change for this baby to work as imagined. Property concepts, ownership concepts, and usage concepts must radically change. And they will, i hope.

It is a load of crap. Each additional level of complexity (e.g. copper -> FET -> IC -> MCU -> robot) provides more obfuscation and error to the prices of all the component product. Especially since the requirement of scarcity can no longer be fulfilled by most physical resources, manufacturers must hide what their products are made of, so there is no accurate way for a decision-making agent (neither individual users nor corporate consumers) to assess the relative abundance of the product, or even if it's open hardware like Arduino, you still can't guess the relative abundance of copper, refined silicon, gallium, dialectrics, etchant, photolitho machines, pick and place machines, reflow soldering machines, etc. etc. Economists insist that a single number is needed for comparison, but why would that be so? "The economy is a complex system", they say, but then insist that the entire complex system be based on a single value, the formation of which they can neither explain, predict, nor standardize.

Electronics have come down in price in the last decade, what does that mean? Well, if you look at reality, outside of the price system, you will know that it's because photolithography has gotten much better and total manufacturing capacity for semiconductors has gone way up. It has little to do with the price of the component materials or the labor that goes into it. How are we to know this from "price signals"? Why do we even NEED price signals? The worst-case scenario here, of course, is that energy and photolithography becomes insanely cheap while the supply of dopants runs out. Economists say this won't happen because of price spikes, but they do not propagate instantly, and generally don't affect already-produced goods that use the material for which the price has increased. There is no guarantee that the behavior of the price will prevent supply exhaustion, and due to the long time that it takes for a "price signal" to propagate (it requires, at best, 1. cost change, 2. price change, 3. reception by buyer, 4. calculation by buyer, 5. purchase adjustment, 6. price adjustment, with one or more loops possible). And this is assuming that changes in cost aren't simply absorbed by the manufacturer, or subsidized by a third party, or hidden in the price of subsequent products. Plus, all this crap is being done by people, which are generally not very fast at communicating to one another.

Under DRT, the best-case would be 1. supply change 2. tracker value adjustment 3. propagation. Worst case, there would be an additional step which runs preprocessing subroutines to speed up the calculations in other parts of the system, or a full survey of materials if there is a believed inaccuracy in current data. All of this, of course, is electronic, and much faster than humans. With higher accuracy, no meaningless encoding, in higher resolution, etc.

Well done good sir.  Well done.

Maybe it is time that these ideas get consolidated into the creation of the necessary application suggested, or similar thereof.

After reading the article completely, I did a search for “RBE Now” thinking that the search would most likely return my article on the matter, as I suspected there might be one of a limited number of studies on a system transition for an RBE. Turns out there is indeed a handful, some of which is hosted by the ZM. My own study is with the Global Developers' Team, here:  http://wiki.linguisticteam.org/w/RBE_NOW

Others that listed out in the search maybe worth looking into, and possibly establish a collaboration to create the necessary application to initiate the transition.

We should look at the potential problems, so we can be prepare to arrive at solutions:

Ryan's article presents a very high level view of the management system, using the “kernel” of a computer system, as an initial model. When I first began my IT career, took me nearly 4 years to fully understand the word. I first had to transit from its common meaning (the core of a seed from which life for a plant begins), and then find how these concept tied with the kernel of a computer program. Maybe the problem was that I couldn't really find a clear definition. Now we know it is a system's management system, and Ryan does give an excellent description. One of the benefits of Ryan's explanations is that it takes an obvious system, generally taken for granted, and not even considered as a rational solution, and brings it to the foreground to shed new light and potential application to the problem of economics towards an RBE.

Ryan's working definition for economics is a fair start. A more precise definition would be required a more broadly based definition that takes into account all its components, which would necessarily change in time, based on newly discovered needs, and information.

Let me refine it this way:

An economic system studies the management of resources, and their distribution, relative to survival requirements of the system wherein it operates. I could go on and list components, but many are obvious to most people, and obscure ones, would require further explanation.

Let more complete definitions be advanced by interested individuals.
Another area which I see would require greater attention is the determination of demand. Bryan suggest this can be gleaned from existing statistics. That could be an initial method, but the statistical information as exists now is biased by marketing drives, where needs are created by propaganda, and button pushing human emotions, and foible tweaking. I suspect that in the end, it would become necessary to have some kind of 'yearly' direct input from consumers, based on estimated needs, wants, and interests.

So in many cases, the idea of having some computer imputing the components of a bridge, and calculate from there, is reasonable, as it is expected that the architect and engineer will have specked out the requirements.  But in the case of humans, as noted above, it maybe necessary to do yearly surveys.

The biggest barrier to an RBE is the social mindset of values, and exchanges, and the wide diversity therein, as suggested by the Anonymous commenter, in this thread.

Normally, we tend towards exchanges with others of values of comparable magnitude. That seems like a sound basis. But the idea begins to breakdown when Columbus exchanged beads necklaces for gold and gems. The cultural concept of values is highly diverse, and only applicable within a limited ecosystem.

In modern society, value has been established in the concept of greatest return for least effort/contribution, also known as profit, or interest, which is something for nothing. (The idea that one is using another's money, thus preventing him from gaining from its use, thus justifying charging interest comes apart when you really understand how money is created, and manipulated). So we are up against a strong mindset that says, I want more than what I give...

The system to provide the transition will have to acknowledge components of value, such as no contribution is ignored as to actual value to the system. For example, a child during his growth period appears to simply consume, and contribute nothing. We need to come to understand what his real contribution is, and what is its social value (not just a commercial value, in which case most would see it as valueless). The same is applicable to the parent (mother/father) that invest their time/effort in his upbringing.

As individuals we must also begin to re-evaluate how we exchange, and begin to recognize transcendent values of contributions by those to whom we serve. For example, as a teacher/tutor my prices are on a very wide scale. To some I change what they consider very high or expensive, and some I charge nothing. Why do I sometimes, and often, charge nothing? I consider the value added to a student that has a great mind, and will eventually contribute to society far more than other will be able to. Call it, “paying forward.” I say to myself, this guy's level of interest, generosity, and potential is such, that I want to increase his contribution into the future, by making it every so much easier by not charging him anything. From that perspective, you can see why I charge some higher prices: What will there future contribution to society be, based on their current interest in learning, and the characteristics and skills they display now.

But that's just one person's interpretation or re-interpretation of values. We may very well follow another model, i.e.: the way the universe functions, all the way down to animal kingdom, if you will. A cursory examination shows that there are multitude of exchange of value for equivalent values, and that brings about an eventual level of relative stability to an ecosystem. To shorten the explanation, let's say that most people would re-evaluate things when they are able to contribute in some form, and for that, they can be assured a relatively stable level of survival and comfort.

Finally, I believe that the system itself based on what Bryan proposes, can help people move into a gradual re-evaluation so the system becomes part of the corrective mechanism to the distorted values currently held in our society.

First of all, I really enjoy the more thorough attempt to get RBE working. I address in this reply just one statement of yours:

> In modern society, value has been established in the concept of greatest return for least effort/contribution, also known as profit, or interest, which is something for nothing.

Greatest return for the least effort is called efficiency, that you gain profit is result of keeping the same price while having a higher efficiency. It is important to get the very basic notions agreed upon. Since RBE praises efficiency and plays a significant role (in particular the TZM FAQ), I think it's important to acknowledge the role of efficiency in this context.

I run http://OccupyConcepts.org/ and spent several weeks to review RBE, and this is the result: http://OccupyConcepts.org/wiki/Resource-based_Economy

I think it is very important to understand the role of money, pricing, costs and so forth, e.g. I defined the terms in the wiki, e.g. http://occupyconcepts.org/wiki/Costs

Now, the RBE entry in the wiki is rather critical, as I consider the TVP and TZM approaches rather naive, from a technical point of view - but in the overall aim I think RBE heads into the right direction. So, I am skeptic of what I read of RBE so far, but here it seems there are some more serious and thorough thoughts and ideas pondered on I would love to see unfold further.

