That financial markets sometimes go off on one has been noted for centuries now. Dutch Tulips, The South Sea Bubble, dotcom and more recently Bitcoin have all shown that the lust for easy speculation profits can lead to, well, to financial excess at minimum. Those with an orderly cast of mind like to point out that all of this is waste. If instead the truly wise and clever people – after we’ve installed them in government or at least the bureaucracy – could apportion society’s assets very much better. You know, truly invest in the diversity advisers civilisation so badly needs.
The thing is, economists often disagree at this point. Sure, financial bubbles, they occur. Sure, there’s waste in them. But perhaps the very bubble itself is an either useful or necessary part of the process.
Necessary in that perhaps it needs a mania to get some new technology over the finish line. I tend to think it’s not going to happen with Tesla but it did with Railway Mania. Without speculators searching for easy money the network never would have been built out. Without Dotcom Amazon probably wouldn’t have got funded through the decade it was scratching a living.
It’s also possible that it’s just useful. For the overbuilding in the mania might then leave assets that are repurposed to get other technologies over that finish line into general use. Global Crossing lost a fortune – no, really billions – on building out fibreoptic cabling to girdle the world. Which was, after the bankruptcy, bought up by the Googles and the like to carry all this web and video stuff. It’s arguably true that without the previous overinvestment we’d simply never have developed – or perhaps not for decades – such resource and bandwith hungry hogs.
That is, the lying around of overinvested in assets is what leads to the innovation of what to do with them. The latest possible example of this being cloud rendering:
GPU-based cryptocurrency miners have taken a beating throughout this bear market — just ask NVIDIA. However, users with spare GPUs may soon be able to put their ineffective mining hardware to another profitable use: renting rendering power to those looking to experience quality PC gaming on an underpowered computer.
Los of people bought lots of GPU power. All now rendered unprofitable to use through ASICs. OK, So, here’s a use for that already extant GPU power:
Vectordash’s service will apparently run users $28 per month for cloud rendering capabilities. On the other side of the deal, GPU renters stand to make about $0.60 per day — which isn’t life-changing money for anyone who has the dough to throw at high-powered GPUs. However, the ability to put less-than-profitable meant-for-mining GPUs to work for another reason may help those who have been beaten down by both a bear market and dramatically more powerful ASIC mining rigs.
Will it work? Shrug, who knows?
But now think about this basic idea. People do look around for ways to use spare resources. So, what’s going to happen when the robots take all the jobs? People will look around for ways to use all that now useless labour. So, what is it that people will be doing when the robots do all the current work? All the work that isn’t currently being done, that’s what. And if we get to where there’s no work left to be done at all?
Then that means that all have everything that labour can possibly provide. The problem with this world will be?