Re: Gov't loves Gov't

Peter C. McCluskey (
Sat, 24 Jan 1998 11:40:24 -0800 (Charlie Stross) writes:
>instead of fixing the defect. (The day some libertarian thinker dreams
>up a non-coercive economic system that is not susceptive to the tragedy
>of the commons is the day I become a libertarian.) (Charlie Stross) writes:
>On Thu, Jan 22, 1998 at 11:53:38AM +0000, Mark Grant wrote:
>> Yes, but there's always a conflict of interest between people who
>> want more money than they have, and people who don't want to pay.
>> I don't see how this can ever be avoided.
>You seem to be locked into a fairly narrow way of understanding
>human relationships, then.

Why do you expect that there is some way of handling scarce resources
that is fundamentally different from what has already been tried?
I see plenty of room for innovation in taking things out of the
realm of scarce resources (e.g. medical care could be done by freeware
for our molecular assemblers eventually). But I think the laws of
physics appear to require that some things be in limited supply, and
my desire to experiment with Jupiter sized brains will probably be
sufficient to keep the demand unlimited.
It appears to me that any commons suffers from the well-known tragedy
unless there are restrictions on its use, and that any such restriction
would fall under my concept of a property right. We seem to have tried
enough variations on the concept of property rights (individual vs.
communal, bundled vs. things like mineral rights) that we are ready
to draw general conclusions about how they work.

>I look around the extropians list and I see people -- same as it was
>in 1992 -- with their eyes fixed on the stars, but their whole idea
>of economic interaction is based on an uncritical acceptance of
>dogma inherited from the 1920's (and formulated to some extent as a
>backlash against the then-dire threat of Soviet collectivism). This
>is a weird paradox: forward-thinkers who _refuse_ to examine some
>of their assumptions and try to improve on them.

I find it ironic that you make this claim at the same time that
Netscape is announcing it will make its browser source code public.
I've just seen a report that all of Netscape's top people read and
were influenced by a paper written by a former member of this list at

>I dunno. The free market _may_ be the optimal mediational method, for
>all I know; but what I see here isn't people trying to _prove_ it,
>or, alternatively, trying to invent something better: what I see
>is people taking it as a forgone conclusion.

Well, the list charter does discourage rehashing certain basics that
most of us consider already as proven as they can be. Especially when
most attempts at questioning whether it's a forgone conclusion just
repeat the same old ideas.

Peter McCluskey          | caffeine   O   CH3            |            ||  | |      H3C   C   N
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