RE: `capitalist' character values

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Mon Jul 23 2001 - 06:51:04 MDT

Samantha writes

>> With the Singularity so close, why would you tell someone to save
>> money, work hard (even when they don't feel like it), and educate
>> themselves (even when they don't want to)? I'll bet that you have
>> reasons! But they can retort "now there is a GMI---so I don't
>> *have* to do any of those things, right?"
> Hell. You do the learning stuff because it is fun and stretches
> the brain. Especially when you aren't under threat of getting
> economically crushed if you don't study what the market will pay
> for rather than what truly makes your heart sing.

Now I warned you about this before: you are seriously, seriously
projecting your values on to others. Try going to a high school,
and telling the kids that "learning is fun and stretches the brain",
(as if they'd never heard that before) and that you'll be available
in the public library for some real cool learning sessions all
during the first week of summer. Don't be surprised, Samantha,
if your appeals aren't as succcessful as the attractions of
movies, the beach, battlebots and World Wide Wrestling.

>> You still have not answer my earlier question: how much money
>> do you think that your U.S. government will have to spend on the
>> 200,000,000 adults in the U.S. to provide the GMI? Remember also,
> You are mixing apples and oranges. GMI is not the same as
> feeding everyone on earth.

How did feeding everyone on Earth get into this? My question
is very specific, and anyone who proposes a GMI (maybe we aren't
both talking about a Guaranteed Minimal Income?) should either
answer it, or defer an answer until he has more information
or better ideas.

>> that we have now learned (thanks to Chris Rauch this morning 10:01am)
>> that about one-fourth of the populace would quit working within a
>> year, and that many more might have less incentive to work if they
>> **thought** that a lot of lazy people were getting a free ride?
> I hate to break this to you but we don't need one fourth of our
> population working fulltime with the level of automation we
> have.

Oh that's all right. I can handle it :-)

> At least that many are doing make-work effectively because
> we can figure out how people can have any dignity and
> reasonable income otherwise.

Stranger and stranger. Who is this "we"? Now in some
times and countries, there were people in charge, but
in America and many other countries, we have simply
inherited a system (a capitalist, free-market system
for the most part).

>> > In the meantime what? Starvation?
>> Do you have any idea of how many people each year starve
>> to death in the U.S.? Hint: do you think that it reaches
>> the newspapers when an elderly person trapped in their
>> apartment actually does? About how many children in the
>> U.S. starve to death each year? Is the GMI really needed
>> to prevent starvation?

> That was not the question.

I was just asking. Sorry. But you had brought up the spectre
of people starving.

> The question is, what do you propose as more people simply
> aren't needed in a modern hi-tech economy? How do you
> propose to handle the problem?

Good question! So far, in America we haven't seen much
"structural unemployment" lead to true unemployment, I think.
The economy seems to "need" people to work at all levels,
doesn't it? That is, I know that there is a great demand for
software engineers and also a great demand for unskilled
(backbreaking) labor. I know, one can say that "we" should
engineer things better, but as I said before, in America
there is no such "we". (of course, Come the Revolution... :-)


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