How cities and the world would change if matter replicators become reality someday?Will money disappear and all goods and services become free?Would create new products become very easy even if they are extremely complex?Would agriculture, commerce, mining and distribution become obsolete?How would cities look like after such revolution?
We already (in the western world) live in the post-scarcity economy as far as our ancestors would see it. We produce enough food and manufactured goods for everyone, and it takes only around 20% of the people of working age in order to do so. And yet it doesn’t feel that way, and we don’t all feel rich, because we have developed new wants and needs, mostly for services, which your matter replicators won’t be able to produce. Given that the economy is already 80% services, a switch to 95% (someone presumably has to make the matter replicators) wouldn’t be a massive change.
Not all goods and services will be free.
- Real estate would still be limited. either it is sold for money, or some other means of rationing.
- In most settings, those replicators still require power which cannot be replicated directly. One can either replicate and operate a power plant or buy the services of someone who does it. If there is a market, the price of power will be reasonably close to the price of generating power.
- Many services cannot be replicated at all. You can't replicate a haircut, or an opera performance.
- Many goods cannot be replicated without becoming a forgery. A replicated Mona Lisa isn't the real thing, and everybody knows it.
- When human activity (like power generation) has adverse impact on the environment, it must be rationed some way. If cost were no issue (note: it will be an issue, see above), then there would be a "waste heat emission credits" trade.
Having replicators would help to create a post-scarcity economy, but it does not eliminate the need for a rationing system. Money seems to be one which works better than most others (planned economy, gift economy).
Apart from energy, raw material and ecological footprint costs, the templates, i.e. "recipes" for making items would still be marketable and likely trademarked.
Sure, if you're a programmer, you can try making your own templates from scratch but they probably won't be as good as the ones developed by big companies having thousands of employees working on the same product and having done rigorous testing.
To the other answers you were given, I'll add only one factor: energy
Even with nuclear fusion available, energy will not be 100% free, and that will add to the cost of using a replicator. In other words, a private will always be paying the bills to get his food & goods, will be fined if the replicator's use will break some law (creating guns, chemical weapons, etc.), and the Government will tax people if replicators are used on a wide scale for national interest.
Money will becomes pure data so it can't be replicated (except by the banking system)
Someone will own the replicators and every copy will involve a licencing fee.
Services are still services at least until AI controlled robots take all the jobs.