Part Two: Getting Past Capital
Digital technology is shifting scarcity from capital to attention. That is one of the central arguments of World After Capital. With the philosophical foundation out of the way now is the time to back this claim up with some numbers.
First I will examine trends in population growth to show that fears of a further population explosion are unfounded. Then I will look at how much productive capital exists in the world relative to the basic needs of humanity. While that section still needs work, it already contains interesting statistics that suggest we have sufficient capital.
Besides capital, the other critical input to production in the Industrial Age is labor. Labor is provided through what I call the job loop: most people earn a living by selling their labor and then using their wages to buy goods and services, which in turn are produced by other job holders. That loop, which currently captures much of our attention, is being disrupted by digital technologies with important implications for how we could allocate our attention in the future.
Finally, I will argue why attention is the crucial scarcity for humanity going forward. Capitalism, with its emphasis on markets, cannot be used to allocate attention due to intrinsic limitations. Prices do not and cannot exist for the most important activities we should be allocating attention to.