Re: capitalist religion (was: NANO: _Forbes_ cover story)

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sun Jul 22 2001 - 16:33:34 MDT

Tiberius Gracchus wrote:
> On Sun, 22 Jul 2001 06:44:47 -0500, you wrote:
> This is all really besides the point: until MNT et al comes to pass,
> the basic resources necessary for a comfortable life will be
> scarce--by necessity (and even then I would imagine that all sorts of
> laws meant to prop-up present wealth will fight against it).

This is partially true. But even pre-MNT the necessities are
life are far from as scarce as we act like they are and less
scarce than we make them. The laws will not change as long as
people cannot envision a very different way of being
economically. Even with MNT but without a shift in
consciousness (how one looks at economic reality) not much will

I like to work from the vision. Envision what you most want in
this area and from that clear vision find the technologies and
policies and viewpoints that will make it so.

> The reason for this is that the worth of the green money held in the
> bank (and the various equivalents thereof (real estate etc)) have
> worth only to the degree to which they are desired by other human
> beings. If I have much money in the bank, but there is lessening
> desire for it by others, then my money is worth less. In order for
> the value of my money to increase, I must increase the demand for it.
> One way to do that is to ensure that the cost of things that
> constitute a "comfortable life" remain as costly as possible.

Money is irrelevant in areas where there is true abundance.
Money is a medium of exchange, not the standard of all value.
If I can only have a comfortable life by making it more costly
in ways that deny it to others then I have no desire for
"comfort" at that price.

> An example is housing. Given the relative level of sophistication of
> manufacturing methods, I would wager that comfortable homes could be
> cheaply manufactured in Mexico and shipped here. Never mind the
> current model/style of moble home: simply consider the possiblities
> in the realm of very cheap modular housing.

Buckminster Fuller wrote a lot about how to house everyone
cheaply and efficiently. Some of his ideas don't appeal to me
but he had some very good points about how we squander a lot of
wealth in ways that produce sub-sub-optimal results at
tremendous cost.

> But prevailing laws prevent that. Look as an example at the many
> laws against the placement and moving of mobile homes. I doubt you
> are even aware of the scope and magnitude of these laws. And never
> mind zoning and housing associations...
> These laws act to prop up the values of current ocuppied and future
> homes--at the expense of those without a home. So now the 60% or so
> of people own homes in the USA can prop-up their own wealth... at the
> expense of others. Many of these "others" can be seen sleeping under
> bridges.

If this is so then it is deeply wrong. It would poison us.

> The recent removal of barriers to immigration into the USA help to
> prop up property values and therefore preserve the wealth of those
> that are land owners, and conversely, help to empty the pockets of
> those that are not landowners. Those green pieces of paper fly out of
> the pockets of the landless and into the pockets of the landed. With
> more people coming into the country, more green pieces of paper are
> flying.

I don't see that lower immigration barriers make money flow more
or flow more from landless to landed. I don't even see being
landed as such an unmitigated blessing. I know too many who are
house-poor. And I sure don't see how being in the US where you
can find at least menial work or work others won't to do less or
charge more for compared to having no work at all is draining
money unfairly from the immigrant.

> Medical care is another of the pillars of a "comfortable life". I
> note that the physician lobby acted a few years ago to limit the
> supply of doctors. The accompanying propaganda was laughable...

I would not pick on doctors. The government is ruining medicine
in this country. They are making it all but impossible to have
decent doctor/patient relationships. Medicine has become
largely mechanical and extremely regulated. The price of
regulation and skyrocketing insurance cost due to a
fundamentally broken legal philosophy especially when it comes
to matters of health and technology is driving the cost of
medicine through the roof.

> I could go on and on. But the main idea is that the resources held by
> anyone are valued by the scarcity of those resources. That should be
> obvious! Therefore in order for the vast of majority of wealth to
> exist, there MUST be scarcity of resources. Of course there are
> exceptions due to the unstoppable advance science and manufacturing
> methods: cheap computers,etc...

It is not at all obvious. Happiness is not made more wonderful
by anyone's unhappiness. Security is not made greater by
insecurity. Plenty is not made more plentiful (and why would I
want more than plenty anyway?) by others having not even the
basic necessities. Ideas and information increase in value the
more they are shared and cross-fertilize each other.
Increasingly the greatest of resources are informational.
> Ehrenbach is completely right (in her recent book _Nickled and Dimed_
> which detailed her sojourns as a low paid worker) when she said that
> we all exploit these low paid workers. In fact, our own wealth and
> status depends upon their presence. If they were not poor and working
> to obtain the resources we possess, much of our wealth would be
> worthless.... just pieces of green paper.

This is a very unjustified view when generalized that far.
There is truth though to a lot of our economy being based on
someone's misery. The over-generalization and cynicism is when
we claim that it needs to be. I very much disagree.

- samantha

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