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View Poll Results: How do you feel about a Technocratic Economy?

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  • Like the idea, but it will never work.

    3 23.08%
  • Like the idea, it should be implemented.

    2 15.38%
  • Hate the idea.

    5 38.46%
  • What is a Technocracy anyway?

    3 23.08%
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Thread: Technocracy Poll

  1. #1 Technocracy Poll 
    Forum Masters Degree SuperNatendo's Avatar
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    Thought it might be interesting...

    Please let me know what you voted and the reason you voted that way.

    If you want to read more about it Wikipedia doesn't have enough info on it in my opinion so to find out more about it, Click Here.


    "It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense." - Mark Twain
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  3. #2  
    Time Lord
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    The Goals of a Technocratic government are simply to provide its citizens with the highest possible standard of living while maintaining the ability to do this for the longest possible period. It accomplishes this through the intelligent use of technology to increase productive output while decreasing the amount of work required by the population. The stability, freedom, and purchasing power to be experienced by the cititizens of North America in the 21st century would be unparalleled anywhere else in the world, or throughout history.
    It entrenches hedonism as the greatest aim in life.


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  4. #3  
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    It usually ends up just like what happened when computers started to take over basic office tasks, like keeping records. At first it was thought that all those office workers would be put out of a job, but what actually happened is that there are more office workers than ever.

    With the increased ability to track information, businesses started keeping more accurate records, and compiling data in ways that were not possible before, so instead of firing their existing staff, they ended up having to hire more to pursue all these new kinds of data (to keep up with their competitors).

    Basically, the rat race will almost always cancel the effects of workers' obsolesense. This is true at least in the skilled industries. In the unskilled industries, like dock working, or ditch digging, technocracy pretty much only erases workers' jobs.

    ... or maybe not. Maybe more total shipping happens now than it did before. Maybe more ditches are being dug. Hopefully, when technocracy reaches its height, we'll be able to fund NASA again.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    I have quite a few objections to your definition.

    First, it takes it for granted that the government runs the economy, invents and uses technologies etc. This is not a good idea.

    Second, it sets two contradicting goals: A), maximizing the present level of material wealth and B) ensuring that this way of life can be sustained. Yes both are important, but they are also quite obvious in themselves. The big question facing our society is how to find the optimal tradeoff between the two. Your definition of "technocracy" does not address this question. The answer should inform government decisions and legislation, as well as consumer choices.

    Another important question in (national, supranational, regional, etc) decisionmaking is how much should private citizens and companies be taxed, and how the tax money should be spent. Should it fund a public health system that is free for the patient? How much of it? How much should be spent on education? Or defence? Should tax incentives be offered for environmentally friendly technologies? How much? What, if any, welfare benefits should be funded by tax money? Your definition gives no answer to those.

    Just my $0.02.
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  6. #5 Implement 
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    I like the idea and it could be implemented. I vote yes.

    I do not like the link you gave above though to an unofficial and in my opinion, not good site TechCa... they are not connected to the original group as to information.

    They are advocates of democracy, voting on ethics, morality, and aesthetic opinions in their information display... and that has nothing to do with actual Technocracy technate ideas which are based on Energy accounting http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_...ing#cite_ref-0 - Also wiki does do a good job of explaining and gets at the history of this movement and where it is currently http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technocratic_movement

    Democracy never was and is not a part of the technate design. That was precluded in the scientific social design because democracy allows for special interest control or ''voting'', which defeats the purpose of scientific governance.

    A technate is administered by science.

    Democracy would lead to 'laws'... and there are no laws in a technate, in fact there is no judicial system at all. Only trained personal if problems arise from violence or sabotage. There is no separation of a technical or democratic side... which is the problem I have with the link put above at the start of the thread... because as said, that is not connected to the actual information and is really sort of disinformation in regard to actual Technocracy technate ideas... but be that as it may.

    The Technate design is also explained here to good effect in a series of videos http://www.youtube.com/TBonePickensetc

    This could be a confusing subject for some unless they understand and get good information at the beginning of trying to figure out the design aspects of this very interesting subject. The sustainability of our world could well be in the balance.

    Also... beware the information from pseudo technocrats... NET or Network of European Technocrats is a European group that is unconnected, but cling to the science based group for notability.
    The best explanation and the one that the original group still uses to explain their material is the Technocracy Study Course http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=dfx...rt6hhdb&hl=en#

    So... I vote yes to a technate... but also would remind readers that all that is presented as ''technocracy'' is not technocracy. This is the reason for the original group ''incorporating'' their material in the early 1930's ... so that others could not co-opt it or change it to please themselves as to their own belief system ideas.
    Another link to some basic history of this group and how it developed as far as scientific aspects http://www.eoearth.org/article/Biophysical_economics

    Because these ideas are based on energy economics and thermodynamics the original ideas of the group are still up to date.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._King_Hubbert ... this person mainly wrote the Technocracy Study Course and the underpinning of it is based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biophysical_economics

    So bring on the technate ~!~ ... we need it now.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Masters Degree Golkarian's Avatar
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    I think on one level a technocracy would work well. However scientists, intellectuals, etc., even if they are better at creating government laws etc., I think would be tempted to make their lives more comfortable than others. As well as giving things that are important to them, for non-academic reasons, an undue amount of importance, this may be alleviated by the diversity of academics.
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  8. #7  
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    Yeah, like with Eugenics. Somehow the people in charge of a program to improve the genetic structure of humanity by selecting out the less fit.... always seem to find some way to see their own children as the fittest.


    It would be nice if pure utilitarian ethics could rule a society. The trouble is how do you curtail greed if you aren't putting effort into keeping the balance of power balanced between every group?

    If the technically inferior group is given no say whatsoever about things, then they have no protection whatsoever from any of the other groups' greed.
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  9. #8  
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    Where the hell to begin. Most of the posters in this thread are alarmingly hostile towards rule by intelligence. Which is kind of funny because it's one step closer to realizing we currently rule by popularity and nothing else. The most intelligent people are the most fit to rule, because the most intelligent people realize that "looking out for number 1" does nothing but harm everything they want or would ever receive. Meanwhile the STUPID people we place in office are occasionally "smart enough" but still stupid enough to be out for themselves. If anything, our curent system is the one to be afraid of and the one that could deal real damage.

    I am strongly in favor of a technocracy because it's the only ordered system that would work. If you aren't ruling by intelligence, then you're ruling by stupidity. The latter is far more destructive and dangerous. But let me emphasize what a technocracy is: It's a rule by intelligence. That's why it places emphasis on technology and abundance. Intelligent people are capable of providing it, delivering it, constructing it, and relying on it.

    Yeah, like with Eugenics. Somehow the people in charge of a program to improve the genetic structure of humanity by selecting out the less fit.... always seem to find some way to see their own children as the fittest.
    Sorry pal, that's just how it works. Ironically if they advocate eugenics then their children probably ARE going to be more fit than those that disagree with it.
    Om mani padme hum

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  10. #9  
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    Superior intelligence can't derive human ethics, because ethics are fundamentally dumb. Those who think objective reasoning enough, I suggest haven't fathomed the gooey mess inherited as "human nature" by which we all live. In other words innate morals so perplex them, they pretend those don't exist.

    "Pure utilitarian ethics" are anything but "nice". Remember the fascists. They considered themselves rational scientists, and they were. Sadly, that's all they were.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Ph.D. Darius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Superior intelligence can't derive human ethics, because ethics are fundamentally dumb.
    Let me put it simply: You're wrong, and highly unqualified to make this claim (especially because you're wrong). Unless you have an IQ of 150+, stay out of matters regarding superior intelligence (although IQ is itself a poor determiner, it's as good as we currently have. Sadly).

    Intelligence can determine "morals" based on logic. I still call them morals because they establish a set of guidelines for human behavior. Logically, it's ideal for everyone to work together smoothly and for no particular person to be specifically oppressed without cause. From this a code of conduct can be organized, although one very different by todays standards (because todays morals oppress people for the sake of oppressing them).

