Re: true abundance?

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Tue Jan 30 2001 - 04:19:53 MST

On Tue, Jan 30, 2001 at 01:44:06AM -0800, Samantha Atkins wrote:
> This is a popular socialist argument. It assumes that all of us, every
> single humans somehow contributed something to everything we have and
> therefore we all have an equal right to the fruits of human progress.
> But
> this argument is quite questionable. The majority of human progress
> comes from a relative handful of creative and energetic people, not from
> the masses of humankind.

Depends how you define 'progress'. And on the ability to selectively
ignore the necessary prerequisites for those 'creative and energetic
people' to do their things. Behind every aerospace engineer or chip
designer there's a small army of people working supermarket checkouts and
farms and food factories (so the engineers don't have to hunt their food
every day with a flint spear), valeting maintaining and manufacturing
their cars (so the engineers don't have to walk to work every day),
building houses and mowing their lawns for them, and so on. These people
are not clearly part of the creative process -- but without them, there
couldn't be a creative process because the creative person would be too
bloody busy staying alive to get creating.

>From this viewpoint, being creative and innovative is merely a
specialisation, of no more importance to the running of things than
being paid to clean toilets for a living.

I've noticed a tendency of people on this list -- and of libertarians
in general -- to flatter themselves with the idea that they belong to
some tiny elite, buried in the seething masses, who actually make
things work and civlization progress. Well, it might be true -- and
that might be a pig I see through my study window, on final approach
into Turnhouse airport. Folks, we *are* those masses. Doesn't matter
if most of them are dumb as a plank; we're still related.

I figure that if you want to set ethical goals for extropians, taking
those dumb-as-a-plank people and helping them learn to *think* would
be a good starting point for activism. Denying that they're *capable*
of thought is actually a first step down another road -- one that leads
to a hereditary aristocracy or a caste system.

-- Charlie

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