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Optimizing productivity and creativity



   

In this section I suggest a few practical ideas to help us break out of the destructive feedback process we are in. These ideas are not original. They are compatible with and to a small degree justifiable through the mathematics of creativity.

Creativity requires resources. Invest too many resource in creative activity and you fail to meet basic needs. Soon resources disappears and creative activity as well. Invest too little resources and your rivals will soon be so far beyond you that you become irrelevant.

We need large companies and large projects to achieve certain goals. At the same time we recognize that creativity and innovation seems to thrive best in smaller companies and projects. If total wealth is increasing then it should both be spread more widely and provide more opportunity for individual institutions to become larger. We need to get some quantitative measure on this tradeoff. I strongly suspect that we are currently skewed towards excessive concentration of resources.

Taxes  and incentives  should be structured so most can build up enough personal wealth to have some stake in society and ultimately some degree of financial independence  . A nation of wage slaves  is better than a nation of slaves but far worse that a nation of independent people. Immense personal fortunes 

serve little purpose. There ought to be a tax on wealth  (not income but wealth) past a certain limit based on per capita net worth. For example it might take effect when an individuals net worth exceeds some multiple of per capita net worth. This tax should be progressive. If that destroys the incentive to produce more wealth in a few individuals that is likely to be all to the good. When personal wealth gets past the point of providing needed resources and financial security it is likely to do more harm than good.

Large companies and projects limit diversity and thus creativity. Of course they have other compensating advantages. There should be a bigness tax 

beyond a certain point. This tax could always be avoided by splitting into truly independent companies. We could experiment with the limit to see how it should be set relative to national net worth.

For most of the life of our nation democracy provided a constraint on the excess of large institutions. Every person has exactly one vote regardless of their wealth. The size of our country and the cost of media to contact large number of voters has significantly eroded this constraint. We need to restore this balance through campaign finance reform 

and perhaps other mechanisms.

New version of this book


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Next: An infinite future Up: Human institutions Previous: Stability and creativity
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