Re: Immortality and Resources

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Thu, 6 Feb 1997 12:52:30 -0800 (PST)

> nearly everything a person x does or doesn't do, will have an effect on
> some person y... What do you suggest for solving problems ? I'm open for
> alternatives, it's just that i know none, if there are, i am sorry for my
> ignorance.

This is the old "breathing is a trespass" argument against anarchism,
and it holds some merit. The reason it fails is just plain economics:
redressing such microscopic grievances costs more than tolerating them.
A monopoly government typically imposes its own standards of trespass.
Punching a man in the nose will likely get you arrested for assault;
tapping him on the shoulder to ask the time probably won't, but these
actions are clearly matters of degree, not kind.

When the redress of grievances is placed in the free market, solutions
will be arrived at that are the most efficient for the circumstances
without the nedd for external control. Each protection agency (assuming
for the moment a Friedman-like system) will set its own "deductables"
of harm, and they will tend to settle into those values that cause it
to attract enough business without costing too much in effort. It is
likely that the agencies will all find similar levels that best suit
human nature and the technology of the day.

> In extreme cases yes. What is the Anarcho Capitalist view on patents for
> example ? I can imagine situations where ones 'ownership' of technological
> processes, genetic codes etc, limits free trade and the freedom of the
> individual, can't you ?

This is actually an area of contention: Freidman believes in intellectual
property law pretty much as it exists today, with copyrights and patents
(for a more detailed view, his essay "Standards as Intellectual Property"
is on his web site at I and others do not.
I personally believe that scarcity is a fundamental irreducible attribute
of property, and therefore things like contractual privileges and names
(i.e., trademarks) are property, but pure copyrights and patents are not.
Nor do I accept the popular justification that they are necessary to
encourage creation and invention--they do no such thing, they just
manipulate the market into preferring forms of invention that we have
become accustomed to.

> I may become a mild libertarian, after some time spent on this list, as
> its ideas do interest me a lot, but never, that is NEVER, will i let
> political ideals form an obstacle for Transhumanist cooperation and
> communication. Something with which not everybody on this list seems to
> agree.

In human beings, the capability to be more than hunter-gatherers lies
in our ability to communicate and cooperate toward goals. Precisely
because of this, our future is necessarily shaped by political ideals
more than by any other factor: politics is the normative philosophy of
human interaction. My future will be shaped not only by my own actions,
but by those with whom I exchange ideas, engage in trade, and those who
stand in my way. Current political systems stand in my way, and those
who act as apologists for the state earn my contempt and enmity, and it
is worth my effort to change their minds.