From: John Grigg (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Feb 04 2002 - 16:30:47 MST
On Sun, Feb 03, 2002 at 05:47:25PM -0900, John Grigg wrote:
> So I can fully understand how some people are worth billions due to a
> combination of hard work, education, brilliance, and political
> connections, while another person is poor through a combination of not
Damien Raphael replied:
And George W. Bush's money comes from what brilliance and hard work?
Remember the part in my post which addressed people like him? lol I fully realize George W. Bush is a card-carrying member of the L.S.C.(Lucky Sperm Club).
> What DOES bother me is that people(in both the first and third world)
> can work hard to provide for themselves and their families, and yet
> still not have enough for adequate nutrition, shelter medical care,
> and education. Some people may say that is just how life is, and that
> it's their own tough luck. But I just can't look at it that way. I
> think one reason for the transhumanist desire for a singularity, is to
> see every human being well cared for.
And the left says "why wait for a Singularity? We can care for people
And I bet people in the moderate middle and even dare I say, the right, would say "why wait for a Singularity? We can care people NOW."
To me your comment goes without saying. We all know there are some fantastic programs out there, like the Microloan project, or various agencies which allow a "rich" American or European to adopt a disadvantaged child from the third-world.
I liked Eliezer's response to this. Doing serious work to speed up the coming of the Singularity(and I know some people don't see a hard takeoff Singularity coming) could save and also greatly enrich many billions of lives.
Compared to most of agricultural history the Singularity has already
happened. Used to be most people worked their butts off just to grow
food, and a small elite skimmed the surplus. Now 3% or less of the US
population works directly producing food (although more may be building
tractors, obtaining fuel, driving trucks around) and a lot of the
population is doing weird abstract 'work' subsistence farmers wouldn't
think of. The poor are obese instead of starving, clothing is cheap,
housing is cheap, life expectancies are at record highs...
A very good point about the "agricultural singularity" which has already happened. I would disagree with you that life for the poor is now so great. Often the poor are obese from imbalanced diets which result in at least mild malnutrition. They can afford to buy a lot of starches, but not other really healthy foods to balance that out. Clothing is cheap? I would have to disagree on that one! lol For the poor even Wal-Mart could be expensive. Of course, there are Salvation Army's to visit for cheap clothes. Housing is cheap? Only when a bunch of roommates are crammed into a small apartment or house. And that is not so fun. Life expectancies are at record highs, but still we see many in in first-world nations lacking adequate health care.
I have so far been thinking of the poor in DEVELOPED nations, you will find the status of the third-world poor in the areas of food, shelter, clothes, and life expectancies to be vastly worse than what I described for most American and Western European poor.
I do realize advancing technology and gov't benevolence has made the world a better place for the poor. But we still have a LONG way to go.
You want a Singularity? Wotcha waiting for? Sure, there's more work to
be done. But if you want to reduce pain and fight the unfairness of the
universe, there's plenty of slack to start now.
I totally agree.
(Concrete example: we're about to spend $7 billion on missile defense.
That could buy lots of vaccines for Africa, or DDT-treated mosquito
netting to fight malaria, or clean water...)
I often think how just a sliver of the world's military defense budgets could make the world such a better place. If only human beings could learn to really trust each other! lol And let us not forget the many grasping tentacles of the hungry military-industrial complex.
I am for missle defense, if we can get it to work. Though most likely a terrorist would simply sneak a small nuke into one of our cities, the scenario of an insane dictator launching an ICBM at us with a nuke on board is within the realm of possibility. I don't want the day of several million Americans to be ruined by being nuked.
John : )
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