If you could work on any problem or project, and money were no object, what would that be?

That could be a personal project, a global one, local, some interest, whatevs.

Reshares welcomed.

There's a few concepts the above question somewhat implies (doesn't "implies" imply "somewhat"):

  • What I've called the "More Money Than God" scenario: if you simply didn' thave to worry about access to funding, what problems would you tackle?

  • A redefinition of "social capital". That's normally seen as goodwill and reputation within a community, but what if social capital were actually socialised access to a measure of national capital formation? That is, a country creates a certain amount of new capital in a year. Reallocate that amongst individual citizens / residents.

One of the things capitalism is particularly effective at (though the question of "good" becomes much more muddled) is in allocating capital. That is, if someone's attempting some project, there's a vast financial system which may (though of course won't necessarily) devote resources to some projects.

Which projects, run by whom, for what ends, it chooses to fund is a whole 'nother can of wax tadpoles. A key problem is that there are underserved needs, projects, communities, and All That Jazz.

The conventional wisdom is that a free-market private-property capitalist financialised economy is efficient. The assertion is largely unproved, and may even be unprovable or unfalsifiable. I'm looking at potential alternatives.

I would... 

@dredmorbius I'd want to work on helping provide resources and tools to people who want to develop a range of community centers as learning spaces, including for the purpose of abolishing schools and academia.

I also need a lot of librarians. Plus, I'd like to work with a bunch of people in complex fields (mechanics, architecture, doctors/nurses) to create accessible systems of learning and figure out how to reorganise 'certification' processes.

(This last bit is a huge question mark for me considering so many governments basically allowed certain med students to skip the necessary qualification processes because so they were filling gaps that already existed pre-pandemic. And that should be opening a lot of people to go "Well, if that can be done, then maybe the way we're doing it isn't that good?")

@dredmorbius I'd work the same things I already am, just reprioritize!

Aid my community in taking climate action (slowly figuring out what that means).
Make my own privacy-respecting, auditable, noJS browser engines.
Explore DGGS for lightweight spatial processing.

@dredmorbius If any new capital I produce is going to be spread over a billion people... why make anything? Better to take be a free rider in your socialised system and invest my efforts on the black market.

@lighthousehermit What if it's only a portion of that new capital? Is there some possible value between 0 and 1 which might be sufficient for your own gain?

Have you ever participated in a commision-based or profit-sharing compensation programme, in which award does not accrue entirely to a single party?

What are your views on inheritance where those who played no role in creation of wealth ultimately acquire it?

Do you see no value at all to ensuring that those starting out in life (and hence: ineriting the work product of their collective ancestors) shouldn't start out on at least roughly equivalent footing?

If all gains do accrue to only one party, do you find no threshold at which the share-of-weath concentration is ultimately unjust, inequitable, or simply inconsistent with the functionings of a society and economic system?

If not, why, and on what grounds?

@matera If that were to prove difficult, what other mitigations might you pursue concerning the underlying issue?

@dredmorbius One. Little. Thing. At. A. Time. (while trying not to be part of the problem)

@dredmorbius Well if money's no object, a skyhook or space elevator would be incredibly useful, dropping the cost of getting off Earth to almost nothing. But the initial cost & research is expensive, so it's not happening.

@dredmorbius small tools, whatever comes up. It's like small-scale carpentry, building small stuff for utility and aesthetic minimalism.

@dredmorbius In the "More Money Than God" scenario, I think I'd start by feeding the starving and housing the homeless. (cf. "What Keeps Mankind Alive")

@dredmorbius I think I'd dive full-time into building resilient infrastructure for news sites and online communities. Infrastructure that would not rely on Big Tech, and would scale from small blog to a major news site.

Got some experience in this and quite a few ideas on how to do it, plus *some* code already. At some point though it's a question of sheer computing/networking firepower and that's where "money's not an object" would come in.

Plus, to pay people willing to cooperate on this.

