pensions and natality

Francois-Rene Rideau
Wed, 14 Apr 1999 18:10:17 +0200

On Wed, Apr 14, 1999 at 03:41:22PM +0200, Odile Bénassy wrote:
>> Consider the sum of available riches [...]
> What is "riches" ?
> Are disease, bad time, pollution,... to be counted in negative,
> substracted riches sum ?
Well, certainly.
However, be aware that the previous message
was not meant as an exact economical model.
It's much more accurate than the complete lack of intelligent
discourse that reigns in the french political debate,
but it is only an first-order approximation, a "classical" model
(in the same way as 18th century economists drew classical models
to sketch the laws that rule general trends of economy,
without pretending to get exact values).
Actually, riches combine in ways that are non-linear,
and contributions can't be individually attributed.

> If so, the axiom below will have a more conceptual meaning, because you
> could doubt of its rightness, depending on which country you consider.
>> First proposition: there can only be life and civilization if the sum of
>> available riches is positive. Take it as an axiom, if needed.
>> ...
Well, there is also a capital of natural riches that may be spent,
but not recovered, so that countries may live in an unstable state
where they spend more than they create, but not indefinitely.
I admit a more precise theory should better define the notions of
expenses and creation; dealing with things from the point of view
of human work is not the same as dealing with them from the point of view
of available natural resources; also, the technical progress that shifts
the costs of various kinds of human works and of natural resources,
should be taken into account as THE factor allowing people to work
less for more benefits.

However, whatever the more precise model we choose, there will still
be a basic problem of equilibrium, such that, for a measure of utility
to determine, the civilization can only survive and expand if it
creates more benefits than it costs.

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