I'm looking for something more like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, but extended beyond the purely physical. I'm not looking for a list of things people would do, or "Here's what I would do", but supporting examples wouldn't hurt.

I'm looking for a set of psychological biases that would predict what behaviors we would prioritize. You don't need to provide actual psychology studies, but they would be welcome.

Minimum conditions for all people:

  • Aways has enough food, water and clothing. You can make/purchase custom clothing with your stipend.
  • 5,000 square feet of environmentally controlled living space. Government provides really boring furniture for free.
  • Free access to educational content, up to college level. Government provided standardized certification.
  • Socializes medicine, with a "rational" lifetime maximum expenditure
  • Ubiquitous public transportation
  • Equivalent to US$1000/month personal development stipend
  • Machines do all of the dirty or tedious work. Humans can volunteer for dangerous work.

Addendum: It looks like I failed to include a detail that I didn't think mattered, but does significantly change how this is answered. I was hoping for a generalized answer, but over/underpopulation can't really be ignored.

  • All people are sterile.
  • The population is continually replenished by refugees from other worlds that have self-destructed.
  • Supply is regulated by god-like entities who don't care what you think, and don't play human games. You can, of course, complain, and they will hear you, but they've heard all of it before. Really. All of it.
  • $\begingroup$ Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Worldbuilding Meta, or in Worldbuilding Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 12:32

9 Answers 9


Being a social and hierarchical species, people in such a society would do what people always do: compete for status. Specifically, for relative status. Affluence is a good proxy for status, because it demonstrates that you have found a way to get a bigger slice of the pie so to speak; if the default slice of the pie is as big as you describe, that just raises the bar higher.

This may push the competition towards higher levels of Maslov's pyramid. It may become very important which school you went to. Having a job despite not needing to would show that you have skills so valuable that people would pay for them (and hiring someone when your needs are provided for is also a status signal in its own right). You would strive for nicer furniture just to avoid the stigma of being forced to rely on government-provided blandness.

Unless you are struggling to meet your basic needs already, it would feel very much like the world we currently live in.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This seems like the most realistic answer so far. Plus it makes for a rather amusing picture of a post-scarcity future. Everybody viciously competing with each other on their favorite video game, smack-talking their neighbor because they finally topped them on the leaderboard... $\endgroup$
    – Onyz
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 16:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Onyz, thank you. On the plus side, this viciousness may not be much of a problem, because there will always be other venues for competition available. Sure the neighbor might be good at video games and an insufferable git about it, but can he embroider his own clothes? ;) $\endgroup$
    – ihaveideas
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ I do think that the answer is this simple. Once you eliminate all physical needs, what's left is mostly a need to compete, whether it's within a familial, work, or social framework. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 21:39

Behavioral Sink

The best experimental research we have on post scarcity society began with the Mouse Eutopia experiments. When a mouse population becomes post scarcity, it grows out of control and then thier psychology alters over several generations in a way that causes a population implosion. You see a break down in social norms that leads to a wide spread of sociopathic behavior and reduced reproductive drive. When a mouse population hits this point it triggers negative population growth where refusal to procreate/increased homosexuality, decreased care for offspring, increased murder rates, etc cause population decline despite the infinite resources. If scarcity is not reintroduced, the mouse population will completely die out within just a few generations.

Not only has it been theorized that humans will do the same thing, but it seems we are already doing it to a degree. Many of the world's richest nations are currently experiencing lesser manifestations of Behavioral Sink and have a shrinking population whereas nations where people have to struggle to get enough resources have rapidly growing populations.

Post scarcity can overwhelm the psyche in several ways that lead to behavioral sink.

Social Addiction

The primary explanation given by Calhoun in the Mouse Eutopia experiments for the breakdown of society is social addiction. With unlimited resources, populations grow out of control until overcrowding makes social isolation virtually impossible. This means that all interactions (eating, drinking, bathing, sex, etc.) become conditioned as social activities. So, no matter how much space you eventually give the population, they will choose to overcrowd themselves which leads to elevated stress which leads to increased violent and objectional behavior.

