Author

Like many teenagers, I wondered what course my life would take as an adult. Unlike those who are content to simply let the future unfold as it will, I actively searched for answers. My search included a heartfelt prayer, asking the questions, “Why am I here? What is my purpose in life?” Soon thereafter, I had a clear, compelling dream.

In this dream, I was shown a society that served to protect and improve the world. I instantly recognized my greater purpose, and asked the leader how I could help. He smiled and said that I was not yet ready to join their society, but someday I would be. I have spent my life getting ready, learning everything I could about technology and systems to improve the world, no matter what field they are in. This book is the result.

I remained open to inspiration, and learned from a variety of sources. For example, for decades I wondered what kind of physical system could assure universal abundance. Then, in 1975, I happened upon the work of Dr. Gerard O’Neill. As I finished his magnum opus, The High Frontier, I burst into tears of joy–for I realized that he had laid out a basis for what came to be called the Three Pillars of Celebrationism.

Likewise, for a long time I wondered if there might be an institutional solution to the endemic problems that plague democracies; one that could work without sacrificing citizen authority. Then, on our honeymoon in 2009, my wife and I visited Venice. Our tour guide was a passionate advocate for the wisdom of the lost Venetian Republic.[1] Again, I got tears in my eyes when I realized what she was sharing.

I also embraced more traditional education. With my interest in technology, I got a degree in communications and became a technical writer. Merely telling people about technology made little difference to the state of the world, however. I wanted improvements to come quickly! I had a mistaken belief that I would need lots of money in order to single-handedly change the world, and therefore got an MBA and became a startup entrepreneur. However, since my passion was always for the ultimate outcome rather than the business itself, it’s not surprising that I had spotty results.

After a rough patch that left me questioning my ability to ever fulfill my vision, I took a job as the editor of an investment advisory letter focused on “bleeding edge” technology companies. Rediscovering my love of explaining complex and transformative ideas in a way that was easy to understand, I then wrote Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations: a 21st Century Translation and Commentary, and edited an early version of New Money for a New World.

The whole time, I continued making notes about technology that I could eventually use in my planned book, and occasionally even drafting parts of it.  However, I was gun-shy. If I actually published the book, what would people say about it? What would people say about me? Would my personal and business shortcomings cloud the importance of the message I was hoping to convey?

In 2014, I had a life-threatening illness. I wasn’t afraid of dying, though I would have been sad to leave my loved ones behind. It was the thought of looking back on this life, having left this book incomplete, that I found intolerable. That motivated me to finally overcome my fear of ridicule and finish the book. The first draft was done in just a few months.

I am blessed with not only a supportive and understanding wife, but one with a background in math, AI, and logic who has written over a dozen books of her own. She read and re-read my book — all 49 drafts — insisting that any argument I put forth be logically sound and fully supported by evidence. She cut whole sections of the book that did not support its greater purpose, and restructured what was left to enhance the presentation of my vision.

We then sought opinions from experts in a wide range of disciplines, asking them to critique the material relevant to their domain of knowledge. Although many had slight clarifications that I incorporated in the final book, none of them disagreed with the central thesis. Automation is coming, and the world of scarcity where we labor at jobs to survive and hopefully thrive will soon be changed beyond recognition.

We can wring our hands in despair as more and more people lose their jobs and eke out a minimal survival on charity and public assistance until the entire system collapses, or we can start designing a new system that does not rely upon the allocation and distribution of scarcity, where people are valued for their human contributions rather than their economic utility.

It would be the height of folly to ignore this rapidly accelerating trend, or to rely on faith—faith that enough new jobs will emerge that cannot be automated; faith that a politically dubious guaranteed minimum income will spread across the globe, or faith that people can be retrained in an economically viable way.  Faith has its place, but not in public policy.

Readers have said that A Celebration Society is a blueprint for protecting and improving the world. It’s written in broad brushstrokes. Now we need a team of aligned people with diverse expertise, resources, and passions to make it real. Ordinary people can now come together and conduct a grand experiment.

Almost half a century has passed since my dream occurred. I’m finally ready to join that society which protects and improves the world. Are you? 

[1] I wish I remembered her name. If she ever reads this, I hope she will step forward to be acknowledged.