    Those who think objective reasoning enough, I suggest haven't fathomed the gooey mess inherited as "human nature" by which we all live.
    I suggest you have no idea what you're talking about.

    In other words innate morals so perplex them, they pretend those don't exist.
    No, no they don't. Especially because they don't exist. There is no specific set of morality inhereited in anyone, and those that claim otherwise are typically fundamentalists sucking on their respective Gods prayer granting stick. It's as easy as a look around the globe: I see no moral agreement in cultures except for where major religion or a culture is an impact.

    Why? Morals today exist because of some logic, even if incorrect. In the bible, "Thou shalt not kill" is based upon the simple logic that killing people is generally done in a heated manner with no logic (thus harmful and chaotic). "Thou shalt not steal" and so on follow similar lines of very simple logic.

    And so, the only "innate" thing here is the fact the majority of humans have a logic center in their brains. If they didn't no major civilization would ever be formed because nobody would get along.

    Quite simply, you were wrong. Morals are devised by a few things: Logic, dogma, and culture. Only the truely intelligent people are capable of eventually eliminating the latter two and sticking to pure logic. It's ironic that people that do this are usually hated or incorrectly stereotyped (see your definitions) by whatever culture they exist in, specifically to invalidate (your definitions) their opinions (your definitions) and prevent (your definitions) anyone from (your definitions) taking them seriously (your definitions).

    So you can see why I'm perpetually annoyed by people constantly saying "Intelligence can't achieve X" when it damn well can.

    "Pure utilitarian ethics" are anything but "nice". Remember the fascists. They considered themselves rational scientists, and they were. Sadly, that's all they were.
    They CONSIDERED THEMSELVES to be, but they were not. It's logically obvious that violent acts of pure logic are not optimal, so it's illogical to attempt to kull anyone in your efforts. Indeed, all of my ideas for Eugenics or a Technate are purely harmless and based on a volunteer basis.
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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  12. #11  
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    I agree, the Nazis were idiots even for their time. Also I think we should try and vote for those most qualified (academically). However if we restricted government to only academics, I doubt much would change, the fact that everyone here seems to disagree is a slight testament to that fact. It would however create a very powerful special interest group. Probably better to educate the voters, so they can make better choices, than to oppress them. Mutual respect, that way they don't have to revolt against science.
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  13. #12  
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    I'd like to point out what should be rather obvious: Academic superiority rarely (if ever) means intellectual superiority. Socrates proved this thousands of years ago and it was the basis of the socratic method.
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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  14. #13  
    Forum Masters Degree Golkarian's Avatar
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    Good point, but how do we measure "intellectual superiority" then?
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  15. #14  
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    Currently there's almost no good method for doing so. IQ usually "close enough", but I've met a few "high IQ" people that were just as moronic as the rest. The determiner for intelligence appears to follow three basic rules, though:

    1. If they're incompetent and aware of it (most are not)
    2. If they're aware of it and actively seek to change their incompetence (again most do not)
    3. If they actively seek to change it and succeed in doing so (most do not).

    An optional fourth squeezed in there would be the habit of asking REAL questions. Again a trait not shared amongst many, for most are more concerned with presenting their own ideas rather than going "What does X mean?" or "Why not?" or so on. It would appear that the majority of the human race has lost the capability to ask and listen.

    Once again: I refer to socrates. Socrates asked questions constantly, and this was also what led him to inventing the "socratic method" of only responding with questions. Most people today take offense to such a thing and begin to respond with increasingly ridiculous questions, or ignore them altogether. Indeed, my own questions on this forum have been ignored rather than addressed. So you see, it is a good determiner of intelligence.
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    "morals"
    :wink:
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  17. #16  
    Forum Ph.D. Darius's Avatar
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    No idea what that is supposed to mean.
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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  18. #17  
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    Darius, I get the impression that you think emotion and "true intelligence" are mutually exclusive. Am I wrong?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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  19. #18  
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    Not quite, but emotion often does inhibit ones own intelligence.
    Om mani padme hum

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  20. #19  
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    Darius, are your views based on Plato's Republic (wondering b/c of all the Socrates stuff)? Your arguments are good but I don't see how they entail a technocracy, as long as you don't elect Bill O'Reilly (I apologize to any O'Reilly fans ).
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  21. #20  
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    I glanced over Plato's Republic once. It was one of the most boring documents I ever read, although very relevant for his time. For his time. Not this one.

    My arguments so far have been set toward banishing the ignorant opinions of intelligence in general. Other posters have already taken to describing or linking to what a technocracy is. By definition a technocracy is ruled by the most intelligent members, so the task at hand was to prove intelligence is hardly as limited as is apparently considered.

    My references to Socrates are invaluable because he was one of the most intelligent people to ever live. You should read about him and his work.
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    emotion often does inhibit ones own intelligence.
    Well then one is probably handicapped by weak emotional intelligence. Needs work, no shame. This is coming from a fellow less intelligent than yourself in some ways. We all have blind spots, right?
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  23. #22  
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    There is no such thing as "emotional intelligence". Maybe a few psychologists like to pretend there is so they can make more money from selling books and treating imaginary problems, but the brain draws a line between the two. Emotions are very primal and old in our evolution. They and much of the right brain is essentially the GPU of the brain. They do the major processing. The general big picture stuff that the logic parts of our brain (the CPU) cannot process properly.

    Emotions, in that sense, are the quick-response guide. Whereas even the most intelligent human may take a few seconds or a minute to respond with a logical reaction, emotion responds immediately and can grip the entire body. Either in fear or in bravery. Emotions are unconscious and care little of the world around them. They exist entirely as a primal function, although they still serve a useful purpose.

    Edit: Although, the most logical way to combine the two is in a sense what I do. My emotions are the guide, the thing that processes huge swaths of data (the GPU), whereas my intelligence organizes and analyzes it (the CPU). In such a manner one might suggest "emotional intelligence" is the ability to analyze your emotional response and act on it appropriately.

    Edit2: For an easy example of how they inhibit intelligence, anyone that has ever felt anxiety will understand how crippling it can be. For days or even months after just one event. The same can be true of fear. It's very difficult to overcome once it floods your conscious mind and it takes over everything. There's nothing "intelligent" about these emotions. They're what cause you to run away and never look back as though doom itself is chasing you.
    Om mani padme hum

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  24. #23  
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    You are only addressing bad emotions. What about good ones? How do they inhibit you?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
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  25. #24  
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    If I were a girl Darius I'd just love to watch you talk. Get that often?

    Anyway we'd better move on. The thread's about government by Mensa now isn't it? LOL these tax return forms sure are puzzling.

    Logically, it's ideal for everyone to work together smoothly and for no particular person to be specifically oppressed without cause. From this a code of conduct can be organized, although one very different by todays standards (because todays morals oppress people for the sake of oppressing them).
    Alright, you know I doubt you can back up "logically", if I just keep asking "why?". But let's say you get to proclaim sovereignty with some arbitrary maxims, and base an IQ government on those. What are they?
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    You are only addressing bad emotions. What about good ones? How do they inhibit you?
    This surprised me because it's actually a very good question. I...I'm stunned. You actually asked a meaningful question deserving a very good response! Please, ask more! Learn! Do learn! You have given me hope in humanity again!

    Good emotions can inhibit you in a very different way. Rather than simply drowning out your conscious logic, they seek to manipulate it. Many people believe in God for no other reason than they feel better, emotionally, if they do. Good emotions are like drugs: You develop an addiction and you don't want that "feel good" stuff to go away. It has driven many bad policies world wide and a lot of consumer stupidity. Global warming? Totally the result of this. People are guilted into supporting it and then in order to feel good they donate massive sums to "carbon credit" companies run by people that don't give a shit about the environment (al gore!).

    People will go to VERY great lengths to seek good emotions. Love is the best example of this because many people in abusive relationships continue going back for "love". There are those occasional moments where they feel good, and like a drug, they don't care how they get it or what they have to go through TO get it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Anyway we'd better move on. The thread's about government by Mensa now isn't it?
    ...No. Mensa is a ridiculous organization full of egocentric people that put far too much stock in IQ tests. The first job any technocracy would be tasked with would be developing a rigorous system with a proper definition of intelligence and methods to measure it. I am consistently annoyed with the lack of reading comprehension by people that oppose me. No where, but NO WHERE, have I advocated rule by IQ. In fact in one post in this thread contains a few lines speaking out against IQ.

    Alright, you know I doubt you can back up "logically", if I just keep asking "why?".
    So ask! Who knows, maybe I can back it up consistently? Ask good questions, get good answers. Repsond with dogma, get a bitchslap.
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  27. #26  
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    The first job any technocracy would be tasked with would be developing a rigorous system with a proper definition of intelligence and methods to measure it.
    The problem with defining intelligence is that it is subjective. For example, suppose I were to give you an IQ test containing words you've never heard of. Well, that would lower your IQ score because you won't be able to give the right answer and consequently you won't be "intelligent". Besides, there is more than one kind of intelligence. Yet qualifying a person based on these intelligences will not help you unless you know his qualities. A person may be a very good accountant, yet place he might suffer from xenophobia, and you'll never know by an IQ test.

    It has driven many bad policies world wide and a lot of consumer stupidity.
    Such as?

    Global warming? Totally the result of this. People are guilted into supporting it and then in order to feel good they donate massive sums to "carbon credit" companies run by people that don't give a shit about the environment
    Guilt has nothing to do with it. Global warming is a scientific phenomenon, and I think you don't quite understand carbon credit. Basically, for cutting down emissions, the government gives companies carbon credits. These credits can be sold for money.
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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liongold
    The problem with defining intelligence is that it is subjective. For example, suppose I were to give you an IQ test containing words you've never heard of. Well, that would lower your IQ score because you won't be able to give the right answer and consequently you won't be "intelligent".
    Oh ye gods I am sick of this argument. You're confusing an intelligence test with a general knowledge test. Ideally the test would contain nothing culturally subjective and only measure the capabilites of your mind. Most IQ tests (even a few online ones) strive to do this, but they're limited in question-answer format.

    Also, there is a logical and objective definition of intelligence, but nobody has asked the relevant question. More preconceptions! More dogma! More firmly held beliefs!

    Besides, there is more than one kind of intelligence.
    I thought of just proving you wrong, but I remembered socrates. So in the spirit of Socrates: What kinds of intelligence are there?

    Yet qualifying a person based on these intelligences will not help you unless you know his qualities. A person may be a very good accountant, yet place he might suffer from xenophobia, and you'll never know by an IQ test.
    WHICH is why I don't advocate IQ tests. Am I hearing an echo in here?

    Such as?
    I would say "good question", only based on your prior text I'm going to assume that's a somewhat HOSTILE "such as". There are a lot of "go green" products that don't really provide anything different, yet are favored over other products simply because of the "saves the environment!" message. Recycling, which pen&teller proves as generally bullshit, is one such example. Recycling is almost never useful (and in fact requires far more energy than is put out) except in non-renewable or extremely slow-decaying materials.

    Then you have the typical "donate to save this starving baby" commercial you see on public television. People don't donate because it's the logical thing to do. People donate to feel better about themselves. They don't care that their donations will probably mean nothing because gurillas burn down the new school! They just care that "I helped".

    Guilt has nothing to do with it. Global warming is a scientific phenomenon, and I think you don't quite understand carbon credit. Basically, for cutting down emissions, the government gives companies carbon credits. These credits can be sold for money.
    Well! Here's a socratic lesson: You didn't ask questions, so you have no idea what my stance is, so you attacked the completely wrong stance based entirely on your preconceptions and waste everyones time. Try not to repeat this offense.

    This thread should enlighten you as to the validity of global warming, but I advise ignoring William (he's a bit silly). As for carbon credits, I refer almost exclusively to the carbon credit programs available to individual people. Y'see why your rebuking doesn't apply?

    For more information on those: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAu68OsFggw

    Pen&teller. Gotta love them.
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  29. #28  
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    You're confusing an intelligence test with a general knowledge test. Ideally the test would contain nothing culturally subjective and only measure the capabilites of your mind. Most IQ tests (even a few online ones) strive to do this, but they're limited in question-answer format.
    Very well then. If you can make such a test, please go ahead and do so. I should like to see it.

    Also, there is a logical and objective definition of intelligence, but nobody has asked the relevant question
    Which is?

    I thought of just proving you wrong, but I remembered socrates. So in the spirit of Socrates: What kinds of intelligence are there?
    Well, let's see: numerical, linguistic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, philosophical, kinaesthetic, and a few others whose names I've currently forgotten.

    WHICH is why I don't advocate IQ tests. Am I hearing an echo in here?
    No. Simply replace the words IQ test for the equivalent term you have in mind, the one which you believe should be able to measure intelligence. Certainly, based on this:

    The first job any technocracy would be tasked with would be developing a rigorous system with a proper definition of intelligence and methods to measure it.
    You intend to be able to measure intelligence. I simply call the test you have in mind as an IQ test. However, to not get confused here, why don't we call it a TQ test - short for Technocratic Quotient test? :wink:

    I will reply to the rest of your post after a little while - I'm busy at the moment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liongold
    Very well then. If you can make such a test, please go ahead and do so. I should like to see it.
    I've been mentally working on one for quite some time. The problem is it requires a borderline absolute knowledge of how the human brain works, which is something I am unqualified to offer at this time. The simplest answer is: What did we evolve to do?

    Which is?
    Sorry! If I tell you then no thinking is done. If nobody thinks, then nobody learns. Come on. Think. Ask the relevant question. Y'know you can! C'moooooooon.

    Well, let's see: numerical, linguistic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, philosophical, kinaesthetic, and a few others whose names I've currently forgotten.
    How did they evolve?

    Simply replace the words IQ test for the equivalent term you have in mind, the one which you believe should be able to measure intelligence.
    That's not how English works at all. An IQ test uses specific methods and procedures specifically categorized under the label "IQ test". A test I devise will use entirely different methods and procedures. The goal of both is to test intelligence, but we do not label things based on their goals.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Regarding
    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Logically, it's ideal for everyone to work together smoothly and for no particular person to be specifically oppressed without cause. From this a code of conduct can be organized, although one very different by todays standards (because todays morals oppress people for the sake of oppressing them).
    I doubt you can back up

    So ask! Who knows, maybe I can back it up consistently?
    Big diversion. Never fear, I compulsively steer threads that way, it'll happen.


    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    The first job any technocracy would be tasked with would be developing a rigorous system with a proper definition of intelligence and methods to measure it.
    You said this flavour of technocracy should be government by the intelligent. Now you propose establishing a sovereign "dumb" so to speak, then that sovereign in good faith devises tests to verify the qualification of its members. But without bias, like say against those hairy hippies on the lawn.

    Um, no. No freeking way.


    Start at the beginning. What are the maxims, or first principles? You know, constitution/declaration stuff. Rights and freedoms, and obligations, between state and citizen. How is government regulated? Roughly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    The first job any technocracy would be tasked with would be developing a rigorous system with a proper definition of intelligence and methods to measure it.
    You said this flavour of technocracy should be government by the intelligent. Now you propose establishing a sovereign "dumb" so to speak, then that sovereign in good faith devises tests to verify the qualification of its members.
    I do not understand what you mean by "sovereign dumb". In fact much of your dialog appears to be tongue-in-cheek.


    Start at the beginning. What are the maxims, or first principles? You know, constitution/declaration stuff. Rights and freedoms, and obligations, between state and citizen. How is government regulated? Roughly.
    So you're literally ASKING me to draw up official plans (or roughly thereof) to prove the validity of my idea? Hot diggity dawg. Actually, our current constitution is quite sufficient for just about any country. The problem is our country seems to enjoy ignoring it. The constitution covers all of the basic freedoms and rights everyone SHOULD have. Again, our problem is that our government ritualistically hacks away at it constantly by introducing new laws little by little to undermine it. Also, the constitution is rarely (if ever) enforced. Which is why I supported Ron Paul so strongly.

