Posted in response to this fellow.
Note: I do everything short of taking off my shoe and throwing it at him. Yes, I know, it's histrionic. But for some reason I really just don't like this guy.
I want my 3,000 sq foot home, my 4 vehicles, my speedboat, ...
What happened to the fifth car? ;)
But seriously. Here's something for you to consider.
Say you participate in this grand new economy, and you decide to buy some toilet cleaner, and you hop online to find it. Magically, the internet provides you with the most affordable bottle of toilet cleaner you could possibly buy, based not only on price but on effectiveness, and in exactly the amount you need, even relative to the storage space you're willing to provide for it in your home. You press the magical "order" button and your money is deducted in a micro-payment from your virtual checking account, which will accumulate with others until it becomes a large enough transaction to be taken from your real checking account without costing you a transaction fee. Then, you sit on your ass, and soon enough, the doorbell rings and you open it to discover a bottle of cleaner on the doorstep.
How much of THE ECONOMY have you really interacted with, in this grand new method of toilet cleaner purchasing? Surely you have leveraged the internet and the collective power of a million brains and a billion CPUs to find you THE ^^^SUPEREST^^^ )))ULTRA((( ##MEGA## ***BESTEST*** toilet cleaner EVARRR. But aside from informing your choice about what to buy, what has changed? Relative to, say, your grandfather scrawling "toilet cleaner" onto a shopping list and picking the cheapest of maybe two items available at the general store when he goes on his weekly shopping run? Aside from a more intricate and flexible method for shipping goods, which in turn relies on the economic influence of relatively cheap fossil fuels, I don't really see much of a difference except that you have the option of buying more shit than you did before, from farther away.
But oh wait, my bad; excuse me ... you're not talking about pesky things like physical commodities, you know, those material things that people actually need to survive, whose scarcity is determined by the complex relationship between the quality of our industrial infrastructure and its relative geographic distribution ... oh no, you're talking about that most important and ephemeral of products and services known as INFORMATION. Yes, clearly, stringing wires all over the continent and making our previously book-bound chatterings take the form of infinitely redistributable bitstreams is going to totally redefine the way we, as humans, look at -- as you so boldly define it -- "resource allocation".
No, what's really going on here is, you are an armchair philosopher burbling from your atypically comfortable armchair about the ephemeral novelty of skimming information off the top of information and finagling that into an excuse to collect a distribution fee or a paycheck. While all around you, day by day, the vast majority of the human race is still toiling in dirt fields, when they're not sweating in 12-hour factory jobs making your widgets, or just plain beating on each other.
The day the very last hungry child on the planet gets a full belly, a soft place to sleep, and the attention of a parent, is the day I'll start taking your "new type of economy" garglings seriously, and amend my low opinion of your attitude. Not one single day before.
Anyway, in other news, work goes well. It's weirdly invigorating being in a place where, no matter how fast I talk or how much technical jargon I spew, everyone around me can follow right along. Also, I have been eating lots of oily potstickers and salad. Mmmm, brainfood!
And now it is sleepytime.