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

The Low Golden Willow (
Thu, 11 Sep 1997 00:17:21 -0700 (PDT)

On Sep 10, 8:51pm, "Holly Pearson" wrote:

} have been able to see past your own success. It is obvious from your
} posts that most of you live in the valley where success grows on trees.
} Take a trip to the Midwest and tell me what you see. Most of you remind me
} of Marie Antoinette when she said "let them eat cake!". I will try to

Take a trip to the Mideast and tell me what you see. This problem
exists right now in the world, and has been cycling for centuries.

} Me: I'm glad to hear it and I apologize to you if I implied you were
} lacking in conscience. That's why I'm asking the question: Extro-Nazi's
} or Extro-Saint?

Such a flamboyant dichotomy may get people's attention, but not their
sympathy. I'm sure many list readers deleted your original post unseen
because of the Suject. Perhaps "Extro-Normal" would be more accurate.
People in general don't show heroic generosity to those less well off.
Many people in England and Scotland were made "obsolete" after the
enclosures of farmland and the movement to larger scale agriculture.
They died, went on the dole, or discovered other jobs.

} from occurring. After all, we can't have 80%+ of the population lying
} around watching TV, having sex and smoking pot, can we? They must all
} work, work, work! 'Get to work wage slaves!' - is all I have been hearing
} these days.

Actually I don't remember any discussion of recent welfare reform on
this list. We call ourselves libertarian, but apparently don't get too
excited over poor-welfare. Wise, considering the small size of the dole
relative to corporate, military-industrial, or above all old folks
welfare. Society recently has in fact been saying 'Get to work wage
slaves!', but over long time we've moved toward shorter work weeks.
To think we gave up the 60-80 hour week so that Americans could spend
4-5 hours a day watching TV. I don't think the somnolent society is
inherently impossible.

For that matter, Imperial Rome ran on bread and circuses. The bread was
imported from the provinces, but if you replace provinces with machines
we could try it again. If that's socially unacceptable, well, don't
yell at us. Our voting strength is very small.

} To summarize Damien R. Sullivan:
} So he says, as he types away on his computer. Farmers used to be far
} more than 80% of humanity. Mostly obsolete now. No human need be
} unnecessary in the absence of orders of magnitude
} superior AI. Admittedly being an educated human helps. I can't feel
} guilty for knowing more. Besides, I'd be happy to share...
} Me: I'm a she by the way. I agree with most of your post. Please
} explain to me how people will survive over the coming years when most of
} the economy has been automated.

The Roman dole is one option. The shifting of people into more creative
endeavors, so that the automated part of the economy is a small
part of the whole, is another. You missed my point about the farmers,
perhaps: One of the fundamental economic activities has been largely
automated (apart from luxury activites like berry-picking.) Instread of
97% of the population it takes 3%. But the descendants of displaced
farmers have found, or made, other roles.

I can't tell you how the next generation will adapt; the complexity of
modern civilization eludes my detailed grasp, which is one of the more
pragmatic arguments for mostly free markets: no one really knows what
they're doing, and there aren't many experimental subjects. But while
you're welcome to be worried, I don't think the choices are Singularity
or death.

Unless we've already been through a Singularity. Imagine moving an 1850
farmer into modern Manhattan.

} Please, I hate to enter into it with you, because I know who i am
} arguing with, but how can someone be poor AND rich at the same time?

Well, how can someone be rich and ppor at the same time? You'd think
Augustus, or Montezuma, or many Chinese emperors, were rich, wouldn't
you? Now start making a list of things that you have which they
couldn't possibly have. Glass windows, a good chance of living into
your seventies, fruit from New Zealand, ethnic restaurants, access to
more knowledge than they could imagine, hiking boots... admittedly
emperors have a few advantages, such as the ability to boss people
around and thus first dibs on whatever food is around, even in famine.
And perhaps more leisure time.

But hopefully you get the point. The Americans most usually called poor
are absolutely rich in access to some medical care (even if it's the
emergency room) and diversity of food choices, plus TV and access to
public libraries. In the sense that they have to work hard just to make
a living, though, I'll grant that they're genuinely poor in a sense.
However I think much of the woes of the troubled middle class stem from
watching too much advertising, or remembering the 1950s (when the US had
no effective competition) too well. People can't afford to replace
their car every few years, or all the medical techniques which have been
discovered but not made economical.

One legitimate part is that as people need to be educated, so parents
feel responsible for educating their children, which is expensive. One
hopes that this will lead to fewer children.

Two perspectives from Southern California. Some time ago gasoline
prices shot up a fair bit, due to accidental disabling of several local
refineries (California can't import its gas because of stricter
standards). There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. I looked
into things (I don't have a car) and discovered that prices had gone up
from $1.30 to $1.60, or maybe $1.80 a gallon. Assuming 20 miles per
gallon and 20 mile commutes it seems to me we're talking about an
annual increase of a few hundred dollars. Doesn't seem like too much to
me, but people were really upset. Point? People's feelings of relative
harm seemed far greater than the objective harm I could see.

I live next to San Marino, one of the richest areas in the world. I go
for walks there sometimes, and am struck by the hourses and estates, and
by envy of their owners. How unfair that people should have such
things, and not me! But I, obviously, am one of the digitally educated,
and it'd be silly of me to whine about how poor I am in general. I
think that's a large part of the plight of the American middle class; no
sense of perspective.

Solutions? Spread education, and hope.

Merry part,
-xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-) <*>

"However, one should also point out that lab mice are _very_ _very_
stupid, and are incaple of survival outside of the laboratory
environment where their biggest day to day problem is rediscovering that
today the food is on the left side of the cage."