Rise of the Techno Peasant

Over at Cracked they have an article about how the future will be ruled by bull shit.


The basic idea is everything above the lowest block on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can basically be had online for free. This not only feeds into the “Information wants to be free” mantra of just a few years ago, but also gives evidence of a theory I have been rolling around in my head for the last year or so. I think we are witnessing the birth of a new demographic, we are seeing the rise of the Techno Peasant, people who have little wealth in the real world, but live full, exciting and passionate lives online.

When I examine my life, I discover, I no longer need to buy newspapers or magazines, I don”t have to go to the movie theatre or a movie rental place, heck, I don’t even need cable TV any more. I live over a thousand miles from my family, but I regularly communicate with them and the emotional bump of my fathers death, was for me, played out on Facebook. My best friends are the guys I play HackMaster online with every Friday night. The only significant relationship I have that is not primarily online is my Wife PezWitch. I live the bulk of my life online and even if I lost everything today, as the article said, I could continue that life for the price of a $300 netbook and a $20 a month Internet connection. So yes, for me, everything above that lowest tier on the Maslow chart, is free online or so close to free as it does not really matter.Saturday afternoon softball games and cocktail parties have been replaced by World of Warcraft raids.

  1. This idea has actually been popping up in various forms of fiction for a number of years now. You can see variations of the idea in a number of Pournelle novels, the best one being “Oath of Fealty” in which an entire city is built around the idea of never really having to leave. They actually mandate that residents have to take so many meals a month in the commons. Online entertainment and free booze / drugs are also how the “citizen” masses are controlled in the CoDominium series of novels. Other authors written along these lines also but I would have to did a bit to think of examples other than that Bruce Willis movie a couple years ago.

  2. Snow Crash dealt with this a bit as well, the main character Hiro Protagonist is a garden variety looser who lived in a rented storage unit, but online he is a demi-god who can go anywhere and do anything.

  3. Yeah Snow Crash was one of the other novels that was kicking around in the back of my mind

  4. @Bruce, I think the people who would live in those places are not terribly inclined to use or even care about the Internet.

  5. I wonder where is the point of diminishing returns. At what point do the out of work people, not pulling in any income because their unemployment insurance has been used up, cause a problem with the big automated corporations because there are not enough people able to buy their product no matter how cheap it is?

  6. @David, the age old question, “Does it matter if I can get a TV for $79 at WalMart if I can’t pay my rent?”.

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