On Fri, 16 Jun 2000, Brian D Williams wrote:
> I should have said the ecomomic apathy that results from handouts
> was perhaps a fundamental flaw of human nature.
This is an important point that should not be glossed over.
In a full-nanotech era, assuming you don't copy yourself endlessly,
you have more resources than you "need" (~= to the current
situation for anyone with a net worth in excess of $1-10 million
at current interest rates).
I'll make the general observation that many current high net-worth
individuals do not have to work to survive (having reached pseudo
communistic state condition), yet most of them still get up and go to
work every day (Paul Allen being an extreme case in point).
So, the question becomes whether the handouts generate apathy
(implying communism is self-defeating) or whether a significant
majority of individuals would do nothing if they could still survive
(implying communism cannot work due to human nature). The question
then becomes *what* would happen to capitalistic societies if you
released a virus that killed all individuals that demonstrated a
high degree of risk-taking/personal-drive (i.e. the high net-worth
individuals who work when the really don't have to)?
Extending this, will full-nanotech result in a pseudo-communistic
condition where the desire to excel has little survival advantage
and is bred out of the population (presumably dooming humanity
and leaving the solar system to AI's programmed with a "succeed
or commit suicide" mentality).
> Still playing DA, I could say that tens of thousands of years of
> communism had left your villagers at the level of a stone age
> tribe.... ;)
I think that is a stretch. I suspect you could attribute most
of Western "progress" to a few individuals with excessive curiosity,
talent, or genius level mentality and not to capitalistic systems
per se. It is worth noting that many of said individuals had
state support in the form of the aristocracy or favor of royalty.
One can note that communistic systems have been very effective at
educating masses of people (do you *really* want to discuss the
fraction of people *reading* on the Moscow metro trains vs. the
NY metro trains???) and creating systems that can support a large
base of engineers whose abilities seem to speak for themselves.
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