Re: Immortality and Resources

Eric Watt Forste (
Thu, 06 Feb 1997 13:23:23 -0800

J. de Lyser writes:
>Again this happens in many political systems, most states are autoritarian
>to some degree. There are those who choose to change such a system by
>compromise, and there are those who get shot in the head, in these systems.
>I'd sooner prefer to be of the first kind, than of the second, as people
>who get shot in the back of the head, change nothing.

So what? The question under discussion in the paragraph you are
responding to was whether or not Lenin's Russia was a political
system that "worked". Are you still claiming that it was?

>nearly everything a person x does or doesn't do, will have an effect on
>some person y... What do you suggest for solving problems ? I'm open for
>alternatives, it's just that i know none, if there are, i am sorry for my

This is precisely the sort of question that led to the old list
rule against arguing the basics. (Please see the discussion of this
question in the FAQ at
There are whole books on anarchocapitalist and classical-liberal
theory, and it is unreasonable of you to ask me to regurgitate them
for you on a mere mailing list. You could go for the radical, such
as David Friedman's THE MACHINERY OF FREEDOM, or the moderate such
as Friedrich Hayek's THE CONSTITUTION OF LIBERTY. There are other
books as well.

>>There are problems involving commons,
>>externalities, and public goods, and some of these are severe
>>problems for local governments. But nearly all such things should
>>be handled by local governments, yet most tax funds in my country
>>go to the Federal government or to fulfilling Federal government
>Aha, so you're not an anarchist, just a separatist ? The independant state
>of southern California ? In our private mail we discussed your (and my)
>ideal for an independant chunk of rock orbiting sol, for you and your
>friends to build your own way of life. Does this involve cutting off
>relations with the rest of humanity ? I'm sorry but this makes the
>extropian ideal of space colonization look like a disguised form of
>isolationism, instead of expansion. How 'entropic' ?

Who said anything about isolationism? I believe in free trade and
free migration, open borders. If you want to continue this discussion,
you might want to be a little more cautious about jumping to
conclusions that misrepresent my positions, or I will cut and run
with a clear conscience. There is no point in trying to have political
discussions with people who have no idea what one another are talking

I don't live in Southern California, because the weather down there
drives me crazy. I live in the Bay Area up north, where it is nice
and foggy, just the way I like it. And I promise I won't mix up
Antwerp with Brussels, okay? You live in Brussels, which is central,
and most of the people there speak French, but the surrounding
countryside speaks Flemish, right? (If I got this wrong, it's because
I'm relying on my memory and not a reference book.)

I think that the best practical path to world anarchy from where
we are now is goes *through* and *past* devolution of power from
imperial bodies to local governments, but I am a political
opportunist... I'll take whatever path I can get. I don't pretend
to be anything but utterly ignorant about the future evolution of
our culture, including our political culture. Perhaps you are
confusing me with a constructivist-rationalist (this is a term from
Hayek). I am, instead, a critical rationalist.

>>Are you saying that if someone chooses to engage in
>>"counterproductivity" on their own time and with their own stuff,
>>that the State should step in and "correct" them? Please be more
>>specific if this is not what you mean.
>In extreme cases yes. What is the Anarcho Capitalist view on patents for
>example ? I can imagine situations where ones 'ownership' of technological
>processes, genetic codes etc, limits free trade and the freedom of the
>individual, can't you ?
>example: person A owns sythesised Gen X, he uses it for his product M in
>bioindustry. Gen X can also be used to enhance certain chemical processes
>in the human body. Person A has no intention of making it available to a
>minority market of strange people who want to use it ( ;-) ). Person B, C,
>and D have all suggested licencing the rights, but person A, won't hear of
>I can see where people want to keep these to themselves, to create a trade
>monopoly. You agree that monopolies are counterproductive ? Ofcourse
>abandoning all patents and ownership rights on technology, would severely
>limit R&D investement. Maybe a compromise should be found, who enforces
>this compromise ? etc, etc...

I don't think abandoning patents would limit R&D investment at all. I
have no idea what "the anarchocapitalist view" on patents is, because I
am not the Pope of anarchocapitalism. As for me personally, I'm an
intellectual property agnostic. I think patents and copyrights are
probably a bad idea, possibly along with limited-liability corporate
structures, and that all these things are creatures of the State. I'm
not sure how one might recreate them in the absence of the State, but I
doubt that they would be a big net loss. At the same time, I may very
well be earning a living off of copyright someday, and I guess I'll just
have to be opportunistic enough at that time to avoid being too troubled
about it ethically. And then Lee Daniel Crocker can skewer me in our
next debate about moral philosophy. ;)

>>The few who do not do that anyway hardly require that
>>50% of the gross world product be spent on suppressing them, yet
>>that's how much (approximately) this planet spends on government.
>I agree with the basics, but what you're suggesting here is a governement
>trimmed down to only functioning on justice/ military/police levels, in
>fact a police state. I wonder what strange and possibly dangerous people
>would be leading such a state.

