Free-Markets: Extro-Nazi's or Extro-Saints?
Wed, 10 Sep 1997 13:35:21

I'm going to make the bold proposal that *The collapse of the World
Economy is inevitable". Before I support that claim, I want to add
further that unless we reach the Singularity as soon possible (as Eliezer
S. Yudkowsky suggests - see, most of humanity, including many on this list, will experience
enormous suffering and possibly death. I give you a dialog:

'Why?!" you may ask.

Because Free-Market Economics is GOOD for COMPANIES (fictitious legal
entities and BAD for PEOPLE (very real entities).

'How can you say that?! The economy is doing great, the stock market
is at an all-time high, unemployment is at a 30yr low, inflation is low,
and corporate profits are up!'

Yes. That is correct. Like I said, free-market economics is good for
corporations, bad for people'.

'But unemployment is very low - *that* is good for people.'

Are you sure about that? How do you explain then that most people are
working harder than ever before just to make ends meet? Real wages
adjusted for inflation have been sinking for 25 years. Full-time benefited
employment is decreasing at a dramatic rate, only to be replaced by
part-time and temporary work. A recent poll showed that over 70% of
working Americans feel they have less job security than ever before, are more
stressed out on the job, and are overworked. The 40-hour workweek is
more like the 50 and 60-hour workweek for more and more people. This low
unemployment has another ruthless edge called the free-market whose
greatest success is driving innovation.

'But innovation is great! Its what gives us all of the great
technologies that allow us to follow our extropic dreams.'

Yes. Innovation has been great for many people. I can't imagine what
I would do without my computer. Unfortunately it is this very
innovation that will collapse the free-market from which it was born. The
free-markets greatest success will be its greatest undoing.

'Please explain.'

If you remember back about 30 years ago, most futurists saw cybernated
automation as the great savior of us all. A world of ubiquitous
automation, they argued, would free us from many of the toils of compulsory
work and servitude. Work will become an option to exercise your creative
and intellectual muscles. Now here we are, 30 years later, and look at
the mess it has created. Instead of relieving us from wage-slavery, it
has instead increased the pace of the 'rat race'. People are running as
fast as they can just to stay in the same place! Again, more job
insecurity, less pay, massive layoffs, and widespread societal discontent.
The only ones that are happy about all this are the few who scored it big
in the 80's on savvy real-estate deals, executive pay-raises and
lucrative stock options. But let us don't forget those brash young
cyber-geeks in Silicon Valley who are scoring it big under some new start-up.
Enjoy it while you can suckers!

'Sounds to me like your jealous!'

'Not at all. I happen to be one of those cyber-geeks! But unlike
many of my fellow colleagues, I have a conscience and a heart. I care
about the 80% or humanity I am obsoleting with each line of code I write. I
have perused the extro list for over 2 years now, and I have yet to
hear any reasonable talk about compassion or building livingry for the
majority o humanity that is becoming increasingly unnecessary in the
free-market. If you don't care extropians, I hope you can bury your conscience
as you watch the rest of humanity languish to death while you ride your
extropic vehicles to the stars.

In closing I would like to say that when people are no longer needed
for a free-market economy, then a free-market economy is no longer needed
by the people. So the question then becomes, whats beyond the
free-market? Any ideas?

I can't think of any with out getting bogged down into some silly
left-winged drivel. Peronally, I hope we get to the singularity soon,
otherwise we may all drown in our own free-market success. Except of course
for you savvy extropians!

Holly Pearson

P.S. So, are you an extro-nazi or an extro-saint?

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