RE: Trader principle (once again)

Crosby_M (
Fri, 21 Feb 1997 10:24:06 -0500

On Friday, February 21, 1997 12:37 AM, Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:
<You are making a category error to compare trade with "other things"
in life. It is not competing with those "other" things; it is not in
the same category. Trade is a principle of human interaction, not a
value in itself.>

Yes. Both Damien and Nadia's responses seem to assume that trade is
only about material objects and that human emotions are somehow not
subject to the principles of communication and economics that are
nicely summarized by the single word 'trade'.

Of course, when you make statements like
<No measure of value better than the dollar.>

which allowed Gregory to ask
<What is the monetary value of your love for your mother?>

and Damien to post his sarcastic scenario which I won't repeat.

Of course there are some things we value where it is not practical to
put a _monetary_ value on them, particularly in life-threatening
situations. But this does not mean that the principles of trade don't
still apply in most situations where there is time for reasoned
thought rather than immediate reflex reaction.

Lee added:
<Most societies in the present era have moved from hunter-gatherer to
slave/exploiter. Hopefully we can progress further to free traders.
Perhaps in some long-distant future in a different technological
world, something even better might be possible (say, immortal
non-consuming explorers), but not yet.>

Yes again. I think people like Gregory (and Jim Legg, who
coincidentally departed just before Gregory appeared) seem to think
that it's already feasible for us to be "immortal non-consuming
explorers", just because that is what most transhumanists and
extropians desire, just because some of us are already living in an
'information age', even though the majority are still stuck in the
agricultural or industrial ages. I don't believe in sudden
transcendance - no human or AI or SI can suddenly *absorb* all the
knowledge of the ages overnight, even if they miraculously had
*access* to it. If, as you say, we are not first "free traders", then
we are regressing to a "slave/exploiter" mode. Both self and societal
transformation have to happen in stages.

This thread is rearing its head "once again" because it's such an
important principle, so easily misunderstood. I think the following
notes from my archives might also add some value here:

<06/23/93. COMPULSORY ETHICS. Letters to the Wall Street Journal
regarding Michael Lerner's 6/3 Counterpoint article "The Meaning of
the Politics of Meaning" are unanimously negative. As John W. Deming,
Jr. of Palo Alto, Calif., writes: "The activist government of Mr.
Lerner's (and Hillary Clinton's) 'politics of meaning' means
increasing state intrusiveness into our lives at the expense of our
own voluntary pursuits of happiness. Such noncoercive pursuits are
what make up the marketplace, a natural human phenomenon that Mr.
Lerner scorns. It's interesting that he considers peaceful commercial
activity as evil while he views state coercion as the font of goodness
and light. In fact, his views and incidentally Mrs. Clinton's also,
betray an appalling ignorance of how markets actually function. The
free market is the world's most vivid example of the Golden Rule.
Since the marketplace arises from noncoercive exchange, the only way
to succeed in a market environment is to create value for others." Dan
Lyons of Wheaton, Ill., adds: "Mr. Lerner refers to our capitalistic
process as 'an economy whose bottom line metality rewards those who
are most effective at manipulating or controlling others ...' In a
truly free market no one controls or manipulates anyone. A deal is
consummated only if all involved parties mutually benefit from the
transaction. The only institution that unduly controls us is the
activist government that Mr. Lerner purports to be associated with.">

Mark Crosby