Hot answers tagged

24

Nothing would change. In this world, the CEOs of large "free-lending" companies would make millions on repair fees, gas fees, and any other kind of reimbursements simply by charging them more than it costs to fix it. Even if charging the customer more than it costs to fix it is not allowed - which prevents profit - money will always be used to make more ...


19

Unless we're creative, we just outlawed: Hotels (no more renting a room for night) Paid highways, paid parking (because you're effectively renting them for drivers) Power grid, internet access (as we're renting its transfer capability, right?) Practically any infrastructure is no longer able to be private and rented to multiple users. It actually ...


17

The question deeply misunderstands and misstates a large variety of economic conditions. First, the notion that in capitalism the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This is grossly false. In capitalism, everybody gets richer. The most important graph in the world shows us this. And Gapminder's fantastic graphs show us the data in splendid animated ...


10

I'm going to branch off of what Puppetsock posted and get a bit more theoretical. While he's absolutely correct that economic expansion in the conditions of the first world war is extremely unlikely, you could get more 'alternate history' and make those conditions more agreeable. The main issue that made WW1 so bloody was that military leadership hadn't ...


10

Plenty of people tried to come up with a better economic system than capitalism, but without much luck. So you are in good company here :) There are a few problems with your scheme. You have just killed the reason to invest into anything. Economic growth and technological progress rely on investment, i.e. people renting capital to businesses, in return for ...


9

Bring back to the Earth? Almost certainly not. As mentioned in the other related thread, anything you can find out there in the solar system you can also find right here on earth, and generally in vastly greater abundance and ease of retrieval, if you're comparing to the difficulties involved in getting to an asteroid and mining ore off it in a vacuum suit ...


8

I think that many Latin American or South American countries are a lot more developed and have more paved highways than you imagine. The Pan-American Highway1 is a network of roads stretching across the American continents and measuring about 30,000 kilometres (19,000 mi)1 in total length. Except for a rainforest break of approximately 160 km (100 mi), ...


6

Sociologists and demographers talk about relative poverty. That's the level of wealth (respective not-wealth) where somebody can no longer fully participate in society. For instance, children can be cruel. They will marginalize other children for not having fashionable brand-name sneakers, even if the sneakers the child wears are entirely serviceable. So ...


5

Might be hard. The interest is what makes granting a loan to someone else interesting. There is no reason to lend money to someone, when you can only get an equal amount back, or if you are unlucky lose your money because the other person turns out to not be able to pay you back. The same is true for renting rooms / appartements to others and so on. There ...


4

In theory, yes, but such a town is not likely to be economically self-sufficient unless it has a significantly high amount of technology. The reason is that the value of a job, and thus its pay, depends on how difficult it is to a) do the job, and/or b) acquire the skills to do said job. Sewer workers in the real world actually make a lot of money because ...


4

Let's try working through this. By the way, this was codified in Deuteronomy by Moses and supposedly practiced by pre-monarchy Israel in antiquity, but the specifics on how this worked out aren't well recorded. For small businesses, loans could still be made, but would have to be done without interest. Seed money can come from personal savings and ...


4

Definitely a good long term investment Space is big. Insert H2G2 quote here. Moving around in space takes a lot of energy or a lot of time (as in, even more time than usual) if you're willing to use ridiculous witchcraft gravity assists to get that large amount of energy for free. Thus, with the perfect setup of planets, it'd be entirely possible to send ...


4

Freeways (almost) never follow the course of old highways Because... Very little of the old highway can be reused: Freeways are much wider that local highways, and thus all works of art (bridges, tunnels, cuttings, fillings) need to be rebuilt; Freeways need much stronger foundations, and thus the old highways would need to be dug up anyway; Freeways need ...


4

I think what you're asking is, would the new freeways follow the course of the old freeways. I think we can answer that "NO" - here's why... The US went through a phase where it had "basic" roads and then indeed it upgraded to "modern freeways". In fact, during that process, they did NOT especially follow the old roads - they improved the lines and took ...


3

(In this answer, I'll try to focus on the power armor and the immediate ramifications of its widespread availability. There are other setting elements that will have a much bigger impact, but I'll consider them out of scope for the question.) The power armor itself would not change much In a society that has interstellar travel and general purpose AI, ...


3

It depends. Building a good road is more than just laying down a layer of blacktop. You need proper foundations, drainage, etc. This all costs money so the first step would be to consider where upgrading the roads is the most important. Then how the upgrade should happen. Is there a strip of land that the new road can be built on? Can part of the road be ...


3

Let's think about this: Facts: 1. The cold war was indeed a war of (economic) attrition. (The west won as it happens - the other blokes got outspent.) So did either of the two sides have a second industrial revolution during the cold war period? 2. Yes, in fact that is literally exactly what happened. The "computer and space age" is the only thing ever ...


3

Not absolutely impossible. But very unlikely. WWI consumed men at a drastic rate, averaging about 50,000 military deaths per week for the whole war, and a similar number of civilian deaths. Those who were not killed were under huge pressure to join up and get involved in the fight. So generally, any potentially productive individuals were siphoned off for ...


3

No, because wealth and poverty are relative. If everyone lives in giant mansions and has gold-plated toilets or whatever, no one is wealthy. If everyone lives in tin shacks and eats canned beans for every meal, no one is poor. See in both cases, there are no poorer or wealthier people to compare to. As an example, the average American is many times more ...


3

Any isolated settlement that has plenty of food and no significant social tensions would fit this definition. self-sufficient - yes, of course it is; happy - happiness is mostly a subjective matter, but the absence of known factors causing unhappiness, like violence, disease and hunger should leave us a purportedly happy population; and wealthy - because ...


3

You're trying to "fix" things from the top down. That's just like communism, fascism, etc... it doesn't work. We have the ghosts of a hundred million people telling us it doesn't work. People are people and will do people things no matter the threat screamed at them or treat dangled in front of them. Going against human nature only succeeds in bringing ...


2

The question is critically dependent on cost of transport. If you wrap a conventional hull around a bunch of ore, like big ore ships, the answer is "no", at least initially. Where travel on Earth is measured in distance,in space it's measured by delta-V: What tis the minimum delta-V to get something from one orbit to another. Let's consider moving water ...


2

Energy We don't really need materials on Earth, we need energy. If we can use the materials to generate energy for Earth, we solve most of our issues. Almost all of our air pollution is caused by energy production. If the energy could be created in space (e.g. beamed solar power), you cut out on almost all air pollution (put a cork in the cows for the ...


2

While there have been several good answers about economics, one thing which puzzled me was the desire to have a "hot" war going for decades. Historically, very long periods of warfare, like the 100 years war, the 30 years war, the Seven Years War, the Napoleonic wars and the Cold War were generally short periods of intense combat interspersed with longer ...


2

A partial example from actual history: under Mosaic law, you were not allowed to charge interest on loans (except to foreigners). In fact, if they weren't able to repay the loan, you were required to forgive the remaining amount after a certain amount of time. Note that this is just for loans -> not rentals and labor and other things. Did it work? That ...


1

You have just banned (most) work In modern times, there are very few professions that can continue to exist without some type of renting. Moreover - every single business that is not a one-person company has just been outlawed. Why? Because by working you esentially rent your empolyer's equipment and vision and add your own time to earn a share of their ...


1

Unification Well, you are partly on the way to working out the system I am building, called "Unification". You have correctly identified ownership as a major cause of wealth and income inequality in capitalism, but a full reformation of free markets must go beyond abolishing ownership, and address the other glaring defect: capitalism has one virtue, which ...


1

When an intensive war is fought, it will put a significant burden on the economies of all the parties involved. That is unless the war is merely used as a stimulus by the parties involved, and not fought with a goal of conquest but with a goal to ensure it's perpetuity. The novel Nineteen Eight Four discusses a similar theme where there is a perpetual war ...


1

Would we enjoy a better world where everyone is more equal, or would scarcity rule and everyone be poor now? You'll never magically get rid of inequalities. Capitalism, socialism, communism aren't simply economic systems, they're also political. It's not just about money, it's also about power. Doesn't matter what system you can dream up, someone will ...


1

Non-obvious consequences of "currently science-fiction" advances in material sciences... dramatically stronger metals would affect architecture, allowing buildings in a variety of shapes without the need from conventional foundations and thick straight girders. dramatically stronger metals would allow us to scale down mechanical machines with no loss of ...


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