Re: Extropian Principles 3.0: Final (?) version now up

Max More (
Mon, 26 Oct 1998 09:55:41 -0800

At 10:13 AM 10/26/98 +1300, J. Maxwell Legg wrote:
>Max More wrote:
>> At 03:25 PM 10/24/98 +1300, you wrote:
>> >
>> >"as with all the links in my bookmarks, I do not necessarily agree with
>> >all the sentiments expressed therein. For example in the Extropian
>> >Principles 3.0 and The Journal of Transhumanism, the term 'economic
>> >growth' relies on capitalism and a price system which to my way of
>> >thinking are at odds with a public-AI decentralised data fusion, Survey
>> >Society.
>> You've lost me here. How does the term "economic growth" rely on any
>> particular system? "Economic growth" means no more than an increase in the
>> total measurable output of an economy. It does not specify how that economy
>> is organized. The current version of the Principles does not even mention
>> the price system.
>Let me quote how you qualified the use of the term "economic growth".
>Robin Hanson's JOT ABSTRACT
> "Economic growth is determined by the supply and
>demand of investment capital; "
>Max More EP 3.0
>"The market price system encourages conservation, substitution,
>and innovation, preventing any need for a brake on
>growth and progress. "
>I say: Investment capital and the market price system mean
>only one thing; - money. Although the market system
>is analysed as a negative feedback loop, money has
>been shown to create self re-inforcing positive
>feedback loops of wealth/poverty vicious circles.

I'm usually more frugal in quoting the message I'm replying to, but all of the above seems to be needed for context here.

First let me note that I understand your response, thanks to your elaboration. I was thinking of the changes I made in the Principles when moving from "Spontaneous Order" to "Open Society". Part of my intent was to leave open the possibility of alternative, non-monetary, non-price system decentralized mechanisms. Although I firmly believe that a market price system *currently* is the best way to ensure freedom and growing wealth for everyone (to the extent that governments refrain from tampering other than to refine the underlying legal rules), I do not want to rule out the possibility of a replacement in future. I *do* want the Principles to rule out a coercive, centralized allocation system that compels individuals to follow orders. A transhumanist could believe in the desirability of such a system, but they would not be an Extropian transhumanist.

When I wrote "The market price system encourages conservation, substitution, and innovation, preventing any need for a brake on growth and progress", I was making a statement that I believe is correct. But I did not intend to say that the market price system in principle is the *only* system that could do this. If a superior non-coercive, decentralized economic system arises, well fine. I don't see any sign of such an alternative but I do not rule it out as a possibility.

Perhaps I can rephrase the above quote to be more inclusive. Again, I only want to rule out coercive, centralized economic systems as incompatible with core extropian principles, not possible future developments compatible with these values. I could replace "The market price system" with something like "Effective economies, currently in the form of the market price system...". Not terribly elegant, but perhaps someone can suggest a better phrasing.

Thanks for your feedback, Maxwell.



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