ECON: Immortality and Resources

Guru George (
Thu, 6 Feb 1997 20:39:52 GMT

On Tue, 4 Feb 1997 15:24:31 +1300
Jim Legg <> wrote:

>>Guru George asks:
>>Jim, either I'm completely thick or you're off your trolley. :-)
>>You are explaining obscurum per obscurius. What are the 'non-local
>>variables hidden in price', and why should anyone bother with them;
>Hidden variables are structural. For example, a corporatist hidden
>structure, say in television news broadcasting, prevents any employee
>from speaking out against corruption and lack of real constructivist
>analysis of events by simply replacing the employee (at whatever level).

The kinds of corporate shenanigans you describe *are* reflected in price
; that is in fact one of the subtleties of the price system that
anticapitalists don't understand. For example, a news corporation such
as you describe is a less effective news corporation than one that
doesn't indulge in such practices. In a free market, in the long run, it
will therefore fail (because if and when they are being rational, part
of what people are buying when they buy news is real news).

>>what have they got to do with 'intrinsic value'? Never mind the AI,
>>stick to economics for the moment, so that I can get some kind of
>>grasp of what you are talking about.
>Future planning HAS to take into account AI and the very simple fact that AI
>isn't going to be making decisions based on hidden structures.
>Constructionist AI will look under every rock for every variable. The sooner
>it is realized that AI controllers won't be wanting to place bets based on
>price, the better.

I think I'm beginning to understand what you're on about. Ian Banks' Culture
and all that, right? A bit of Gibson, Sterling, Stephenson et al.? (I
still don't understand why you use the word 'intrinsic', though.)

And how is Constructionist AI to find all this out? Some of the
variables reflected in price are simply not gatherable as information:
individuals' 'know-how', for instance. Is the AI going to do a kind of
cyborg Vulcan mind meld or something: and would that be with peoples'
consent or without? Or is it just going to torture the information out
of people? You want to know something? Even if your AI tortured me to
find out how I'm able to drink a cup of tea, I still couldn't tell it!

>>Also, in what way are consumers 'captive', if they have a choice?
>On my website I put up "Counter Capitalism" a revealing juxtaposed
>analysis comparing capitalism (corporatism, merchantilism or what have
>you) to Bob Penny's critique of mind-control Scientology-like cults.
>From which I quote:
[interesting stuff snipped]
All this has nothing to do with capitalism, though it might have
something to do with corporatism and mercantilism, if I understand you
correctly. We are not using words in the same way, I think. To me, Capitalism
means free markets and a functioning price system in a context of the
rule of law (as opposed to the rule of men - or AIs). Where that doesn't
exist, you don't have capitalism. The systems we actually have in most
contemporary Democracies are mercantile semifascist /semisocialist with
a sprinkling of capitalism holding them together.

Society exists for the benefit of individuals, not for the benefit of
'society', of Ordnung, or of some AI's good housekeeping. It so
happens that individuals are creatures that need to make their own
choices and steer their own way through life, otherwise they get unhappy,
even more unhappy than they get when they've got too many choices and
have to steer their own way through life. If your AI is going to take
away this liberty and plan society according to *its* vision of how
things should be, that is no different from any other dictator, and the
same flaws accrue, no matter how supposedly 'benevolent' or utilitarian
the dictatorship.

Can I make a suggestion? Why not lay off the ganja for a couple of
weeks? You'll really feel the benefit when you start smoking again! ;-)

Guru George