Re: feedback and sharing knowledge

Anton Sherwood (
Wed, 8 Oct 1997 19:32:21 -0700 (PDT)

Joao Pedro responds to Geoff Smith's query about priorities:

: My world problems? Freedom? Productivity? Are you living in
: the same planet I live? Do you know that more than 30'000
: children die each day of avoidable causes?

Can you tell us how to change that without money?

: Do you want to know how much people have died in
: wars in the last decades?

Too many, and every one of them was killed by a state
that claimed to be correcting some injustice.

Is the problem of state aggression
not related to the question of freedom?

: Do you know that at least 30% of the
: world population lives in poverty?

Do you know how to change that without improving productivity?
Do you know how to improve productivity without the freedom to
experiment with new methods and new products?

: I don't know about you but my idea of a good place to live in
: must first correct this injustices and only then care about
: tax rates and stockholders.

You're going to need the cooperation of the taxpayers and
stockholders, whatever you do. Without it you'll get nowhere.

: And that is exactly why I disagree with free-markets, they
: won't solve any of these problems and they will only work in
: the direction of the already wealthy (and I mean a lot more
: wealthier than us, or at least I) while discarding the poor.

Already wealthy, like the English laborers, whose standard of living
improved steadily (except as interrupted by wars) from about 1800
until recently?

Already wealthy, like my grandmother's grandparents who left
Scandinavia to seek better prospects in America? (Maybe they
came to Wisconsin in 1880 to steal land from the Indians)

: Obviously (at least for me it's obvious) I cannot agree with
: such a system that might even create a few more millionaires
: but will leave the overall world population in poverty.
: That is not the world I want to leave for the generations
: to come.

It is what you'll get, if you blame the creators of wealth,
rather than the political prevention of wealth.

: > how do you know when you have found the "truth"?
: > how do you know when someone is "immediately wrong"?
: > is it a warm, fuzzy feeling?
: When I (or any other musician) listen to an A chord (a correct
: A chord, if the guitar is not tuned it is not an A chord), we
: instinctively recognize it as one (at least if it's played in
: a guitar or keyboard, I never listened to an A chord when played
: on some exotic instruments). If anyone disagrees with us, he is
: wrong because that is an A chord as defined many centuries ago
: and accepted till our days by all musicians as an A chord. Is that
: so hard to understand?

Not at all. But you omit one important element. A chord is recognized
as a chord not only by convention, but because of inherent properties
of the sound it makes, and of our ears. We don't need perfect pitch
to recognize when notes are played in ratio 4:5:6 (or approximately;
today's conventional tuning actually makes the 5 rather sharp). A
4:5:6 chord is, by nature, more harmonious than a 21:26:31 chord,
and no convention can make it otherwise. It does take some learning,
just as you may not like the taste of wine the first time you try it,
but later you learn to appreciate it and distinguish good wine from
bad (and sherry from champagne).

Similarly, "free market" implies a set of norms that I, like many
others for a thousand years, recognize as justice; not because some
committee of merchants said "This is what we'll call justice," but
because the application of such norms was found - by long informal
experience - to keep the peace better than other norms.

I'll bet you recognize such norms too, as they are applied to
interactions between two people. For some reason when you consider
people by the millions, rather than by twos and threes, justice
magically becomes injustice, and vice versa.

By the way - "chord" to me means three notes, but a guitar has six
strings; when you play "A chord" on a guitar, are the notes A C# E
repeated in another octave?

Anton Sherwood *\\* +1 415 267 0685 *\\*