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Energy
Raw materials
Human labour

That looks like a very 19th century view.

I disagree with 'labour' as a value. When used physically, it's another form of energy and can mostly be mechanised.

But that's it's least valuable application.

Resources
Intelligence

Intelligence is the ultimate wealth amplifier. When insight and creativity are applied to a problem, new solutions become possible and resources become more valuable - either because they become more accessible, or because their social and utility values increase.

But I also think we need to distinguish between social/collective wealth, and personal power.

If I have more power than you I can pressure you to act in certain ways, with rewards and punishments to match.

In capitalist economies the first order rewards and punishments are financial.

In other cultures they're physical and/or political.

Problems happen when personal power is used to limit or destroy collective intelligence.

I'd suggest the true measure of civilisation is the extent to which a culture is dedicated to increasing collective intelligence and providing access to all of its benefits, or preserving and exalting personal power for a small minority.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2012 at 09:31:08 AM EST

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