Re: Beg your pardon? (Was: Teach the hungry)

J. R. Molloy (
Sun, 6 Sep 1998 11:23:27 -0700

From: J. Maxwell Legg
>Since doing this little exercise (on_the_fly as it were) I noticed
that the
>investment definition was at an arms length to the subject whereas my
ad hoc
>decision definition was meddlesome. What would be the effect on
society if there were no arms length transactions. Anybody?

If you define society as one person's relationship to another, and extend that to include an entire population, then an absence of arm's length transactions might create the kind of virtual community described by Howard Rhiengold in his book by that title. But to displace current societal structure with an entirely virtual one seems absolutely inappropriate if not totally impossible. No sensible reason for completely abandoning all arm's length transactions occurs to me. Consequently, the effect of eliminating arm's length transactions from a portion of the social order would tend to have no other effect than to increase emotional isolation of that society's members while increasing transactions of the virtual kind. The only way to find out how abandoning arm's length transactions would effect society would require an actual experiment along those lines. As you probably have read, MUDs (as just one example of a kind of social interaction at other than arm's length) appear to have an addictive quality for participants.


J. R.