Rene K. Mueller (spiritdude AT gmail DOT com)

PS: @boldhawk and @Ryan Salisbury would like to get in touch with you by email as well.

Here a longer discussion on Post-Scarcity and Management of Resources, where I really go into more details: http://occupyconcepts.org/Blog/1350544800/Post_Scarcity_Management_of_Re...

which adds some more infos to the RBE wiki entry I linked already, a small quote:

"The problem I encountered is, that one ends up with the use of a currency or abstraction layer like money when handling resources, it is for tracking resources to know where which are (supply), and where which are needed (demand). It's almost a design decision for a complex problem solving mechanism, the use of an abstraction layer like money simplifies decisions for humans or an algorithm, whereas a demand / supply / quality / state-of-resource matrix (envision like a language translation matrix, instead of a language it's a resource) would be another approach which I haven't seen formulated yet - and exactly this managing of resources I am interested in - it's an universal approach."

 @Rene K. Mueller

When I say something for nothing, I'm being quite literal; let me illustrate:

You are in the potato business, and have produced 100 potatoes. I'm growing oranges, and have produced 100 oranges. We negotiate a "price" of one for one. Thus I give you 50 oranges, and you give me 50 potatoes.

Now, because you're very efficient, the next growth cycle you grow the 100 potatoes in half the time you did the first year. We trade again, same way as before. How can you collect a fee for efficiency from me? Are you going to ask for more oranges for the 50 potatoes?

In reality, you've collected your efficiency value, and that is, you have have/have had more free time. If you used that time to produce something else, then you will have a new product, which you can further use to exchange for other products.

The "something for nothing" comes in when you, for a simple example, pay rent. The landlord says your rent is gone up, and now you have to give more potatoes. The product he sells to you is identically the same... he just wants more for the same thing, i.e.: something for nothing. He added no further value to product he gave you, i.e.: right to occupy a space he 'owns.' 

These days we look at the "profit" numbers for very large companies. We're rarely told the real reason for an increase in price (we know many things can affect that decision).  But, let's say your phone company, got more money because they increased their prices... but the service you get is the same you had last year. The disparity of course is because the national or international or the company's own money management is distorted (regardless of explanations they may give). 

We can go on and on about this, but the bottom line is you end up paying more for no additional value, i.e.: something for nothing.

Didn't read your post, but will in the next day or so... maybe I'll have more to comment.

You are making several examples, I think it's much more convinient and efficient ;-) to agree upon notions and a formula as I wrote in http://occupyconcepts.org/wiki/Costs

Increase of rent may dependent on the mortgage interest the landowner has to pay the bank, since it's perhaps variable, and he/she passes it on to you as someone who rents the space, or has to invest into renovation of the house, or he/she wants more gain as of profit. Price is result of a formula, as the link above illustrates (rather simple one, but helps to understand things), either more work required to provide the service, more investment or expenses needed, or a larger profit, resulting in a higher price asked.

What I am saying, agree on proper notions as it helps to explain things.

I did read your formulas, and logical as they are, they are presented as a way to alter the existing system, and money continues to be the pivot that distorts the system and makes it unworkable. I would more have new terminology that more directly addresses the distribution of resources in a rational manner, so humanity can survive, and thrive in a self sustaining system. With the methods of assessing value inherent in the current system, we end up with the same problem of fair distribution. 

For example, you define Profit: is the overflow you assign on top of all costs. But what is that for? Why should profit be added in the way you suggest?

The current system can be seen as rational when fair distribution is considered. For example you can say Profit is what the society gives you so you can produce better quality products for the future for more and more people to enjoy them. But as it has played out in the system, profit is a way to sequester purchasing power above that of other, regardless of any relationship of it to the product itself or its distribution.

Your rent explanation is rational within the current system... but it's a chicken and egg conundrum, except that in it, we do arrive at a source point: Those who create and control the flow of money control the game, and their performance has been far from a reasonable method of distribution of production. 

For example, if there are millions of homes vacant because people cant buy they... the direct solution would be to distribute them so people can have homes ... In other words, we, the people created those homes and now they're just laying idle (not to mention the other millions that was destroyed, literally bulldozed by the banks—to avoid paying property taxes on them)... so it's a distribution failure. 

So profit is good or bad depending on the application of the meaning its use, and whether it contributes to the general wellbeing of the population, or just to the enlargement of the power and riches of the very few. A good formula well applied, such as what you presented, could work for the wellbeing of society, but on whom can you rely to do so... there are so many different notions of values, that when it comes to applying it obfuscates the whole process. That's where you get the obscene bonuses, and continued transfer of wealth for the population to the top, the few that are close enough to control where the money (power to buy, control, etc.) goes.  

I prefer to maintain a basic notion that of adequate distribution for the wellbeing of mankind... and when that doesn't happen, it makes no difference how intelligently a system is designed... the basic formula of "adequate distribution" needs to over-ride. 

That's why I'm calling for new thinking... and values is the area where I think we need to start... 

Don't get me wrong, your ideas are excellent, and it gives room to expand our thinking... and I challenge the terminology, but I know it's your intent to arrive at a system that conforms with my "adequate distribution for the wellbeing of mankind." The new way requires new terminology, that doesn't bring to mind the old values. 

> For example, you define Profit: is the overflow you assign on top of all costs. But what is that for? Why should profit be added in the way you suggest?

When you read the entire wiki entry, it becomes obvious what FOR PROFIT and NON PROFIT actually is. Usually people say, we have costs, and we sell it and what's left is the profit. But when people do calculations for the profit in mind, they add it to the costs they have - and then the question arises "WHY SHOULD PROFIT ADDED *AT ALL*?".

> Those who create and control the flow of money control the game, and their performance has been far from a reasonable method of distribution of production.

So, we agree on the notions of costs, profit and a price?

Now, the monetary system in use is flawed, as you can see in the wiki I run I focus on it very much, and it is CLEAR for me that the current way money is handled skews the actual resource mapping (as of an abstraction layer), and adds to the inability and existing unwillingness to share resources more just.

> For example, if there are millions of homes vacant because people cant buy they... the direct solution would be to distribute them so people can have homes ... In other words, we, the people created those homes and now they're just laying idle (not to mention the other millions that was destroyed, literally bulldozed by the banks—to avoid paying property taxes on them)... so it's a distribution failure.

EXACTLY.

> So profit is good or bad depending on the application of the meaning its use, and whether it contributes to the general wellbeing of the population, or just to the enlargement of the power and riches of the very few.

Here I disagree, there are costs, and their is a profit on top of the costs, which makes a price (the formula I wrote in the wiki). Now, what justifies the profit? If you want to transfer resources to another system if it's actually dependent on it, then make it known as investment to perform that work.

The way I understand profit is, that it's an extraction of resources for something not qualified. If one says, I use the profits to keep the factory running, no, that is an investment into the future to continue to perform certain works in this particular system (factory), hence, it's not a profit, but an investment. The formula serves a nice purpose: you have to become clear what is what. And you realize there is little to no justification for profit anymore; which as result means, whatever investment you make known to justify a price, has to be made known and qualified. This is the very basic core of how overhead is calculated, universally. It also illustrates the complexity, as in the discussion of Post-Scarcity and Management of Resources mentioned (link posted above).

> A good formula well applied, such as what you presented, could work for the wellbeing of society, but on whom can you rely to do so... there are so many different notions of values, that when it comes to applying it obfuscates the whole process.