    As far as the government MODEL goes, it would be much like ancient athens. A republic fashioned government where the people are allowed to directly vote in matters that concern them on a local basis (there would be NO federal juristiction). This means true freedom in every sense. The only real clause that's ultimate is that anyone that WANTS to leave, CAN leave, to find people that they agree with. Which was how states started out before federal government (FFFFFFUUUUUUUU-).

    Exact specifics such as law creating process or how many people are in charge of what and so on are a long ways away to be discussed and not that important. What IS important is ultimate freedom of choice for the individual. Lets say I did not support the automatic weapons ban. I should be allowed to move to another area that supports my viewpoints so the people that WANT that law can enjoy it and its effects.

    There of course have to be a few univeral rules, such as the constant that you can leave. Others would be in a constitution. Included in them would probably be eugenics and population control laws so humanity does not grow beyond its sustainable bounds and continues to improve until direct genetic manipulation is safe and reliable. Population equality is a MUST so that no one technate is superior to another, to fully ensure peace between them (most wars are faught on an "We can win because we have more people" basis). It also ensures enough space for everyone so there is always enough space to move away and create a NEW society of people that agree with your ideals. Currently, with all livable land covered, we can no longer sail a year away to a new continent for religious freedom. We can move, but move to what? There are few options, and little diversity.

    As the intelligence of humanity improves, such measures would be no longer necessary. Much of these things I have proposed with modern stupidity in mind.

    Edit: I should make it clear that these are my basic ideas for a tehnocracy society. They do vary wildly from many other interpretations. One of the strengths, of course, is that I allow for most of those to exist just as long as they agree with population limits. Helps humanity, helps the planet, and hey it means we can have nomadic migration patterns again! (Fuck you winter!)
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    Sorry Darius, wasn't able to read it all. I think one of your suggestions is that the technocracy be local (so people can leave easily). Like the idea, and it sounds like a great way to experiment with other forms of government as well (eg socialism). The logistics would be difficult though, people might not want to leave their homes. You'd need to find an uninhabited area of little importance to start up the project.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Exact specifics such as law creating process or how many people are in charge of what and so on are a long ways away to be discussed and not that important. What IS important is ultimate freedom of choice for the individual. Lets say I did not support the automatic weapons ban. I should be allowed to move to another area that supports my viewpoints so the people that WANT that law can enjoy it and its effects.
    That would only work if there were customs of some kind at the border of every state, or a similar way of preventing the guns purchased in one area from being transferred to areas where they had been banned.

    Otherwise one group is deciding for another, which is exactly what you're trying to fix to begin with, right?



    Edit: I should make it clear that these are my basic ideas for a tehnocracy society. They do vary wildly from many other interpretations. One of the strengths, of course, is that I allow for most of those to exist just as long as they agree with population limits. Helps humanity, helps the planet, and hey it means we can have nomadic migration patterns again! (Fuck you winter!)
    Yeah. I agree. Only societies that regulate their own populations have the right to immigrate into other population controlled societies. It's not fair to let one group overrun another group's population, or increase their population density against their will.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    That would only work if there were customs of some kind at the border of every state, or a similar way of preventing the guns purchased in one area from being transferred to areas where they had been banned.

    Otherwise one group is deciding for another, which is exactly what you're trying to fix to begin with, right?
    Actually there would be no "states", just individual technates. Optimally they would be so few and far between (we're talking a population so small that there's less than 50 in the U.S. alone, composed of maybe 100,000 each) that such land dividing practices would be unnecessary. This means regulation for those individual technates very easy and economical.

    I also must emphasize that this allows each individual group to suffer the consequences of their regulations. Banning guns means their citizens are defenseless in case a psychopath decides to kill a bunch of people with his BARE HANDS (and trust me, it would happen and does happen in Australia). The individuality of each technate means that people that don't WANT to suffer those consequences can freely escape.
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    So we *are* definitely talking about a forcibly controlled, small population. I'm assuming nation states do compel each other to abide by population control restrictions, then? Or at least those which don't abide are prevented from shipping their starving refugees into anyone else's territory?


    As for banning assault rifles, remember that a handgun can solve pretty much every problem an automatic assault rifle can solve, unless the problem is that somebody is using an automatic assault rifle (because they'd be outgunned).
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    So we *are* definitely talking about a forcibly controlled, small population. I'm assuming nation states do compel each other to abide by population control restrictions, then?
    I'm assuming cooperation of humanity to the betterment of everyone. If not, then oh well. They simply will not be allowed to share any resources or anything else, and be ostracized from the network. Controlling the human population is an obvious REQUIREMENT for anything to last. If one technates population was left unchecked it would try to spill out to everywhere else. Eventually you have a large portion of your own economy wasted sending "aid" to a bunch of retards that continue to pop babies left and right (Africa anyone?).

    Or at least those which don't abide are prevented from shipping their starving refugees into anyone else's territory?
    Bingo.

    As for banning assault rifles, remember that a handgun can solve pretty much every problem an automatic assault rifle can solve, unless the problem is that somebody is using an automatic assault rifle (because they'd be outgunned).
    You must be one of the few that believe government never needs to have a gun pointed at its head. You would think thousands of years of government corruption would have taught us by now that you need a heavily armed population for anything to be done properly. Otherwise the people in charge grow lax and believe they can get away with just about anything (see: Every "modern" country today).

    Indeed, occasionally we see the police confronting armed (or unarmed) citizens outraged at the governments actions. Rather than heeding their outcry, our present system labels them as heretics and shoves them to the side. The people that do not want to pay income taxes, and hide in bunkers to defend their right to refuse to the knife, are the modern day patriots that are quickly ignored.

    If the public were still allowed to be armed I firmly believe our current government would have been reconstructed to something far more efficient 30 years ago or more. Instead, I am sad to say, the moronic public welcomes an all-encompassing oppressive nanny government to take care of them as they grow increasingly LAZY and INCOMPETENT.

    /rant.
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    How is it decided what goods are produced? From the link it sounds like people vote on it. But most goods take months to years to properly build. In our present system, one entrepreneur guesses at what people will want in 18 months, invests money (usually from other entrepreneurs who are already rich), and then sells it once its built. Sometimes they guess wrong, and lose all their investment. But if they guess right, they make more money and get to guess again. That is, it naturally reinforces people who are able to guess at what people will want in the future.

    But if the people are directly voting on what they want, they'll probably vote for things they want now. Consumers are not good at thinking very far ahead, especially when it comes to things like fashion and architecture.

    And then how do you "buy" goods? I read the bit about the energy credit, so I'm guessing each consumer gets the same amount of energy credits, and spends them on what they want, right?

    So I think the technocracy would suffer many of the problems associated with planned economies: product shortages and surpluses. Too many green dresses and not enough blue ones, because green is sooooo last week. Capitalism isn't perfect, but it's very efficient at handling shortages and surpluses. Shortages means price goes up, and only the people who want the good more than others will pay the higher price. Likewise surpluses lower the price and people with only a passing interest in the good might buy it anyway.

    Also, what is the motivation for working? Are we just assuming people will work because otherwise they'd be bored? My father is like this, but I'm sure not. If it weren't for the fact that I'd be homeless and starving I'd spend all my time playing video games and posting on online forums
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    The difference between people, what they believe and what they are good at is just too different for it to work. Probably, until it becomes fashionable to study science and learn to apply the scientific method from an early age (in matters that require it), there will always be people that simply won't know any better. There is a place for all and any large scale change has to happen gradually. Maybe in 500 years we will have a society of philosophers and scientists with robots taking care of all the mundane jobs, but it will never work in today’s society.

