Re: Greed

Damien R. Sullivan (
Thu, 5 Feb 1998 21:34:35 -0800 (PST)

On Feb 5, 4:09pm, "Mark D. Fulwiler" wrote:

> We could argue about the economics of chattel slavery, but it's
> irrelevant. Slavery is wrong, and has no place in a civilized society.

Irrelevant? If a society with slavery was more stable and more
productive than a free society, the latter would shortly pass out of
existence. This is not the case now, but it may well have been the case
for every agricultural society above the subsistence level.

It is easy for me to believe that we have greater scientific truth than
ever before, because I can see where it is coming from. The claim that
we are ethically superior to all previous civilizations is harder to
swallow, especially as I still lack any idea of where 'right' and 'wrong'
come from.

Science cannot answer questions of right and wrong, but it can answer
questions of how society should be arranged to reach a certain goal. I
suspect that in the long run that is all which really matters. I will
be convinced that a gov't-less society is possible, let alone optimal,
when I see one exist and succeed.

> O.W. Holmes once said that taxation is the price we pay for
> civilization. He was dead wrong. Taxation is the price we pay for not
> having a good enough civilization.

Fair enough, but what does that mean? Is the failing a moral failing,
or a lack of low enough information and transaction costs, and a stable
enough starting position, for market-like mechanisms to do all the work
of maintaining growth _and_ stability?

> I don't owe you anything, you don't owe me anything. I cooperate with
> others when it is in my self interest to do so. I'm happy to cooperate

And people will prey on you when it is in their self interest to do so.

-xx- GSV Cynical Optimist X-)

"No, life is not fair. Not intrinsically. It's something we can try to
make it, though. A goal we can aim for. You can choose to do so, or
not. We have. I'm sorry you find us so repulsive for that."
-- _Player of Games_