Right, this is why to agree upon notions is so important, once we agree that certain words and term have a certain meaning, we can use those terms to formulate values which we can agree or disagree upon. Right now this is very difficult, as people see value in things which they do not know on what basis, the obfuscation has gone overboard, the former abstraction of things to simplify handling of resources became an obfuscation dilemma, and in order to resolve it, one has to start with the basics again, and retrace the path already walked and take notes, and realize when things actually went wrong compared to an ideal we seek.

> That's where you get the obscene bonuses, and continued transfer of wealth for the population to the top, the few that are close enough to control where the money (power to buy, control, etc.) goes.

That is the top or tip of the iceberg of obfuscation as you mentioned - once you start to look at the root, e.g. the ability for the banks to issue money by themselves via the fractional reserve system (see http://occupyconcepts.org/wiki/Fractional_Reserve_Banks ). When you are able to issue money yourself you might end up issue money to things regardless of actual resources (which actually happened in 2007/2008), you create a bubble . . . something which has no basis whatsoever, reflects no actual supply either demand (like your example for empty houses where the same time people seek shelter).

So, yes, it's a big mixup and some things need to be reviewed, level by level, stage by stage, and it needs to be realized, that some of the ideas of profit and bonuses did not aid for a better distribution of resources but counteracted to such. And I think we are at this point now to realize this, and so now proper notions, ideas and concepts are needed to resolve those problems, and this is why I run http://OccupyConcepts.org/ to gather and discuss them, looking at frameworks and ideas to properly abstract resources and their handling (sharing, distribution).

Forgot to address the ending of your post:

> I prefer to maintain a basic notion that of adequate distribution for the wellbeing of mankind... and when that doesn't happen, it makes no difference how intelligently a system is designed... the basic formula of "adequate distribution" needs to over-ride.

Over-ride, you mean a reform?

Take a look at http://occupyconcepts.org/wiki/Sharing

> That's why I'm calling for new thinking... and values is the area where I think we need to start...

Yes, collectively we have to agree on certain values, e.g. immanent resources, what can be owned by individuals, and there RBE goes far and says, there is no individual ownership (it becomes a philosophical spiritual discussion then), as things are only owned by themselves, we may use them, and allocate a certain degree of use or usage, but not owning.

> Don't get me wrong, your ideas are excellent, and it gives room to expand our thinking... and I challenge the terminology, but I know it's your intent to arrive at a system that conforms with my "adequate distribution for the wellbeing of mankind." The new way requires new terminology, that doesn't bring to mind the old values.

:-) Actually, I didn't intent something new with price formula, but just pinpoint the basics of economics, get rid of the obfuscation. A side-effect of getting rid of obfuscation is often a realization how simple things can be, yet, the complexity arises quickly due the interdependencies; and here I think we as whole need to pay attention. When a system to abstract resources causes supply and demand not being met, it is simply unfit to serve the purpose to "adequate distribute resources", it's not longer discussion of politics, opinion, but a fact. As said before, we reached that point of realization now.

What is most astonishing in all of this discussion, is the incapability of existing academic economists - for me most surprising. I heared one single academic (in an event loosely connected to Occupy event discussing the monetary system in spring 2012) who expressed alike sentiment, when he stated most economists are bathing in their own ideas, which now have been proven inadequate, and are too proud to come out of it (their set of ideas) because it would equate as an admission of failure . . . and I would call it "the mental inertia".

Rene K. Mueller, my apologies for not answering earlier. Let me give you a brief response, and I'll revisit these posts, and post a more comprehensive response.

When I said, "... the basic formula of "adequate distribution" needs to over-ride." I was saying, that no matter what the formula was, "adequate distribution" would be a senior consideration. If the formula in any way violated the concept of 'adequate distribution,' then the formula would have to be revisited and altered to obey the underlying 'rule' of adequate distribution.

To some I change what they consider very high or expensive, and some I charge nothing.

change == charge

Anonymous | May 7, 2013 - 9:47am, I do not understand your post.

