BASICS: Socialism vs Capitalism (was Re: Immortality and Resources)

Mark Grant (
Fri, 7 Feb 1997 17:39:04 +0000

On Tue, 4 Feb 1997, J. de Lyser wrote:

> Transhumanists in socialist democracies, like you in your system, work
> within the system they have.

You're making a classic mistake here. US-specific email addresses end in
.us; .com is a global domain. is in California, and my
mail goes through that site, but it ends up on my laptop, which has lived
in twelve different countries in the last year. Currently I'm living in
Britain, which is why I mentioned it.

> Jim has the same goals most of us have
> regarding the autoevolution of humanity, yet his route to accomplish these
> is projected on his political system.

The problem, of course, is that socialism is antithetical to transhuman
ideas. We're all for change and socialism is the most sophisticated
attempt yet to prevent change and create a static society. How many of the
transhuman ideas we've talked about originated in socialist countries? How
many will be allowed in such countries? After all, no-one has a right to
immortality until all the homeless have color TVs...

> What he doesn't see or maybe doesn't
> accept, is that his system is changing towards yours, and yours a little
> towards his.

Actually I think that the Federal government is rushing towards a
socialist dictatorship as rapidly as they can get there, but the people
seem to be heading in the opposite direction. Rather like China in fact; a
massive socialist government trying to rule over an extremely capitalist
population (at least in the big cities).

> Any political systems influence is just what the individual makes of it,
> opportunities, inventiveness and resourcefullness, are trades that benefit
> individuals in ANY political system,

No... it's much harder to succeed in a socialist system because the entire
system is designed to bring everyone down to the same level, and being
smart and creative is often considered dangerous by the people who might
hire you. Taken to extremes, look what Stalin did to anyone with a brain.

> Whereas these
> individual characteristics mean little in a politically/socially stable
> society (!), they tend to flourish in one that is subject to rapid
> change... ;-)

Exactly. And socialism is all about stability.

> I had really
> hoped the open mindedness of the scope of time all of you discuss space
> exploration and the future in general in, would have reflected a little bit
> more on your political/social and historical perspectives.

On a small-scale (e.g. a group of friends sharing a house) socialism often
does make sense. But it's a voluntary agreement for efficiency reasons
rather than a compulsory arrangement enforced at gunpoint.

I think most people around here would choose libertarianism or
anarcho-capitalism as their ideal political system. Both, of course, allow
people to set up their own voluntary socialist organisations within the
capitalist structure, but not to force their opinions on the capitalists.
One thing that people seem to miss is that capitalism (or at least
libertarian or anarcho-capitalism) is a superset of other kinds of
political organisations, which is why it's preferable to any of them. You
can't have a capitalist community in a communist society, but you can
easily have a voluntary communist community in an capitalist society.

> But instead you
> all seem to assume a capitalist democracy in its current form (The United
> States of Earth ?) ruling the universe for eons to come i guess.

Not exactly. I'd be surprised if either the US or EU still exist in their
current form in twenty years time. Of course, if the Chinese government
get out of the way then Chinese anarcho-capitalists may well be ruling the
universe instead...


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