Can Economic Growth Last?

Teralek
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Can Economic Growth Last?


 This article is a wonderful overview of what I think of the current state of affairs of human economic system, published by the UC San Diego Department of Physics.

I don't want to be pessimist but I can't avoid it. Likewise I don't see a feasible and tested model of a steady state economy.

If a steady state economy is to be achieved we'd have to control: 

population growth 

Maintain a pool of jobs enough to accommodate a steady population number. However this will be not enough: With the increase efficiency in production and less consumption less work would be necessary to produce a given product or service, thus there would be no alternative than to reduce work hours - Last time I've heard something as "preposterous" as this was in a 1930 book from Bertrand Russell. Today's numbers show an ever increasing number of working hours. Working hours would have to be stickly regulated to balance the supply/demand with workforce/jobs. I don't see anyone who dares to talk about steady state economies addressing these issues

Also when I speak of population control a lot of "law of the jungle advocates" jump on me...

Of course economy can't grow forever, this is obvious even to the average intelligent person.

What worries me is that we need a mentality change which I don't see happening. What I see is a ever growing greed and selfishness of a individualistic society. As an "intelligent" species we are seriously flawed. Or maybe as Hubert Reeves once said: «intelligence was a poisonous gift».

We are in denial. We behave like animals with tools of Gods.

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"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


Beyond Saving
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 Teralek! Welcome

 Teralek! Welcome back. 

 

Yes, economic growth can last, as long as people exist who could use something to make their lives a little bit better. Energy isn't consumed, it is transformed so the authors concerns over somehow using up all energy is misguided. It may very well be that we can't use fossil fuels forever, at least until someone finds a way to create fossil fuels (a task I am not convinced is impossible). As fossil fuels become scarce the price will rise and we will find other sources of energy. The technology is already developing for many non-fossil fuel technologies and as that change takes place it will take many man hours to replace our current fossil fuel dependent system with something else. Indeed, in many areas our technological knowledge has outpaced our actual need of the technology. Solar, hybrids, recycling, wind power are all more expensive than fossil fuels solely because fossil fuels are so plentiful and the framework to refine and distribute fossil fuels is already established. Eventually, the economic incentives will go against using fossil fuels.

 

Also, the authors assumptions about what would happen if food production shrunk to 1% of our economy are false. We already have an example of such an economy, the US. In the US agriculture accounts for less than 1% of our GDP and less than 2% of our workforce. Down from 21.5% of our workforce and 7.7% of our GDP when they first started tracking GDP in 1930. In 1900 41% of our workforce was in agriculture and also a much higher percentage of our GDP but they didn't track that back then so any guess at specific numbers is speculation.

http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib3/eib3.htm

 

 

As someone who lives in farm country, I assure you most farmers in the US are not poor. In fact, in many areas farming is more profitable than the average income. http://deltafarmpress.com/management/farmer-households-now-top-average-income-nation Even the net income numbers are slightly misleading because income doesn't include the money being invested in new land, buildings or machinery that can later be sold. Note the average net worth of a family farm (that means excluding large corporate farms) is over $500,000 well above the net worth of most Americans. Since the value of farmland has nearly doubled since that information was obtained, farmer net worth is certainly much higher now. Farmers are however the best people in the world at pretending to be poor. 

 

How are farmers doing much better than 100 years ago despite accounting for far less GDP? There are fewer farmers. Even 50 years ago it took every person in a family to run a small farm and they worked really long hours. It simply does not require that many labor hours anymore. Our manufacturing sector has been shrinking in a similar way. We produce more goods with fewer people.

 

The result is that around 3/4+ of the US economy is in the service sector. We spend tons of money on things like games, movies, sports etc. As far as pure economic growth is concerned, it doesn't differentiate between growth in physical goods or growth in non-physical goods. Both make us wealthier in very real ways. There is always something you can do to make your neighbors life a little bit better, and if we do somehow reach a point where everyone has everything they want and they simply don't want more, then who cares whether or not the economy at large grows? In reality, we are a long way away from that point. Many people live in substandard conditions around the world, and that alone leaves room for a lot of economic growth. 

 

 

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken


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Nice to hear from you

 

again Tera. Hope all is well at your end.

Yeah, I agree. Finding a model that preserves the planet, alleviates poverty, fuels innovation and provides motivation is a real problem. Human nature goes against a holding pattern when it comes to desires but I read somewhere this is not based so much on greed but on a human's need to continue to prove they are the best at a thing - to re-prove their capability again and again.  

And yeah - in some areas development has a major human cost. The latest advances in mechanisation and automation remind me of The Grapes of Wrath. There really are losers in the world we are creating and at some levels, that includes all of us. Then there's the cost to the developed world of the globalisation of education, intellectual property and manufacturing. We'll be able to compete with the developing world when they catch up in terms of wages, or we fall behind - but not before. 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


Teralek
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That is not possible unless

That is not possible unless you decouple GDP and energy consumption. It's pretty obvious "that continuation of this energy growth rate in any form of technology leads to a thermal reckoning in just a few hundred years (not the tepid global warming, but boiling skin!)." I don't see any signs that this decoupling is happening.

I don't agree that energy is just transformed and we can use it again because of 2 physical principles: EROEI and entropy. If energy could be used indefinitely the current theories about the Universe heat death would be wrong. The heat death is the ultimate fate of any physical closed system. The fate of the entropy. There is also the problem of net energy - there is only so much we can use, there is a ceiling sooner or later... efficiency and technology can stretch it but there is always a  ultimate physical limit.

I also don't put that much faith in tech. We are merely playing with things we thought about decades ago, not that impressive. We can't put together really cool ideas like nuclear fusion to commercial use dispite decades of research.

The fact that developed countries base their economy on services (less energy intensive) says nothing to me:

1. We merely outsource factory production. The world as a whole is exactly the same.

2. I don't differentiate between growth in physical and non physical work - they both need energy.

3. Dispite the fact that developed countries outsourced their production their energy consumption keeps increasing. (GDP/energy coupling)

4. It's pretty obvious that if we continue to have a global energy consumption growth at exponential levels, in a few centuries we reach absurd numbers. This will stop weather we want it or not.

With all those examples you said one would have thought that the US would have low energy consumption per capita... how ironic!

I believe current alternatives to fossil fuels will aways be more expensive due to EROEI ratings which are less favorable to renewables.

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Hello Teralek! Welcome

Hello Teralek! Welcome back!

Sounds like you're trying to reinvent the wheel. What you'd probably get to is resource-based economy, known as the basis of the Venus Project. I think cutting job hours is only natural. I do not see anything virtuous in a job out of necessity, that gets the working person basically nowhere, morally, economically, intellectually, emotionally, and so on.

I think the mentality change is nearby, if young people like me are any measure. Imagine the Occupy Wall Street generation, people who grew up with the internet. I hope it's not just me, but there comes a different attitude to personal, intellectual and digital property. I'd gladly live in a prefabricated extruded solar-paneled ovoid suspended above a park (see the Venus Project), if there would be internet and food in there. I don't mind not owning a car or yacht, but I'm touchy about my digital and travelling freedom. Anyway, imagine a whole generation not yet stupefied by decades of work, who had drank from the sweet addictive torrent of free data and saw the face of evil in their own institutions. I think the potential is there Smiling

What we see is actually differentiation. Evil becomes more concentrated, more obvious, and so does good. The forces are about balanced, so it looks like a stalemate or worse. More like silence before the storm. But if Arabian spring is any measure, there's a lot of storm ahead and I don't know if I should fear or rejoice. 

 

 

As for the others no, economic growth can not last and there is not a single good reason why it should. Economy is not a magical bean stalk, it's supposed to be the way to support ourselves. We don't need our muscles, livers or intestines to grow infinitely either. 

The reason why our economy grows so much is because all this growth is borrowed. It is borrowed from the past, in form of ancient fossil fuel deposits. It is borrowed from the future, by generating trillion-sized debts and forcing people to work to pay them off. All this is a big, empty bubble.

The reason why our economy is wrong, is quite obvious. Money generated in one sector of economy are allowed to be used in another sector or anywhere else imaginable, like to corrupt governments. Another problem is, there is a sector of economy that is allowed to generate unlimited money and use them in any way it sees fit, even for very immoral purposes. This sector is the financial and stock market, or shortly, speculative economy. Speculative economy does not produce anything but ridiculous amounts of money for a chosen few, not even remotely coverable by real goods and services. It is estimated that every year this production of fake money is more than 70x greater than global GDP. As such, it is THE global force and even more evil than Nony's Sionists.

It is not a wonder then, that the speculative economy, or the banks, pension funds, hedge funds and so on decided to take over several european states and institute a "limited democracy". This is quite a disturbing article, yet probably true in every word.

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Teralek wrote:That is not

Teralek wrote:

That is not possible unless you decouple GDP and energy consumption. It's pretty obvious "that continuation of this energy growth rate in any form of technology leads to a thermal reckoning in just a few hundred years (not the tepid global warming, but boiling skin!)." I don't see any signs that this decoupling is happening.

I don't agree that energy is just transformed and we can use it again because of 2 physical principles: EROEI and entropy. If energy could be used indefinitely the current theories about the Universe heat death would be wrong. The heat death is the ultimate fate of any physical closed system. The fate of the entropy. There is also the problem of net energy - there is only so much we can use, there is a ceiling sooner or later... efficiency and technology can stretch it but there is always a  ultimate physical limit.

I also don't put that much faith in tech. We are merely playing with things we thought about decades ago, not that impressive. We can't put together really cool ideas like nuclear fusion to commercial use dispite decades of research.

The fact that developed countries base their economy on services (less energy intensive) says nothing to me:

1. We merely outsource factory production. The world as a whole is exactly the same.

2. I don't differentiate between growth in physical and non physical work - they both need energy.

3. Dispite the fact that developed countries outsourced their production their energy consumption keeps increasing. (GDP/energy coupling)

4. It's pretty obvious that if we continue to have a global energy consumption growth at exponential levels, in a few centuries we reach absurd numbers. This will stop weather we want it or not.

With all those examples you said one would have thought that the US would have low energy consumption per capita... how ironic!

I believe current alternatives to fossil fuels will aways be more expensive due to EROEI ratings which are less favorable to renewables.

 

But we are not a closed system. We have constant energy coming from the sun. Sure, sooner or later the sun will stop shining, sooner or later our planet is going to cease to exist, sooner or later our universe might cease to exist. So what? That will happen regardless of how much or how little energy we use and the only real solution to continue the human race is to move to another planet or universe which may or may not be possible. Regardless, such problems are in the extremely distant future and whether or not humans will even exist then is highly questionable. Someone feel free to correct me but I believe the sun is expected to last another several billion years. Odds are humans will be wiped out long before then. I don't think we can even begin to imagine the technology we will have in 1000 years let alone 10,000 years. If we don't kill ourselves through fancy weapons, no doubt the technologies of the future would seem fantastically delusional to imagine today. So what rational reason is there to worry about restructuring our economy for an event that isn't going to happen until long after our economy ceases to exist?

 

And eventually fossil fuels will become expensive enough to make non-fossil fuel alternatives viable from a business standpoint. Already wind power is a profitable alternative in the US, the main problems we have with implementing it are political, not financial or technical. Several wind companies have been trying to expand but can't get the permits because some people think wind turbines are ugly and others are worried about the lives of brown bats that apparently tend to crash into them.

 

And US energy consumption is down per capita despite many more things for us to use our energy on and a lot more wealth. In 1990 we consumed 89,021 KWH per capita, in 2008 we consumed 87,216 KWH per capita. http://www.iea.org/textbase/nppdf/free/2010/key_stats_2010.pdf which is also supported by the UN report http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/publications/esa99dp6.pdf which states

 

Quote:

The most notable trend is the decline in

per capita household energy consumption in North

America, which in 1970 had much higher household

energy consumption than any other region. The

difference remains considerable but it decreased

substantially. This decline is a result of several

factors, including increased energy efficiency and

saturation with domestic electrical appliances.

 

Yet despite lower per capita consumption we live a much better standard of living than in 1970 and both our GDP and per capita GDP have grown substantially.

 

Over 14% of our total energy supply now comes from renewable sources with hydroelectric being the large leader and wind being the fastest grower. As fossil fuels become more expensive, there is more incentive to convert. Converting is expensive in the short term and the main reason we remain so dependent on fossil fuels is because they are so plentiful and so cheap. http://205.254.135.24/electricity/monthly/current_year/january2012.pdf

 

Global energy consumption is certainly going to rise in the near future as more countries modernize and start enjoying the comforts of modern technology. Eventually, they will reach a certain level and energy consumption will plateau and start to shrink. Your assumption that energy use will grow exponentially is false. It is also false that when energy consumption plateaus that GDP is harmed. It isn't. 

 

Same thing with population. Population growth in developed countries is much slower than developing countries, and in many cases is below/close to replacement rate. Things like birth control, education and wealth lead to a lower birth rate. I see no reason to believe that the same phenomenon isn't going to happen in developing countries.

 

Our world is currently going through a phase of massive modernization which does mean massive growth in energy use as large portions of people who lived without electricity and power start getting it. When that boom is over and plateaus it isn't going to mean the economy will stop growing. The economy will respond like it does any time you have a booming industry that slows down, you will have a recession for a bit as resources are moved to other areas, then those other areas will grow. Energy will become less influential on total GDP and life will go on. 

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken


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Beyond Saving wrote: And

Beyond Saving wrote:

 And eventually fossil fuels will become expensive enough to make non-fossil fuel alternatives viable from a business standpoint. Already wind power is a profitable alternative in the US, the main problems we have with implementing it are political, not financial or technical. Several wind companies have been trying to expand but can't get the permits because some people think wind turbines are ugly and others are worried about the lives of brown bats that apparently tend to crash into them.

Do you trust the forces of business to innovate the technology? I have serious doubts about this. Just as likely, innovators who bind their resources into long-term projects will get destroyed by competition in short term period and with "worse" technology. Just as likely, decline in fossil fuels will be used to make profit on their scarcity and to get a tighter control over the energy market. From there is just a step to destroying long-term innovators in energetics industry to maintain the monopoly, by less or more illegal practices. This road leads to self-destruction. Market forces are blind, they really do not have any foresight, goal or purpose, except of expanding money and power. To trust market forces to make a rational, ethical decision is like to trust the promises of a notorious alcoholic. There are certainly business projects leading to ethical and ecologic ends, but this is not a guarantee of anything.

And by the way, the use of fossil hydrocarbons in energetics is just wrong. We need them for too many other purposes to burn them. Fertilizers, asphalt roads, pharmacology, chemical industry, plastics, damn, just about every second thing we can see. People tried to imagine the world without fossil fuels, but only in the sense of energy, not what it really means to lose them. I suppose it would involve lots of energy-consuming makeshift solutions besides recycling, like polymerization of alcohols and scrapping asphalt roads, whether legal or not.

( well, I actually once wrote a 36-page long cyberpunk parody story, where the main character, an orphan teenage girl, fueled her motorbike by digging chunks of asphalt out of a road with pickaxe Laughing out loud )

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Luminon wrote: Do you trust

Luminon wrote:
Do you trust the forces of business to innovate the technology? 

Absolutely. Is there a reason I shouldn't? It was the unleashing of business forces that caused the industrial revolution and all the technologies we enjoy today. Those on the cutting edge of innovation are always the wealthiest people in a free market.

 

Luminon wrote:

I have serious doubts about this. Just as likely, innovators who bind their resources into long-term projects will get destroyed by competition in short term period and with "worse" technology.