Not at all! I'm suggesting a polycentric, pluralistic, system of
competing protection and arbitration agencies, funded by insurance
premiums, whose business is the protection of their clients from
thugs and looters, and who do *not* hold monopolies on their markets
that way States do. Now if you have any questions about this stuff,
please direct them to someone else, or go read Friedman. I know it
is very annoying to have somone shoot book titles at you instead
of explanations, but really, Mr. Friedman has already done some
very excellent work explaining these things, and it would be sheer
wasted effort for me to duplicate his work. And if Mr. Friedman is
too radical or too "American" for you, then I recommend Friedrich

>>it is not true that all possible political systems legitimize the use of
>violence to punish voluntary and consensual exchange.
>The vagueness i was refering to was the possibility of conflict between
>"voluntary" and "consensual".

Voluntary means all parties are involved through their own "free will".
Consensual means that all parties have consented to be involved in the
interaction. How can these two notions conflict? Perhaps when I said
"consensual" you were thinking "consensus". This is emphatically *not*
what I had in mind. When I say "consensual" I am speaking of consent,
not of consensus. Two very different things. Consent respects the
individual, whereas insistence upon consensus makes holders of minority
opinions feel as if they are sabotaging the process. This is why I have
no respect for social systems that require consensus. I highly value
diversity of opinion and belief, and insistence upon consensus squashes
that while insistence upon consent protects and preserves it.

>>but my political ideal is a new thing that has never been done
>>before, just as our ideal of eternal life is a new thing that has >never
>been done before.
>I'm sorry, but this is an obvious example of why i refered to your replies,
>in the way i did, in our private mail. You're subtly suggesting here that
>the two are to be linked by definition. Linking your personal political
>convictions to extropic ideals. I hope you see my reasoning now, for the
>conclusion i made earlier.

No. I'm sorry, but I have no idea what you are talking about here.

>>Why spend effort on goals that are unrealistic, such as space
>>migration, intelligence increase, and life extension? Why not focus
>>on ones that are achievable instead, like cutting taxes while
>>at the same time improving state-provided medical care and education?
>realistic goals: majority of the people of earth are with you on
>intelligence increase, space migration, life extension.
>unrealistic goal: minority of people are with you on creating an agorist

Who cares? I only want to be able to live in the society of those
people. We only actually live in the society of a few hundred people at
a time... we can't really keep track of more than that. Relations of
trade we can carry on with strangers, and with people who have different
political beliefs. That is what the institutions of trade are for...
to enable us to cooperate with people that we would not choose to
socialize with. I don't know why you are assuming that everyone must
live under the same political system... I don't know why you are
assuming that it is irrational for me to hold certain political beliefs
unless they are shared by 51% of the world population. It is precisely
because I think minority societies should be allowed to select their own
political systems that I oppose an overarching world state.

>>I thereby
>>feel what amounts to nearly an obligation to oppose those dangerous
>>ideals in argument wherever I encounter them.
>Would you put your ideals of free trade before or after your ideals of
>opposing other political systems ?

How can these two be separated? I don't see these as separable things.

>> I'm still not sure I understand why you
>>are objecting to the response I made to Jim Legg.
>as i mentioned before, people project their sense of logic and rationality
>on their own political environment. Jims ideas were perfectly logical and
>rational to HIM. I was objecting to the lack of understanding of that, in
>general by replies from several people on this list. I may become a mild
>libertarian, after some time spent on this list, as its ideas do interest
>me a lot, but never, that is NEVER, will i let political ideals form an
>obstacle for Transhumanist cooperation and communication.

Fine. That's your choice. Why is it important to you that I follow your
lead on this issue?

>true, i just hope you appreciate people who have the same (transhumanist)
>goals, but different routes (maybe faster ones?) to acchieve those goals.

I was trying to explain, in an abbreviated and compressed manner, to Jim
that the routes he was proposing would be *slower* routes toward our
common transhumanist goals.

>>Of course it is based on their personal financial improvement. If >enough
>people got *sincere* about being interested in their personal >financial
>improvement they might study a little microeconomics and >then it would
>become quite obvious to them how the politicians are >robbing them blind.
>And the other half would find that they would be payed far less, have far
>fewer benefits etc, and we'd have a civil war on our hands.

I don't understand how you can make such assertions with such confidence
given that you have never studied microeconomics. This stuff is
considered "the basics" on this list, always has been, and you might as
well get used to it. If you want to argue politics on this list, you
have to show some understanding of microeconomics. Trying to do
otherwise is like trying to strategize the development of the solar
system without having any idea what "delta-vee" and "albedo" mean.

I *know* that it is very rude and unpleasant for me to make assertions
such as that in the previous paragraph... that is exactly why I
chose not to develop this thread until you asked me to by private
mail. If you want to discuss this stuff with me in depth, then I'm
afraid I'm going to have to ask you to brush up on post-Marxist
economics (Marshall, Pareto, the Austrians, etc.) because otherwise
the terms that I use will seem "vague" to you, even though they
are precise and well-defined technical terms... from microeconomics.
Friedman's PRICE THEORY is a good introduction, and his more recent
HIDDEN ORDER (not to be confused with Holland's book of the same
title) covers much of the same theory in a more accessible way.

Eric Watt Forste ++ ++