    Any segregation between the “enlightened” and “common” folk will have be an artificial and forced one.
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    Yeah, and the problem is that, once it becomes "forced", usually the people enforcing it rule that they themselves are the "enlightened" , even if they're just big idiots with guns.


    Quote Originally Posted by Darius

    You must be one of the few that believe government never needs to have a gun pointed at its head. You would think thousands of years of government corruption would have taught us by now that you need a heavily armed population for anything to be done properly. Otherwise the people in charge grow lax and believe they can get away with just about anything (see: Every "modern" country today).
    When you put it that way, I have to agree with the necessity of sniper rifles, and other good assassination tools.

    The big problem with automatic assault rifles is that they give a single person the ability to totally deny the democratic will of a large group, because the attack comes too fast for anyone to respond, and because you can't overwhelm a person armed that way with numbers (least not very easily).

    As far as "armed americans", that's a myth. The kind of weapons the US military has these days make an assault rifle look like a slingshot. If the US military were faced with an armed rebellion of assault rifle armed angry citizens, how hard do you really think it would be for them to put that down?




    Indeed, occasionally we see the police confronting armed (or unarmed) citizens outraged at the governments actions. Rather than heeding their outcry, our present system labels them as heretics and shoves them to the side. The people that do not want to pay income taxes, and hide in bunkers to defend their right to refuse to the knife, are the modern day patriots that are quickly ignored.

    If the public were still allowed to be armed I firmly believe our current government would have been reconstructed to something far more efficient 30 years ago or more. Instead, I am sad to say, the moronic public welcomes an all-encompassing oppressive nanny government to take care of them as they grow increasingly LAZY and INCOMPETENT.

    /rant.
    Trouble is, you need real weapons.

    Even if everything were legal, you'd still have to be a multi-millionaire to build your own tank or helicopter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    The big problem with automatic assault rifles is that they give a single person the ability to totally deny the democratic will of a large group, because the attack comes too fast for anyone to respond, and because you can't overwhelm a person armed that way with numbers (least not very easily).
    Unless absolutely everyone is armed that way. You're applying the same half-logic many pro-ban supporters do. In country's ridden with internal conflict, such as Iran, everyone is armed. Even the women are allowed weapons to defend themselves (in some areas). This is actually beneficial because the insane people you describe, the sociopaths, flush themselves out right away and are quickly annihilated by the thousands of other armed civilians.

    Our current method of dealing with these sociopaths, if they're ever caught (rarely killed), is to ship them away for their entire lives in ever growing prisons that take up the resources of the country. Arming everyone can get a little violent at first, but disarming everyone has long term downsides.

    As far as "armed americans", that's a myth. The kind of weapons the US military has these days make an assault rifle look like a slingshot. If the US military were faced with an armed rebellion of assault rifle armed angry citizens, how hard do you really think it would be for them to put that down?
    I did not speak of only assault rifles; You did.

    Trouble is, you need real weapons.

    Even if everything were legal, you'd still have to be a multi-millionaire to build your own tank or helicopter.
    Tanks and heliocopters are so easily shot down it's hilarious. One $50 home-made armor-piercing rocket tends to reduce them to shrapnel. This is why nobody goes in tanks blazing anymore, because that would be stupid.
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    (apologies for the double post)

    What I'm curious about now, though, is who voted "Hate the idea" and why. I've reread the thread and haven't seen any decent objections.
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    I still hate the idea.

    The OP linked version I hate because it values individual pleasure above all else. That's a shabby default position of collapsed society not a goal.

    The Darius version I hate because it drips of sociopathy. It's nasty. It's also sketchy on basics while apparently most concerned with details like handgun caliber, genetic cleansing schedules, and the proper anointment of supermen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    The Darius version I hate because it drips of sociopathy. It's nasty. It's also sketchy on basics while apparently most concerned with details like handgun caliber, genetic cleansing schedules, and the proper anointment of supermen.
    Further evidence to the fact people don't read sequentially. I suppose somewhere in my blatant explanation of each technate having a different set of laws slipped past your eyes. The ONLY law that needs abiding globally is population limits (to ensure bounty in every manner). Your disagreement is nonsensical because you could just as easily join a different group with ideals that match your own. I hardly consider that sociopathic.
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    What about the questions I posted above, about it being similar to a planned economy?
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    Apologies, for I somehow missed it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    How is it decided what goods are produced?
    There are no hard set plans, and the best plans would only be ideals. Ideally people would join together to make what they want in the shortest amount of time possible. The implication is simple: In a technocracy all you really have is "free time". You can spend this time helping other people that will most likely later help you. Amish work on this same principle with, say, barn raisings.

    Capitalism may or may not be included in a technocracy, but capitalism tends to just be another method of climbing up a ladder. A system where everyone helps everyone else with their "free" time helps to build a very strong community of people that generally know who their neighbors are. Unlike modern society where people are strongly isolated and neighbors rarely (if ever) know one another.

    But if the people are directly voting on what they want, they'll probably vote for things they want now. Consumers are not good at thinking very far ahead, especially when it comes to things like fashion and architecture.
    Lol. Fashion and architecture are hilariously bad things to use as examples, because both are generally lead by elitist dicks that have no idea what's pratical at all. As a technocracy should be organized and led based on intelligence, such trivial issues as fashion or architecture would take a back seat to utility and long-lasting structures.

    As utility is the main goal, there would ALWAYS be thinking ahead from everyone. People incapable of this would, thankfully, be outbred by those that do.

    And then how do you "buy" goods? I read the bit about the energy credit, so I'm guessing each consumer gets the same amount of energy credits, and spends them on what they want, right?
    That's one idea. My idea is that nobody "buys" goods, but either makes them, finds someone (or a group) that enjoys making them, or makes a proposal for a team effort to make them. Foodstuffs would be plentiful and easy enough to get, as people have extremely varied tastes. Electronics would likely be equally simple, as most modern people have a high interest in them. Were education reformed for a technocracy, the ability and resources for individuals would be more than sufficient for production of anything.

    As for who manufactures the most basic components, most factory jobs can still be replaced by machines. In fact so can most low-level retarded jobs that most people starting out in life have to suffer through.

    So I think the technocracy would suffer many of the problems associated with planned economies: product shortages and surpluses. Too many green dresses and not enough blue ones, because green is sooooo last week. Capitalism isn't perfect, but it's very efficient at handling shortages and surpluses. Shortages means price goes up, and only the people who want the good more than others will pay the higher price. Likewise surpluses lower the price and people with only a passing interest in the good might buy it anyway.
    You're applying technocracy to modern stupidity. A technocracy simply cannot work when the massive amounts of compulsive buying retards are thrown into the loop. Technocracy is for intelligent people that care for utility over stupidity, conservation rather than excess, and saving rather than compulsive purchasing. Technocracies generally require a higher standard in a human being.

    Also, what is the motivation for working? Are we just assuming people will work because otherwise they'd be bored? My father is like this, but I'm sure not. If it weren't for the fact that I'd be homeless and starving I'd spend all my time playing video games and posting on online forums
    "Pardon" my offensive nature, but if sounds like you're simply an idiot. I can't stand video games because they contain nothing but hideous and obvious flaws, and forums are filled with morons. I cannot stand not working and having something to do, and were it not for the government trying to protect me from myself I would spend most of my waking hours toiling at my chosen establishment.

    Most intelligent people have very active minds and very active interests. They do not sit around being lazy because their minds are never lazy. The society of a technocracy would most likely frown on these lazy good for nothings, and it is unlikely they would ever breed. So, again fortunately, they would not reproduce.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    How is it decided what goods are produced?
    There are no hard set plans, and the best plans would only be ideals. Ideally people would join together to make what they want in the shortest amount of time possible. The implication is simple: In a technocracy all you really have is "free time". You can spend this time helping other people that will most likely later help you. Amish work on this same principle with, say, barn raisings.

