Re: Words Hurt

Randall R Randall (
Sat, 25 Apr 1998 19:34:11 -0400

On Sun, 26 Apr 1998 00:34:35 +0200 "Erik Moeller"
<> writes:
>I'm getting the feeling that I've sent off thousands of replies to this
>today. Well, I'm one of those guys that cannot leave a mail

No doubt you'll get carpal-tunnel syndrome a day early. :)

>>Ah, yes, and such a look at history would have no doubt
>>given Benjamin Franklin a good idea as to whether, say,
>>horseless carraiges were likely.
>>History is so influenced by accident and starting conditions
>>that it is practically useless for determining the possible.
>You cannot compare technological innovation to social and economic

I would say that you cannot consider social and economic
models without reference to the assumed technology, since
various models are more efficient at different levels and kinds
of technological progress.

>Most social and economic models of today can be found in the far past.

What is more interesting, to me, is that there seem to be only
a few models that work even relatively well, at our technology.
Nearly every nation, today, has a variation on the same basic
type of government, with one head of government, ostensibly
elected, and some governing body of more than a few people,
whatever it is called (congress, soviet, councilors, or parliament).

>Primitive cultures often have councils or single leaders, the Roman
>is often compared to democracy and so on. Although the names differ,
>are not many possible power constellations and economic systems.

I agree.

>World history should give some examples for free markets in larger
>societies, if they were possible and useful. According to my knowledge,

First, there have been only a few "larger" societies, before
our era, because technology did not usually permit it. The
only one that I can think of in ancient times was China,
which also had the highest technology. Coincidence?
I also would say that initial conditions seem to have
played a large role in the emergence of the world we
have today.
It seems to me that centralized control is simply
not possible in a large-scale, high technology
(nanotech, AI, etc) society. The controllers must
have some advantage over the citizenry (numbers,
in putting down revolts at low tech; artillery or nukes
at high tech), and after the advent of nanotechnology,
it is difficult to see any way for them to retain that

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