Re: The Extropian Principles

Eric Watt Forste (
Mon, 29 Jul 1996 20:06:22 -0700

At 7:24 AM 7/27/96, Ben Goertzel wrote:
>system. Free markets don't seem to stay "free" -- they seem to drift
>into attractors consisting of MONOPOLIES or OLIGOPOLIES. Look at the
>software market, which is a free market, but is dominated by MicroSoft
>to everyone's detriment.

I don't care for Microsoft's products, and in general I don't use them, but
I don't feel that Microsoft's domination of the software market is at all
to my detriment. Microsoft's domination simply means that all of
Microsoft's competitors have to produce products that are better than
Microsoft's if they expect to keep a piece of the market. This doesn't hurt
me at all.

>I think the question of the optimal social structure is an interesting
>one, which is probably explorable by computer simulations along the
>lines of the commercial SimCity program.

I doubt that useful computer simulations of society will be available until
sometime after we are able to produce useful computer simulations of human
brains. Human brains are not only far more complex than anything we've ever
been able to usefully simulate, but they also have a tremendous causal
impact on the development of society. ;)

The question of the optimal social structure is explorable primarily by the
study of history, a fact that futurist technophiles are often prone to

As for your assertion about MONOPOLIES and OLIGOPOLIES, if you study the
monopolies that one finds in history, they were generally either a result
of government prohibition against their competitors or else were harmless
and temporary, like the brief Alcoa monopoly on aluminum production earlier
this century.

Eric Watt Forste <>