Re: true abundance?

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Tue Jan 30 2001 - 23:35:16 MST

Barbara Lamar wrote:
> At 12:30 PM 01/30/2001, Samantha Atkins wrote:
> >Thinking is not heriditary and introducing that here is a canard. It is
> >a matter of training and will and basic ability. Only a small part of
> >basic ability is arguably genetic.
> I'd be interested to know on which data you base this assertion. If it were
> true that thinking is not genetically based, then there would seem to be
> little point in attempting to increase human intelligence via genetic
> engineering.

Again, I was talking about "thinking" not IQ. Thinking is strongly
dependent on training, environment and desire to make the effort in
addition to sufficient IQ for the subject at hand. IQ, the part that is
partially inherited, is important but it is not the whole story. There
are plenty of lazy unproductive people who have huge IQs. I've known
some of the them.

> You have not explicitly stated what you believe to be the source of the
> ability to think, but the following implies that you believe training has
> at least some positive effect:

Ability to think and actually using thinking are also not the same
think. However, if the mind is not properly trained and does not cross
certain developmental thresholds at the right times, that mind will be
crippled as far as thinking goes to some extent.

Yes, training has some very real effects.

> >Well, there is some actual evidence that beyond a certain point in life
> >the brain is not exactly very malleable to learning some foundational
> >things including formal operations.
> I'm fairly certain that on other occasions you have stated that wealth is
> created rather than being a static store of resources to be divided among
> people. It would seem to follow that the more thinking people there are
> (who have also been trained to put their thinking into action to create
> wealth), the more wealth there would be. It would also seem to follow that
> there would be a greater chance of progress if there were more people with
> the ability to think.

Sure, that would follow.

> Following this line of reasoning, it seems as though you would consider it
> worthwhile to invest in providing good nutrition and early training for as
> many children as possible. I realize this would in no way provide
> justification for anyone to force you to make such an investment against
> your will. Given that as a constraint, however, it might be useful to look
> for ways of providing good nutrition and early training for children whose
> parents cannot afford it (or who do not choose to provide it for them).

Good basic nutrition? Sure. Do I believe it is my personal responsible
to provide this nutrition? Well, to the degree I do I donate money to
programs for this (in real life I do this). Personally I would happily
donate a large
chunk of what the government extorts from me to support students who
needed the funds. I think anyone who supports anyone's education should
get a tax credit for doing so (yes I mean credit).

> With respect to compensation for work you say:
> (in response to Charlie, who said " Behind every aerospace engineer or chip
> > designer there's a small army of people working supermarket checkouts and
> > farms and food factories (so the engineers don't have to hunt their
> food..."}
> Samantha: "Yes, and each and everyone one of them is paid the market value
> of their
> contribution already. So exactly why do they deserve a cut of someone
> else's contribution?"
> Is it really true, though, that every worker is paid the market value of
> their contribution? In an ideal situation in which there were perfect
> information, perfect flow of goods and services from one region to another,
> and so forth--AND free market conditions, this might be true. In fact, none
> of these ideal conditions exist. I don't believe it's possible for them to
> exist in any but small, locally governed groups of people.

Yes, in a free market it is true. The free market does not imply or
require perfection, simply freedom. So if these conditions don't exist
does it in any way justify producting further departures from the ideal
to supposedly correct these unquantifiable and arguable departures?

> You said (in an earlier post),
> "...This assumes a "normal world" of job opportunity distributed
> across most intelligence levels of the population. What about the
> world, by local beliefs coming rapidly, where only the top of the
> intelligence pool can be gainfully employed (with a few service jobs to
> one side)? Eventually there may not be anything a given worker can be
> trained to do that pays a living wage and there may be no region that
> requires such workers. What then?"
> This doesn't just describe the future. This describes right now for many
> people. I personally know a number of people who are unable to get work
> because of minimum wage laws--the minimum wage has priced their services
> out of the market. OTOH such laws have resulted in price inflation which
> make it nearly impossible to live on earnings based on minimum wage.
> You have said that it's not very useful to try to train people to think
> after they reach a certain age. I ask your own question with a slight
> change. What now?

Well, if they have not reached certain development levels then it is
pretty unlikely they ever will. You probably will need to support them
or let them running riot and fill up the prisons. And do your damnest
not to let the same lack of development happen in successive
generations. But it gets real sticky. Government control of
child-rearing and education has some pretty obvious problems. Yet
parents who are limited in their own development are likely to limit the
development of their children to some degree.

And what if through technology we can actually augment and more or less
rewire these developmental problems and low IQ and other problems that
keep many from participating more fully? Offering this would be
benevolent. But what if many, many people (as is pretty certain) refuse
it and worse? You can't force them without violating their rights.
This is not a small issue. Going forward it will get increasingly

Call me cynical but I don't think I am in this matter. At some point I
think you will find that the only place these people who can't be helped
or refuse help for one reason or another can't really live the lives
they do want in what society will become as we near Singularity and go
beyond it *except* in a VR. Let them live their VR experience until
they wish to move on.

I think this may be the closest to survival, the person's idea of what
they really want and supporting ver right to choose that you will be
able to get. I know it is extreme. But I don't see what else you will
be able to do a bit down the line other than letting people starve if
that can't find a niche.

- samantha

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