Re: One humanity, all in the same boat

From: Mark Walker (
Date: Mon Jan 14 2002 - 16:55:56 MST

----- Original Message -----
From: "Lee Daniel Crocker" <>
> You seem to be laboring under a pathologically narrow definition
> of "job", which is a much more flexible concept than you give it
> credit for. Step back and take the larger view: resources as a
> whole, i.e., food, water, housing, etc., cannot help but increase
> as technology increases. The rate of population growth decreases
> with technology. So the total available resources per person
> will always be increasing (with a few short-term fluctuations
> here and there caused by transaction costs and such).
> Those who need those things must (1) become producers, which
> becomes easier as technology advances, (2) bargain with producers
> for their goods, which likewise becomes easier because increasing
> supply and decreasing demand drives prices down, (3) become
> predators, stealing from the productive (such as becoming a
> government). Setting aside (3) for the moment, bargaining for
> goods produced by others can only become easier as technology
> advances, to the point where a "job" consisting of nothing but
> taking goods off producer's hands might be enough to bargain
> for them. A person might have to do nothing more than fill
> out a marketing survey for some company once a month to get
> enough money to live comfortably for the month (of course, even
> those who are fabulously wealthy by today's standards will
> lament their abject poverty just as the so-called poor today
> with running water and good food and safe housing and televisions
> and cars do today). A "job" is merely doing anything that
> benefits some other person in some way, and may be as minimal
> as providing an entertaining story (like the San Franisco
> homeless man who tells jokes for $1), or as complex as building
> construction; the level of labor each person performs will be
> whatever gives him an adequate standard of living by his own
> standards.
> Now, most people will have skillsand talents that allow them
> a large enough share of the produced goods that they can afford
> to give some away as well. Some will do so for pure ego: to
> control a family or a congregation, for example. Some will do
> so as rationally self-interested charity, to reduce the amount
> of predation in their neighborhood. At any rate, it is
> extremely and increasingly unlikely that anyone will actually
> starve without there being /something/ he can offer for food
> and shelter, even if it's nothing but a promise to stay
> downwind.
> --
You seem to be making an empirical claim that starvation is not likely. If
the null hypothesis is that some people do in fact starve how many deaths
should constitute refutation of your claim? Perhaps I am soft, or soft in
the head, but I would prefer to see a de jure solution rather than a de
facto bet that starvation will not occur. (At minimum, this is consistent
with the trickle down model with some safeguard built in in case the trickle
down dries up).

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