Re: Extropian Principles 3.0: Please comment on new version

Max More (
Sat, 12 Sep 1998 18:39:28 -0700

At 08:21 PM 9/10/98 -0400, Dan Fabulich wrote:
><shrug>  Like I say, it's pretty easy to explain to others, but I'd much
>rather prefer that DO's definition be self-evident rather than easy to

You've probably already seen my suggestion of a change to "Practical Optimism".
Do you like that one?

>The very concept of ownership is, IMO, political. 

I'm toying with the idea of dropping the name "Self-Ownership" in favor of "Personal Autonomy" or something like that. As you say, the concept of ownership is primarily political, although it has been used in psychology in a sense like the one I wanted. For instance "own your emotions" does not mean that you have property rights in your feelings, but that you accept them rather
than pretending that you don't have those feelings, or avoiding dealing with them. The term "autonomy" comes with philosophical baggage that I don't want, but non-philosophers won't be carrying that baggage.

>In that same vein, I see markets as a particular technology which
>extropians will use in order to grow, explore and develop.  Just as I
>wouldn't say "So-and-so doesn't think ubiquitous nanoelectronics will be
>energetically feasible; he/she must not be an extropian," neither would I
>be comfortable saying "So-and-so doesn't think that the market system works
>as well as some other moneyless resource allocation system does; he/she
>must not be an extropian."

I don't see markets as just another technology. I still think the difference between us may lie in you seeing "markets" as referring to something very much like what we have today, even though the Principles explicitly do not make this
assumption. Some other "moneyless resource allocation system" could easily be a
market. Money may not be necessary to markets--in the past we had barter, and in the future we may have something not yet conceived. If
it is a centralized, coercive allocation mechanism then it certainly is not a market. But markets in
the open sense I mean do not necessarily use money, nor any of the existing institutions.

Perhaps, contrary to our current understanding, some kind of centralized allocation system will one day be better than markets. I doubt it, but if so, I
will revise the principles then! For now, I want to retain an explicit Extropian favoring of markets in the very open and flexible sense I've laid out
in the Principles.

If this is favoring one particular technology, then it's an extremely general kind of technology. I don't see that as much different from favoring the use of
reason as an effective means of knowledge, or optimism as a psychological approach.

I've added to the end of one paragraph to stress this point further:

"Supporting free markets does not mean that we see current business structures,
institutions, and processes as ideal. On the contrary the market is a discovery
process that, when not stifled by government, continually challenges our existing practices. The market embodies a perpetual “creative destruction” in which experimentation, improvement, and progress predominate. Future markets may not use money, may replace banking and corporations with other means. Our support for markets means support for any effective implementation of spontaneous orders in the economy, not a defense of any existing structures as optimal."



Max More, Ph.D. (soon also: <>)
Consulting services on the impact of advanced technologies President, Extropy Institute:,