    Capitalism may or may not be included in a technocracy, but capitalism tends to just be another method of climbing up a ladder. A system where everyone helps everyone else with their "free" time helps to build a very strong community of people that generally know who their neighbors are. Unlike modern society where people are strongly isolated and neighbors rarely (if ever) know one another.
    You're talking about a gift economy, right? What you're describing does not sound similar to the Technocracy articles linked at the top of the thread. It sounds more like Anarcho communism. Which is really a separate idea altogether. Read that article and see if it doesn't sound a lot like what you're suggesting.

    The problem with a anarcho communism is that not all jobs are glamorous. Take sewage treatment plant worker, for instance. It's a smelly job, and beyond that some of the things needing doing are dangerous. Not "sexy" dangerous, like soldier. Dangerous like you end suffocating from noxious fumes when you're cleaning the waste pipe. There was a "Dirty Jobs" episode on the Discovery Channel about it.

    In order to find enough people to volunteer without additional compensation, you're going to have to fundamentally alter human psychology. Like through a Eugenics program of some sort (whether genetic engineering or state controlled breeding). Those aren't popular.

    Capitalism isn't perfect, but it's very good at getting people to do jobs they wouldn't want to ordinarily. Any economic model which is designed to replace capitalism needs to be at least as good at getting unwanted jobs filled.

    But if the people are directly voting on what they want, they'll probably vote for things they want now. Consumers are not good at thinking very far ahead, especially when it comes to things like fashion and architecture.
    Lol. Fashion and architecture are hilariously bad things to use as examples, because both are generally lead by elitist dicks that have no idea what's pratical at all. As a technocracy should be organized and led based on intelligence, such trivial issues as fashion or architecture would take a back seat to utility and long-lasting structures.

    As utility is the main goal, there would ALWAYS be thinking ahead from everyone. People incapable of this would, thankfully, be outbred by those that do.
    You may think it's silly, but $150 Billion per year says otherwise. People want fashion. And they want fashion to change and reinvent itself every year. So what are you going to do? Outlaw all fashion? Force people to wear gray jumpsuits only? Force Humanity to evolve beyond the needs of fashion through a state sponsored Eugenics program?

    Capitalism isn't perfect, but it's very good at properly guessing the needs of the consumer. That's because of the investment model. You give money to a business of your choice, and it uses that money to produce goods. If you invest in a business and it fails, you have less capital to invest with next time. So you get a diminished vote on what gets made. If you invest in a business and it succeeds, you get interest on top of your capital. So you get an increased vote on what gets made. It naturally reinforces people who have an uncanny knack for guessing at what people will want in the future to be in charge of what gets made. Any economic model which aims to replace capitalism should be at least as good as capitalism at this. Building a Utopian society where only rational people live, with perfect understandings of their desires, is cheating.

    And then how do you "buy" goods? I read the bit about the energy credit, so I'm guessing each consumer gets the same amount of energy credits, and spends them on what they want, right?
    That's one idea. My idea is that nobody "buys" goods, but either makes them, finds someone (or a group) that enjoys making them, or makes a proposal for a team effort to make them.

    Foodstuffs would be plentiful and easy enough to get, as people have extremely varied tastes. Electronics would likely be equally simple, as most modern people have a high interest in them. Were education reformed for a technocracy, the ability and resources for individuals would be more than sufficient for production of anything.
    What about comparative advantage and economies of scale? Specifically, say it's globally optimal for a single factory to produce ipods, because they can produce them cheaper than anyone else, and they can produce them cheaper in bulk. While I might be able to convince a friend of mine to build me a single ipod, an ipod factory employs hundreds of people full time. And it's actually cheaper (uses less resources and labor) for those hundreds of people to build me an ipod instead of my friend. But I'm not friends with those hundred people. So why should they give me an ipod? Especially if there aren't enough ipods to go around. How is it decided who gets an ipod and who doesn't?

    Also, if you're employing a hundred people, you need to produce a certain number of ipods minimum to make it worthwhile. And there's clearly a maximum number of ipods you can produce before making more begins to cost more (requires more labor, resources, etc.) So how is it decided how many to make? Especially if it costs capital to increase capacity (buy more ipod making robotic arms, etc.)

    Let's say the factory can produce 1000 ipods at $50 a piece. And 2000 ipods at $45 a piece, and 3000 ipods at $100 a piece, and 5000 ipods at $500 a piece. And lets say that there are 5000 people in society. How does society decide how many ipods to produce to maximize the increase in "wealth" of society as a whole? It could just produce 5000 ipods to be fair, but then that means there are resources (plastic, labor, etc.) that can't be spent on something else. Like grey jumpsuits for your fashion blind population. Maybe producing 5000 ipods ends up making grey jumpsuits cost 3000 times as much as they would if you produced 2000 ipods. This is the give and take which is central to macroeconomics. Industries are all inter-related because they all compete for limited resources of one sort or another.

    In a capitalist society, the factory produces as much as it needs to to maximize profit. That profit is then given back to the investors as a reward for guessing right. The core tenant of a capitalist society is that the point where you maximize the "wealth" of society as a whole is also the point where it's most profitable for the business. That isn't always true (air pollution decreases the "weath" of a society but isn't factored in to the final profit analysis), but it's capable of getting closer to that ideal than a centrally planned (communist) economy can. That was the lesson of the late 20th century. And unless you can tell me a viable reason to change my mind, it's my opinion that it's better capable of reaching that ideal than a gift giving economy can as well. Evidence: the dearth of gift giving economies in affluent nations.

    Of course, you might decide that a certain level of affluence is good enough. That it isn't any better for me to have two ipods instead of just one. But then even if you can convince the citizens of your country of this, your country is going to eventually lose to a more efficient capitalist country, because your people are jealous that their people have 3 ipods each, and that their ipods weigh only 1/3 as much, and are 1/6 as big, and can be used as a cell phone and can be used to surf the web.

    As for who manufactures the most basic components, most factory jobs can still be replaced by machines. In fact so can most low-level retarded jobs that most people starting out in life have to suffer through.
    Perhaps, but it will reduce the affluence of society as a whole to do this. That's because a middle class teenager costs $6/hour, and a high tech machine, taking in to account initial cost and maintenance, might cost $35/hour or more. Society as a whole will end up having a reduced level of affluence because buying a cheesburger at McDonalds costs me $40 instead of $4.

    So I think the technocracy would suffer many of the problems associated with planned economies: product shortages and surpluses. Too many green dresses and not enough blue ones, because green is sooooo last week. Capitalism isn't perfect, but it's very efficient at handling shortages and surpluses. Shortages means price goes up, and only the people who want the good more than others will pay the higher price. Likewise surpluses lower the price and people with only a passing interest in the good might buy it anyway.
    You're applying technocracy to modern stupidity. A technocracy simply cannot work when the massive amounts of compulsive buying retards are thrown into the loop. Technocracy is for intelligent people that care for utility over stupidity, conservation rather than excess, and saving rather than compulsive purchasing. Technocracies generally require a higher standard in a human being.
    As above, you can't invent a Utopian society based on "perfect" people. Well I mean you can, but it's cheating. It's like saying you have an awesome military when in reality the people you're fighting are pacifists.

    "Pardon" my offensive nature, but if sounds like you're simply an idiot.
    Hmm, okay, but I'm a little out of practice. Ahem. You are a fart factory, Slug-slimed, sack-of-rat-guts-in-cat-vomit, cheesy, scab-picked, pimple-squeezing finger bandage. A week old maggot burger with everything on it and flies on the side!

    I can't stand video games because they contain nothing but hideous and obvious flaws, and forums are filled with morons. I cannot stand not working and having something to do, and were it not for the government trying to protect me from myself I would spend most of my waking hours toiling at my chosen establishment.

    Most intelligent people have very active minds and very active interests. They do not sit around being lazy because their minds are never lazy. The society of a technocracy would most likely frown on these lazy good for nothings, and it is unlikely they would ever breed. So, again fortunately, they would not reproduce.
    I rather enjoy my video games, thank you very much. In fact, they're my profession. I'm a computer programmer working in the "electronic entertainment industry", and I get paid very well for it. The "industry" is in fact a billion dollar industry, rivaling the movie industry. And contrary to popular conception, "gamers" do in fact reproduce. In fact, 40% of gamers are women.

