Re: Extropian Principle #5

From: Emlyn \(hotmail\) (
Date: Fri Jun 16 2000 - 03:35:33 MDT

(The original reply went to Randall, and Randall responded directly to me; I
it to go to the list. Thus you wont have seen the messages these are
responses to.
I wont do any snipping!)

I'll respond to this message on list when I have a free moment (hour?).


----- Original Message -----
From: Randall, Randall R, SITS <>
To: Emlyn (onetel) <>
Sent: Friday, June 16, 2000 4:45 PM
Subject: RE: Extropian Principle #5

> Emlyn wrote:
> > Sorry I haven't replied; I'm short on time and want to get
> > this one kind of right.
> No problem. :) BTW, I'll be at this address for
> several days, and you can always *reach* me here,
> but you could reply to
> as well, if you wish.
> > Randall Randall wrote:
> > > I'd also like to take this opportunity to
> > > beg you to do more songs like "Alive". :)
> > > I love that song!
> >
> > You've made a friend for life.
> Um, does that mean you will?

You bet. Jodie and myself have been taking a break (having a second baby,
which is not really a break as such). We're hoping to get moving again in
second half of the year (that's soon, isn't it?). The overwhelming feedback
we've received about our music so far is
    - 1 - We need an orchestra
    - 2 - Sounds like it's from a musical.

We are taking steps to incorporate both of these points; ie:, write a full
and stage it properly with orchestra, etc. More news as it comes to hand...