That said, we do see this problem happen in modern society where overcrowded schools systems and social media make socialization impossible to escape. Large cities like New York draw in millions of residents to horrible living conditions with the promise of constant and inescapable social stimulation. While your government might provide 5000sqft of living space, your population will quickly grow to the point where the only way to offer this much space is to stack these homes into massive hive cities. So, while your home may be big, you don't need a job so you're average day will consist of leaving and attending back to back simulating events outside of your home; so, you will experience overcrowding the same way that Calhoun's rats did in his latter experiments regardless of having a private place to call your own.

While Calhoun's follow up experiments proved that this was only a minor factor in behavioral sink, creating more places where privacy can be observed did not prevent the phenomenon from happening, only reduced it a bit.

Follow up research in humans like the Baum study on College dormitory layouts and various case studies into the bystander effect also show a degree of correlation between overcrowding with psychological unwellness and moral decay, but again, this research alone does not produce the pronounced levels of variance seen in Calhoun's early experiments further demonstrating that behavioral sink is only in part controlled by overcrowding.

Hedonistic Addiction

A second issue with post scarcity is a total addition to oneself. While some of the rats in Calhoun's experiment became obsessed with thier gangs. Others formed groups addicted to self care. Other experiments have show that even without overcrowding, rats giving unlimited access to food, water, toys, and drugs will often pick a vice and overdose on it.

That said, a rat living in a small group with unlimited resources will generally do well, because the social interaction becomes the scarce thing that they aspire towards. So IF your post scarcity society could somehow produce a healthy scarcity (but not total lack of) social interaction, then your people should do much better. But the only way to achieve this with a large population is by basically locking everyone up in small communities; otherwise, human nature will draw them into social addiction issues.

Goal Addiction

This is the worst part of behavior sink that often gets overlooked, and the most likely X factor that Calhoun failed to account for in his experiments. It is the nature of humans (and many other animals) to want that which can not be easily had. In a scarcity based society, this typically means things like food, water, shelter, safety, etc. We are hardwired to dream about and pursue fringe desires or else our ancestors would have never survived. However, as basic material needs become trivial we become desensitized to caring about them so we move on to want more luxurious needs met like cars, iPhones, air friers, etc.

This is the premise of Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, but Maslow was overly optimistic in what he thinks the top of the pyramid looks like, since actual people who get past the 1st 4 layers rarely care about self-actualization. When you look at people like kings and emperors, they don't care at all about being thier best selves, they are goal addicted just like the rest of us but they will make up new goals to keep themselves entertained. These people will rape a man's wife in front of him, he will steal an Olympic Champion's gold metal out of thier hand, he will have his whole family put to death... not because he needs these thing to self-actualize, but because it takes these extreme behaviors to even begin to touch on what is "out of reach" for people this unaffected by scarcity.

The problem with true post-scarcity is that you no longer want for material things, and you have more than enough time to spare to fulfil all of your social needs meaning that like an emperor, anything you can do within the rules of your society is something you can take for granted. But the same psychological mechanism that leads a poor man to fantasize about a hearty meal, or a middle class man about his dream car that he has to work hard or take a risk to get leads a post-scarcity man to fantasize about some other type of thing that he'd have to work hard or take a risk to get. Whatever society says no one (or only the privileged few) are allowed to have, such people desire, which leads to a pattern of behaviors focused on violating laws and social norms. Things like murder, rape, incest, theft, arson, reckless driving, etc. become the daydreams of a man who can have and experience anything else he desires when that is all that is left just out of reach.

If humanity hits true post scarcity, it could easily trigger the worst in us as our focus goes from building healthy relationships to help us overcome scarcity to sadistic desires... only instead of it just being the a fraction of the top 1 percent of people, it is now everyone acting that way.

The Good news is that your setup is not actually post scarcity

The term Post Scarcity is often used to describe a society as explained by Carl Marx as allowing "the general reduction of the necessary labor of society to a minimum, which then corresponds to the artistic, scientific etc. development of the individuals in the time set free, and with the means created, for all of them." However, even Carl Marx admits that some scarcity still exists in his idea of an ideal socialist state; thus, he never actually claimed that socialism would lead to post scarcity.

Actual post scarcity means that you have at demand whatever resources you want which is why many people claim there is no such thing, just various levels of automation. The limits on your personal development stipend, lack of ubiquitous personal transportation, limited medical access, and limited education caps are all scarcities that people will still want to work to get better than.

