Yesterday’s post got me thinking — the rise of the Web, together with the development of inverse indexing, has placed us into an information economy of abundance. Bandwidth and compression capability continue to improve, and as they do the per-unit cost of replicating an information product is gradually moving to zero.
This means that once you make something (eg: a song), the cost of physically getting it to the entire world is fairly insignificant, as a percentage of the total cost of production.
Suppose a physical economy of abundance, as suggested by the “Star Trek” replicator, really did exist. What would the world be like? Would our relationship to physical objects change fundamentally, knowing we could simply replicate them at will? Would world hunger come to an end? And would entire sets of social, cultural and economic issues arise that are currently off our collective radar?