Were to put our money (was PHIL: The (im)moral state)

Arjen Kamphuis (mountain@knoware.nl)
Thu, 26 Mar 1998 23:47:14 +0100 (CET)

Dan makes more good points:
>>I think having some sort of 'support system' increases the stability of a
>While stability cannot be measured, I would agree with you that a support
>system does increase stability. However, stability and growth may not be
>related; they may even share an inverse relationship.

If you can convince a few big investors of this I'll buy it (I'm talking
about banks and such, they seem to know something about where to put
money). I've always understood most investors like stabile, predictable,

>Remember, the only investment which actually improves growth is
>that which (at least) pays for itself.

(sorry to be such a pain in the butt ;-) but: we then also have to take
into account how 'cost' is determined. People rioting in LA are causing
cost to individuals and companies that _may_ have been avoided if their
standard of living was better. These cost are now being paid by a limited
selection of people (who happened to own a store in the wrong
neighborhood). Is that fair? You seem to agree with me that stability may
have value (even though we can't put a price-tag on it).

>Another strategy might be to just leave welfare in place until mind
>uploading and/or other immortalizing technologies become affordable to
>everyone (or at least subsidizable). That way, when we did finally shut
>down welfare, no one would die as a result.

That would certainly seem to be the nicest option. I also agree with
Dalibor den Otter that making a basic living standard freely available for
everyone could be a nice way to keep things stable as more and more persons
become obsolete through automation. The cost of this should become less and
less untill it becomes insignificant.

>While this seems more appealing at first, keep in mind the costs of
>implementing this solution: unless/until we develop these technologies,
>EVERYONE is going to die, no matter how much they make annually. If
>anything, it seems we should take our foot off the brakes NOW so as to
>reach immortality as quickly as possible, if our goal is to minimize death.

Yes but who's death when?
Two more questions (and I can only hope they're good ;-)

I'm not at all sure that funds freed by abolishing welfare systems will end
up being invested in immortality research. Won't it simply go largly into
bigger cars, vacations and onther nice goodies?

And there is the fact that advancing research is not purely an financial
question. 'Law of diminishing returns' is the correct engglish term I
think. Pumping twice as much funding into a program won't speed it up a
factor two (it might but there's no guarantee). Based on what I hear from
neurological research this seems to be especially true for medical sciences
(as opposed to stuff like space exploration).

>Ah, well. Hope I've contributed well to the debate.

Yes you have (that is to say at least I'm learning something).


Arjen Kamphuis | Learn as if you will live forever.
mountain@knoware.nl | Live as though you will die tomorrow.

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