Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Age of EmWork, Love, and Life when Robots Rule the Earth$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Robin Hanson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198754626

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198754626.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 October 2021



18 (p.247) Clumping
The Age of Em

Robin Hanson

Oxford University Press

Do ems physically concentrate in cities, or do they spread out more evenly across the land? Industrial economies today achieve large gains from clumping social and business activities closely together. The more easily that people can quickly travel to visit many different stores, employers, clubs, schools, etc., the more kinds of beneficial interactions become possible. The ability to interact via phones, email, and social media hasn’t reduced this effect; if anything the possibility of additional electronic interaction has usually increased the value of personal visits. Urban economists and other academics have long studied such “agglomeration” effects, and understand them in great detail. We should expect these gains from clumping to continue in an em world ( Morgan 2014 ). Ems want to be near one another, and near supporting tools and utilities, so that they could more easily and quickly interact with more such people and tools. This is especially important for fast ems, who can suffer noticeable communication delays with city scale separations. per person, cities today with twice the population tend to be 10% more economically productive per person. Compared with any given sized city, double-sized cities have per-person 21% more patents, 11% shorter roads, and 9% shorter electrical cables. But these cities also suffer 12% more crime, 17% more AIdS cases, and 34% more traffic congestion costs per person ( Bettencourt et al. 2007 , 2010 ; Schrank et al. 2011 ). Today, one factor increasing the productivity of larger cities is their selectively attracting better workers. But another important factor favoring big city productivity is their giving those better workers more ways to gain from their superior abilities. Optimal city size is in general a tradeoff between these gains and losses. During the farming era most people lived in small communities with populations of roughly 1000. Compared with any given sized village, only about 75% as many people lived in double-sized villages (Nitsch 2005). Thus most farmers lived in the smallest villages, because during the farmer era larger versions suffered higher costs of crime, disease, and transport.

Keywords:   assets, buildings, capital, economy, factories, governance, innovation, labor, machine shops

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .