Re: The Extropian Principles

Peter C. McCluskey (
Thu, 15 Aug 1996 08:31:20 -0700 (Max More) writes:
>I'd say governments are the result of a kind of SO, but they are not
>examples *of* SO. Spontaneously ordering processes can produce results that
>themselves are inimical to spontaneous order.
>Actually, if spontaneous order is to have any meaning, we have to restrict
>the processes that we characterize that way. It's not obvious to me that the
>random circumstances, deliberate brutalities and dominations, false beliefs,
>etc. that led to powerful governments, constitute an example of a
>spontaneously ordering process.

I am puzzled at your suggestion that "random circumstances" and "false
beliefs" are in any way inconsistent with SO. Randomness is often an
essential part of SOs such as genetic programming and neural networks,
and the role of random trial and error in economic change should not be
ignored. An ant colony can organize with false beliefs or no beliefs on
the part of the ants, but accurate beliefs are needed for central planners
to create a non-spontaneous order.
Ask yourself, for example, whether the FDA is the result of congressmen
thoughtlessly reacting to headlines, which happen to report deaths due
to bad drugs more conspicuously than natural deaths due to lack of drugs
(a SO explanation of the FDA), or the result of people consciously
calculating that their power is more important than the prompt availability
of new drugs.

> What are the principles or rules that govern
>that ordering? In a market SO it's the private property rights and price
>signals that make up the SO. I'm not sure what it would be in the case of
>the development of governments.

What are the rules that govern the evolution of wings? The response
of our immune systems to a new virus? Beyond the principle that entities
which expand/reproduce tend to dominate a system, I see no reason to
expect clear or simple rules.

Peter McCluskey |                        | The theory gives the answers, | | not the theorist. - Allen Newell |     |