    So any economic model you come up with has to cater to these "lazy" people. Reinventing the human race not to have lazy people is cheating. It's trivially easy to come up with a Utopian society if you don't use real people.
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    It's trivially easy to come up with a Utopian society if you don't use real people.
    Your post in a nushell. :wink:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    You're talking about a gift economy, right?
    More or less. I have NO idea why you started spewing crap about "anarcho communism" though. Incidentally, all "bad jobs"? Can be replaced with technology and proper methods. Go figure, our massively wasteful society is so inefficient that it creates BAD jobs!

    Capitalism isn't perfect, but it's very good at getting people to do jobs they wouldn't want to ordinarily. Any economic model which is designed to replace capitalism needs to be at least as good at getting unwanted jobs filled.
    You name one job people don't want and I can design a device to do it automatically. Flipping burgers? Machines. Warming up your pizza? Machines. Delivering your Pizza? You're a lazy mofo, but also doable with machines. Sewers? Machines. Construction? AI and machines. The list. Just. Keeps. On. Growing.

    You may think it's silly, but $150 Billion per year says otherwise. People want fashion. And they want fashion to change and reinvent itself every year. So what are you going to do? Outlaw all fashion? Force people to wear gray jumpsuits only? Force Humanity to evolve beyond the needs of fashion through a state sponsored Eugenics program?
    STUPID people want fashion. Sure. Let them have it. Meanwhile us intelligent people will be sitting comfortably in -10C because we had the sense to create full body warming "snowmobile" suits at a very cheap price while CAPITALISM goes off advertising "winter fashion!" that doesn't keep you warm worth shit. To infringe on the copyright of Penn&Teller: Fashion is BULLSHIT!

    People are obviously free to wear what they want, but the catch is they have to make it. Is looking hideous your thing? Fine. But you have to make it.

    Building a Utopian society where only rational people live, with perfect understandings of their desires, is cheating.
    Hardly. Mainly because enough of said people already exist. Enjoy your capitalism stupid people! We'll be over here while you starve in the land of plenty because businesses are squeezing every last dime from you so you can no logner afford proper food.

    What about comparative advantage and economies of scale? Specifically, say it's globally optimal for a single factory to produce ipods, because they can produce them cheaper than anyone else, and they can produce them cheaper in bulk. While I might be able to convince a friend of mine to build me a single ipod, an ipod factory employs hundreds of people full time. And it's actually cheaper (uses less resources and labor) for those hundreds of people to build me an ipod instead of my friend. But I'm not friends with those hundred people. So why should they give me an ipod? Especially if there aren't enough ipods to go around. How is it decided who gets an ipod and who doesn't?
    You're applying capitalism economics to my idea. Of course that doesn't work. If you want something you and whoever ELSE wants it can go make it. If it's been done before you can reuse or improve upon the old ideas. If not you can reinvent them. Technates would not have a high enough population to even WARRANT factories producing one kind of object continually. In fact, with todays advanced machinery, one would probably be sufficient to provide EVERYONE in a technate with an i-pod within 48 hours.

    All you would need to do is import technology already in existence. You don't need to reinvent the wheel. Lets say you LIKE making I-pods, or like designing better ones, or so on.

    Let's say the factory can produce 1000 ipods at $50 a piece. And 2000 ipods at $45 a piece, and 3000 ipods at $100 a piece, and 5000 ipods at $500 a piece. [blah blah blah cut short for quote brievity]
    And I thought my jokes were bad. There IS no capitalism going here. People would make things based on need or utility and improve them based on the same criteria. Economy of scale would have nothing to do with it. Resources put into something are always the same, the only thing you COULD argue is the amount of man-hours, but who cares? People that like doing it would continue doing it. New people might find it interesting. DOING THINGS is part of human nature, and if someone is uninterested maybe someone will make one for them.


    Of course, you might decide that a certain level of affluence is good enough. That it isn't any better for me to have two ipods instead of just one. But then even if you can convince the citizens of your country of this, your country is going to eventually lose to a more efficient capitalist country, because your people are jealous that their people have 3 ipods each, and that their ipods weigh only 1/3 as much, and are 1/6 as big, and can be used as a cell phone and can be used to surf the web.
    And I thought my jokes were bad. It may surprise and amaze you, but having electormagnetic BEHEMOTHS like that around your brain is actually bad for you. Also, a gift economy would invariably produce better equipment because everyone can join in on the idea table. All information is free, and training is free, and resources are free. MOST of the worlds BEST ideas are actually made by people not in a position to USE said ideas. This is the main crippling effect capitalism has on advancement in general.

    Perhaps, but it will reduce the affluence of society as a whole to do this. That's because a middle class teenager costs $6/hour, and a high tech machine, taking in to account initial cost and maintenance, might cost $35/hour or more. Society as a whole will end up having a reduced level of affluence because buying a cheesburger at McDonalds costs me $40 instead of $4.
    What did I say about applying capitalism to a gift economy? Oh right. It doesn't work that way. Also, highly efficient machines would actually cost LESS than human workers because a PROPERLY BUILT machine will last maintenance free for a very loooooooooong tiem. If this wasn't true then humans would still be building cars by hand, and bottling products by hand, and packaging products by hand, andandanad the list just GROWS.

    Machines: Cheaper. More efficient. Easier. eliminate stupid jobs. Your huge cost numbers are pulled right from your ass. The only huge cost is INITIAL cost, but that matters absolutely not in the long term. It matters absolutely not in ANY term in a gift economy.

    As above, you can't invent a Utopian society based on "perfect" people. Well I mean you can, but it's cheating. It's like saying you have an awesome military when in reality the people you're fighting are pacifists.
    Not perfect people, just people that are similar to my intellect. If that's what you call perfect: Thanks, but you're WROOOOOOOONG.

    I rather enjoy my video games, thank you very much. In fact, they're my profession. I'm a computer programmer working in the "electronic entertainment industry", and I get paid very well for it. The "industry" is in fact a billion dollar industry, rivaling the movie industry. And contrary to popular conception, "gamers" do in fact reproduce. In fact, 40% of gamers are women.
    Uh...huh. Funny how that doesn't contradict anything I said at all.

    So any economic model you come up with has to cater to these "lazy" people. Reinventing the human race not to have lazy people is cheating. It's trivially easy to come up with a Utopian society if you don't use real people.
    I used myself as a standard, and I consider myself the LOWEST standard.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    It's trivially easy to come up with a Utopian society if you don't use real people.
    Your post in a nushell. :wink:
    Yeah, perhaps I expounded a bit too much
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    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    It's trivially easy to come up with a Utopian society if you don't use real people.
    Your post in a nutshell. :wink:
    Yeah, perhaps I expounded a bit too much
    Not at all, it makes for an interesting discussion. I just thought that quote summed it up nicely.
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    And the fact I used myself as a standard is now making me laugh uproariously.
    Om mani padme hum

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    "People" is plural.
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    Yes, but I can be a standard for the people that I assume would be a part of it. I'm the "general divider". I have my flaws, but nothing that would rip the plan to shreds. Everyone gets their freedom, everyone gets what they want, and life goes on. Nobody tries to take over the world with a bunch of animatronic spongebobs wielding napalm and flamethrowers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    I have NO idea why you started spewing crap about "anarcho communism" though.
    Name one way in which what you propose is different from anarcho communism, and I will take back my comparison.

    My guess is that instead you're going to start another flame about the straw man fallacy or something. I'll be surprised if you give a straight answer.

    You name one job people don't want and I can design a device to do it automatically. Flipping burgers? Machines. Warming up your pizza? Machines. Delivering your Pizza? You're a lazy mofo, but also doable with machines. Sewers? Machines. Construction? AI and machines. The list. Just. Keeps. On. Growing.
    Sewing shoes and clothing. You design a machine which can do either automatically as well as humans can, you'll be rich.