Any examples of that happening?

 

Luminon wrote:

Just as likely, decline in fossil fuels will be used to make profit on their scarcity and to get a tighter control over the energy market. From there is just a step to destroying long-term innovators in energetics industry to maintain the monopoly, by less or more illegal practices. This road leads to self-destruction.

How does one control the energy market when they are unable to produce the amount of energy demanded? You control a market by producing the product in demand, not by restricting it. The only time you can attempt to control a market through restriction is in the case of a physical commodity, for example, OPEC often attempts to control the oil market. But those attempts don't harm non-oil based energy, in fact it has the opposite effect of benefiting them by driving of the costs of oil based energy, making their product more attractive. The other alternative is to attempt to use government coercion, say through making certain energy sources illegal or making the permit process so difficult that not very many can get them. Which is a challenge where I live, but not an insurmountable one. In a free market, the only way oil can compete with alternative energies is to attempt to remain cheaper and/or more easily available.

 

Luminon wrote:

Market forces are blind, they really do not have any foresight, goal or purpose, except of expanding money and power. To trust market forces to make a rational, ethical decision is like to trust the promises of a notorious alcoholic. There are certainly business projects leading to ethical and ecologic ends, but this is not a guarantee of anything.

So what? We aren't talking ethics, we are talking about the possibility of consistently becoming wealthier while meeting our energy needs. Ethics and whether or not we should coerce them is a purely political question, not an economic one. I'm not counting on businesses to be ethical, I'm counting on them to produce. Or in your analogy, I'm not counting on the alcoholic to be moral, I'm counting on the alcoholic to drink. Whether or not the alcoholic is moral is irrelevant and exactly what restrictions should be placed on the alcoholic to minimize drunk driving is a political decision.

 

I believe that the best way to interact with other humans isn't to try to force them to change their behavior, but to put myself in a position where their behavior is beneficial or least harmful to me. It is virtually impossible to force an alcoholic to be sober. The best solution is to sell the alcoholic alcohol in a safe environment, which makes me wonder why the hell booze delivery services are illegal. Best way to reduce drunk driving? Deliver the booze to the alcoholic at home so they don't have to drive to the store or bar.

 

Similarly, people will seek personal profit, some to the point that it is the most important thing in their lives. Rather than fight that drive, it is best to have an economic system that benefits from it. Historically, the US has embraced the drive towards personal profit and that is why we are ridiculously wealthy compared to the rest of the world while also being a major driver of technological innovation.  

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken


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Interesting article. There

Interesting article. There are probably lots of limits to economic growth. I guess the question is if they'll be reached. It involves rearranging the environment and not every new arrangement is equally suitable for sustaining human life so there are almost certainly environmental limits. It seems to often involve concentration of wealth which people respond to negatively so there may be social limits. Economic growth is a result of population growth and population numbers will probably plateau and decrease. One thing I  rarely see discussed is that if everyone becomes affluent because of economic growth then there may be no reason for it to continue. There could be limits to the human need for economic growth.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
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As a capitalistic American

As a capitalistic American it is your natural way of seeing things, but I am curious if you have ever thought in the way I try to show you. 

Beyond Saving wrote:

Absolutely. Is there a reason I shouldn't? It was the unleashing of business forces that caused the industrial revolution and all the technologies we enjoy today. Those on the cutting edge of innovation are always the wealthiest people in a free market.

It certainly seems to work in some industries, like IT. But in others, mainly in Asia cheap human labour destroys all competition and human rights in the process. There are organizations trying to fix that, but either they don't use market solutions, or they try their luck with "human face capitalism" that sells the same goods with fair price policy or child-labor-free certificates, making a good feeling their key selling point. Which doesn't solve the core problem anyway. Please look at this video, it is absolutely awesome, I think. It also addresses your later points, which I did too, but feel free not to respond to them if the video covers them.

 

Beyond Saving wrote:
 Any examples of that happening?
What about competition of Airbus and Boeing? I haven't noticed they would work on any  revolution in air travel.

Beyond Saving wrote:
 How does one control the energy market when they are unable to produce the amount of energy demanded? You control a market by producing the product in demand, not by restricting it. The only time you can attempt to control a market through restriction is in the case of a physical commodity, for example, OPEC often attempts to control the oil market. But those attempts don't harm non-oil based energy, in fact it has the opposite effect of benefiting them by driving of the costs of oil based energy, making their product more attractive. The other alternative is to attempt to use government coercion, say through making certain energy sources illegal or making the permit process so difficult that not very many can get them. Which is a challenge where I live, but not an insurmountable one. In a free market, the only way oil can compete with alternative energies is to attempt to remain cheaper and/or more easily available.
You think in terms of market, which should be (but today usually isn't) supply and demand. As you know, in USA, separation of Church and state is weak and it has really bad effects. A similar problem arises from the lack of separation between market and state. Instead of competing purely within the limits of business, competitors don't hesitate to bribe politicians and bend laws to their will, to control the markets. This is how I think they will face the energy crisis, by controlling the market politically, not by being better providers. Although frankly they probably are, because oil is such a powerful source of energy.

This is not the first case when it would happen, just think of how immense usefulness of cannabis allows it to dominate any industry it starts to be used in. This is pretty much an equivalent of "free energy" or ultimate trump card in production of paper, textile, light+flexible concrete and other diverse areas. Now, tell me why citizens of USA react to cannabis just like to atheism and why authorities treat it worse than the deadly and addictive drugs of alcohol and tobacco. (which most of us enjoys)
Another example would be the invention of internet and the war against digital sharing, initiated by money-making distributors (usually not the creators) but led through political weapons. Again, internet is an example of an ultimate trump card in superior distribution of anything that can be digitalized. 
Yet another example might be the Cap & Trade system (which was supposed to be a political, not technological trump card), seemingly meant to decrease industrial pollution, but in fact a way how to pollute just as before, while making more money on it.

I'd say that every time an ultimate trump card appears, market forces start cheating, they invoke a political power to destroy it. I hope that I demonstrated sufficiently why market forces can not be trusted to stay within the playground of market, but will control politics to infiltrate every other area of life, even though it sometimes means worse technology. Not even our beloved cutting-edge innovative IT industry is innocent in that aspect, considering the coltan wars in Congo and the insane policy of planned obsolescence.
 

Beyond Saving wrote:
 So what? We aren't talking ethics, we are talking about the possibility of consistently becoming wealthier while meeting our energy needs. Ethics and whether or not we should coerce them is a purely political question, not an economic one. I'm not counting on businesses to be ethical, I'm counting on them to produce. Or in your analogy, I'm not counting on the alcoholic to be moral, I'm counting on the alcoholic to drink. Whether or not the alcoholic is moral is irrelevant and exactly what restrictions should be placed on the alcoholic to minimize drunk driving is a political decision.
Yes, your thoughts are valid within the playground of market and market only. But the world is messy, power leaks from market to politics and from religion to politics and from one economic sector to another, from one continent to another, because they all use the same money. In this messy world there is one more problem, the intrinsic bond of technology and ethics. We can not exist without both, ethics without technology is stagnant, technology without ethics is deadly. The fact that our way of life involves lots of technology but very little ethics, that scares me. 

As for your counting on business to produce, no, you can't even do that. Just remember the historical burning of food so the prices won't decrease, or it's equivalent of today, biofuels and stock market. Or remember what happened with every single electric personal car that was ever put on market. And remember the cannabis, which might have prevented global climate change, had it been used instead of tree-cutting and cotton growing. If the business would work on supply and demand, you could count on it to produce. But most of it today is determined by speculation, as on stock markets.

Beyond Saving wrote:
 I believe that the best way to interact with other humans isn't to try to force them to change their behavior, but to put myself in a position where their behavior is beneficial or least harmful to me. It is virtually impossible to force an alcoholic to be sober. The best solution is to sell the alcoholic alcohol in a safe environment, which makes me wonder why the hell booze delivery services are illegal. Best way to reduce drunk driving? Deliver the booze to the alcoholic at home so they don't have to drive to the store or bar. 

Similarly, people will seek personal profit, some to the point that it is the most important thing in their lives. Rather than fight that drive, it is best to have an economic system that benefits from it. Historically, the US has embraced the drive towards personal profit and that is why we are ridiculously wealthy compared to the rest of the world while also being a major driver of technological innovation.  

Yes that would be nice, but we don't have such an economic system. Our economic system uses the people's drive to destroy the world we live on. You used the alcoholics as an example. But if I take your example further, who sells more booze, wins the market. So the winning strategy is to make people drink more booze and become alcoholics. That means making booze available everywhere, regardless of safety. There is no way this can be ever beneficial or harmless, not because of alcohol, but because the market competition will make the winners of those who make the most people alcoholics. If Jim Beam invests part of the money for alcoholic recovery centers, it would be another hilarious example of what Slavoj Zižek describes in his video - and there would be still alcoholics.

Last time I checked U.S. was a top player in technological innovation, but just about the worst in ethics. I didn't notice any of the hellish totalitarian states invading other states halfway across the world or controlling their and global economy and politics in detriment of others. This is another reason why I see technology and ethics as inseparable. Please notice I am not against competition and personal success as such! Compete all you want, sharpen your wits and skills to win, only do it symbolically! By sports, video games and other forms of entertainment. Do not hold real resources, people, economies and states as hostages of competition! That is about as wise as deciding political matters through Russian roulette, with gun handed first those from the far end.

There are examples of business that goes the good way, but as I already demonstrated, usually when such a business gets a real technologic trump card, the opposite forces use politics or public opinion to destroy it. I currently don't know of a mechanism that would give the good business an upper hand. Except a global worldwide cultural movement, based on propagation of ethics. But it is a systemic solution, it reaches every area of the society, not just market. Market can not solve its problems by market alone, because everyone will bring external forces into the play at a nearest convenient moment. 

I personally think your opinions are too simplified, I think you don't see how market and other areas of life are intertwined, mostly for bad. Problems can not be solved on the same level of thinking that created them, yet you keep thinking on that level. You also overestimate the technological innovation, if you look at the Venus Project, it's designed around technology we have for decades but don't use because of monetary restrictions. (Btw, the great inventor Jacque Fresco in Florida is completely ignored by U.S. public media, despite of his involvement with foreign government projects) You also make presumptions on human nature and then justify the existing system by them. What if most of human nature is adaptation and what you see as human nature is merely adaptation to the competitive economic forces? Instead, I see the future economy as for example, agriculture. Once almost all population was engaged in farming. Nowadays only a few people, thanks to technology. Let's say the sentence differently. "Once almost all population was engaged in daily jobs. Nowadays only a few people, thanks to technology." 

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Luminon wrote:It certainly

Luminon wrote:

It certainly seems to work in some industries, like IT. But in others, mainly in Asia cheap human labour destroys all competition and human rights in the process. There are organizations trying to fix that, but either they don't use market solutions, or they try their luck with "human face capitalism" that sells the same goods with fair price policy or child-labor-free certificates, making a good feeling their key selling point. Which doesn't solve the core problem anyway. Please look at this video, it is absolutely awesome, I think. It also addresses your later points, which I did too, but feel free not to respond to them if the video covers them.

What industry does cheap labor prevent from innovating? Apple certainly has done a ton of innovating the last 10 years using cheap Asian labor. If anything the cheap labor allowed for faster innovation because more resources were available to be applied to thinking. Now there might be perfectly plausible moral arguments about why we should do things to prevent human rights abuses. And perhaps we should decide that it is better for innovation to happen slower in exchange for protecting workforce conditions. 

 

Luminon wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:
 Any examples of that happening?
What about competition of Airbus and Boeing? I haven't noticed they would work on any  revolution in air travel.

Really? Boeing is just coming out with the 787 Dreamliner, it is a little behind schedule because the government sued them to stop them from building the plant and Airbus is working on the A-350. Since 1916 Boeing has certainly played a massive role in revolutionizing air travel. In recent years they have let several commercial investments drop in favor of military aircraft where they mostly compete against Lockheed Martin. If you are worried about the lack of innovation there you should ask the Taliban. Then you have Virgin Galactic pushing towards commercial space travel. Where is the lack of innovation? 

 

Luminon wrote:

You think in terms of market, which should be (but today usually isn't) supply and demand. As you know, in USA, separation of Church and state is weak and it has really bad effects. A similar problem arises from the lack of separation between market and state. Instead of competing purely within the limits of business, competitors don't hesitate to bribe politicians and bend laws to their will, to control the markets. This is how I think they will face the energy crisis, by controlling the market politically, not by being better providers. Although frankly they probably are, because oil is such a powerful source of energy.

If the government gets involved you can almost guarantee our economy will collapse. The problem isn't with business not innovating, its with the government getting involved, which is the subject of some 90%+ of my rants. I was answering a theoretical question of IF it is possible for the economy to grow indefinitely or if some economy designed for flat growth was required. My answer is that it is possible with a free market. With government heavily involved it creates obstacles for business to overcome, which they might or might not do. One thing is certain, you can always count of politicians to fuck up a perfectly good economy when they have too much power.

 

Luminon wrote:

This is not the first case when it would happen, just think of how immense usefulness of cannabis allows it to dominate any industry it starts to be used in. This is pretty much an equivalent of "free energy" or ultimate trump card in production of paper, textile, light+flexible concrete and other diverse areas. Now, tell me why citizens of USA react to cannabis just like to atheism and why authorities treat it worse than the deadly and addictive drugs of alcohol and tobacco. (which most of us enjoys)
Another example would be the invention of internet and the war against digital sharing, initiated by money-making distributors (usually not the creators) but led through political weapons. Again, internet is an example of an ultimate trump card in superior distribution of anything that can be digitalized. 
Yet another example might be the Cap & Trade system (which was supposed to be a political, not technological trump card), seemingly meant to decrease industrial pollution, but in fact a way how to pollute just as before, while making more money on it.

I'd say that every time an ultimate trump card appears, market forces start cheating, they invoke a political power to destroy it. I hope that I demonstrated sufficiently why market forces can not be trusted to stay within the playground of market, but will control politics to infiltrate every other area of life, even though it sometimes means worse technology. Not even our beloved cutting-edge innovative IT industry is innocent in that aspect, considering the coltan wars in Congo and the insane policy of planned obsolescence.

You haven't demonstrated why market forces can't be trusted. You have demonstrated why government can't be trusted. Government power will be abused by those who hold it whether it is businesses, interest groups, churches or wealthy individuals that have the reigns of power you can guarantee it will be abused. The answer is simple, remove the power from government. You can't abuse a power that doesn't exist. The problem is that people tend to become complacent and allow the government to gain more power over time. I don't have a solution to that, nor have I heard anyone present a plausible one. 
 

Luminon wrote:

As for your counting on business to produce, no, you can't even do that. Just remember the historical burning of food so the prices won't decrease, or it's equivalent of today, biofuels and stock market. Or remember what happened with every single electric personal car that was ever put on market. And remember the cannabis, which might have prevented global climate change, had it been used instead of tree-cutting and cotton growing. If the business would work on supply and demand, you could count on it to produce. But most of it today is determined by speculation, as on stock markets.

It wasn't businesses burning food. It was government in there great wisdom that destroyed food and more recently destroyed a good portion of our used cars here in the US on the basis that it was "stimulating" the economy somehow. What business makes money without supplying a demand? Unless they are getting government subsidies every business must have some consumer they are supplying with some product or service. Where else do they get their money from? What do you think speculation is? Your buying something under the prediction that that thing will be in higher demand later or selling under the belief that demand will be lower later. Speculation is a direct pipeline to supply and demand. Stock prices are directly related to a companies profitability. A company that doesn't produce a product or service to provide to consumers is quickly going to find itself on the penny stock list.

