Re: will the free market solve everything ?

Gregory Houston (
Thu, 20 Feb 1997 18:22:40 -0600

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:

> We're all idealists, we just have different ideals. I see
> nothing more fundamentally moral, responsible, life-affirming--
> indeed beautiful-- than the act of trade.

My ideals tend to be a bit more long term [and perhaps more optimistic
in the extreme] than others being they often require a great deal of
enabling technology. In this case I
can imagine a time where nanotechnology will eventually [perhaps a well
protracted eventually] make money obsolete. In the
distant future it is likely that via things such as self-replicating,
self-modifying, nano-objects, we will be able to create and
dismantle whatever we require in real time. No money needed. Once you
have a handful of these things, they will very rapidly
create more of themselves by rearranging atoms very prevalent atoms.
This of course is beyond what nanotechnology promises today,
yet very likely in some distant future when our knowledge and technology
has developed sufficiently.

> No motive more noble
> than profit.

The single greatest motive for corruption is profit. Thats not
particularly noble to me. Social Security was a great idea ... until
some guy found a loop hole in the system and said, "Hey, you know what,
we can borrow money from Social Security and
promise to pay it back, but the catch is we never will. Free money!"
Currently money is *almost* neccessary to survive, and certainly
neccessary to partake in society. This will not *always* be
the case. Even now if one so desired they could choose to live off the
land, growing their own food, etcetera. This is very
possible in principle, but our government makes it financially
impossible. We have to pay taxes on our land or else have it
confiscated. Thus the law does not allow you to become wholly autonomous
and self-sufficient in the United States. You have
to earn a living in order to pay the taxes for the land you live on. I
strongly believe that if some hippy nature freak wants to
drop out of the system he or she should be able to do so. This would
only require the removal of one tax, property tax, or at
least the part of property tax which includes land.

> No measure of value better than the dollar.

What is the monetary value of your love for your mother?

Tesla was working towards free energy for the masses, but then monetary
interests such as Eddison and the US government
quickly ended that noise.

Right now the average price for internet access is probably about $20 in
the US. Everyone online has equal access to the
majority of the information, but it seems that once the technology is in
place that everyone want to make it cost per/byte or
per/page or what have you to access information. This will once again
limit the amount of information the poor can access
while the charge won't even noticably affect the wealthy. My site will
remain free. If some how that makes me altruistic or a
socialist then so be it. That is one of the greatest things I enjoy
about the internet as it is now. Free info for all. Why make it
cost when we don't have to? Its because people like yourself believe
there is "No motive more noble than profit". I strongly
disagree. I find offering free information a hell of a lot more noble.

There is a fella by the name of Michael Hart who hopes to have10,000
books online by the year 2002. Access will be free to
them all. This is the kind of guy I admire. Not the owners of

"Some people say, ' I am the most powerful because I have the most
power.' I say, 'I am the most powerful because I give the
most power away.'"
--Michael Hart

Books would be a hell of a lot cheaper if we would legalize marijuana
and use it for paper instead. Its the fastest growing
bio-mass in the world. Very inexpensive to produce. It generally lasts a
great deal longer than the paper we use today also.

2% of our nation has 50% of the money. Money does not flow as freely as
people often imagine. It is not easy to rise out of
poverty. By defining minimum wage our puppet government is allowed to
define just how many people will live in poverty,
spending their lives enslaved to the system working 60-80 hour work
weeks. I know many people who work these hours and
are still barely able to make ends meet. Employment is modern slavery.
We give our slaves just enough to survive, make them
work long hours so they don't have time to question the system, and keep
them numb and entertained via the television, our
modern opiate of the masses. I think it will be a long time before
people recognize employment as slavery, but they will, and
then people will be working towards what will be neccessary to abolish
it. It is certainly a long term goal and sounds ludicrous
to 99% of the people I mention it to. "I like my job. I like my boss. My
job is neccessary for survival." Yep, a lot of the slaves
liked their jobs and masters also. It was neccessary for those slaves to
remain slaves in order to survive. It was a small minority
of slaves which actually attempted to escape the system.

What are there, like 6 billion people in the world, and about 40 million
who have internet access. That means that less than 1%
(about 0.6%) of our world population has internet access. The biggest
hindering factors being economic, and then political.
The cable guy was over the other day installing some new gizmo, and he
started asking about my computer. He said that his
kids would really like one but he can't afford it. He's lucky to keep
food on the table. I tried to express to him that if his kids
grew up computer illiterate that they might very well find themselves in
the same position that he is now. And then I went on to
explain how the internet could help them in regards to school (his boy
paged him for help on some homework while he was
here), but none the less, he is a hard working individual who cannot
really afford it. Food and rent are more important;

To sum up. Profit is not the most noble motive. It is the most likely
motive to corrupt, particularly in the case of government
officials. Some things cost a hell of a lot more than they should. Some
things cost money now, and some things will soon cost
money that do not need to, e.g., access to web pages. And someday,
though probably long after I am dead, money won't
even be an issue.

Once we realize that money will not always be neccessary, we can then
start moving towards it. Capitalism is great. I love the
fact that I get to choose from 20 different stereo brands, but there are
things we can do to refine the system so that we are not
required to exploit and hinder so many people. Think about all the
people working for a dollar a week [perhaps exagerated,
perhaps not] in third world countries just to produce the clothing you
are wearing. Is it really a matter of laziness. No. They do
not have the opportunity to rise above their condition. The same is true
of many people in the United States.

Most of the people on this list seem to be in favor of private
education. Yes it is certainly better than public education. My
fiance went to a private school from first to twelth grade. It cost
about $9000 a year. Some students are accepted into
Harvard from her school while they are only juniors. Almost all get into
some Ivy League school or another. But who the hell is
going to be able to pay that kind of money for an education? A very
small minority. We just happen to live in third most
wealthy county in the United States. If we kill public education, the
majority of kids are going to be stuck in severely poor
private schools, much poorer than they would be with government
financing. And even if you argue that it is the parents fault
that they have no money, it is certainly not the fault of the child. Why
should that kid be forced to have a petty education? I'm certainly not a
big fan of government intervention, but if we are going to move towards
private education we need to make sure that everyone is going to get at
least some minimally satisfactory level of education. You may think the
government does not achieve this now, but it would be much worse without
government financing, if all the money had to come from the
neighborhoods the schools were located in. There are a lot of really
poor neighborhoods out there.

Not all poor people are lazy and unambitious! Its the system that is
messed up. Not the people. What kills me is poor
Republicans, poor people that have been brain washed into thinking they
are going to be rich, and thus they should embrace
the political system with the greatest bias towards the rich. And thus
they stab themselves in the foot, creating fewer
opportunities for themselves to ever attain any wealth.

Gregory Houston