Re: Why life is unfair for so many...

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Wed Feb 06 2002 - 15:43:41 MST

Damien Raphael wrote:

> 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
> And George W. Bush's money comes from what brilliance and hard work?

Some != All

>>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
> _now_."

Actually, I am not at all clear that we fully can yet or that
doing so would actually not tremendously backfire politically
and economically. I very much want to believe we can however.
But the attempts to do so, halfhearted as they were and even
within the borders of highly developled countries, have been
pretty dismal to date.

> 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...

Actually, housing is not cheap relative to income in much of the
  US and there are still far too many under- as well as
malnourished people even here. The problem is that our economic
model has not shifted to "post-industrial", to the place where
all of the adults working in a paying job is no longer required
to take care of all the real needs and most of the wants of the
population. Our model is based on continuing climbing
production and consumption. This cannot be acheived without
indefinitely without creating cancerous economic growths.

> 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.

But not surplus enough to convince enough people to quit playing
as if they are in scarcity.

> (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...)

True enough.

- samantha

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