Discussion on 10/30/2011, led by Craig
If you look at history, a variety of goods once only available to the rich are now available to everyone — or at least a much greater portion of the population — due to improved technology.
However, the fundamental role of money has not changed as a result of this innovation. Money is still an economic necessity because there is still scarcity. In spite of all the amenities of the modern era in comparison to earlier times — take the variety of cheaply available food in grocery stores, fresh water and readily available shelter, and so on — there are still many things only available to the richest among us simply because we do not possess the resources to give everyone access. Not everyone can own a yacht, and fewer can own private jets.
The central question of this week's discussion will be whether or not this principle that has been universal thus far through human history will ever cease to apply. Is it possible, that with exponentially improving technology and innovations like molecular manufacturing and nanotech that scarcity will actually cease to exist?