 

Luminon wrote:

Yes that would be nice, but we don't have such an economic system. Our economic system uses the people's drive to destroy the world we live on. You used the alcoholics as an example. But if I take your example further, who sells more booze, wins the market. So the winning strategy is to make people drink more booze and become alcoholics. That means making booze available everywhere, regardless of safety. There is no way this can be ever beneficial or harmless, not because of alcohol, but because the market competition will make the winners of those who make the most people alcoholics. If Jim Beam invests part of the money for alcoholic recovery centers, it would be another hilarious example of what Slavoj Zižek describes in his video - and there would be still alcoholics.

And that's a problem? The purpose of selling alcohol is to sell as much of it as possible. Like I said, you can count on business to produce and supply to their customers. Given a free completely unregulated market alcohol companies would do their best to make sure their alcohol got to people with money to pay for it as quickly and conveniently as possible. Now I, as someone who profits on the sale of alcohol, am not ethically concerned with the number of alcoholics. I trust people to decide how much to drink and when and I don't think it is any of my business if they make poor decisions. If people want to be alcoholics, that is their choice. If they want to quit drinking, there is more than one company that will gladly take their money to provide therapy and rehab services. Business will supply whatever product/service consumers demand, it is up to the end consumer to make moral decisions. If you want to be an alcoholic, I don't care, if you want to snort cocaine off a hookers ass, I don't care, if you want to sit in your apartment smoking ganja all day, I don't care. 

 

Luminon wrote:

Last time I checked U.S. was a top player in technological innovation, but just about the worst in ethics. I didn't notice any of the hellish totalitarian states invading other states halfway across the world or controlling their and global economy and politics in detriment of others. This is another reason why I see technology and ethics as inseparable. Please notice I am not against competition and personal success as such! Compete all you want, sharpen your wits and skills to win, only do it symbolically! By sports, video games and other forms of entertainment. Do not hold real resources, people, economies and states as hostages of competition! That is about as wise as deciding political matters through Russian roulette, with gun handed first those from the far end.

Again, it is our government that has repeatedly gotten us into these wars. Our government needs a serious haircut. Personally, I'm perfectly content to let everyone overseas kill each other and live under whatever tyranny they want. I am perfectly content to stop shelling out all the cash that is keeping the EU afloat and padding the pockets of third world dictators. I'm not even convinced the US should have gotten involved in the European front in WWII, we had to hit the Japanese hard because they attacked us, but really I don't think Hitler was likely to try coming across the ocean. But, our country has often been led by people who see themselves as moral crusaders going out to save the unfortunate in the world. I think our foreign policy should consist of staying over here until you attack us, then unleashing hell on you and your civilians until you are as pacifistic as the Japanese then coming home. That view isn't really popular with anyone.

 

Luminon wrote:

There are examples of business that goes the good way, but as I already demonstrated, usually when such a business gets a real technologic trump card, the opposite forces use politics or public opinion to destroy it. I currently don't know of a mechanism that would give the good business an upper hand. Except a global worldwide cultural movement, based on propagation of ethics. But it is a systemic solution, it reaches every area of the society, not just market. Market can not solve its problems by market alone, because everyone will bring external forces into the play at a nearest convenient moment. 

I personally think your opinions are too simplified, I think you don't see how market and other areas of life are intertwined, mostly for bad. Problems can not be solved on the same level of thinking that created them, yet you keep thinking on that level. You also overestimate the technological innovation, if you look at the Venus Project, it's designed around technology we have for decades but don't use because of monetary restrictions. (Btw, the great inventor Jacque Fresco in Florida is completely ignored by U.S. public media, despite of his involvement with foreign government projects) You also make presumptions on human nature and then justify the existing system by them. What if most of human nature is adaptation and what you see as human nature is merely adaptation to the competitive economic forces? Instead, I see the future economy as for example, agriculture. Once almost all population was engaged in farming. Nowadays only a few people, thanks to technology. Let's say the sentence differently. "Once almost all population was engaged in daily jobs. Nowadays only a few people, thanks to technology." 

So every "problem" with the free market you point out is when government gets involved and your solution is the Venus Project which is government control on steroids in an attempt to change how people act? You claim the free market won't work because of political corruption, which I concede has an element of truth. Governments have a tendency to grow more powerful and more corrupt with time until they are overthrown. I'm hoping this time around we can skip the violent revolution. So why do you imagine that your magically "education" is going to eliminate corruption? Good luck with that. I have no problem with the Venus project as long as they don't resort to force. They can build their little utopia- maybe it will work but I am very skeptical. But if they build it and it works as amazingly as all the propaganda pretends I'm sure many will follow suit. Why what a wonderfully free market approach to politics. 

 

As I said before, my approach both in my business and personal life is to accept and recognize people as they are. I don't try to change them, I simply position myself in a way to maximize my benefit or minimize the harm they cause me. Rarely am I surprised. 

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken


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 Beyond Saving: Most of the

 

Beyond Saving: Most of the times when you blame government and its interventions, it's actually market forces pulling the strings of the government. Businessmen bribe politicians, politicians sit in corporate general meetings, or businessmen fund their chosen politicians' election campaigns. In my country, every single government public order or project is overpriced to make a huge profit for some private company. As for the U.S., remember Obama's swift ascent to power and how he had to pay back his benefactors from Wall Street by bailing them out after they screwed up everything. 

Yes, the government can mess up things by imposing restrictions. But when market forces pull the strings, the government will mess up things rather by lifting the restrictions that protect us, citizens and customers. You blame the government, but how can you, when the whole U.S. financial system is privately owned? There is definitely a strong connection between the two, government and market forces. And very often the government does the dirty work for the business. Your country isn't an exception in that. This is why I don't believe that large business will innovate or willfully perish if it can change the game by controlling the government. 

If you still doubt, just look at what's happening in Europe. Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain underwent a systematic economic assassination and now the financial markets practically took over the reins of government, by dictating budget policy. Greece and Italy even had their prime ministers appointed without elections, both worked for Goldman Sachs bank and are members of the Trilateral Comission. 

 

Beyond Saving wrote:

What industry does cheap labor prevent from innovating? Apple certainly has done a ton of innovating the last 10 years using cheap Asian labor. If anything the cheap labor allowed for faster innovation because more resources were available to be applied to thinking. Now there might be perfectly plausible moral arguments about why we should do things to prevent human rights abuses. And perhaps we should decide that it is better for innovation to happen slower in exchange for protecting workforce conditions.

Technology may innovate, but in many asian companies people are used instead of automatized assembly. But to innovate and replace people with machines would mean to stay behind the competition and lose the short term economic race. I have worked half a year as a quality control of Hyundai cars (one car per minute) and it was a terrible job. I thought I'd go crazy. Plus there was later an investigation that revealed violations of labour code. And this exact factory was a typical case when a government sells out its people out to a foreign corporation, grants it tax breaks for several years after which the corporations lifts the anchor, without contributing anything to the country. Except of lining the politicians' pockets.

Beyond Saving wrote:
 Really? Boeing is just coming out with the 787 Dreamliner, it is a little behind schedule because the government sued them to stop them from building the plant and Airbus is working on the A-350. Since 1916 Boeing has certainly played a massive role in revolutionizing air travel. In recent years they have let several commercial investments drop in favor of military aircraft where they mostly compete against Lockheed Martin. If you are worried about the lack of innovation there you should ask the Taliban. Then you have Virgin Galactic pushing towards commercial space travel. Where is the lack of innovation?
OK, are any of these more efficient as a technology than the car? When it comes to consumption of energy per transport of a person? That's what I mean, once the petrol-burning engine was discovered about 200 years ago, humanity did not discover anything radically more efficient and ecologic. There were attempts, like 100 years ago there was more electric cars than petrol cars and they worked just fine, but the market said no.

Beyond Saving wrote:
 If the government gets involved you can almost guarantee our economy will collapse. The problem isn't with business not innovating, its with the government getting involved, which is the subject of some 90%+ of my rants. I was answering a theoretical question of IF it is possible for the economy to grow indefinitely or if some economy designed for flat growth was required. My answer is that it is possible with a free market. With government heavily involved it creates obstacles for business to overcome, which they might or might not do. One thing is certain, you can always count of politicians to fuck up a perfectly good economy when they have too much power.
Yeah, but there is no free market, because once some market force gains the upper hand, it will do everything to stay in power, even if it should control the politicians. So the government will get involved, one way or another. Today there is no free market at all, only oligopoly, a couple of strong companies in control of the market and then a hem of bottom feeders and followers.

Beyond Saving wrote:
 You haven't demonstrated why market forces can't be trusted. You have demonstrated why government can't be trusted. Government power will be abused by those who hold it whether it is businesses, interest groups, churches or wealthy individuals that have the reigns of power you can guarantee it will be abused. The answer is simple, remove the power from government. You can't abuse a power that doesn't exist. The problem is that people tend to become complacent and allow the government to gain more power over time. I don't have a solution to that, nor have I heard anyone present a plausible one.
You think then, that we are better off without government power? Who will then appoint and enforce Labour Code? I believe the government would work, if it members would live under public scrutiny and limit on private property. They should be well-cared for, but not materially rich or above the law. 

Beyond Saving wrote:
 It wasn't businesses burning food. It was government in there great wisdom that destroyed food and more recently destroyed a good portion of our used cars here in the US on the basis that it was "stimulating" the economy somehow. What business makes money without supplying a demand? Unless they are getting government subsidies every business must have some consumer they are supplying with some product or service. Where else do they get their money from? What do you think speculation is? Your buying something under the prediction that that thing will be in higher demand later or selling under the belief that demand will be lower later. Speculation is a direct pipeline to supply and demand. Stock prices are directly related to a companies profitability. A company that doesn't produce a product or service to provide to consumers is quickly going to find itself on the penny stock list.
What business makes money without supplying a demand? The financial one, for example. But a better example perhaps, I think this article by Raj Patel is a great eye opener, how market forces through globalization cause huge consequences with every their action, in this case, food commodity speculation. 

 

Beyond Saving wrote:
 And that's a problem? The purpose of selling alcohol is to sell as much of it as possible. Like I said, you can count on business to produce and supply to their customers. Given a free completely unregulated market alcohol companies would do their best to make sure their alcohol got to people with money to pay for it as quickly and conveniently as possible. Now I, as someone who profits on the sale of alcohol, am not ethically concerned with the number of alcoholics. I trust people to decide how much to drink and when and I don't think it is any of my business if they make poor decisions. If people want to be alcoholics, that is their choice. If they want to quit drinking, there is more than one company that will gladly take their money to provide therapy and rehab services. Business will supply whatever product/service consumers demand, it is up to the end consumer to make moral decisions. If you want to be an alcoholic, I don't care, if you want to snort cocaine off a hookers ass, I don't care, if you want to sit in your apartment smoking ganja all day, I don't care.
That is a problem of personal opinion what a society should strive towards for the good of all. I know members of several families ruined by alcoholism. After spending years at school with guys who got regularly drunk since their early teens, and don't look like stopping when they grew up judging by Facebook, I think many people are prone to getting hooked on alcohol more than is good for the society. I know that government restrictions don't work (prohibition era, you know) but I don't like the present state either. The fact is, that people are allowed to grow up and mature as pseudo-adults, without responsibility and the culture isn't there to provide the control for them. I mean, you assume that they are capable of a real choice and responsibility, but not all of them are. But that is a deeper problem, starting with parenting, genetics and maybe also our favorite saleswomen, who sold us kids booze and cigs when we went from school Smiling Yeah, what a times they were.

 

Beyond Saving wrote:
 Again, it is our government that has repeatedly gotten us into these wars. Our government needs a serious haircut. Personally, I'm perfectly content to let everyone overseas kill each other and live under whatever tyranny they want. I am perfectly content to stop shelling out all the cash that is keeping the EU afloat and padding the pockets of third world dictators. I'm not even convinced the US should have gotten involved in the European front in WWII, we had to hit the Japanese hard because they attacked us, but really I don't think Hitler was likely to try coming across the ocean. But, our country has often been led by people who see themselves as moral crusaders going out to save the unfortunate in the world. I think our foreign policy should consist of staying over here until you attack us, then unleashing hell on you and your civilians until you are as pacifistic as the Japanese then coming home. That view isn't really popular with anyone.
Well, that was quite an emergency, it wasn't called World War for nothing. The only grudge I hold is that the U.S. army stopped short of liberating Czechoslovakia and handed this highly cultured and ethical state to the barbaric Soviet hordes, from which it hasn't yet recovered. But anything after WW2 was just shameless military rampage, from Korea and Vietnam to Iraq.

 

Beyond Saving wrote:
 So every "problem" with the free market you point out is when government gets involved and your solution is the Venus Project which is government control on steroids in an attempt to change how people act? You claim the free market won't work because of political corruption, which I concede has an element of truth. Governments have a tendency to grow more powerful and more corrupt with time until they are overthrown. I'm hoping this time around we can skip the violent revolution. So why do you imagine that your magically "education" is going to eliminate corruption? Good luck with that. I have no problem with the Venus project as long as they don't resort to force. They can build their little utopia- maybe it will work but I am very skeptical. But if they build it and it works as amazingly as all the propaganda pretends I'm sure many will follow suit. Why what a wonderfully free market approach to politics.
No, Venus Project is not government control on steroids. It's elimination of both government and market forces, replacing them with technology designed for the task. A great pruning of the bureaucracy and business jungle, if you will and the end of consumer society. Currently our lives are based around elaborate and glorified menial tasks, to keep our meaningless lives busy. From branded and scented toilet paper to dozens of brands of hardly differing wares... All the life ever was about, was struggle for quality of life. Business and economy contribute to the quality of life, but only up to a certain amount, not more. The consumer society is about a crazy faith, that more material wealth means more quality of life. Bullshit. We serve the false gods of mammon and macdonald, who promise quality of life in return for our money, but deliver only bread, games and opium for the masses. I think Jesus said, that sabbath is there for the people, not the people for sabbath. I say, economy must be there for the people, not people for the economy. Because we need only a basic economic security, beyond that the economy is worthless and harmful for us and the environment. If we can bail ourselves out of the business treadmill through technology and simplicity, we must do that and work on things that really contribute to the quality of life and manifestation of human potential. Which should be a serious scientific, technologic and social goal.

I think education is the key to change, in a sense of informed and agitated public opinion. About 1 billion of people should be enough to bring down the corrupt order and organize themselves as equals. There are real and recent examples when this happened, like in the Iceland revolution and the OWS movement. I believe this is what the global situation builds up towards, though of course gradually and slower than we'd like.

Beyond Saving wrote:
 As I said before, my approach both in my business and personal life is to accept and recognize people as they are. I don't try to change them, I simply position myself in a way to maximize my benefit or minimize the harm they cause me. Rarely am I surprised.  
Very well, that's a reasonable position on the level you deal with. But on the political and economic levels things go in a wrong direction and there is the need to do something about them.

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Luminon wrote:Yes, the

Luminon wrote:

Yes, the government can mess up things by imposing restrictions. But when market forces pull the strings, the government will mess up things rather by lifting the restrictions that protect us, citizens and customers. You blame the government, but how can you, when the whole U.S. financial system is privately owned? There is definitely a strong connection between the two, government and market forces. And very often the government does the dirty work for the business. Your country isn't an exception in that. This is why I don't believe that large business will innovate or willfully perish if it can change the game by controlling the government. 

I more or less agree with you. I just think the solution is to remove the power of government to influence the market. It is possible to have a government with restraints on its power to some extent for at least a period of time. Our legal system is an example where the power of the government is restrained. I'm not saying its perfect, but at least in our system the government follows a procedure that protects the individual rights of most citizens. There is no reason that government can't exercise the same restraint in involving itself in the marketplace. The only thing that is required is for a majority of citizens to treat government overreach into the market the same way they would treat the government deciding to throw domestic political opponents in jail.

 

Suppose for example that we had no constitutional protections and Obama started throwing every republican politician in jail. You are essentially saying that the problem is Obama and the democrats. Well, yes but when you remove Obama and Romney gets into office and starts throwing all the democrat politicians into jail you have the same problem, just a different person using the power. The solution is to have a system of government where no person has the authority to throw people in jail for being political competitors and make sure that any infringement is quickly punished. Simply removing the current abuser in power or removing the office of the presidency isn't a solution. 

 

Luminon wrote:

OK, are any of these more efficient as a technology than the car? When it comes to consumption of energy per transport of a person? That's what I mean, once the petrol-burning engine was discovered about 200 years ago, humanity did not discover anything radically more efficient and ecologic. There were attempts, like 100 years ago there was more electric cars than petrol cars and they worked just fine, but the market said no.

So? There is no economic reason to get off of petroleum because it is a wonderfully efficient resource that is cheap and plentiful right now. Electric cars have certainly come a long way and the technology exists to run cars on a variety of fuels ranging from hydrogen fuel cells to vegetable oil. Right now it simply isn't practical but auto and energy companies have invested serious money and resources into researching because when it does become necessary to switch fuels on a massive scale, whichever company leads the way in the next major fuel source is going to be fantastically rich. Until oil does become expensive there is no reason to switch. Oil is plentiful and the infrastructure to refine and distribute it is already in place. When it becomes expensive or if someone discovers a fuel source that can be supplied with less effort/expense we will change. That doesn't change the reality that there has been massive innovation in technology in the last 200 years......

 

Luminon wrote:

 What business makes money without supplying a demand? The financial one, for example. But a better example perhaps, I think this article by Raj Patel is a great eye opener, how market forces through globalization cause huge consequences with every their action, in this case, food commodity speculation. 

 

Financial businesses supply financial demands of money, loans and business ownership. In the case of the article, do you know what happens when the food commodity markets start rising? Farmers keep eagle eyes on the markets, it tells them how much they should plant of what crops. When corn commodities go up, farmers plant MORE corn because they are greedy SOB's who want money. If the price goes high enough, they but more land to plant with more crops. When food commodities are selling low they will often allow extra crops to lie fallow that year. Those "evil" food speculators were reacting to the real world threat of a shortage sending a market signal to farmers to increase food production.

 

When speculators are wrong in predicting prices, they lose a shitload of money, so their interest is in being as accurate as possible in predicting future prices. It is unfortunate that demand for food can't be met as quickly as many other demands, but it takes time to grow crops. It is better that speculators raise the price so farmers plant more than to have an actual shortage where food isn't available at any price.

 

In the case of Mozambique (and many other poor countries) it suffers from the same problem the US does with oil- when you rely on importing any product you are at the mercy of external forces. When Russia loses a good portion of its wheat crop, guess what? They are going to feed themselves first, can't say I blame them. The obvious solution is to increase your local production. Easier said than done as various local political problems, poor infrastructure and technological limitations can get in the way. The other option is to produce some other product that is high enough value to trade so that you have enough money to deal with higher prices. Every country on its way to modernizing has gone through similar pains. Being a developed country is great, it will be nice when every country has a developed economy. But it isn't going to happen overnight. 

 

Luminon wrote:

 That is a problem of personal opinion what a society should strive towards for the good of all. I know members of several families ruined by alcoholism. After spending years at school with guys who got regularly drunk since their early teens, and don't look like stopping when they grew up judging by Facebook, I think many people are prone to getting hooked on alcohol more than is good for the society. I know that government restrictions don't work (prohibition era, you know) but I don't like the present state either. The fact is, that people are allowed to grow up and mature as pseudo-adults, without responsibility and the culture isn't there to provide the control for them. I mean, you assume that they are capable of a real choice and responsibility, but not all of them are. But that is a deeper problem, starting with parenting, genetics and maybe also our favorite saleswomen, who sold us kids booze and cigs when we went from school Smiling Yeah, what a times they were.

I think what is best for all is to have the freedom to go buy as much alcohol as I desire and for anyone else to buy or not buy as they decide. I'm not so condescending to assume I know what is best for any person. People can make decisions on their own. Maybe I do know better, maybe I don't. I do know that I don't want to live in a country where other people tell me how to live my life, so how arrogant is it for me to assume I should have a role in telling others how to live their lives? Why are you fit to tell people how they should live their lives because it is the best for society but the pope isn't? 

 

Luminon wrote:
 

No, Venus Project is not government control on steroids. It's elimination of both government and market forces, replacing them with technology designed for the task. A great pruning of the bureaucracy and business jungle, if you will and the end of consumer society. Currently our lives are based around elaborate and glorified menial tasks, to keep our meaningless lives busy. From branded and scented toilet paper to dozens of brands of hardly differing wares... All the life ever was about, was struggle for quality of life. Business and economy contribute to the quality of life, but only up to a certain amount, not more. The consumer society is about a crazy faith, that more material wealth means more quality of life. Bullshit. We serve the false gods of mammon and macdonald, who promise quality of life in return for our money, but deliver only bread, games and opium for the masses. I think Jesus said, that sabbath is there for the people, not the people for sabbath. I say, economy must be there for the people, not people for the economy. Because we need only a basic economic security, beyond that the economy is worthless and harmful for us and the environment. If we can bail ourselves out of the business treadmill through technology and simplicity, we must do that and work on things that really contribute to the quality of life and manifestation of human potential. Which should be a serious scientific, technologic and social goal.

I like bread, games and opium and don't care to live a life without them. But to the main point, who distributes the resources? With no currency the only option is to have some centralized entity ensure that resources are distributed and no one person is taking too many. That necessarily means government control on steroids. I have had RBE'ers assure me that it will be determined by a non-biased computer- uh huh, because hacking a computer for personal gain is impossible and no human would ever think of doing such a thing . (Except me but I'm a capitalist so maybe I don't count as human? Certainly not an enlightened one)

 

Then they assure me that resources will be so plentiful because of technology that there would be no reason for anyone to steal anything because you simply ask the computer, or put in a request or whatever and it will be made and given to me regardless of whether or not I produce anything. Sure. And if I pray I'm sure god will treat any health problems I have since I'm sure far fewer people will want to be doctors with no personal gain for doing so and I'm not sure I want someone doing a prostate exam for any reason other than greed for my money- unless of course she is really attractive.

 

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken


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The problem is our genetics

The problem is our genetics tell us to consume and reproduce. All our pleasures are tied to these activities. Being "ethical" or "environmentally aware" doesn't produce the pleasures we're looking for.

The technologies that will be gain changers are those that enable us to experience pleasures without consumption of resources and reproduction. Luminion seems to think we can get there just with education of the unwashed masses. I believe we need biotechnologies(drugs, electronic stimulation, computer learning, etc..) to get there.

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Beyond Saving wrote:I more

Beyond Saving wrote:

I more or less agree with you. I just think the solution is to remove the power of government to influence the market. It is possible to have a government with restraints on its power to some extent for at least a period of time. Our legal system is an example where the power of the government is restrained. I'm not saying its perfect, but at least in our system the government follows a procedure that protects the individual rights of most citizens. There is no reason that government can't exercise the same restraint in involving itself in the marketplace. The only thing that is required is for a majority of citizens to treat government overreach into the market the same way they would treat the government deciding to throw domestic political opponents in jail.

Suppose for example that we had no constitutional protections and Obama started throwing every republican politician in jail. You are essentially saying that the problem is Obama and the democrats. Well, yes but when you remove Obama and Romney gets into office and starts throwing all the democrat politicians into jail you have the same problem, just a different person using the power. The solution is to have a system of government where no person has the authority to throw people in jail for being political competitors and make sure that any infringement is quickly punished. Simply removing the current abuser in power or removing the office of the presidency isn't a solution.

Yes! Now imagine if the same thing could be said about market. Let's say for example, that we haven't any protection of employees, customers and citizens and state borders. You know what happens when government doesn't interfere with the market? Some foreign competitor buys off all local industry, lets all the local facilities be demolished and take over with its imported goods. That's what happened with my country's top quality sugar production. My point is, a strong market is not better than strong government. A war can be economical just as much as military, only we watch out against foreign armies, but stay completely oblivious to economic attacks. Now tell me, why should be the market forces free to wage war? 

 

Beyond Saving wrote:
 So? There is no economic reason to get off of petroleum because it is a wonderfully efficient resource that is cheap and plentiful right now. Electric cars have certainly come a long way and the technology exists to run cars on a variety of fuels ranging from hydrogen fuel cells to vegetable oil. Right now it simply isn't practical but auto and energy companies have invested serious money and resources into researching because when it does become necessary to switch fuels on a massive scale, whichever company leads the way in the next major fuel source is going to be fantastically rich. Until oil does become expensive there is no reason to switch. Oil is plentiful and the infrastructure to refine and distribute it is already in place. When it becomes expensive or if someone discovers a fuel source that can be supplied with less effort/expense we will change. That doesn't change the reality that there has been massive innovation in technology in the last 200 years......
Yeah, no economic reason. But we don't live on some magical fantasy planet, made of economic numbers only. We live on a planet of people and ecosystem. Just because something pays off in terms of dollar, the fiat currency, doesn't mean it pays off in terms of health, ecology, quality of life, political stability and so on. These are things which the market doesn't care about. Oh yes, we're supposed to vote and speak with our wallets, but half of this planet doesn't have wallets and the second half has just enough for a few meaningless words. We need something to work in our favor, not only for the monetary benefit. And if money and markets don't work in our best interest, we need some system which does. Governments were supposed to do that, with their various social and ecologic departments, but that's today all about money again. 

What you say is basically, we'll squeeze all the money and resources from the world as far as it can go, and then, we'll try to make even more money on repairing the world, if that will be possible, which we don't really know. But we can not think and act rationally and with foresight and use newer technologies to preserve the resources for later generations of mankind, that would be unmarketly. We'll rather accumulate insane amount of wealth in form of hopelessly indebted fake currency in hands of a few succesful businessmen.

Beyond Saving wrote:
 Financial businesses supply financial demands of money, loans and business ownership. In the case of the article, do you know what happens when the food commodity markets start rising? Farmers keep eagle eyes on the markets, it tells them how much they should plant of what crops. When corn commodities go up, farmers plant MORE corn because they are greedy SOB's who want money. If the price goes high enough, they but more land to plant with more crops. When food commodities are selling low they will often allow extra crops to lie fallow that year. Those "evil" food speculators were reacting to the real world threat of a shortage sending a market signal to farmers to increase food production.

When speculators are wrong in predicting prices, they lose a shitload of money, so their interest is in being as accurate as possible in predicting future prices. It is unfortunate that demand for food can't be met as quickly as many other demands, but it takes time to grow crops. It is better that speculators raise the price so farmers plant more than to have an actual shortage where food isn't available at any price.

In the case of Mozambique (and many other poor countries) it suffers from the same problem the US does with oil- when you rely on importing any product you are at the mercy of external forces. When Russia loses a good portion of its wheat crop, guess what? They are going to feed themselves first, can't say I blame them. The obvious solution is to increase your local production. Easier said than done as various local political problems, poor infrastructure and technological limitations can get in the way. The other option is to produce some other product that is high enough value to trade so that you have enough money to deal with higher prices. Every country on its way to modernizing has gone through similar pains. Being a developed country is great, it will be nice when every country has a developed economy. But it isn't going to happen overnight. 

That in Mozambique and Russia wasn't a real world threat, that was a political gesture which had nothing to do with actual global wheat production. But it had real consequences. You only show how the market gets more and more out of touch with actives and passives of the actual physical economy of the world.  

Every country on its way to modernizing was robbed blind by all sorts of thieves and being modern means to start fighting back economically and be never even remotely self-sufficient again, that would not be market-oriented. The problem with external forces isn't about import, it's about nature of these external forces. They're de facto forces of economic warfare. There is no fair global barter of resources, there are economically strong states which always get a good deal and economically weak states, which always get a bad deal, so they won't get strong and won't be able to demand fair prices. 

Beyond Saving wrote:
 I think what is best for all is to have the freedom to go buy as much alcohol as I desire and for anyone else to buy or not buy as they decide. I'm not so condescending to assume I know what is best for any person. People can make decisions on their own. Maybe I do know better, maybe I don't. I do know that I don't want to live in a country where other people tell me how to live my life, so how arrogant is it for me to assume I should have a role in telling others how to live their lives? Why are you fit to tell people how they should live their lives because it is the best for society but the pope isn't?
Telling people won't work. Showing them is better, but the best is to design such a society which doesn't make people want to get drunk and pass out. And then keep it a generation or two, while raising new generations to live an active and meaningful life and allowing that economically. And if they sometimes discuss the meaning over a beer, it won't be a problem. As long as the life and reality is better than its replacements. 

Beyond Saving wrote:

I like bread, games and opium and don't care to live a life without them. But to the main point, who distributes the resources? With no currency the only option is to have some centralized entity ensure that resources are distributed and no one person is taking too many. That necessarily means government control on steroids. I have had RBE'ers assure me that it will be determined by a non-biased computer- uh huh, because hacking a computer for personal gain is impossible and no human would ever think of doing such a thing . (Except me but I'm a capitalist so maybe I don't count as human? Certainly not an enlightened one)

 Then they assure me that resources will be so plentiful because of technology that there would be no reason for anyone to steal anything because you simply ask the computer, or put in a request or whatever and it will be made and given to me regardless of whether or not I produce anything. Sure. And if I pray I'm sure god will treat any health problems I have since I'm sure far fewer people will want to be doctors with no personal gain for doing so and I'm not sure I want someone doing a prostate exam for any reason other than greed for my money- unless of course she is really attractive.  

Resources can be distributed by computer AI far more efficiently than by money. As for hacking, why is that a problem? I'm a student and I live in a boarding house over the week. I have a chip on my keyring and I can use it to log into a simple computer terminal and order the food within a fixed time limit. Then I just go to the mess hall at a certain time to eat. The only annoying part about this is, that I've got to give money to fill my credit. But it works, nobody can order more food than others, it's one chip per person, 3 meals a day max. I'm not a sociologist yet, but seems to me that hackers aren't vandals and they go after a big game. It seems unlikely for them to attack a food dispensing system. Maybe if they would be fanatical capitalistic terrorists who believe that everything must be paid for, that would be a different story. But they'd be caught soon after carving coin slots into street lights.

I don't know about healthcare, but what you say already works in agriculture. We don't have to grow our own food and it's not like farmers now control our lives and decide who will eat. (that's the job of global food speculators)  As far as I can tell, my socialistic system of healthcare really works, or would work perfectly if the government wouldn't be corrupted to boot. I can get a perfectly good treatment for just a symbolic price of 2 bucks per visit. You must pay how much, 100 dollars just for knocking on the door? The point is, it's not about money. Money can only motivate you to do boring work, qualified people like doctors are in it, because they're good at it and enjoy the status. 
But the philosophy of VP is "whatever works". Whatever healthcare can be replaced with medical robots and prevention, will be. Imagine no junk food (or only from top quality material, no hydrogenized oils) and no sedentary jobs, no stress in the office and roads, no pollution and so on. There will be much less doctors needed and I suppose the doctors who stay will have a thing for clinic and white coats Sticking out tongue

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Luminon wrote: Now tell me,

Luminon wrote:
 

Now tell me, why should be the market forces free to wage war? 

I never said they should. I said government should exercise restraint when getting involved with market forces. For example, here in the US we have a constitutional guarantee for free speech meant to protect my ability to go out and bad mouth whatever politician I want without fear of government punishment. However, that guarantee does not last when my exercising of free speech infringes on another citizens expected rights. For example, I can be legally punished for yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theater if there isn't a fire, I can be punished for harassment or punished for slander. The constitution simply promises that the government will exercise restraint and only punish my actions when they cause real and direct harm to other individuals.

 

The government should do the same thing in the marketplace. If a business has a monopoly that makes it impossible for anyone else to enter the market, it may have a role in breaking it up. If a company violates a contract with an employee or a customer, the government has a role in enforcing the contract. If a company is breaking laws like assault, theft or fraud they should certainly be punished. What the government shouldn't be doing is buying companies, giving out large grants or low interest loans, telling companies whether or not they can build a new factory, require layers of expensive permits that prevent people without tons of cash from entering an industry, or make special tax laws that benefit some companies while punishing others. These are the kinds of things that are happening in the US and are the laws that I am constantly bitching about on here. 

 

 

Luminon wrote:
 

Every country on its way to modernizing was robbed blind by all sorts of thieves and being modern means to start fighting back economically and be never even remotely self-sufficient again, that would not be market-oriented. The problem with external forces isn't about import, it's about nature of these external forces. They're de facto forces of economic warfare. There is no fair global barter of resources, there are economically strong states which always get a good deal and economically weak states, which always get a bad deal, so they won't get strong and won't be able to demand fair prices. 

What they should do is model their governments and economies after countries that have been proven to work. In countries with high levels economic freedom pretty much everyone is living comfortably- at least when compared to the world average. I mean the poor in the US, Canada and the UK love to bitch about how abused they are because they have to pay for college and their cable tv, but they are certainly not starving. In fact, they eat too much. But when you look at the list of countries with high levels of economic freedom, there is a direct positive correlation with their average standard of living.

http://www.heritage.org/index/heatmap

 

International trade is a tricky beast because it is never really fair. Governments shamelessly implement policies that benefit their interests. And I understand that a small economy can't have a trade war with a large economy especially if you are importing something as important as food. Really, there is no good solution. It would be ideal if the whole world had truly free, unrestricted trade, but that isn't going to happen in our lifetimes for political reasons. The best thing a country can do is have a really strong internal economy and avoid being too reliant on trade deals for essentials such as food and energy. Small countries that have found a niche that exploits particular aspects of international trade have done well such as Switzerland, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore. They are probably fairly safe even though their economies are highly dependent on international trade because they are so specialized and not easily replaced. 

 

 

Luminon wrote:
 

 Resources can be distributed by computer AI far more efficiently than by money. As for hacking, why is that a problem? I'm a student and I live in a boarding house over the week. I have a chip on my keyring and I can use it to log into a simple computer terminal and order the food within a fixed time limit. Then I just go to the mess hall at a certain time to eat. The only annoying part about this is, that I've got to give money to fill my credit. But it works, nobody can order more food than others, it's one chip per person, 3 meals a day max. I'm not a sociologist yet, but seems to me that hackers aren't vandals and they go after a big game. It seems unlikely for them to attack a food dispensing system. Maybe if they would be fanatical capitalistic terrorists who believe that everything must be paid for, that would be a different story. But they'd be caught soon after carving coin slots into street lights.

Food isn't the only commodity in existence and not that particularly valuable once a civilization has modern agriculture. Since hyper modern agriculture is a prerequisite for a RBE I imagine stealing food isn't a big concern because it simply isn't that valuable when it is in abundance. I was thinking more along the lines of things that are truly valuable. Certain types of food might rise to that level, who gets lobster? caviar? kobe beef? There isn't enough for everyone to have as much as they want, so those might be worth having sent your way. And what about cars? Motorcycles? Yachts? Airplanes? Guns? Hunting equipment? Fishing equipment? Any of a billion day to day supplies that people want? How does the computer determine who gets what and how much? How do we determine who can live where? Or do we all live with nothing? Just the essentials of food, water and shelter and live like hippies? With soviet style concrete buildings built for pure efficiency? How many squares of toilet paper do I get? Will it be strong or soft? Beans or rice? You can get more than that in the US without working and they accuse the top 1% of abusing them. 

 

Luminon wrote:
 

I don't know about healthcare, but what you say already works in agriculture. We don't have to grow our own food and it's not like farmers now control our lives and decide who will eat. (that's the job of global food speculators)  As far as I can tell, my socialistic system of healthcare really works, or would work perfectly if the government wouldn't be corrupted to boot. I can get a perfectly good treatment for just a symbolic price of 2 bucks per visit. You must pay how much, 100 dollars just for knocking on the door? The point is, it's not about money. Money can only motivate you to do boring work, qualified people like doctors are in it, because they're good at it and enjoy the status. 
But the philosophy of VP is "whatever works". Whatever healthcare can be replaced with medical robots and prevention, will be. Imagine no junk food (or only from top quality material, no hydrogenized oils) and no sedentary jobs, no stress in the office and roads, no pollution and so on. There will be much less doctors needed and I suppose the doctors who stay will have a thing for clinic and white coats Sticking out tongue

You might not be paying for your doctor visit, but someone is. The government pays for it and gets the money via taxes or loans from someone else. My doctor lives in a mansion and drives a really nice car so I'm pretty sure he is in it for the money. Next time I should see if I can get away with not paying because he just loves me sooooo much... Being a doctor is stressful as hell, many would not stay in the field as long if they got no benefit. When I was in Cuba for example they had a problem with doctors quitting to be taxi drivers because they could make a few dollars in tips.  

 

And this whole topic started about innovation. How does innovation occur when everything is done by robots? Who comes up with a better idea for a car? Why would they put a significant amount of time into it? And if/when some hobbyist does come up with a great idea, who decides which idea to have the robots build? Do we have Burger King or McDonalds? And who is going to build all of these robots? My impression of every RBEer I have talked to is that they are incredibly ignorant of what it takes to create a product and get it to the retail store. They all seem to think it is magic. Ironic considering you accused me of having a simplistic POV.  

 

So no junk food? Fuck that. Touch my fritos and you have crossed a line where I start shooting. I haven't decided exactly where the line is when outright violent revolution is necessary, but getting rid of my fritos and beer is definitely on the other side. Who are you to tell me that I must live my life in a healthy manner? I think quality of life is far more important that longevity.

 

This is where I determine that even if your utopia was physically possible to make (which I doubt) and even if it operated somewhat similar to what you claim (which I think is incredibly naive) I still don't want to live there. I like having a wide variety of choices, I like being able to enjoy my life in a way of my choosing. Right now, if I want something I go buy it, if I don't have enough money there are several things I can do to rectify that problem at which point I can buy it. Or maybe I decide it is too much effort and live without. I don't want you or some computer determining what I can or can't have based on your version of what is good or whoever programs the computer.  

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken


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EXC wrote: The problem is

EXC wrote:
 The problem is our genetics tell us to consume and reproduce. All our pleasures are tied to these activities. Being "ethical" or "environmentally aware" doesn't produce the pleasures we're looking for. 
I think that's very individual. As with everything, it's a bell curve, with strong instincts on one end of population and strong intellectual and idealistic drive on the other end. Between that there's the average bulk of us, a mixture of animal passions and civilization, that can be swayed one way or another, though not far. I am for example a specimen from the far cerebral end, which makes me immune to many ills of today like alcoholism, drug abuse, promiscuity and aggressivity, but that brings just as many problems with itself.

EXC wrote:
 The technologies that will be gain changers are those that enable us to experience pleasures without consumption of resources and reproduction. Luminion seems to think we can get there just with education of the unwashed masses. I believe we need biotechnologies(drugs, electronic stimulation, computer learning, etc..) to get there.

We're shifting towards lifelong learning, but I'd rather see some holistic education, or training in all aspects of life, including instincts and emotions. Also, different types of people need to be treated differently, you know, the bell curve again. Cramming our heads with information won't do the trick. I actually just finished my thesis focused mainly on education.

And, we actually have a technology to experience pleasures without consumption and reproduction. It's called the digital technology and it's a strong stuff. In a sense, we have the same reward mechanism like rats, only rats can't play World of Warcraft. We can and we behave exactly the same while playing, which will doubtlessly please you, EXC. Yes, we can get hooked on completely immaterial digital effects. Looks like the age of digital opium is already here, no need to wait for brain implants. Maybe I'm giving matches to an arsonist (or wine to an absinthist) but you might like this article on Gamasutra

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Economic growth is

Economic growth is inevitable as long as their are people in the world to consume "random shit".

If 'people' acquire some sort of ability to produce their own "random shit"... there is no consumption ergo there is no reason to engage in mass production in nearly any sort of industrial/commercial endeavor.

For the most part, this is largely a question of viable, plentiful energy (fusion) and mechanical engineering (nanomachinery).

From that point onwards... there is no effective reason to give a shit about the concerns of others unless their intent is some sort of 'aggression'.

Assuming there is no reason to behave "aggressively" towards other humans in such a context... there would virtually be no reason to care at all, and behave in a particularly narcissistic manner.

Indeed... narcissism can be 'healthy' in the right context, because it is a VERY effective means to acquire self-confidence.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Beyond Saving wrote:I never

Beyond Saving wrote:

I never said they should. I said government should exercise restraint when getting involved with market forces. For example, here in the US we have a constitutional guarantee for free speech meant to protect my ability to go out and bad mouth whatever politician I want without fear of government punishment. However, that guarantee does not last when my exercising of free speech infringes on another citizens expected rights. For example, I can be legally punished for yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theater if there isn't a fire, I can be punished for harassment or punished for slander. The constitution simply promises that the government will exercise restraint and only punish my actions when they cause real and direct harm to other individuals.

The government should do the same thing in the marketplace. If a business has a monopoly that makes it impossible for anyone else to enter the market, it may have a role in breaking it up. If a company violates a contract with an employee or a customer, the government has a role in enforcing the contract. If a company is breaking laws like assault, theft or fraud they should certainly be punished. What the government shouldn't be doing is buying companies, giving out large grants or low interest loans, telling companies whether or not they can build a new factory, require layers of expensive permits that prevent people without tons of cash from entering an industry, or make special tax laws that benefit some companies while punishing others. These are the kinds of things that are happening in the US and are the laws that I am constantly bitching about on here.

Very well, so what if there is evidence that the markets cause real and direct harm (plus a plenty of indirect) to a couple billion individuals plus destroys our planetary life support system? The resources that market uses aren't cards or plastic chips, they're real resources that keep us alive. They're literally strategic resources. Trading with them is about as ethical, as trading blood and organs. Last time I checked, there was a shortage of these and there isn't any organ stock market. Last time I checked, there was a global shortage of food, maybe not out of lack of food, but because markets do not distribute it evenly. If business is a game, then it's a bloody game and there is no permit out of it - except to become rich and make others poorer. 

Marketplace had a good function when there weren't 7 billion of us and there was the nature to take from when others took everything from you. Now we have a unique situation, never before encountered and I really doubt that it can be solved by some hopscotch of markets and governments. When that happens in any small group, it usually pools the resources, goes on equal rations and punishes any private hoarding of wealth.

Beyond Saving wrote:
 What they should do is model their governments and economies after countries that have been proven to work. In countries with high levels economic freedom pretty much everyone is living comfortably- at least when compared to the world average. I mean the poor in the US, Canada and the UK love to bitch about how abused they are because they have to pay for college and their cable tv, but they are certainly not starving. In fact, they eat too much. But when you look at the list of countries with high levels of economic freedom, there is a direct positive correlation with their average standard of living.

http://www.heritage.org/index/heatmap 

Again, no economy had ever encountered such situation. You can't compare the monetary and real economy, because these two are getting out of touch, and yet more different is the economy of Earth ecosystem, which benefits in inverse proportion to what we call our GDP. Also, consider how much work or workhours it takes to pay the bills, what is a freedom, when half of your waking time means to do something just to pay your bills? And what of the rest of the day, television? Three weeks of holiday per year my ass! Two days of weekend my ass! People may feel comfortable in that routine, but on a global scale it's really unsettling.

I'll try to explain it metaphorically. Imagine socialism and capitalism as a cart with two wheels. The wheel of socialism is big and turns slow, that's because we are many and our turn of wheel is one generation cominig and going. The wheel of capitalism turns very fast, that's the cycle of business, buying and selling. But we need the wheel of capitalism to be small, so it covers the same distance and supports the big wheel equally. Today the wheel of capitalism is large and still turns fast, so the cart is going nowhere, in circles. It dominates the cart and its direction and that is wrong. 

Beyond Saving wrote:
 International trade is a tricky beast because it is never really fair. Governments shamelessly implement policies that benefit their interests. And I understand that a small economy can't have a trade war with a large economy especially if you are importing something as important as food. Really, there is no good solution. It would be ideal if the whole world had truly free, unrestricted trade, but that isn't going to happen in our lifetimes for political reasons. The best thing a country can do is have a really strong internal economy and avoid being too reliant on trade deals for essentials such as food and energy. Small countries that have found a niche that exploits particular aspects of international trade have done well such as Switzerland, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore. They are probably fairly safe even though their economies are highly dependent on international trade because they are so specialized and not easily replaced.
You see, it's not like most of us can ever get a decent place within this system, not by playing this game of business against everyone else. And our planetary ecology clock is still ticking, political situation gets worse and so on. You know what? When I see the situation, I feel like Alexander the Great in front of the Gordic knot. Just solve it all with one simple cut. Start anew, forgive all debts and make making new ones impossible. Implement RBE and enjoy the universal economic luxury given by resources that were before that poured into the military and consumerism. The brave new world, except RBE isn't brave, it's very careful, ethical and efficient. To live today means to be brave, if you're aware of the catastrophes awaiting us.

Beyond Saving wrote:
 Food isn't the only commodity in existence and not that particularly valuable once a civilization has modern agriculture. Since hyper modern agriculture is a prerequisite for a RBE I imagine stealing food isn't a big concern because it simply isn't that valuable when it is in abundance. I was thinking more along the lines of things that are truly valuable. Certain types of food might rise to that level, who gets lobster? caviar? kobe beef? There isn't enough for everyone to have as much as they want, so those might be worth having sent your way. And what about cars? Motorcycles? Yachts? Airplanes? Guns? Hunting equipment? Fishing equipment? Any of a billion day to day supplies that people want? How does the computer determine who gets what and how much? How do we determine who can live where? Or do we all live with nothing? Just the essentials of food, water and shelter and live like hippies? With soviet style concrete buildings built for pure efficiency? How many squares of toilet paper do I get? Will it be strong or soft? Beans or rice? You can get more than that in the US without working and they accuse the top 1% of abusing them.
Yes, essentials of food, water, shelter, education and healthcare. And no toilet paper, it's an adventurous idea even for me, but reputedly 70% of the world uses stream of water instead. (how ecologic, not to shit away our forests) That's the new lowest standard, which is actually pretty high, compared to the lowest global standard of today. But in RBE it also means modern technology, OLED sheet lighting walls, computers everywhere, selective window tint, solar panels from the outside... and all that produced to be cheap, quick, comfortable, modular, low maintenance and so on. This is what I dream about these days, when I dig frozen coal with pickaxe, haul it home and burn it in the furnace for central heating. And a couple of years ago the brick chimney actually fell on our roof, due to strong wind. I was almost under it. As far as I am concerned, to hell with such a world, I'll welcome RBE and never look back, as long as I still have a computer and the net.

People will be much more free to intentionally create and share a rich culture for tourists, instead of going along with Hollywood and McDonald. All we need is imagination and organizational skills and maybe the ability to write and design projects for the computer and local admins. This is pretty much what people, schools and municipal offices in my country already do - only the job is not much fun, because of the money and flood of paperwork they bring. Without money but a powerful resource-allocating AI in the basement, it'd be a breeze. 

If you ask how or what, there are ways. There are people today, who know how to take care of other people. They know all about nutrition, architecture, hygiene, child care, or how to supply a grocery store. It's not like we have to re-invent the wheel. Only remove the obstacle of not having money and add the advantage of computer surveys, learning feedback, statistical analyses and intelligent management of resources. And keep the advantage of good old personal talk and creative planning. RBE has a lot in common with two phenomena: War economy and Just-In-Time manufacturing. We already know it works. We had beaten the Japanese fascists with the one and now they beat our markets with the other.

 

Beyond Saving wrote:
 And this whole topic started about innovation. How does innovation occur when everything is done by robots? Who comes up with a better idea for a car? Why would they put a significant amount of time into it? And if/when some hobbyist does come up with a great idea, who decides which idea to have the robots build?
RBE is basically a philosophy, that's why it's general and global. It doesn't always come with finished solutions, but it has criteria for these solutions to meet. The robots are meant to replace menial labour or that which can be replaced. Office cubicles, conveyor belts and so on. As for the hobbyists and innovation, thanks to free technical info on the internet and online communication anyone interested could review it and suggest improvements. Maybe even design them with a freely available software. Then it takes just to send the info to some people involved in decision-making and watching the production. That's a detail. There is a strong freeware and open-source community, which can extend into physical realm via technology like 3D printers or in the future, printed sheet computers. Innovation is something that people will want to keep for themselves. And who decides what? I suppose there will be admins to deal with the innovator communities and allocate them resources. There are much more complex organizations today, the future should be actually much simplier, without the money, paperwork and superfluous monetarily greedy asses.

Beyond Saving wrote:
 Do we have Burger King or McDonalds? And who is going to build all of these robots? My impression of every RBEer I have talked to is that they are incredibly ignorant of what it takes to create a product and get it to the retail store. They all seem to think it is magic. Ironic considering you accused me of having a simplistic POV.
If fastfoods are your greatest problem, ask yourself again when the economy will fall, or when the dollar will lose its value, or when stock markets will be closed down and so on. I think the change in life-style is inevitable, RBE or not, it's not populism and it's only natural that certain wasteful behavior will have to go. However, it's possible that some joking Americans will erect a big yellow M over some future food dispensing facility.

As for building robots, the future always grows from the present. In the present we have governments and private factories. The model of war economy is actually pretty efficient, although "nationalized industry" is such an ugly word. But why the hell not? People who can manage the technology should remain as its managers, they'll only receive different orders from different people. It's not communism, commies insisted on centralizing everything and lump solutions, RBE is about meeting local needs and modular customization.

Beyond Saving wrote:
 So no junk food? Fuck that. Touch my fritos and you have crossed a line where I start shooting. I haven't decided exactly where the line is when outright violent revolution is necessary, but getting rid of my fritos and beer is definitely on the other side. Who are you to tell me that I must live my life in a healthy manner? I think quality of life is far more important that longevity.

This is where I determine that even if your utopia was physically possible to make (which I doubt) and even if it operated somewhat similar to what you claim (which I think is incredibly naive) I still don't want to live there. I like having a wide variety of choices, I like being able to enjoy my life in a way of my choosing. Right now, if I want something I go buy it, if I don't have enough money there are several things I can do to rectify that problem at which point I can buy it. Or maybe I decide it is too much effort and live without. I don't want you or some computer determining what I can or can't have based on your version of what is good or whoever programs the computer.  

As for no junk food, it is not in philosophy of RBE to forbid this or that. Production should be based on survey of public and individual needs and available resources. But tell me, how would the public needs change without artificial demand by commercials and other method of marketing propaganda? My guess is, that they would decrease. Let's say there would be 3 kinds of beer instead of 30, but the spared resources would be used to make a top-quality beer. And similarly with the fritos, tell goodbye to dozens of brands and colourful packages, but welcome to some palm oil instead of soy oil or whatever. What people order and can be produced they should receive, only without marketing glorification. Without artificial demand of consumerism and without superfluous production it should be possible. But I don't see why some enthusiasts couldn't start something like "Anachronistic Brewing and Frying Club" as a hobby and enrich its members and local community with these old-fashioned delicacies. 

But tell me, why do you enjoy choice when buying? For example, I don't want many choices, I want just the one right choice I need, everything else is a nuisance. We have too many choices, but we lost the simplicity. All inferior choices are a lie, an illusion of freedom and all equal choices are wastefulness. I want good, cheap, healthy, food and I don't care how it's named or wrapped or marketed. In supermarkets around here there's a lot of goods, all differently wrapped, but when you look at the contents, it's all the same and all full of cheap ersatz substances and bad tasting replacements. It's all hydrogenized vegetable fat, aspartame, acesfultame, gelatine, starch and sugar. That's because my politicians allow the supermarkets to screw us with cheap but overpriced stuff and all the neighbouring states have better quality food. When I see some food on a Polish market, that's hell of a difference in quality. I don't expect utopia, I live in dystopia and I want just a... topia.

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EXC
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Luminon wrote:The resources

Luminon wrote:

The resources that market uses aren't cards or plastic chips, they're real resources that keep us alive. They're literally strategic resources. Trading with them is about as ethical, as trading blood and organs. Last time I checked, there was a shortage of these and there isn't any organ stock market. Last time I checked, there was a global shortage of food, maybe not out of lack of food, but because markets do not distribute it evenly. If business is a game, then it's a bloody game and there is no permit out of it - except to become rich and make others poorer.

All true. But what is driving over demand for these resources? When technology grows more food or makes more water available, there is always more population to offset the gains. You're right back to square one with humanity competing against one another for survival.

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Luminon wrote:Very well, so

Luminon wrote:

Very well, so what if there is evidence that the markets cause real and direct harm (plus a plenty of indirect) to a couple billion individuals plus destroys our planetary life support system? The resources that market uses aren't cards or plastic chips, they're real resources that keep us alive. They're literally strategic resources. Trading with them is about as ethical, as trading blood and organs. Last time I checked, there was a shortage of these and there isn't any organ stock market. Last time I checked, there was a global shortage of food, maybe not out of lack of food, but because markets do not distribute it evenly. If business is a game, then it's a bloody game and there is no permit out of it - except to become rich and make others poorer. 

If organ trade was legal there wouldn't be as much of a shortage. People are far more likely to sell something than they are to donate. I can donate my organs, but I can't make arrangements to sell them, why? I bet many more people would volunteer to have their organs used after their death if they or a beneficiary got some financial benefit than the current system where you are expected to check a box saying yes use my organs but get absolutely nothing in return. 

 

As for food, the disproportional distribution of food is directly related to the disproportional distribution of free markets. Countries that have free markets do a much better job feeding their citizens and food as a percentage of average income is much lower in free economies than in restricted economies. If you note the map below where the darker green indicates countries where people spend a higher proportion of income on food. The colors correlate very strongly with the economic freedom map I linked to. Coincidence? I think not. Conclusion- increase economic freedom. 

 

 

Luminon wrote:

Again, no economy had ever encountered such situation. You can't compare the monetary and real economy, because these two are getting out of touch, and yet more different is the economy of Earth ecosystem, which benefits in inverse proportion to what we call our GDP. Also, consider how much work or workhours it takes to pay the bills, what is a freedom, when half of your waking time means to do something just to pay your bills? And what of the rest of the day, television? Three weeks of holiday per year my ass! Two days of weekend my ass! People may feel comfortable in that routine, but on a global scale it's really unsettling.

Along with economic freedom comes the ability to determine how much you consume and how much you work. No one in America HAS to work 40 hours a week. If you are willing to live a spartan lifestyle it is possible to live a very comfortable life without working a lot of hours. Among moderately free economies the number of hours people work seems more closely tied to culture than to economics. At various times of my life I have worked different amounts from 70+ hour work weeks to 10 hour work weeks. I'm not concerned with whether people work 1 hour or 100 hours a week, what I'm concerned about is whether they have the freedom to determine their own path. No system has been more effective at lowering the costs of essentials and therefore providing people with more options than free market capitalism. 

 

Luminon wrote:

I'll try to explain it metaphorically. Imagine socialism and capitalism as a cart with two wheels. The wheel of socialism is big and turns slow, that's because we are many and our turn of wheel is one generation cominig and going. The wheel of capitalism turns very fast, that's the cycle of business, buying and selling. But we need the wheel of capitalism to be small, so it covers the same distance and supports the big wheel equally. Today the wheel of capitalism is large and still turns fast, so the cart is going nowhere, in circles. It dominates the cart and its direction and that is wrong. 

Get rid of the wheel of socialism and replace it with another capitalism wheel and your cart will be going forward very quickly. 

 

Luminon wrote:

 Then it takes just to send the info to some people involved in decision-making and watching the production. That's a detail. There is a strong freeware and open-source community, which can extend into physical realm via technology like 3D printers or in the future, printed sheet computers. Innovation is something that people will want to keep for themselves. And who decides what? I suppose there will be admins to deal with the innovator communities and allocate them resources. There are much more complex organizations today, the future should be actually much simplier, without the money, paperwork and superfluous monetarily greedy asses.

That is not a detail. Someone, somewhere is going to be in charge of allocating resources and determining which people get them and which don't. Right now we use money and prices to determine who can get what. Something has to replace that. What you are doing is throwing out a system where resource distribution decisions are made on a micro level that is extremely dispersed and putting one central authority in charge of those decisions. That is extremely dangerous. History has shown us that central authorities being in control of dispersing resources always become corrupt and that power is abused. Power can be abused on the micro level as well, but it is far less damaging. 

 

As for the robots, RBE is hardly a necessity to enjoy the benefits of automation. The trend towards having computers and robots do menial tasks has become quite commonplace. Some places more successfully than others but in manufacturing in particular US production has increased while labor hours have decreased mostly due to automation. The great technology that RBE'ers love to tout is going to come along. The reality is that implementing that technology is a lot of work, requires a lot of resources and will take time. And yes, when it is implemented our standard of living is going to improve regardless of our economic system. In a capitalist system, the increased resources will cause the prices to drop to the point that everyone can afford far more than they need. 

 

Luminon wrote:
 

As for no junk food, it is not in philosophy of RBE to forbid this or that. Production should be based on survey of public and individual needs and available resources. But tell me, how would the public needs change without artificial demand by commercials and other method of marketing propaganda? My guess is, that they would decrease. Let's say there would be 3 kinds of beer instead of 30, but the spared resources would be used to make a top-quality beer. And similarly with the fritos, tell goodbye to dozens of brands and colourful packages, but welcome to some palm oil instead of soy oil or whatever. What people order and can be produced they should receive, only without marketing glorification. Without artificial demand of consumerism and without superfluous production it should be possible. But I don't see why some enthusiasts couldn't start something like "Anachronistic Brewing and Frying Club" as a hobby and enrich its members and local community with these old-fashioned delicacies. 

But tell me, why do you enjoy choice when buying? For example, I don't want many choices, I want just the one right choice I need, everything else is a nuisance. We have too many choices, but we lost the simplicity. All inferior choices are a lie, an illusion of freedom and all equal choices are wastefulness. I want good, cheap, healthy, food and I don't care how it's named or wrapped or marketed. In supermarkets around here there's a lot of goods, all differently wrapped, but when you look at the contents, it's all the same and all full of cheap ersatz substances and bad tasting replacements. It's all hydrogenized vegetable fat, aspartame, acesfultame, gelatine, starch and sugar. That's because my politicians allow the supermarkets to screw us with cheap but overpriced stuff and all the neighbouring states have better quality food. When I see some food on a Polish market, that's hell of a difference in quality. I don't expect utopia, I live in dystopia and I want just a... topia.

Which beer is best? I go to a bar pretty much every thursday with a group of friends. This bar has about a dozen beers on tap and replace them with new kinds constantly. We try the new beers and argue quite passionately about which one is best. The truth is there is no "best" beer, it is completely subjective. And even from day to day my preferences are not always for the same beer. I can go to Whole Foods and have a choice between a dozen different tomatoes, each with its own distinct texture and flavor. Which tomato is best? Depends on what I feel like cooking tonight.

 

With economic freedom and wealth comes the ability to choose between heavily processed foods, unprocessed foods and everything in between. You don't need surveys because every time you spend money you are voting, saying "yes more of this product" and "no" to all of the others. Greedy capitalists like me spend a good portion of our time trying to determine what people want more of and speculating what other products we can create and provide that they might like. If there is a demand, we will find a way to satisfy it if the government doesn't stop us. You say you want healthier better tasting choices at the supermarket. If you lived in a free economy you would certainly have a Whole Foods or Trader Joes or Byerlys or some other store that catered specifically to your demand. Your problem isn't that there are too many choices, the problem is that you don't have enough. Those of us in free economies have hundreds of choices, yet most people tend towards the unhealthy anyway probably because processed foods are easier and less time consuming to cook.

 

Personally, I enjoy eating healthy foods except my fritos. I like my fritos deep fried in corn oil with plenty of salt. None of those healthy versions that taste like cardboard. Fortunately, I live in an economy where I have the freedom to eat generally healthy and on a whim I can stop by any convenience store and get a bag of fritos and do so with a very small portion of my income. 

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken


Luminon
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 Beyond Saving wrote:As for

 

Beyond Saving wrote:

As for food, the disproportional distribution of food is directly related to the disproportional distribution of free markets. Countries that have free markets do a much better job feeding their citizens and food as a percentage of average income is much lower in free economies than in restricted economies. If you note the map below where the darker green indicates countries where people spend a higher proportion of income on food. The colors correlate very strongly with the economic freedom map I linked to. Coincidence? I think not. Conclusion- increase economic freedom.

That is a logical conclusion, but we don't live in economic world only. The countries with cheap food also mean very high consumption and waste. 50% of all food in U.S., including import, is wasted. In western Europe it's about 33-50%. In my country and more to the eastern Europe it's about 30%. The monetary profit goes up even if the food is wasted, even if the buyers or retailers throw it out. And the distributors do not necessarily want to open a free market. A free market isn't very open, it needs money first. How do you open a country to the market? By political decision? Here the global food trading elite has the say. For example, they decide to buy or not to buy bananas from a dictator of a banana republic. They usually decide to buy whatever happens, from any dictator - which means that the poor citizens are highly motivated to grab a kalashnikov, start a rebellion, kill the old dictator, get themselves on the throne and hoard the money for bananas exclusively for themselves. The dictators don't want a free trade, the distributors don't want a free trade, and the citizens either can't speak for themselves or again, they want the trade all for themselves. 

So you see, this is not a simple thing. The solution is no necessarily to open the country to free market, whatever that means, however it could be done, but simply to cut the Gordic knot and distribute the food. A system of sophisticated, transparent and neutrally supervised global barter should do the trick. If people can trade and speculate, they should be able to do pretty much the same job, only in a system that isn't tilted in favor of a particular state. Anyone can perform a barter, at least any player of the Fallout series can. There is only a detail, the barter should involve mainly the excessive resources that industires tend to produce.

Beyond Saving wrote:
 Along with economic freedom comes the ability to determine how much you consume and how much you work. No one in America HAS to work 40 hours a week. If you are willing to live a spartan lifestyle it is possible to live a very comfortable life without working a lot of hours. Among moderately free economies the number of hours people work seems more closely tied to culture than to economics. At various times of my life I have worked different amounts from 70+ hour work weeks to 10 hour work weeks. I'm not concerned with whether people work 1 hour or 100 hours a week, what I'm concerned about is whether they have the freedom to determine their own path. No system has been more effective at lowering the costs of essentials and therefore providing people with more options than free market capitalism.
Again, along with the economic freedom comes the ability to influence others to spend and make them work more. This is not about morals, but about sustainability. Well, maybe a little about morals, you know as a fact, that most of other countries can not do the same. You say, open the free market! But if the rest of the world would spend like the U.S., we'd need the resources of several more Earths. It's just not realistic what you propose, for other economies to be like American. It's not realistic for any economy. However, I believe it is both realistic and necessary to restrict the economy, to make the the production and consumption as low and eh... "economic" as possible. 

Beyond Saving wrote:
 Get rid of the wheel of socialism and replace it with another capitalism wheel and your cart will be going forward very quickly.
That's right, but without us. WE are the wheel of socialism! Smiling We are the reason why there even is any cart or going forward.

Beyond Saving wrote:
 That is not a detail. Someone, somewhere is going to be in charge of allocating resources and determining which people get them and which don't. Right now we use money and prices to determine who can get what. Something has to replace that. What you are doing is throwing out a system where resource distribution decisions are made on a micro level that is extremely dispersed and putting one central authority in charge of those decisions. That is extremely dangerous. History has shown us that central authorities being in control of dispersing resources always become corrupt and that power is abused. Power can be abused on the micro level as well, but it is far less damaging.
What if I meant a central authority for general distribution of crude and basic resources and the more finished products, the more local authorities (or computers) will be involved? I just want to show that all it takes is an intelligent and constructive thinking, one that looks for ways, not objections.

Beyond Saving wrote:
 As for the robots, RBE is hardly a necessity to enjoy the benefits of automation. The trend towards having computers and robots do menial tasks has become quite commonplace. Some places more successfully than others but in manufacturing in particular US production has increased while labor hours have decreased mostly due to automation. The great technology that RBE'ers love to tout is going to come along. The reality is that implementing that technology is a lot of work, requires a lot of resources and will take time. And yes, when it is implemented our standard of living is going to improve regardless of our economic system. In a capitalist system, the increased resources will cause the prices to drop to the point that everyone can afford far more than they need.
You're right in that, but only in that. Technology is known to create unemployment. Unemployment makes human labour cheap, cheaper than technology, which creates slavery. I don't see much difference between little pay that you spend for basic necessities and no pay but a slavekeeper's house. Or even a national slavery, I don't see much technology or export into third world countries either. But even if that somehow doesn't happen, there will be a great increase in consumption, like when lots of coal was wasted, because there were invented modern, efficient steam engines, which made the fuel cheaper, which helped to expand the railway industry, so eventually they burned much more coal than the inefficient steam engines would. But even if the endless resources can somehow miraculously be created or recycled, consumer society isn't a meaningful society. We people need meaning or direction in life, or there will be further escalation of decadence, crime, vandalism, drugs and other antisocial behavior, on an increasing scale and social position. Which will among other things result in a deadly misuse of technology. 

To me it seems you don't want any changes, only status quo. I see there are great changes coming and I see it's necessary to go along with these changes, or die in a most dystopian way. Can I even explain that? My patchwork of an education includes technology, public administration and in due time I will put a masters of sociology on top of that (already well-deserved by years of reading a sociologically and psychologically oriented fact & fiction). 
We do not live sustainably, in many ways, for many reasons. In long term, which is the only term that matters, and which is not that far off, it is deadly. That's what my sociologic gut says and I'm scared. 

Beyond Saving wrote:
 With economic freedom and wealth comes the ability to choose between heavily processed foods, unprocessed foods and everything in between. You don't need surveys because every time you spend money you are voting, saying "yes more of this product" and "no" to all of the others. Greedy capitalists like me spend a good portion of our time trying to determine what people want more of and speculating what other products we can create and provide that they might like. If there is a demand, we will find a way to satisfy it if the government doesn't stop us. You say you want healthier better tasting choices at the supermarket. If you lived in a free economy you would certainly have a Whole Foods or Trader Joes or Byerlys or some other store that catered specifically to your demand. Your problem isn't that there are too many choices, the problem is that you don't have enough. Those of us in free economies have hundreds of choices, yet most people tend towards the unhealthy anyway probably because processed foods are easier and less time consuming to cook.
Yes, with economic freedom and wealth comes the freedom to choose. The problem with voting with your wallet is, that every vote costs you differently. For some options you can't vote at all, for some you just don't want to. It's not a free voting system. 

Many people here are nostalgic about the Communist era. They weren't thinkers or achievers, so they basically just enjoyed the social certainities. But there is another point of view. All the kinds of food (which weren't many) in Communist state had a much greater quality. A breadroll was baked with a real lard and bread was made of real wheat and meat was a real meat. The food had a different standard, which we lost in capitalism, lost in overproduction and driving down prices and stretching price margins. Neither regime is ideal, but I see there many useful elements to be preserved.

Beyond Saving wrote:
 Personally, I enjoy eating healthy foods except my fritos. I like my fritos deep fried in corn oil with plenty of salt. None of those healthy versions that taste like cardboard. Fortunately, I live in an economy where I have the freedom to eat generally healthy and on a whim I can stop by any convenience store and get a bag of fritos and do so with a very small portion of my income. 

Personally, I'm not against capitalism as such. I'm mainly against large-scale national and international capitalism, that's too much power for any (greedy) person to have. But I appreciate people, who can do local human-sized business. About 1/3 of capitalism we have today should be enough, but the most local 1/3, that is. The 1/3 responsible for reacting to needs of local community and customizing the products into many forms. Communists did the mistake they planned the small things centrally, which is total nonsense, they could never get it right. Big and general things need central supervision, small and particular things need local supervision. 
Business is adaptable. I don't see why the minds of business couldn't do whatever they do in terms of supervising and directing local diverse production and distribution, aided by modern technologies. You may think we need greed to motivate them, but maybe what we need is psychology. A little Research & Development in the area of psychology and sociology on how to motivate people non-monetarily. What is the science good for, if we still use the bronze age technology: the money? Sticking out tongueMaybe not even that is necessary, just to make sure the work is enjoyable (for a businessman personality), prestigious, not overly demanding on time and all reasonable material needs are taken care of. 

 

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Sorry I didn't research the

Sorry I didn't research the energy consumption per capita properly. My mistake. However this doesn't invalidate the main idea. Energy consumption is increasing worldwide due to better living conditions and increased population. 

Yes we are in a closed system! The Sun-Earth is a closed system. There is only so much of energy and raw materials we can consume. No, unless the population decreases or stabilizes energy consumption will rise non stop. It is rising exponentially each year and I don't see any proof of a different trend. There will never be a world where everyone gets to western levels of living conditions. To do that in China alone you need to duplicate or triplicate energy and resource output on a planet already strained. The other reason that will not happen is because economic and political interests don't want that.

We already have been through many economic revolutions. the industrial, the green revolution in the 50s and arguably the information revolution in our days. All of them deeply changed the way GDP grows. Still GDP/energy coupling was never broken and I don't see any proof of that happening despite your wishful thoughts. Many economists who are aware of the problem actually know that it is matematical impossible for economic growth to grow forever. The difference between me and them is that I think the limits to growth are nearer than they think

The problem is with net energy and net raw materials which are a fixed amount despite a growing population. I can see clearly today a resource war already underway. For the time being is not totally military, but it will be, trust me...

I am against laisser faire capitalism fiercely. I have no reason to defend capitalism as a means of creating peace and comfort to most people. My economic and moral ideals are intrinsically bonded. Thus I believe in John Rawls idea that: "inequality is acceptable only if it is to the advantage of those who are worst-off". If we look at 20th century evidence this is true. But if we look at the 21st century this is arguably wrong.

Actually one of the biggest liberties of capitalism is for you to be able to parasite society. I don't like this liberty because it's immoral.

Capitalism needs infinite energy and resources to survive. There is no such thing as capitalism without economic growth. I also don't see any reason to look to capitalism with the same blind faith as a devout Christian to the cross. The reason why we need economic growth, the real reason that no one tells you is for the rich to get richer without the poor to be poorer. This crisis didn't affect capitalist tycoons despite anecdotal evidence of the contrary.

There are other forms of economic systems behond the narrow minded capitalism/socialism dicotomy. I view economy as I view science it is an evolving entity, and we are are actually living in this system for too long now. Time to change. American capitalism is not the end of the story. I look at countries like Norway or Sweden, who take government regulations seriously, as the next step in a fairer economic world.

The vilification of the state as an entity which is truly democratic in nature unlike the managing boards of a corporation, is brainwashing propaganda played by the lobbies, who manage to convince people who are not smart enough to see the big picture. It is probably true that lobbists made an effort to discredit politics so that these fat capitalists... oh sorry! Job Creators! are better appreciated so their power endures. This is why I see the unique and jaw dropping conservative movement in America rising. The only significant number of people in the world capable of voting in conservative American politics at the moment, are... Americans. Government as been loosing more and more power since the end of the cold war... has that made the world a prosper and more ethical place? No. I beleive the prosper economic period we had was after the 2nd world war until the 80's-90's when governments were more powerful. Now with less powerful governments things are worse. 

A good example of less government bigger risk is Iceland! The less government we have the more we are driven by the invisible hand of the market. This is what is happening now in the US more and more. Politicians are puppets.

corporations are also power hubs, Monsanto is a fine example of corporation power! If you want to end government power I concede only if you limit corporation power which I consider more dangerous because lives in the shadows and under smiley masks.

What we actually forget is that the government is actually run by powerful capitalists. They finance everything. If they finance it they control it.

Lastly I don't believe energy will be lowered to 20th century levels, ever, in the foreseable future. Because of costs in production, (Oil is just there, you just need to take it and burn it) and EROEI rates. I believe our scientific and technological growth is slowing down at the moment having reach it's highest point in the 60s. There is some ( anecdotal) evidence for this: Inability to develop promising technologies despite decades of research like; nuclear fusion, nanotechnology, gene therapy, AI, space travelling, etc. "There is nothing new under the Sun". Science has discovered most things, what is happening now is technological refinements. 

The US is going down the drain (pardon the expression). China is a state capitalism which will very soon overtake the US a world leader in most areas of development. They have a communist government with a capitalist economy, this is a powerful and explosive mixture. The ironic part is we (western world) could easely stop this by managing our society in a less selfish jungle law way.

But actually our biggest mistake was to take out market regulations imposed by Keynes (one of the great economists). his ideas of state intervention saved the economy when it did colapse back in the 30's

Beyond Saving I don't see any innovation in aviation since the 50's or the 60's. Calling that innovation is like calling the Ipad innovation in relation to the laptop or the iphone. Those are toys made with a little bit more efficiency and technology Miniaturization. What I would call innovation would be the turbine vs. the propeller. Virgin space turism is still science fiction, actually I hear Richard talking about that since I was born, almost.

the funny thing is I'm beginning to see a change in the meaning of the word "innovation". Now it's beginning to look just like a marketing scheme!  

market forces can't be trusted because they make the market volatile, increase income innequality and unemployment. The myth that anyone can be rich in America through hard work is a falacy.

You are one of those people that criticizes both Bush and Obama for their bail out of corporations like AIG. I actually know why they did that. If they didn't you would be facing massive street riots, pillages, gunfights, massive unemployment. Imagine Argentina riots in 2001 and you get the picture.

I do not have freedom to choose my own path. I can't find a job and the ones I find pay miserably bad. This crisis and too much unemployment lowered wages. Freedom is the right I have to work and be a productive citizen and have a minimum of comfort.

Gauche I completely agree with you.

Luminon I love RSA videos, very simple and fun to watch. I didn't know this video. I think it actually infatuate my fondness of scandinavian social economy paradigm. I also seriously belive education is the key to change. Coincidentialy scandinavia ranks among the most educated people on earth.

Yes! technology creates unemployemnt. The way to fight this is somehow to make work hours fairer and "re-distribute" them

EXC, I know you are a human/animal kind of guy. But if we want to give any meaning at all to this arguably rational discussion; To human intelligent condition and inventive capacity that differentiates us from other species and provides us with tools to aliviate suffering of fellow humans we must do so. If we stay in this animal thing I don't the point of anything at all since the australopitecus climbed down of that tree... 

 

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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  Teralek, in your

  Teralek, in your signature did you intentionally leave out Einstein's "You may call me an agnostic, " when you quoted him ?  

 

"I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth.  I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being."

 

   You seem like a reasonable person, I was just wondering....

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.
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ProzacDeathWish wrote: 

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

  Teralek, in your signature did you intentionally leave out Einstein's "You may call me an agnostic, " when you quoted him ?  

 

"I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth.  I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being."

 

   You seem like a reasonable person, I was just wondering....

I don't remember from where I took the quote from. Thank you for pointing it. I corrected the quote.

I try to be reasonable, but I suffer from a disease called idealism 

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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      I have done

 

    I have done internet searches and found many quotes ( religious and otherwise ) from famous persons  that have deviated from other examples that I have found.  It happens all too often. 

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Teralek wrote:Luminon I love

Teralek wrote:

Luminon I love RSA videos, very simple and fun to watch. I didn't know this video. I think it actually infatuate my fondness of scandinavian social economy paradigm. I also seriously belive education is the key to change. Coincidentialy scandinavia ranks among the most educated people on earth.

Yes! technology creates unemployemnt. The way to fight this is somehow to make work hours fairer and "re-distribute" them 

Yes, scandinavian economy, the pride of the world. I genuinely envy them, specially Iceland. The Iceland revolution was de facto a secret one, hidden away by capitalistic media. My country is in a similar situation now, only we're not robbed only by bankers but by clique of top politicians and businessmen. The nation is still very much catatonic, but since last year there are small anti-government movements springing like mushrooms after rain. On 15th March there will be demonstrations in greater cities. In Prague there will be some media faces and also Hördur Torfa, one of the main Iceland revolutionaries. Despite of the fact that he's a poor guy (his plane ticket and stay in Prague are paid by public gathering) he's the one who drove out bosses and owners of corporations, banks and institutions that drove Iceland near bankrupcy. Now they're either locked up or chased all around the world by Interpol. 
I'd LOVE to see the same thing in my country, to see arrested almost everyone in top politics and business mafia since the year 1989, their property confiscated and their accounts in Switzerland and Caimans nationalized. That would include the president, who was a chief economist and prime minister at the time of the wild piratization and who's uncontrollable cleptomania is proven by video evidence.

