Re: The Libertarian action?

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Sat Nov 04 2000 - 14:44:41 MST

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> >
> > Even if someone is significantly
> > increasing the amount of nearby noise, and thereby actually decreasing
> > property values, the property owners have no "shared infrastructure" argument
> > unless the noise goes above the legal limits for commercially zoned property -
> > it was a risk that should have been factored into the initial buying decision.
> In fact, let me amplify on that last part. Buying property is not a risk-free
> activity. Bars open and bars close. Famous theaters move away and famous
> theaters move in. Bus routes change and train stations open. It's only
> natural that property owners should wish to control events - help bars close,
> stop bars from opening, complain when bus routes change (the more so as it's a
> public, governmental function), even sign petitions to stop theaters from
> moving away. Maybe they'll open up a plague house next door that'll cut
> property prices in half, and maybe the new megamall will open three doors away
> and your prices will shoot up by a factor of ten. The Libertarian credo is
> that, even though it may be to the benefit of individuals to try and exert
> control in specific cases, in the end everyone loses once the government gets
> involved. Looking over the interaction of people building and owning
> buildings, what I see is a free economy that should be protected from
> government interference, even if some people lose on individual transactions.
> That's why I have a strong a priori prejudice towards choice A in situations
> like these - though the real answer depends on who owns the noise spectrum.

Your reference to an ecomony that should be protected is interesting.. in
fact that is what I am arguing. The government or *something* must involve
itself in certain economic situations like this if that particular market
is going to "flourish". Now you can argue hypothetically as an anarcho-
capitalist or whatever that you think government is bad, but you are still
going to have to come up with some kind of solution otherwise you will have
all houses on one side of the railroad tracks and all commercial development
on the other. And finally you have to consider the negative objective
consequences that your "lack of participation" will have. If you don't sign
the petition to try and fight for your chunk of the noise spectrum using
the only available current means then let's say the bar gets built, your
property value goes down, you lose sleep every night or get interrupted
during your deep thinking, and in the end the Singularity ends up being
delayed by a month. Was your idealistic choice of action worth it?

Brian Atkins
Director, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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