> > Thanks for your reply; I take it that agorists go for a brand of
> > where you have only the free market, no gov't. Is this correct? Does
> > map over Libertarian ideas/ideals?
> Yes, it is correct, and agorists often call ourselves
> libertarians. In the US, using a capital L for
> Libertarian usually denotes that a person is part of
> the Libertarian Party, and most agorists would not
> be, since we would consider voting to be morally
> equivalent to using government force on others. Some
> agorists vote "in self-defense", though. :) As with
> other libertarians, there is rarely an issue that all
> agorists always agree on. In any case, there are usually
> considered to be two sorts of libertarian, minarchist
> (small government) and anarchist. Of the anarchist camp,
> some call themselves agorists, and some anarcho-capitalists,
> and the difference is nearly all in the name.
> > It's been instructive to read what you wrote; I've gone looking for
> > information on anarchist systems out there on the net, and can only
> > retrieve a lot of indecipherable mumbo jumbo. There are many many
> > many idiots out there who like to use the word Anarchy in their web
> Yes. :( In the US, the best-known group of
> people calling themselves "Anarchist" are
> violent and/or anti-technology.
> > I'm not sure that I agree with this. Fundamentally, you have at some
> > (let's say initially) a system where few people have huge wads of cash
> (big
> > capital), and the majority have relatively small wads (trivial capital).
> If
> > you remove the govt & all the intellectual property laws and the like,
> > will the concentrations of capital disperse from the larger holders to
> > marority, trivial capital holders? What mechanism will make this happen.
> Either the money will be invested, or it will be spent.
> If it is spent, it's obviously being put in other people's
> hands. If it is invested, then other people are benefiting
> from it, just as if it were their money (except for the
> small amount they are paying to use it: interest).
> > You
> > must bear in mind that capital concentrates into a small amount of
> > privately held lumps because those with the capital like to keep and
> > increase their stake, and actively work to do so.
> This would be true if those with the capital were
> naturally better at making it in the first place,
> but *if* that were so, it would mean that they
> were better at meeting the needs of others, so that
> others are willing to pay them for it. I would
> expect, though, in the absence of force, that nearly
> everyone would be about the same in ability to make
> other people happy enough to part with their money.
> > Even without intellectual
> > property, limitied liability, tax favours, etc, I think I could hold
> &
> > increase a major stake (say 1 billion+) at the expense of those around
> > because of the weight that kind of capital carries. I'm very interested
> > know why I am misguided here.
> Here is why I think you are, anyway:
> Money cannot be made "at the expense of" those around,
> but only with their consent and approval, *unless* you
> are using force against them. If you were able to
> increase your 1 billion, it would be because other
> people were willing to pay you for whatever you were
> doing with it.
> > > So start your own. :) Seriously, with the advantage
> > > of large businesses being almost entirely caused by
> > > the regulations imposed by the State, businesses that
> > > got as large as most of today's corporations wouldn't
> > > last long: they can't change fast enough to keep up
> > > with an unregulated market (cf. the internet).
> >
> > This is my point; I'd like to start my own, but the marketplace already
> has
> > many players who have lots of stuff - the playing pieces -
> > and I don't.
> The thing to do, then, is to start in a business
> that doesn't require lots of stuff. In the
> simplest case, this means hiring your skills and
> time out to others. Notice that (in the US, at
> least; dunno about Australia) the laws which have
> been passed by government, at the behest of those
> with lots of money, are specifically designed to
> keep you from hiring yourself and your skills out
> at a fair price, since you'd have to pay extra
> taxes on having your one-person business, and
> jump through lots of hoops, and even then, if you
> have the same customer for more than some certain
> percentage of the time, you're automatically
> considered to be "working for" them. All this
> has the effect of a huge barrier to entry that
> wouldn't exist without government. One identifying
> feature of agorists is that they usually have one
> or more businesses going, without most of the
> jumping through hoops. I'm no exception (cf.
> It doesn't take much
> money to start something like this, unless you
> actually get licenses, permits, a physical
> building (since building codes are also designed
> to make operating a business in a "residential"
> area difficult or impossible), and all the other
> stuff which is intended to drive up your costs.
> The cost of complying with that stuff is the
> biggest cost of a small business.
> > I'd be interested to see someone here talk about whether large orgs
> actually
> > can change fast enough to keep up. I'm sure there are structures you
> > build to make this work. For instance, if the enormous hierarchical
> > multi-national doesn't work in the agorist economy, why wouldn't I as
> > Big Capitalist just break it into lots and lots and lots and lots of
> > weeny, mostly autonomous companies? Then they should gain the same
> advantage
> > of agility, but I can keep an eye on the big picture, and shuffle my
> > around to make sure that where they need it, my little companies get an
> > unfair edge in terms of lots of extra capital. Why wont this work?
> If it does work, it will be because you're
> doing enough good to stay afloat. When you
> say that your companies get an unfair edge,
> you either mean that it's a wise investment
> for them to have more money, in which case
> your competitors would borrow to match, or
> you mean that you're simply spending money
> for a temporary advantage, which enriches
> other people at your expense. Remember,
> without using force, you can only get people
> to give you money if they think that it's
> worth it, and the easiest way to make them
> think that is to do good things for them.
> > > Money is only coercive when it is used to buy
> > > force.
> >
> > I say it is coercive in an economic sense; like "Sell me your
> > company for 1 billion $US, or I'll spend the same in the market
> > on aggressive competitive practices designed to destroy your
> > market share". That's coersion.
> I think that unless you can get a monopoly
> by other means (such as passing laws or
> getting governmental financial assistance),
> any sane businessman would laugh at your
> threat. He would know that you can only
> lose money temporarily; you will run out.
> When you do, he'll make money again, and
> he can borrow enough to hold over until then,
> when he shows your message to his banker.
> If you have to pull this kind of stunt,
> it means that you don't believe that you
> can provide the service or product at the
> same value as he can. Anyway, if he accepts,
> you've just reversed your position with his,
> and if he was worse off when you proposed this,
> then you are now.
> > > Agreed, but see above about large businesses. This
> > > sort of behavior wouldn't be profitable without
> > > substantial assistance from government.
