Minecraft, 3D printing and scarcity

(via Boing Boing)

This video discusses the possibility of a post-scarcity economy -- it says it's a time when stuff doesn't cost anything to make, that acquiring things doesn't mean someone else has to not have those things anymore.

I don't think that post-scarcity has to mean that there's no cost -- I think it's functionally post-scarcity as long as there's so much available material that nobody who wants anything has so little access that they can't get it.  Less end of scarcity, more perpetual surplus.  But maybe our understanding of quantum physics will get us to the point where we actually can pull new stuff out of the fabric of the universe.

Mark Frauenfelder, who posted this video on Boing Boing, wrote a similar article independently a few days ago on My Life Scoop.  It never occurred to me to think of Minecraft as representative of a post-scarcity economy, but now that I consider it, there are no other online fields I'm aware of where there's any version of the game in which anyone just gets everything.

I think at this point we're at the beginnings of a post-scarcity world.  We're already past information scarcity, in a broad sense.  The only limitations on information are artificial resistance like secrecy and limitations on an individual's capacity to understand.