At this level of socialism, you will certainly see some elements of Behavioral Sink kick in, but it should not turn into a total hellscape like Rat Eutopia since there would still be a fair amount of actual scarcity to strive to overcome.

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    $\begingroup$ While this is certainly a useful resource calling it the best we have is massively overselling it. There is also a major catch that makes this not really post-scarcity even for mice, namely space. In the experiment the rat/mice were given infinite food, water and protecetion but only a fixed amount of space no matter how big the population grew. That is why wikipedia describes it as an experiment about overcrowding not an experiment about post-scarcity. $\endgroup$
    – quarague
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 6:51
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    $\begingroup$ This experiment was really bad. The mice were utterly overcrowded and had no access to toys or other forms of stimulation. It wasn't mouse paradise, it was mouse hell. Other experiments, which provided mice with toys and other forms of stimulation had completely different results. $\endgroup$
    – Mash
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 10:26
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    $\begingroup$ @quarague Yes, overcrowding is the inevitable outcome of post-scarcity. That said, if overcrowding was the only problem, then after 1-2 generations of decline, Behavioral Sink should have reversed itself, but it didn't. Instead, the populations completely collapsed until the entire colony died off because the researchers built a culture of post-scarcity among the rats that persisted past the overcrowding point. There were also the "beautiful ones" who separated themselves from the overcrowding and also died out. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 14:35
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    $\begingroup$ @IanKemp Except that it does accurately predict sapient organisms because its effects are already observable in modern society. The rat eutopia experiments are behavioral sink cranked all the way up to max, but the same basic symptoms of behavioral sink are observable in human societies that approach the post scarcity threshold. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 23:20
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    $\begingroup$ In addition to the questionable conditions of the experiment, the doubtful implication is that humans are roughly equally capable of self-control, reflection and structuring society as mice are. A temporarily reduction in birth rate (the only thing you've linked to humans) is the least significant result in the mouse experiment, and humans can do that as a result of self-control and reflection (i.e. realising that overpopulation is happening, and choosing to not contribute). That certainly doesn't represent "a break down in social norms that leads to a wide spread of sociopathic behavior". $\endgroup$
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 12:15

The top concerns during peace time are survival (physiological and safety) and psychological (love, self-esteem, and self-actualization

This study had people rank how important varying concerns were during peacetime. The country wasn't seen as very important to preserve, since there was little pressure to preserve it. Survival, safety and health wise are big concerns. Likewise, love, self esteem, and self actualization are very important.


For most people staying alive would be very important, much more important than helping their country. The right diet, healthcare, and relationship with the government would be high priorities, with people exchanging tips, buying medicines and herbs and such they felt would improve their health, and working out how to stay alive. Fitness classes would likely be a high priority, and numerous people would organize group workouts and physical activities. Lots of groups would publish guides on how to navigate police and other officials safely.


Family would remain immensely important to people. People would want to have dates, to be romantic, to go on holiday to beautiful locations, to impress those they cared about with interesting education.

Self esteem

The way we view our successes and failure in life are important to many. This drives many to educate themselves, to follow difficult jobs, to try and improve. You'd expect to see lots of classes people would help to teach each other new skills and accomplish difficult tasks, along with many people offering praise and cheap rewards for accomplishing tasks.

Self actualization

This is about achieving your full potential. In a safe, stable society, people value this a lot. People would pursue hobbies to extreme levels, trying to make them the greatest sort of thing they could.

What isn't important

From the study, several behaviours weren't highly valued. Helping others wasn't seen as very important, or helping your country. If there's little community spirit, why help others from pure altruism?

Friendship was seen as less important. If not forced together by external forces, a lot of friends will drift apart.

Prestige from others wasn't seen as very important. While people like achieving great things, in peace they care less about competition and being seen as great by others.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't feel that this study applies at all to post-scarcity. It compares wart-time vs peace-time priorities. You seem to just be re-iterating Maslow's hierarchy, with no adjustments for a post-scarcity environment. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 19:52
  • $\begingroup$ I presented what an upper middle class group of people, aka people who are post scarcity, would likely do in peacetime. For example, rather than noting how poor people would be trying to get enough food to live, I noted how they would try to find the best diet to extend their lives. $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 8:38
  • $\begingroup$ Highly questionable at best whether upper middle class means post scarcity. $\endgroup$
    – nasch
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 20:32
  • $\begingroup$ Given the description op gave, it seems close. $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 20:38

"Past studies have shown that directly pursuing happiness—such as by engaging in pleasurable and self-centered activities—does not result in happiness"


Neuroscience (references below) has evidenced that doing good things for others is incredibly good for people's mental health. Living in a society where no-one needs to do anything good for anyone else; no-one has any desperate needs they need to fulfill and people work only if they want to we know will lead to a society so full of mental illness that there would be an epidemic of suicide as well as acts against other people (words that would get this post filtered, probably).

Just to add some data weight to these assertions on a national scale (thanks so some comments)

This is well documented, and historically backed. We have no further to look than the recent case of Epstein's island to know that very very rich people who need nothing and don't do anything altruistically deem it acceptable to consume services from trafficked children.

Yet, in societies where people have to help each other to survive, morality is significantly higher as the consequences of immoral/evil/whatever-you-want-to-call-it behaviour are much wider. If no-one has much at all and most are starving, stealing food from someone means that they are in a much worse state, requiring others to help them, so the impact is on many, not just one. Known organisational survival techniques include high levels of empathy and understanding of each other. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5917043/ When forced to actually empathise, humans do better. If there is no push to do this and a "parent" government takes care of the people who can't be bothered to work, and live lives devoid of any purpose other than self-fullfilment, then those people who in a normal society would fail hard, get back up on their feet with help from those around them (not a government who would just "fix" their perceived needs) and change, don't have the opportunity to go through that. That's the key thing. There would be an incentive for people who are ruining things for themselves and others to change.

How does this play out?

In summary, I love the idea of what you're writing. I think in reality if that society existed it would probably have around three months before censorship started, would require full on fascist control of free speech and thought within a year, everyone would be told that they were happy and if they weren't they'd be considered "disruptive lawbreakers" and "a threat to our great way of life". (See every communist state that's ever been including the ones around now.) Then the unrest would start, population control would tighten, there would be huge deaths and executions whilst those in power tried to hold on to what was clearly so broken, but would mean that they would have to let go of the control they had. Robots would be used to "enforce the utopia" and any freedom loving humans would sacrifice their home, stipend and privileges to live outside of the system, in freedom and humanity, destroying the robots as they attacked them.

Creativity thrives during struggle; the most creative would be those who would live underground leading to an underground society which is technologically superior to the official one. They would trade, have an economy, beliefs, free thought and eventually create weaponry good enough to destroy the robots, who would be the masters at that point.

The social control would then end and a set of regional governments would form; some of them communist (because there would still be many who like the idea of having no control over or choices in their lives), many of them freedom seeking instead. And the story would end with humans having choice and freedom again, including the choice to give up their freedom.

Update/Conclusion/Response to comments

Firstly I do appreciate the comments. It's important to have valuable arguments for and against something, so I'm just going to add this here with some additional evidence to back up my thoughts on this fantasy society that doesn't exist -- more for interest's sake than anything.

I'm not saying I'm correct. After all there is no post-scarcity society, but living standards have improved vastly in the last 30 years in the West. So in terms of extrapolating to a society where there is no scarcity the relevant data points we have are

  • The increase in living standards in developed countries across the last 50 years
  • The individual responses to lack of altruistic behaviour (which requires opportunity)
  • The performance of human communities and how that follows with empathy.
  • The necessity to have empathy to have healthy communities, and how with a parent government taking care of all the bad things, the necessity to go through the pain of empathy to help others is minimised. (leading to mental health issues -- there are studies on this)
  • We know that every time in history a government has made it so that every citizen gets the same regardless of what they do (communism) it correlates to a large number of those citizens being killed/sent to labour camps/censored/enslaved. This isn't because communism is bad per se -- it's very good for cattle and sheep. Humans don't do so well.

Looking at the current trend over the last 50 years is the only thing we can really do to form an intelligent conclusion as to what might happen in this fantasy that there is post-scarcity. But what we do know is that mental health is not just being more highlighted, but it's getting worse. Measurements such as suicide attempts, addictive behaviour and self harm are all increasing. It's not just that people are more aware and seek help -- these are cases where people are admitted to hospital with significant damage. (https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/self-harm/background-information/prevalence/) Is living standards the only thing? Maybe not. Suicide rates are lower in countries where living standards are lower -- and yes there's a very strong correlation and it's only a correlation. However enough correlation and individual evidence is actually what conclusions are based on.



  • $\begingroup$ I like this. I was just considering a small war between the "we want daily hookers" faction and the "hookers are evil" faction. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ You're making massive inferences about wide-scale human behaviour from extremely small-scale studies and scenarios. $\endgroup$
    – Ian Kemp
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 21:11
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    $\begingroup$ That doesn't change the fact that those studies are showing only correlation, not causation. There are a myriad of possible reasons why antidepressant diagnoses have vastly increased in Western nations, for example that doctors are becoming more adept at diagnosing depressive disorders as the social stigma around these has decreased and patients have thus become more willing to accept they need help. It could even be argued that this increase is a positive trend as it implies people are getting help now, when before they would suffer untreated. $\endgroup$
    – Ian Kemp
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 10:58
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    $\begingroup$ This answers relies on cherry picking and inferences that are unsupported by the data. There are too many confounding variables to analyse data like you've done. If you want to do proper statistics, you'd probably compare multiple datapoints, like the US (having lower welfare) versus western Europe (having higher welfare). US anti-depressant usage doubled in just 9 years - the US wins again! So that indicates that more welfare is better. But that still isn't enough data to conclude much with. $\endgroup$
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 11:18
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    $\begingroup$ You started from "doing good things is good for mental health". And from that you've constructed an entire narrative that's wholly unsupported by that fact. Just because people aren't starving doesn't mean they have no needs others can fulfill. We are already living in a society where no-one needs to do anything good for anyone else, and plenty of people don't. You say "people [working] only if they want to we know will lead to a society so full of mental illness", so the claim there is that working a job you hate, just so you can avoid starving, is ... good, for mental health? Seriously? $\endgroup$
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 11:27

Trying to answer this question is a bit difficult, because it requires pinning down specific behaviors to material and economic circumstances without having much information about the actual culture itself.

Let me give you an example. What approach to criminal justice would this society have towards its citizenry?

We might assume this will be an enlightened society that improves upon what we try to do today. But it could as well be that their justice system is barbaric compared to our own.

Criminals are given a fair trial, the benefit of the doubt, and have their actions thoroughly investigated.

However afterwards the criminal, when found guilty, is dealt a retribution. Maybe they are publicly whipped? Maybe they are given a brand they are not allowed to remove for ten years? Maybe they are made to clean sewage by hand?

Only then afterwards are they given advanced therapies and counselling to integrate them back into society.

Because why exactly commit a crime in this society? In the developed world today we are inclined to view crime as a matter of extenuating circumstances. Because of untreated mental illness, discrimination, unemployment, dysfunctional upbringings, and economic desperation.

But in this society just about all these extenuating circumstances have been dealt with.

As a result the inhabitants of this society are far more inclined to view to crime as an act of malice or stupidity indistinguishable from malice.

  • $\begingroup$ Remember that there are the "criminally insane", people who are biologically insane and commit criminal acts. Some cannot be given enough therapy to be safe in society. We also have a number of people who have mental illnesses and refuse to take needed medication. These are "edge cases" but still exist. $\endgroup$
    – David R
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 14:14

What you describe is already the case

(to a large degree, in some places)

Not in the US, obviously, but western Europe is already mostly there.

Consider Germany, for example:

These things are far from perfect, and there may be countries that do it better. But the point is that what you describe isn't that far from reality.

The reason most people in the middle-to-upper class work (even in places like the US), is generally not to have their basic needs met (because they can do that with a fraction of their salary, if they even need to work at all), it's to live a higher quality of life and to do work they enjoy.

So what do we expect to see?

If machines do all tedious work, and by increasing benefits not just to basic income, but to comfortable living:

  • You'd probably expect to see far fewer low-paying jobs and less exploitation of workers.
  • There may be an increase in people choosing to not work, or being unable to find work.
  • The number of hours in the average work week may decrease significantly, which could counter-act there being less employment available (side note: the four-day work week is already a thing in some places).
  • People would spend more time on hobbies, socialising and such (most of what people currently do in their free time).
  • We may focus more on scientific pursuits: there'll always be some things beyond our knowledge; we would try to uncover such knowledge.
  • Average stress levels may decrease, as people would be less worried about losing their jobs or about whether they can afford rent this month.
  • But people may struggle more with boredom and finding purpose. One might expect to see an increase in cults, if this isn't channeled into more productive things (and if people aren't taught critical thinking and such).
  • There would still need to be entire industries for electronics, art and entertainment and whatnot, so jobs certainly wouldn't disappear.
    • If you go one step further and say machines would do most of that too, this may just shift things more in the direction of the above things, rather than fundamentally changing anything.

Very little difference

You can get food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment, and education for free in America, and to a standard that would have convinced a Roman emperor that you were not human but rather a god.

What will happen is that expectations will rise. People will treat the basics of post scarcity society as if they were the spontaneous result of nature and any deprivation of them took malice. They (on average) will grouse at and envy anyone with a better living standard if they stick to the basics, and they (on average) will wonder where all the money goes if they have a job and get more than the basics.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ "You can get food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment, and education for free in America" - excuse me, WHAT? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 13:48
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    $\begingroup$ Of course you can. Homeless shelters give food and shelter -- including things like canned fruit in winter and electric lights that Roman emperors did without -- other charities give clothes, ERs must give you medical treatment, and school is mandatory in childhood. $\endgroup$
    – Mary
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 23:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Mary Homeless shelters are hardly some utopia. Charities occasionally giving homeless people clothes is hardly something that can be relied on. ERs must try to stop you from dying in the next few days, but they can still send you a hefty bill for that, and tough luck if you have any illness where there isn't an immediate risk of death. $\endgroup$
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 11:37
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    $\begingroup$ "to a standard that would have convinced a Roman emperor that you were not human" - doubtful. Roman emperors had mansions, a homeless person might get a bed, if there's one available. And plenty of shelters require them to clear out their stuff every morning. Emperors aren't subject to curfews, like people staying in shelters often are. Roman emperors might be impressed by modern medicine and our food production (even though I expect they ate far better than the homeless), but that's "what about the kids starving in Africa" territory. $\endgroup$
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 11:49
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    $\begingroup$ Electric lights, air conditioning, central heating. The emperor would not believe that mere humans enjoy such luxury $\endgroup$
    – Mary
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 12:16

While I mostly agree with behavioral sink / hedonism / lack of purpose, there is one avenue that in my opinion was not explored by other answers:

The population is continually replenished by refugees from other worlds that have self-destructed.

  1. Your population is totally adjusted to different behaviors, like fight for survival every day and significant share must have some military training from total war that destroyed their planet

  2. Your population is more likely to bring serious traumas with them

  3. Your population is most likely to have people for whom already high on priority list was getting even with other faction (Ironically, one does not have to believe in any hard line ideology. It's enough to be a normie who had most of his country nuked)

So significant share of population are former military personnel with nothing meaningful to do except plotting revenge against people who they consider as responsible for destroying their planet?

  • $\begingroup$ This is a good observation. There are a number of mitigating factors that limit people's ability to do this, but I'm sure some will remain obsessed. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 15:59


Once you get past physical needs, you have a layer of "making sure others don't take what I have," followed by expanding social circles in which competition occurs.

In Maslow's hierarchy, he lists acceptance, esteem, and self-actualization as the levels above security. The global communications network has expanded the concept of society to include many, many sub-segments. Acceptance and Esteem can be established in each of those vertical slices. Each vertical slice has its own criteria for those two.

Acceptance, in this context, means that the society has accepted that you are a viable competitor, that you aren't disqualified for reasons that the society itself determines. Acceptance is the price of entry, and it can be rescinded if you violate the society's norms.

Esteem, in this context, means that you have been recognized by that society as capable of providing effective competition, whether their scale is sports-based, or altruistic, information-based, exemplary morals, or even being adequately ruthless. Each society sets their own standards.

What post-scarcity does is it prevents groups from requiring that people in society compete within specific societies. Right now, everyone must either pick a money-earning society to compete within, or compete in a society that money-earning people appreciate. This is limiting, regardless of the espoused benefits of those limitations.

Thus, a post-scarcity society would just shift the scales on which they compete, (mostly) eliminating the lower end of competitors for the scales that people are currently forced to compete in.


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