Behind the whole movement there is some very interesting political, economic and financial plan of reforms, some very sensible stuff. (from what I have read so far, an interest-free currency, gradually cut off from foreign capital) There is also a strong influence of meritocracy, people may sign up into committees of experts according to topics. Hadn't I been so young and degree-less, I'd sign up for the still empty science and education committees. Although, who knows if I'll let them read my thesis Smiling

 

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Iceland banks were

Iceland banks were nationalized... This is a sort of bail out. What happened in there is very well explained in wikipedia

"Iceland's financial position has steadily improved since the crash. The economic contraction and rise in unemployment appear to have been arrested by late 2010 and with growth underway in mid 2011.[187] Three main factors have been important in this regard. First is the emergency legislation passed by the Icelandic parliament in October 2008. It served to minimise the impact of the financial crisis on the country. The Financial Supervisory Authority of Iceland used permission granted by the emergency legislation to take over the domestic operations of the three largest banks.[188] The much larger foreign operations of the banks, however, went into receivership.

A second important factor is the success of the IMF Stand-By-Arrangement in the country since November 2008. The SBA includes three pillars. The first pillar is a program of medium term fiscal consolidation, involving painful austerity measures and significant tax hikes. The result has been that central government debts have been stabilised at around 80–90 percent of GDP. A second pillar is the resurrection of a viable but sharply downsized domestic banking system on the ruins of its gargantuan international banking system which the government was unable to bail out. A third pillar is the enactment of capital controls and the work to gradually lift these to restore normal financial linkages with the outside world. An important result of the emergency legislation and the SBA is that the country has not been seriously affected by the European sovereign debt crisis from 2010. Despite a contentious debate with Britain and the Netherlands over the question of a state guarantee on the Icesave deposits of Landsbanki in these countries, credit default swaps on Icelandic sovereign debt have steadily declined from over 1000 points prior to the crash in 2008 to around 200 points in June 2011. The fact that the assets of the failed Landsbanki branches are now estimated to cover most of the depositor claims has had an influence to ease concerns over the situation.

Finally, the third major factor behind the resolution of the financial crisis was the decision by the government of Iceland to apply for membership in the EU in July 2009. While views on the feasibility of EU membership are quite mixed in Iceland, this action has served to enhance the credibility of the country on international financial markets. One sign of the success of the above efforts is the fact that the Icelandic government was successfully able to raise $1 billion with a bond issue on 9 June 2011. This development indicates that international investors have given the government and the new banking system, with two of the three biggest banks now in foreign hands, a clean bill of health.[189][190] The first two major measures were implemented by the government of Geir H. Haarde but carried out by also the government of Johanna Sigurdardottir, which then took the step to apply for EU membership."

Norway wasn't affected by the world crisis.

I think Iceland's mistake was to embrace the "no rules" capitalism. As is explained is the same page, the cause of the crisis in Iceland was "bank deregulation". Their wise measures were to roll back again to "scandinavian mentality". 

To a certain extent I agree with some bailouts. If certain key corporations weren't safely rescued there would be a catastrophic fail of the world markets... I believe this.

But apparently we didn't learn the lesson because I don't see many people saying: "to big to fail to big to exist"

I am against extreme hoarding of personal wealth. End it by any legal means necessary. If by this you call me a socialist so be it!
 

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Teralek wrote:Yes we are in

Teralek wrote:

Yes we are in a closed system! The Sun-Earth is a closed system. There is only so much of energy and raw materials we can consume. No, unless the population decreases or stabilizes energy consumption will rise non stop. It is rising exponentially each year and I don't see any proof of a different trend. There will never be a world where everyone gets to western levels of living conditions. To do that in China alone you need to duplicate or triplicate energy and resource output on a planet already strained. The other reason that will not happen is because economic and political interests don't want that.

For our purposes the sun has infinite energy. When the sun burns out, we have far greater issues than our economic system. When wind stops, we have bigger problems. When water stops flowing, we have bigger problems. It seems absurd to me to worry about losing these energy sources when we are looking at hundreds of billions of years. It is likely that something else will wipe out our civilizations long before that point. For the immediate future (next hundred years or so) the biggest energy threat we have is running out/low on oil/fossil fuels. Yet the technology is feasible to switch over to many different types of fuels. Which one will be most cost efficient it a question, but the physical possibility is not. We can build solar plants, we can build wind turbines, we can build nuclear plants, we can build cars that run on virtually any fuel we decide to put in them. It is going to require a massive restructuring of our infrastructure, but our current infrastructure didn't take that long to build. The first gas station in the US wasn't built until 1907, we now have 128,000 of them http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filling_station#History_of_filling_stations. Now we don't even need to build new buildings, we simply need to modify the fuel and maybe adjust the delivery/storage systems.

 

Teralek wrote:

The problem is with net energy and net raw materials which are a fixed amount despite a growing population. I can see clearly today a resource war already underway. For the time being is not totally military, but it will be, trust me...

Resource wars are as old as mankind. I see raw materials such as metals to be a far greater challenge than energy. As I pointed out there are many energy sources that are for our purposes infinite. Metals and such are not, and it is likely that prices on them will rise and limit by cost alone peoples abilities to afford them. So what? Prices will rise, people will reduce their consumption. If/when we figure out how to get to the asteroids and mine useful minerals the price will drop. The good thing about metals is that they are reusable to some extent and the market has shown incredible creativity at limiting their use and finding alternatives.

 

Teralek wrote:

I am against laisser faire capitalism fiercely. I have no reason to defend capitalism as a means of creating peace and comfort to most people. My economic and moral ideals are intrinsically bonded. Thus I believe in John Rawls idea that: "inequality is acceptable only if it is to the advantage of those who are worst-off". If we look at 20th century evidence this is true. But if we look at the 21st century this is arguably wrong.

Actually one of the biggest liberties of capitalism is for you to be able to parasite society. I don't like this liberty because it's immoral.

Fine. A moral argument is different than the "is it possible" argument in the OP and the article. I am saying it is possible to continue growing. Whether or not it is moral is a very subjective position. I don't particularly care about morality and think people should have the freedom to be immoral.

 

Teralek wrote:

Capitalism needs infinite energy and resources to survive. There is no such thing as capitalism without economic growth. I also don't see any reason to look to capitalism with the same blind faith as a devout Christian to the cross. The reason why we need economic growth, the real reason that no one tells you is for the rich to get richer without the poor to be poorer. This crisis didn't affect capitalist tycoons despite anecdotal evidence of the contrary.

There is no reason capitalism requires growth. Capitalism simply requires that people with money be legally allowed to invest in and own production. Economic growth is a natural result, but not a requirement. In fact, recessions and depressions are necessary consequences of capitalism as it is self correcting but due to imperfect information and imperfect decisions it tends to over correct. Capitalism's association with growth is simply due to people always desiring more and capitalism providing them a vehicle with which they can create more. You can have a capitalist system in which people decide not to produce more, but most people are greedy.  

 

Teralek wrote:

A good example of less government bigger risk is Iceland! The less government we have the more we are driven by the invisible hand of the market. This is what is happening now in the US more and more. Politicians are puppets.

Iceland is an example of a micro economy. The smaller an economy the more dramatic the swings. They experienced a similar economic set back in the 1970's due to dramatic increases in the worlds oil prices. When you are dealing with an economy of 300,000 people you are going to experience larger but faster swings than larger countries. While the Icelandic economy shrank 6% in 2009, it did so after decades of above average growth. Their real problem was that they only had 3 banks and all were holding large amounts of foreign debt rather than local economic problems. I have no problems with governments actively controlling foreign investment in their country as foreign investors have no incentive not to screw the locals and are generally unreachable by the law. It is my understanding that there were shady and illegal things happening in Iceland's banks but they are unable to prosecute because the guilty parties are not in the country. While I argue for a free market, I am arguing for a domestic free market where laws against fraud, extortion and theft can be enforced and all parties are subject to the same law. When you have a situation where one party is subject to different laws than another you do not have a true free market, as such it is the governments role to impose extra restrictions to protect their citizens. 

 

 

Teralek wrote:

Beyond Saving I don't see any innovation in aviation since the 50's or the 60's. Calling that innovation is like calling the Ipad innovation in relation to the laptop or the iphone. Those are toys made with a little bit more efficiency and technology Miniaturization. What I would call innovation would be the turbine vs. the propeller. Virgin space turism is still science fiction, actually I hear Richard talking about that since I was born, almost.

Perhaps you are just too impatient. The aircraft flown by the Wright brothers was over 100 years in the making. While they get the credit they drew much of their knowledge from the previous works of Sir Caley, Chanute and Langley- taking their thinking to the next step and making it a practical reality. Virgin's spaceship works having 15 test flights under its belt. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/28/space-business-idUSL2E8DS0M920120228

and in the next year or two will take the first commercial passengers up. 

 

The first commercial airline was founded in 1917- 14 years after the Wright brothers first flight. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_aviation These things take time, especially when you are talking about an innovation of that magnitude. It is unreasonable to expect change that radical every 50 years, although modern engines are a dramatic improvement and modern innovations in stealth technology and unmanned flight blow away anything we even thought of in the 60's.

 

[Teralek] 

You are one of those people that criticizes both Bush and Obama for their bail out of corporations like AIG. I actually know why they did that. If they didn't you would be facing massive street riots, pillages, gunfights, massive unemployment. Imagine Argentina riots in 2001 and you get the picture.

We've had riots- not violent for the most part fortunately, I think that can be chalked up to our culture and wealth. As bad as things are even the poorest Americans live comfortable enough that it isn't worth risking jail time over a political dispute. But both the Tea Party and OWS movements were based on the bail outs and the resulting shitty economy. We do have massive unemployment... at least by American standards. We are in the longest streak of high unemployment our country has seen since the Great Depression (and some might argue worse than the Great Depression) and there is no end in sight. Coincidentally enough, our policies virtually mirror the policies we followed during the Great Depression with Bush as Hoover and Bama as Roosevelt. Funny how similar policies lead to similar results every time they are tried. Perhaps if our leaders tried reading a history book.

 

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken


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Luminon wrote:You may think

Luminon wrote:

You may think we need greed to motivate them, but maybe what we need is psychology. A little Research & Development in the area of psychology and sociology on how to motivate people non-monetarily. What is the science good for, if we still use the bronze age technology: the money? Sticking out tongueMaybe not even that is necessary, just to make sure the work is enjoyable (for a businessman personality), prestigious, not overly demanding on time and all reasonable material needs are taken care of.  

This is probably the largest obstacle I see for the RBE. Reality is that the boring shit in jobs does have to get done. Even someone like me who is in a position where I don't have to work unless I want to finds that I have to do some really boring shit to make sure I am delivering the product my customers demand. Computers and robots can't do everything. The problem isn't motivating people to do things they enjoy, it is motivating people to do the unsavory and unenjoyable jobs because they are necessary without providing them something they really want. Let me know when you find this magical motivation- I will try it out, because if I can motivate my workers to work for me without money, that is more for me. 

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken


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Teralek wrote:Norway wasn't

Teralek wrote:

Norway wasn't affected by the world crisis.

I think Iceland's mistake was to embrace the "no rules" capitalism. As is explained is the same page, the cause of the crisis in Iceland was "bank deregulation". Their wise measures were to roll back again to "scandinavian mentality". 

To a certain extent I agree with some bailouts. If certain key corporations weren't safely rescued there would be a catastrophic fail of the world markets... I believe this.

But apparently we didn't learn the lesson because I don't see many people saying: "to big to fail to big to exist"

I am against extreme hoarding of personal wealth. End it by any legal means necessary. If by this you call me a socialist so be it!

You see, there is a new way of thinking. Catastrophic for the world markets? I don't know if I should look forward to that or be afraid. Why should things like property grow, compete and fail? Don't we have anything better to do?  Nobody asked us, if we want to ride this economic roller coaster, up and down, with people falling off it and hauling it upwards every time it's down. Capitalistic self-correction my ass. Here's something about the bailout:

http://xkcd.com/558/

You've got a point there about hoarding personal wealth. Personal wealth is pathologic, what we need is public wealth. Public services that make people appreciate the immaterial, like computers, internet, digital art, communication, relationships, travel and so on. 

 

Beyond Saving wrote:

This is probably the largest obstacle I see for the RBE. Reality is that the boring shit in jobs does have to get done. Even someone like me who is in a position where I don't have to work unless I want to finds that I have to do some really boring shit to make sure I am delivering the product my customers demand. Computers and robots can't do everything. The problem isn't motivating people to do things they enjoy, it is motivating people to do the unsavory and unenjoyable jobs because they are necessary without providing them something they really want. Let me know when you find this magical motivation- I will try it out, because if I can motivate my workers to work for me without money, that is more for me. 

I'm not sure if I can generalize here, we must think like a very lazy person Smiling One way to get around this is to make the employer also a provider of basic needs, like food, schooling, housing or something like that. We also need to know, what happens if we just won't do this job? If the boring shit job is routine, digital, sedentary, administrative something, then it probably could be automatized, or the structure of society in RBE would eliminate such jobs (for example, no money, no paperwork). If it can't be, then the question is, can people do it better together, while having a talk and some coffee? Garrotting feathers for pillows was an example of chatty group work. Does it have any greater social purpose? Is it possible to work in a group that has prepared some fun afterwards? (lots of volunteers work like this) Does it require total attention or can we listen to an atheistic podcast when working? If I get really cynical, is there any kind of mental disorder like OCD that makes people like such jobs and do them meticulously? Smiling But it all has one thing in common, it can only work in RBE, where people's basic needs are taken care of without money.

 

Beyond Saving wrote:

While the Icelandic economy shrank 6% in 2009, it did so after decades of above average growth. Their real problem was that they only had 3 banks and all were holding large amounts of foreign debt rather than local economic problems. I have no problems with governments actively controlling foreign investment in their country as foreign investors have no incentive not to screw the locals and are generally unreachable by the law. It is my understanding that there were shady and illegal things happening in Iceland's banks but they are unable to prosecute because the guilty parties are not in the country. While I argue for a free market, I am arguing for a domestic free market where laws against fraud, extortion and theft can be enforced and all parties are subject to the same law. When you have a situation where one party is subject to different laws than another you do not have a true free market, as such it is the governments role to impose extra restrictions to protect their citizens.

You have some good points here. I'd only add two points. Firstly, foreign debt is bad, but even domestic debt can ruin nations. In the article European democracy and the financial coup d'etat we see, that it's domestic banks and other financial institutions that attack local (EU) economies to bring them down and appoint their (or Goldman Sachs) political henchmen. Perhap the financial industry does not have a home and can not be trusted at all.

Secondly, I think you understand that things must be organized like a living organism, particularly a collection of cells. Cells are small, relatively autonomous and they have a membrane to keep out bad things and let the good things in and out. They also communicate, cooperate and often  groups of cells with similar needs can force the whole organism to behave in a way to preserve homeostasis. (which is, to avoid large highs and lows of activity)
So as you say, local and domestic business is good, foreign business is bad, because it has no local responsibility. I'd add that this may eliminate the competititive capitalism and advertisement, because we can't have two identical business on local level and foreign products should be let in only so much it doesn't endanger local producers.

 

 

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Teralek wrote:Sorry I didn't

Teralek wrote:

Sorry I didn't research the energy consumption per capita properly. My mistake. However this doesn't invalidate the main idea. Energy consumption is increasing worldwide due to better living conditions and increased population. 

Yes we are in a closed system! The Sun-Earth is a closed system. There is only so much of energy and raw materials we can consume. No, unless the population decreases or stabilizes energy consumption will rise non stop.

Then, at some point, I guess Stable Antimatter Energy will be a must. Eye-wink


 

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)