Re: Prizes (was: Life Extension through legislation or the free market)

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Thu, 17 Apr 1997 17:00:33 -0700 (PDT)

> > Prizes can be an excellent mechanism.
> This thread started with Robert Anton Wilson's excellent idea in
> Schrodinger's Cat.

The idea is much older than that: prizes for invention predate
the relatively recent idea of patents by centuries, and have
much to recommend them over the present approach.

> I see no reason why it cannot work. I just find it sad that the only
> incentive in today's world is money, and not pride, or fame, or the
> pure thrill of success, or the feeling of achievement gained when you see
> a private fantasy tuen into a reality.

All of those things--pride, achievement, thrill--are income, and no
different than any other form of income. What each person desires,
and what efforts he is willing to put in to obtain them, is a
personal matter, different for each person on the planet. "Money"
is a wonderful invention that allows different people to compare
their desires more accurately and facilitate exchange. It is only
a mechanism, not the end goal. But since everyone wants different
things, if I want to give someone a prize for a certain task, money
makes it possible for me to offer something of value to more people.
If I offerred my labor, some may not want it. If I offered fame,
some won't care. But if I offer money--interchangeable for all of
those things--then everyone can participate, and use the money to
buy what /he/ wants instead of what I might want to give him.

Someone might very well prefer the feeling of accomplishment at a
job well done, but that's his business, not mine; and there's no
reason he can't have that /and/ the money.

> Nobody believes in their dreams any more, only if they get rewarded
> with the surrogate american dream of MONEY MONEY MONEY!!
> It is a sad state of affairs.

A meaningless tirade that people use to excuse the fact that they
don't feel like doing what's necessary to achieve their goals, or
by those whose goals aren't imaginitive enough. It would indeed be
irrational to seek green squares of paper for their own sake; but
any person with goals, who wants to interact with others freely to
achieve those goals, would find those pieces of paper to be his
handiest tool. Seeking money is a sign that you have goals, and
are willing to work for them. Nothing could be more anti-life,
anti-progress, anti-human than to not value money.

Lee Daniel Crocker <>  <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC