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What is value? watch

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    I've got absolutely no training in economics at all, but this came up in a discussion today elsewhere on TSR and I'd appreciate it if someone were able to explain it to me.

    Say we have a certain population size today and the same population size some definite time in the future. There's a fixed number of people and those people are basically all the same, all of them want certain things and are only able to "appreciate" a limited number of things, so can only attribute a certain amount of value to stuff.

    This imaginary economy is post-materialist, so we ignore all physical goods. Instead, we've got a virtual economy where the only product of the economy is software that people can run and enjoy (we're going to forget about the material requirements for running that software). Obviously, over time, the software is going to improve, so the software being developed now will be inferior to the software being developed then. However, the fact remains that there are still the same number of humans around: despite the fact that future software is "better", there's no way for humans to "enjoy" it more since there are still the same number of humans, they're not living for longer and there's no actual work being done in the physical world. So despite the fact that this technology is better, there's not any change in productivity and objectively seen, no more work is being done in the future than there is now and there's no way for there to be greater appreciation for that technology then than now.

    In spite of this, people I have spoken to claim that the economy can still grow during this time. How is that possible? How can value increase in a steady state system like this, without saying that value is meaningless? How can value increase when there's no change happening?

    Sorry are you talking about the matrix?
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