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

J. Maxwell Legg (
Tue, 27 Oct 1998 12:17:08 +1300

Max More wrote:

> 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.

If I was in the business of making fuel cells and wanted to look into the techniques of making a battery that used platinum to extract electricity from water it would become quickly apparent that the old methods of sandwiching the platinum between layers of carbon was un-economic because platinum tends to lump together and leave areas without any contact surface. In other areas the platinum soaked into the carbon and in these areas the platinum was quickly eroded. In order to make the battery work at all at least fifty times more platinum would need to be used just to cover the surface and yet the battery would not last very long because the platinum is always getting destroyed at its jagged edges thus clogging the system.

After further investigation I would find new methods that would form the carbon surfaces into corresponding hills and valleys that would prevent the platinum from clumping together and that by first coating these surfaces with candle soot the middle layer of platinum would not only not clump together but would be rolled into a thin film of atomic dimensions. These new methods not only do not destroy the platinum but increase the energy output. Later on however I would find that using these information filaments to make new batteries I could do without platinum altogether and use a polymer. Not only that but they could be produced on an open source home PC, laser printer, candles, a few spray cans and a microwave oven.
Unfortunately if I were in business I would do none of these things because there would be no business to be had when it became known that anyone could make the battery without my say so, which is exactly the case and is why your National Security Agencies would destroy anyone who acted against their vested interests.

Money has many of the properties of platinum in the above crude manufacturing example, i.e., it clumps together in some areas and leaves other spaces largely empty. Furthermore, corporations that use money are the epitome of authoritarianism in that they don't tend to create anything worthwhile that they can't control.

Sorry Max, but I see many signs of alternatives to the price system. My own AI primitive, The Ingrid Thought Processor, for example, can handle information far more diverse than conventional accounting systems and yet isn't bogged down by concepts of wealth; - it is a factor but only one of many. The fact that it is capable of channeling the information conduits to create the above battery example is a case in point. I give Ingrid away and will spend the rest of my life in its development; - others are also. I do this to replace the price system and I fully anticipate using an Ingrid-like system to create my own uploaded lifestyle and would rather die than contemplate becoming an uploaded capitalist. See why this form of mathematics is decentralised, will allow any component freedom to circulate and is the ultimate in parallel politics.