> >
> > Yet again, I don't buy this argument that large business
> > works solely as a result of a favourable environment due
> > solely to the govt. I'd like to hear more about it.
> It isn't so much that "large" only works because of
> government, but that the larger you get, the more
> overhead there is in communication and coordination
> between the various parts. People aren't able to
> keep track of more than a few people at once, and
> to get around this, you have to have more layers of
> management, just to keep track of the same events.
> Those extra layers are deadweight, competitively,
> unless being larger gives you some other advantage.
> > > Um, no, that would be force. Money is just
> > > an indicator of where it would be most helpful
> > > to invest your efforts. It's a signalling
> > > system about the needs of others.
> >
> > Money is as you say. The rule of Money, is about power.
> > People accumulate really vast amounts of capital to be
> > able to exert the power that comes with those sums.
> > Exerting power, means making people do things that they wouldn't
> > otherwise do, which is also called compulsion or coersion.
> Hm. If a store has a sale on computer equipment
> advertised on their storefront, I might go into
> the store to check out the merchandise that I
> would otherwise have ignored. Have they used
> coercion on me? I don't think so, since if I
> buy something that I would otherwise not have
> bought, it is because I believe that I will be
> better off buying than not buying. I would say,
> therefore, that causing others to change their
> course of action is only coercion if physical
> force or fraud is involved, since in that case,
> the recipient is *worse* off than they otherwise
> would have been. The telltale sign of market
> efficiency (which correlates with the lack of
> force or fraud) is that everyone involved in a
> particular transaction believes that they are
> better off than they would have been without it.
> [snipped grocery store example]
> > There is a flaw in the argument above, as follows:
> >
> > Either, people only want as much as they can buy, or they
> > want more than they can buy.
> Okay.
> > If they want only as much as they can buy, then what is the
> > point of money? You need only to allow them to take what
> > they want; we do not have a situation of scarcity.
> One function of money is to signal that more
> production of some good will be required in
> the future. If we don't keep track of what
> people got that they wanted, then we won't
> know what to make more of tomorrow. While
> this could conceivably be tracked with a
> centralized system of recordkeeping, the
> market system (using money) keeps track with
> little overhead, and coincidentally provides
> an incentive system to perpetuate the system.
> After all, if we used the central recordkeeping
> system, what incentive would the recordkeepers
> have not to walk off the job? There might also
> be other ways of doing this. In particular,
> nanotechnology will probably reduce the
> overhead of producing all your own goods to a
> low enough level that large numbers of people
> will do that instead of participating in any
> market. I expect to be one of those people. :)
> > If they want more than they can buy, then their individual choice is
> > thwarted. They must choose less than they desire. So this is not
> > 100% freedom of choice.
> No, but it is limited by production, not
> by force. If I am on a desert island, and
> want coconuts, it is true that my freedom
> of choice is limited to either working for
> the coconuts (by climbing trees, I guess)
> or not having any. That's just the way the
> universe works, and the market reflects that.
> > Further, this warehouse has limited items. Suppose some
> > people want to buy the same items with their money, to
> > a point where there are not enough items to fill demand
> > of the chosen type? In the warehouse scenario, it is
> > first-come-first-served. A rather arbitrary system of
> > redistribution.
> >
> > Maybe the warehouse uses an auctioning system? That way,
> > price moves to match up supply and demand (kind of).
> > This just exacerbates my earlier point that people can
> > only get the things they can afford with their money (and
> > so are quite restricted in terms of choice).
> >
> > Finally I think the most major point here is that some people
> > have a lot more money than others. Someone could walk in with
> > enough cash to buy everything in the warehouse. Maybe they've
> > gone without from previous warehouse sales, or perhaps they've
> > just inherited ungodly wealth, which allows them to basically go
> > around taking things (by offering so much money that they always
> > get first choice, esp in an auction situation).
> >
> > A parliamentary democratic system will divide things
> > according to it's own weird and non-obvious decision
> > making criteria, but I would contend that the optimality
> > of this decision could not be shown to be any worse than
> > that in the money situation.
> If you divide the selling and production into "rounds"
> or "turns" for clarity, then:
> On the first round, the parliamentary decision-making
> will be no worse, probably, than the market system,
> since we have no idea what the starting conditions are
> (what is available, who has more money). The parliamentary
> system, though, will never get any better. The market,
> though, contains its own signalling system for more
> production in exactly the areas that are required: those
> products become more expensive when there are fewer than
> needed. So in the second round, the market system will
> be more efficient than the parliamentary system at getting
> people what they want, and every round thereafter will
> become more efficient until it is as efficient as it's
> gonna get. This level of efficiency will likely be far
> better than the parliamentary system, even if not perfect
> (because of the lag of one production-to-market cycle
> that is built in to the system).
> > If you now took that monopoly away from MS, they still have
> > more money than God. This means, they can poach the best
> > employees, employ highly expensive & effective marketing
> > techniques (including negative techniques for crushing perception
> > of competitor products), influence complementary businesses to
> > stop trading with their competitors, and many, many other kinds
> > of really awful competitive practices.
> But without being able to force people to pay for
> things that they already have, they'd just be
> spending money. In other words, they'd either
> have to become a competitive organization, which
> entails providing value for money, or they'd
> spend until it was all gone. Remember, too, that
> they don't hire people at really high salaries,
> but instead at normal salaries with high stock
> portfolios. If they no longer had a monopoly on
> "Windows", they'd have to provide other services
> to survive. The stock price would plummet, and
> they'd no longer have all that money.
> By the way, those expensive marketing techniques
> aren't very effective. They can only afford those
> as long as no one else can sell copies of Windows.
> > My idea is, no doubt, someone else's, who stole it from me
> > before I thought of it.
> :)
> > I'll post it seperately.
> Alright. Did you bcc this to the extropians list?
> It doesn't appear to be in the cc field. Anyway,
> feel free to forward to that list, if you wish.
> Randall.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:13:21 MDT