Re: The Extropian Principles

Ben Goertzel (
Mon, 29 Jul 1996 15:13:08 +0800

Max MOre asks,

>Do you really think the software market would function better if the
>government decided what products could be made, by whom, and how
>much they could be sold for?

Certainly not!
But I resent being presented with a forced-choice between 20'th
century "free market" capitalist "democracy" and Soviet-style
state socialism (state capitalism, some would say).

I am in favor of decentralization, and am interested in the possibility
of new social/cultural systems emerging which lack both the centralized
control of the Soviet system and the centralized corporate control
of the current US system.

I understand that the expansion of something like Microsoft software
is a natural phenomenon -- it's what the economists call "increasing
returns" (rather than the textbook "decreasing returns"). The more
you sell, the more you gain "mind share" as well as market share,
and the more other software vendors write software only compatible
with your stuff. Positive feedback!!

The spread of MicroSoft software is much like the spread of a
foreign bacterium in the human body. A healthy body has an immune
system which keeps any substance (internal or external) from rising
to an excessive level. One can imagine a social system which had similar
internal, self-organizing mechanisms acting to keep things decentralized,

ben goertzel