Re: Free-Markets: Extro-Nazi's or Extro-Saints?

Eric Watt Forste (
Wed, 10 Sep 1997 13:35:25 -0700

Holly Pearson writes:
> How do you explain then that most people are working harder than
> ever before just to make ends meet?

High taxes, perhaps? Heavy regulation and mandates?

> Real wages adjusted for inflation have been sinking for 25 years.

Yes. And for much of those 25 years, the public sector's share of
the economy has been increasing. Could there be a connection?

> Full-time benefited employment is decreasing at a dramatic rate,
> only to be replaced by part-time and temporary work.

Okay, but when they leave benefited jobs to go to temp work,
are they getting enough of a pay increase to more than
compensate for the loss of benefits and "job security"? You
don't say.

> 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.

Who conducted the poll? What was the methodology of the poll?
Certainly I have less job security than ever before... I
planned it that way. Job security isn't something I find

> 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.

Um, what is wrong with working 50 and 60 hour workweeks if that is
what you want to do? My own work pattern has been lately developing
into working for several months, and then not working at all for
six weeks or so. Ideally I'd like to have a pattern of six months
on, six months off. This would be a *lot* easier for me to do if
I could find jobs that I could stand working 50-hour-workweeks at
during the six-months-on part. And my six months off would be very
relaxing and enjoyable without contributing to unemployment figures
at all, because unemployment figures only count people who are
actively seeking work. During my "vacations" (times when I work
on my *own* stuff, really), I would not be counted as "unemployed",
yet overall, I'd be less stressed out and less driven by the rat
race. None of the figures you present indicate that this couldn't
be happening with most of the people you are worrying about.

> Again, more job insecurity, less pay, massive layoffs, and widespread
> societal discontent.

Job security is not an objectively good thing. Your claim about
less pay is based on statistics that correlate well with increased
flow of money (often in "invisible" forms such as mandates and
prohibitions) from the private sector to the public sector. The
well publicized massive layoffs in major corporations (many of whom
are almost as bad as governments anyway) is balanced by a poorly
publicized growth in small and medium-size businesses. Widespread
societal discontent or widespread societal content are not things
that I pretend to be able to perceive. There are six billion people
on this planet, and I can't talk to all of them. Even just pulling
a truly random sample from the whole world population is still
very difficult at this point in time. Offhand, I don't know of
anyone who claims to have done it.

> '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.

You've presented me with no reasons to believe that any line of
code you write is obsoleting anyone. If the code I write means
that my unit within Pac Bell can do the same job with 10 people
instead of 12, then Pac Bell can use the money saved to hire 2
people *elsewhere*. Or they can pay it to their shareholders (the
fatcat monopolist public-utility shareholders) and those shareholders
can spend it or invest it on something resulting in the employment
of more people. Code destroys no jobs, it just makes money.

> 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.

Well, I'm sorry you weren't paying attention when I was sniping
at Nicholas Bostrom about compassion. He gave me a lot of crap
about it too... why weren't you standing up for me then, eh?

Also, your "increasingly unnecessary" claim is totally

> 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.

I have zero interest in watching the rest of humanity languish to
death, and I doubt many other list members do, and it's pretty
offensive of you to imply that this is something we want to do.
A few loudmouths who were cruelly potty-trained or something might
want that, but don't let that prejudice you about all the rest of

> 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.

Well, I wish you could, because criticism without offering
suggested alternatives is sterile. Not necessarily bad, just

Eric Watt Forste ++ ++ expectation foils perception -pcd