Re: `capitalist' character values

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Mon Jul 23 2001 - 00:57:19 MDT

Lee Corbin wrote:
> Samantha wrote
> > Lee wrote
> >> Yes, but (as [Damien] said in some text I deleted) it could take a while
> >> to ramp up to the Singularity. More important, perhaps, is that I
> >> just have a problem suggesting to people---say in their early twenties---
> >> that saving money is probably pointless, working hard (and getting a
> >> good job), educating yourself (even if you don't feel like it)...
> >> I just have a hard problem suggesting to them that they needn't do
> >> these things. I'm pretty sure you feel the same way. I think that
> >> people are simply better off if they follow the "old" maxims.
> >
> > Sure. I have a hard problem with that too. But who is saying
> > that? Certainly not I or anyone else I have heard here.
> With the Singularity so close, why would you tell someone to save
> money, work hard (even when they don't feel like it), and educate
> themselves (even when they don't want to)? I'll bet that you have
> reasons! But they can retort "now there is a GMI---so I don't
> *have* to do any of those things, right?"

Hell. You do the learning stuff because it is fun and stretches
the brain. Especially when you aren't under threat of getting
economically crushed if you don't study what the market will pay
for rather than what truly makes your heart sing. It has little
to do with whether the Singularity is just around the corner or
not. What do you think you will do after Singularity other than
whatever makes your heart sing? Might as well get started. GMI
wouldn't change that either. As I've argued elsewhere on this

> > Technically and economically we can feed everyone right now.
> > The main barriers are all political. Waiting until after MNT is
> > bullshit.
> You still have not answer my earlier question: how much money
> do you think that your U.S. government will have to spend on the
> 200,000,000 adults in the U.S. to provide the GMI? Remember also,

You are mixing apples and oranges. GMI is not the same as
feeding everyone on earth. The latter is a much more tractable
and cheaply resolved problem. We already produce enough food.
The main problems are transport, will and the politics of some
of the countries that would seize the food at their border and
barter it for arms letting their people starve.

> that we have now learned (thanks to Chris Rauch this morning 10:01am)
> that about one-fourth of the populace would quit working within a
> year, and that many more might have less incentive to work if they
> **thought** that a lot of lazy people were getting a free ride?

I hate to break this to you but we don't need one fourth of our
population working fulltime with the level of automation we
have. At least that many are doing make work effectively
because we can figure out how people can have any dignity and
reasonable income otherwise. At least this is sure the way it
looks to me having been inside a lot of corporations and more
than a few factories in my life.

There is no need to think of it in such terms at all. It is
only possible to think of it thus when work is seen as something
onerous that you are unfairly doing while others loaf.

> >> People like Bill Gates now have wealth that is on the order
> >> of 10^7 times as much as some poor person needs to sustain
> >> life. Maybe it would be best to wait until that figure gets
> >> to 10^12 or 10^13, because then a number of compassionate rich
> >> people will simply fund a minimal standard of living for everyone.
> >> This should occur as we approach the Singularity, and we don't
> >> the onerous stealing from the rich to give to the poor (by force).
> >
> > In the meantime what? Starvation?
> Do you have any idea of how many people each year starve
> to death in the U.S.? Hint: do you think that it reaches
> the newspapers when an elderly person trapped in their
> apartment actually does? About how many children in the
> U.S. starve to death each year? Is the GMI really needed
> to prevent starvation?

That was not the question. The question is, what do you propose
as more people simply aren't needed in a modern hi-tech
economy? How do you propose to handle the problem?

- samantha

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