@dredmorbius Global warming. I think this is the clearest and most present danger to humanity and the biosphere.

i get people have personal interests, but if I'd be the only person in the world with the unlimited amount of money, then I must be at service to the humanity to the best of my knowledge.. i find that conclusion pretty ground level ethical stance..

so, since all technology does is tackles problems as they arrive (and age of scientific innovation based on single contributor is gone), i would focus on politics.. and tech will happen when it happens..

@maricn The purpose of the condition is specifically to remove the focus on money.

Rather than "We can't do X because there's not enough $$$" or "I'd have all the $$$ so I would have to do $$$-based thing", it's "here's the major concern, which would produce the greatest effect, and it is what I would focus on".

Take money off the table entirely.

That said: I admire the ethical stance.

And politics might be such a domain. Though isn't that also a means to an ends?

i don't think so, i think the course of liberalism is on a steady course of hedonism in a narrow rather than utilitarian sense..

there are many ideologies and even more non-ideological politics around the world, but i don't think progress can come so easily as the main problem i identify is the Wall of Money.. and to break this barrier of capitalism, having unlimited access to money is a perfect solution, an opportunity that doesn't come so often..

so I'd start undermining oppressive power structures around the world and give voice to the victims..

we need to reach as much as possible universal social consensus on having open and respectful dialogue and to work for our and future of living and inanimate world around us in long term..

i think that's the Great Filter for civilizations.. if not, then it should be.. i pity the universe colonised by the humanity in its current state..

@maricn Is universal concensus a necessary requirement?

Is it an attainable state?

Do you see viable alternatives to universal-concensus approaches?

i think i expressed myself badly..

i imagine setting up a stage for continuous rediscovery of our environment and readaptation.. I'd like to get past critical point where people believe there is an attainable state at all.. social change is ever imminent..

in the West, I'd push to transcend parliamentary/representative democracy that guards status quo of late stage capitalism and spends too much energy on its own meta topics..


in each place, cultures and history differ, so the changes must come accordingly, and one person can't influence all of them, but I'd set myself to contribute to giving back power to the people..

I should first limit my own power by institutionalising an enterprise around the power given to me by that money.. this should set up a precedent and be representative of my utopias but exactly like them, be flexible to adapt..

simply - I'd kickstart federated anarchism..


also, i seriously hope our technological progress will be slower than our political.. imagine capitalism expanding with distributed colonies beyond solar system.. i can't think of a worse nightmare, we'd be a greedy virus to the universe..

come to think of it, i might've been putting too much of my energy in wrong place last years.. 🤔

@dredmorbius I would hire a team to finish (and that would effectively end ransomware.)

@dredmorbius i would spend my time trying to increase the what i call networked agency of groups that currently feel limited agency w.r.t. their main concerns

@dredmorbius A new cyberspace architecture and concept, and a new paradigm for digital systems as a whole, garanteeing human rights and universalism.

@dredmorbius if you have that level of freedom, work on achieving the same for others.

@chotee For the sake of this exercise, that is not an option.

The goal is to identify and address a specific extant issue or project.

Implement my take on Flow-Based Programming in a bunch of languages, to learn FBP itself and also those languages.

Apply FBP to networked services, in particular ActivityPub, to see how that goes.

Finally fix Racket package support in nixpkgs and then move on to do the same in guix.

Go back to applying FBP to GUIs as we tried to do in Fractalide.

Look at how Scratch and FBP would fit together. I expect rather well!

See how Scratch, FBP and virtual worlds would work out, and how to teach programming concepts with e.g. Minetest.

See how that all fits with Mozilla's virtual worlds thing.

Eat Roblox.
surveillance-free, privacy-respecting mobile computing and communication: network, hardware and software

@dredmorbius What about little problems? .. what could you knock out of the ballpark with a couple weeks of concerted effort? What problems could be demolished with two, or four, sprints during the year?

@feonixrift @dredmorbius I'd cover 3% of the Earth's surface area with that ultra-white paint made from barium bisulfate.

@feonixrift @dredmorbius I'd also log the arctic. I don't know if I'd also paint it, since I don't know what that would do to the ecology. Better to paint rooftops in cities.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

On the internet, everyone knows you're a cat — and that's totally okay.