Great article thanks, some very interesting info on the mechanics of the of an G.R.B.E. I've learned something today :)

Ryan, I like to get in touch with you by email, mine is spiritdude AT gmail DOT com

I have copied the text as Google Docs as I wanted to comment specific portions and aspects, and I invite others to add their comments as well, in a more detailed fashion:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1w6RJatESM2gf3ogIF8-tHhaVDCFb1ufCbbvC...

Right now it's not yet sure what to do with the comments, a) I thought of doing a FAQ, b) or write a new article leaving out the analogies and focus on the actual implementation, or c) if Ryan is open to it, write a new version of the article.

I have researched RBE as part of http://OccupyConcepts.org/wiki/ - web-site focused on research of Occupy raised issues and solutions. So far RBE has been poorly described in a concrete manner, TVP and TZM have avoided to really describe it, at least what's available in written form, and I have grown tired to watch endless videos which give no details whatsoever. Having said this, this article here is the most concrete attempt to formulate RBE inner working.

Brilliant article! This is the kind of TZM material that I appreciate the most. Let's simply apply what we have in our computers to city management! Great Ryan, I'm definitly sharing this.

@Rene K. Mueller, et al.

Much has indeed been written on a way to proceed a transition into an RBE. Most very brilliant ideas, all of which would require some kind of testing... test as you go, so to speak. Which means the blueprint for an application would be the next thing to work on, and it should include developers who would work on the software that would be used.

Without that, we will have just a lot more conversation... which becomes very difficult without some level of application for testing the theories...

Great ideas, all. Yes, we need to have a working software model that could be a showpiece for this. Perhaps have it working by the time the Global Redesign Institute rolls around. I think we can have a tier approach use of resources by prioritizing industries more integral to societal functioning and development. First industry would be power generation, second would be agriculture and water flow, third would be transportation and mining of resources, fourth could be communication and information technology, fifth is natural sciences and preservation of health and biodiversity, sixth education and research, seventh art and entertainment, eight history and cataloguing for future generations, and so on.

On the subject of power generation, have any of you guys heard of molten salt nuclear technology? I am really intrigued by the work of Kirk Sorensen and his continuing research on Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors. I think they would fit right into a sustainable and clean economy that correlates endless supply of thorium to access abundance of electricity.

Cheers

I'm also a CS student and your analogue is dangerous: computers understand only two different single-bit values exactly as it is told to without questioning any order given regardless how flawed the order was. Your basis for society modeling is wicked.

I presume CS stands for Computer Science?

the point you make is correct when you talk about the fundamental-most concept of electricity/electrical impulses. There is always something or nothing. Zeros and ones.

So I don't know if you got to the part where you take combinations of zeros and ones, and combined in the right ways, you get multiple valued logic conditions.  The author of the article is talking in broader, higher level concepts, converted to human terms. So there is nothing dangerous (in the sense I think you mean it) in what he presented. His is a way of organizing the thinking about RBE to computerize or program the paths according to what's needed.

I think the article is a good foundation.

Good luck on your study.

This is one piece (the RBE) of a bigger issue that tzm does not seem to understand. Evolution has taught us many things but what you fail to mention is how will you implement your plan for society. If you took most of the worlds population and supplied them with the basic necessities of life, people will still be killing each other.So with all your educated words(that most people cant understand) dealing with computer science and economics ,you have failed to answer millions of problems that face the human race. If TZM has any notion that a rbe can exist or evolve within our current society you are all sadly mistaken. I like that you are interested in making the world a better place , i just dont think you know enough about everything else besides computer science and a will ,to make the world the brotherhood of man. Just using some guys original idea and breaking off a small piece of a much larger picture is to me ,not an intelligent decision .World peace merged with a RBE= THE ZEITGEIST MOVEMENT. THE QUESTION IS HOW DO YOU ATTAIN WORLD PEACE?

'milo'... what I think you may be missing is that TZM (and the Venus Project - both of which have separated of course) both advocate to expose the entire global population to relevant general education before RBE is put into place.
You cannot simply throw people from the present system into RBE without educating them first and foremost - because you will simply end up with the same problems.

But you also have to realize that majority of crime today is due to financial/money issues and people's inability to access basic necessities of life, which in todays day and age include: clean air, clan water, quality/nutritious food, quality clothing, technology [powerful computers and various household appliances/amenities made with superior synthetic materials and in line with our latest scientific knowledge - all of which would effectively be light-years ahead of anything currently in use if done like that], quality housing, electricity/power/heat, access to quality transportation, access to quality medical care, and access to relevant general education.

When all those things are provided to every human on the planet on demand (which can easily be done - and most of which was doable 100 years ago - minus perhaps personal computers in every household), you eliminate 90% of the problems we experience today (all of which is money related) - and we can also supply most, if not all wants on-demand as well.

As for crimes of passion, etc... as I said before, in order to change society as we know it, people need to be exposed to relevant general education and other concepts during the transitional period (of about 8 to 10 years - which would be more than enough to transform the planet using the technology at our disposal) - but our first priority would be to provide on-demand access to basic necessities of live to every Human on the planet and with that in place, work on changing people's attitudes (which will already undergo a substantial change with basic necessities of life being a non-issue).

Virtually very few if any children today (let alone adulats) are exposed to concepts such as meditation and the ability to act rationally/calm under what could be seen as 'emotionally intense situations'.
How many are prompted to think critically and question everything, or to be problem solvers, or to continuously look up information on a specific subject from a variety of sources that would not limit their perceptions to just 1 viewpoint (as its done today)?

As for how to introduce this transitional period...
Probably with retaining the monetary system but in such a capacity where far less emphasis is put on money itself.
You shorten the working day by half (or more) by automating the heck out of everthing (todays technology in circulation can replace 75% of the global workforce tomorrow) but keeping the salaries where they are.
Doing that would change people's perceptions of 'having to work for a living' in a slow enough manner where it would give them time to adapt and adjust their perceptions out of the 'money paradigm'.

This similar scenario was introduced by someone on TZM blog (I forgot his name).

Point is... the monetary system, direct democracy and basic necessities of life would be a non-issue when the transitional period is in place... and with 8 to 10 years time frame, all of the global population CAN be re-educated (in a non forceful capacity of course, but this education would be essential so that people would know what to expect when RBE sets in).

milo, I would challenge you to list some of the "...millions of problems that face the human race", and NOT find a common denominator to all the problems--money. "Money is the root of all evil" were words spoken to me when I was younger. And to this day, mankind's biggest problems, like war, poverty, famine, environment destruction, genocide, etc. etc, all seem to be the symptoms of a severely flawed monetary based system. I appreciate your criticism of the RBE concept, but I scorn your lack to provide any solutions yourself. You do not need to "know enough about everything" to make the world a better place; on the contrary, you need only to know thy self and contribute what you can, how you can, towards the common good of mankind.
milo, contribute to the discussion, don't just deny and tear-down.

just to note without going further into details whats being said in the comments above:
Someone can falsify a theory without giving a better solution/description. Falsification is an achievement for itself.

I cannot follow the logic from one anonymous to another anonymous. I would rather they register and become specific individuals. In my opinion they clutter the place, and add no meaning, and can't receive information from others.

IMHO the "kernel" should be divided at the cities/region level (nodes in a network). Internally each node tracks its own resources, demand and supply. Exchange between nodes should be tracked by sender/receiver. All resource tracking data is transparent.

As I see it the goal is actually to keep resource exchange between nodes as low as possible. Nodes that exchange less are more sustainable. Start up exchange would be high then fall of as resources are kept in tight loops.

This adds resilience through redundancy. Both in terms of data corruption and social corruption. Nodes should split when too large in order to keep the network safe from node failure.

I too have had thought about the RBE in terms of CS (at the production level mostly)

1) Program has a constructor and destructor
2) makefile is generated with ./configure or similar. make invokes the compiler and builds the binary
3) system can run and terminate binary as N processes.

1) A product is defined by constructor and destructor processes. (mandatory cradle to cradle by design)
2) The local manufacturing center with some subset of known machinery (these are also defined as products) is taken into account when configuring the tool chain. Missing factory components can either result in missing features, processes defaulting to manual labor or by import via internode exchange.
3) Factory makes and unmakes product based on supply and demand.

sorry for the semi-hijack. ^short version: local resources/processing. global knowledge sharing (product definitions).

Good stuff Ryan.
I'm looking forward to more of your thoughts.

I really like your idea of dividing "kernels" to the city/region, or it's currently terminology , the metropolitan statistical area (MSA). The U.S. bureau of labor statistics, census bureau, bureau of economic analysis, and countless other reporting agencies, all provide statistics at the MSA level, because MSAs represent an urban core with a high-degree of socio-economic integration.
I agree that resource exchange between nodes should be low, as individual nodes should be as self-sustaining as possible.

Very nice, seems solid. But who will build these systems and work harder or with more difficult tasks while maintaining today's standard of living without the incentive to gain anything from your efforts? Claiming that it is possible to make this happen TODAY is naive. Have you looked at the world recently? If everyone were exactly like you, then yes it might be possible, but the world is more complex than you imagine it is. I for one have not worked hard so that a bunch of chumps would fruits from my labor.

Automation will build these systems.
You are forgetting that these systems already exist on a smaller scale... they simply need to be scaled up.
As for 'working harder'... that's relative and not needed due to automation.
The point of RBE is to use latest science and technology to automate the heck out of EVERYTHING as much as possible.

The notion of human labor has been long outdated, and there's no reason for people to 'work hard' anymore.

Though your personal computer system may run Windows, which is paid software by a for-profit company, most computers do not run on Windows. Most of them, especially those that run the web's infrastructure, run on free software like Linux and FreeBSD. Linux, for example, was started in 1991 by Linus Torvalds, being little more than a Minix filesystem and memory manager, and today is the most advanced and diverse kernel out there. Most smartphones run on Android, which is based on the Linux kernel. Most web servers are Apache-based, which is developed as free software. A huge number of websites run on WordPress, which is free software for web logs. In fact, Windows is likely only as popular on desktop systems as it is because 1. OEMs bundle Windows with their systems and 2. The duopoly of high-end graphics chipsets refuses to release open-source drivers for their cards.

To say that advanced computer systems must be built for profit is to ignore reality, where it is already done.

I am new to TZM and have a lot to learn. I'm am not as advanced as most when it comes to this new logic, but I fully support the movement. What I have learned is that you don't have to be a scientist to understand that change is needed. What needs to be done before any of these much needed physical changes take place is a spiritual change of humanity to humanity. I will do all I can in my world to spread the word and hope every supporter of the movement does the same.

Stay strong and stay together

Computers are as honest as you can get because they do exactly what you tell them to do. No more, no less and most importantly they don't try to game the system.

For example: When you see an advertisement for some item on sale, make sure you compare model numbers, age of the item, current desirability, etc. In other words, being an informed consumer is hard and time consuming. Corporations are required to make a profit for their stock holders and the end justifies the means.

I'm looking at this article by Lykke E. Andersen here:

http://www.zeitnews.org/viewpoints/lykke-e-andersen/end-growth

and I'm also looking at another post by Ryan Salisbury here:

http://www.zeitnews.org/viewpoints/ryan-salisbury/computer-science-resou....

I notice that the series of commentaries on both articles connect sometimes tangentially, and other time directly.

I've decided to post this one to both articles, in the hope that readers, by practice will post in such way that the conversation/commentaries will sort of 'merge' into one or the other article!

Since the Salisbury article has what I judge to be higher volume and greater latitude of discussion, that comments be added to the Salisbury page.

Regards

realy fascinating read