    The technology does not exist at present to automate clothing production. I guarantee every piece of clothing you are wearing right now (you do wear clothes in your Utopian society, don't you?) was sewn by hand. Partly because fashion changes faster than machines could keep up, and partly because a skilled seamstress is more skilled than any machine is. If you replace seamstresses with machines, you're going to have shoddier clothing seams. Do you want your clothing ripping apart when you walk? Then fine. Most of us do not.

    People are obviously free to wear what they want, but the catch is they have to make it. Is looking hideous your thing? Fine. But you have to make it.
    Why?

    What's to stop me from making a fashionable dress out of your grey jumpsuits and trading it to a friend for her ipod? And then whats to stop me from making more dresses, and trading them to other stupid people for stuff? It's called trade. I've just described a system of barter. People want fashion, so if your machines don't make it, an entrepreneur will. Even if they have to do it by themselves.

    Now suppose I tell a friend of mine that I'll give her half of what I make if she helps me. And suppose I can make 2.5x times as many dresses with my extra helper, because she handles the minor details and I'm able to get "in the zone". We're capable of producing more by working together than we were separately. That's called economies of scale. It's not a capitalist concept. It's fundamental to economic theory in general. You can choose to ignore it if you want, but the law still exists. Like Adam Smith's "invisible hand", it's just the way things are, whether you acknowledge it or not.

    Now let's add some shoes. Each dress needs its own shoes, because women aren't going to be caught dead in shoes that don't match! I can make shoes, I know how. But there's someone else who knows how, too.

    Let's say I can make 1 dress an hour, -or- 1 pair of shoes in 3 hours. Suppose there's someone else who can make 2 dresses in 3 hours, -or- 1 pair of shoes an hour.

    Working by myself, I can produce 10 dress/shoe outfits in a 40 hour work week. This someone else can produce 16 dress/shoe outfits in a 40 hour work week. Which means our working separately gives society 26 outfits a week.

    Now suppose we start trading. I start only making dresses, and this someone else starts only producing shoes. After a 40 hour work week I can produce 40 dresses. And this someone else can produce 40 pairs of shoes. If we start trading 1 shoe for 1 dress, we'll each have 20 outfits. Which is more than either of us had separately. By specializing we've increased the wealth of society as a whole from 26 outfits to 40, without using any extra labor. This is called comparative advantage. It too is not a capitalist specific concept. If there's trade, there's comparative advantage.

    Now, to show the last point, let's pretend my sister also makes dresses and shoes. She can produce as many dresses and shoes per hour as I can. If we both produce nothing but dresses, there's going to be too many dresses and not enough shoes. Even with her extra effort, my sister hasn't increased the wealth of society even a single outfit. And no one's going to be caught dead in a dress without matching shoes. Which means my sister and/or me are going to have to start making some shoes, even though we're slow at it.

    Now let's pretend we're slow at it because we don't enjoy it. In your economic model, there's going to be 40 outfits with 40 extra dresses per week because my sister hates making shoes. In a capitalist system shoes would be worth more, so my sister would have an incentive to make shoes, even though she hates it. A capitalist society is going to be 10 outfits richer than your system where people only do what they enjoy doing.

    Now you're going to say this is a n/a example because you would just build machines to do the work, instead of people. Everyone would just be doing whatever the hell they want, and the machines would do the jobs no one wants to do.

    That's fine. Let's pretend the "someone else" hates making shoes, too, even though she's good at it. So she's just going to make dresses, too. Fine, so then we'll need to build a shoe making machine. The law of comparative advantage is still here, we've just added another source of labor. The law still applies, and there's still an "optimal" configuration which will produce the most wealth. But maybe the "optimal" configuration is that all real people make shoes and all machines make dresses. Let's say under the optimal configuration society can produce 100 outfits/week. But we all hate making shoes. We'd rather be making dresses. So under your "everyone does whatever the hell they want" system, the machines have to be used to make shoes, and they're terrible at it. At the end of the week all the machines can only produce 5 pairs of shoes. You've managed to reduce the real wealth of society from 100 outfits to 5 outfits.

    Now replace outfits with nuclear warheads. Oops, you've lost the cold war.

    This is sort of what happened with Russia. Their planned economy was less efficient because the people in charge of deciding what was going to be made and how much had imperfect information, and couldn't respond quickly enough to changes in what people wanted and what things cost to make. They'd end up with way too many washing machine motors and not nearly enough washing machine lids. The decentralized nature of capitalism means the resulting economy is highly emergent and therefore highly responsive to changes.

    Resources put into something are always the same
    Machines aren't 100% efficient with raw materials. Often there are quick and dirty ways of producing something, but they waste a lot of the resource. Another method might be more efficient, but be more expensive.

    Like say with smelting. Smelting requires a certain temperature to be reached. Smelting a little bit of ore and a lot of ore still require the same temperature. So smelting 100 tons of ore 1 ton at a time 100 times requires getting the temperature hot enough 100 times. Which means you burn a lot more coal than you would if you did all 100 tons at once. But doing 100 tons at once requires a really big crucible. Maybe your crucible needs to be made out of an expensive material. You can reuse a small crucible over and over, but you have to use more coal to keep the fire hot enough. One really big crucible is extremely expensive, but you can use less coal since you can do it all in a single batch.

    And I thought my jokes were bad. It may surprise and amaze you, but having electormagnetic BEHEMOTHS like that around your brain is actually bad for you.
    Oh, well, as long as having 3 iPhones is bad for my health I guess I'm better off then, aren't I In fact, maybe you could put that fact on TV and billboards around your city, to let them know that what they want is actually bad for them. And when the liars step forward that say that iPhones aren't bad for your health, and we should all have 3 of them, and the people start listening to them you'll just have to shut them up, won't you? After all, people are stupid and don't know what's best for them. We have to control them to save them from themselves.

    Also, a gift economy would invariably produce better equipment because everyone can join in on the idea table. All information is free, and training is free, and resources are free. MOST of the worlds BEST ideas are actually made by people not in a position to USE said ideas. This is the main crippling effect capitalism has on advancement in general.
    Do you have an example where a brilliant idea wasn't utilized by a corporation because the guy wasn't "in". In my experience people think they have a great idea that's being ignored, but really it just isn't practical. As a programmer I see this a lot with lay people trying to invent an MMO that won't work because of technical limitations. Generally ideas are a dime a dozen, and it's the practical effort of getting something to work which is hard.

    In present society, if you're smart enough to think of genuinely good ideas, you're smart enough to get hired by someone to develop them for their company. For the most part, anyway. Capitalism isn't perfect, after all. It's just the least imperfect system anyone has tried to date.

    Also, highly efficient machines would actually cost LESS than human workers because a PROPERLY BUILT machine will last maintenance free for a very loooooooooong tiem. If this wasn't true then humans would still be building cars by hand, and bottling products by hand, and packaging products by hand, andandanad the list just GROWS.
    Are we talking science fiction or technology available right now? Because right now, machines are expensive. Both to buy and maintain. There are jobs where the expense is justified because of the high throughput or danger to fleshy humans. Burger flipping isn't one of them. Producing 1000 burgers an hour is pointless if you only have 25 customers an hour. If you replace a teenage fry cook with a machine, your burgers are going to cost more. Period. Doesn't matter if you use money or energy credits or whatever. It is going to cost more raw resources. Otherwise, McDonalds would use machines right now instead of relying on unreliable teenagers to flip their burgers. They use teenagers because it's cheaper (uses fewer resources, energy credits, whatever).

    As above, you can't invent a Utopian society based on "perfect" people. Well I mean you can, but it's cheating. It's like saying you have an awesome military when in reality the people you're fighting are pacifists.
    Not perfect people, just people that are similar to my intellect. If that's what you call perfect: Thanks, but you're WROOOOOOOONG.
    Oh, well, okay then. By the way, what are you going to do with all the stupid people? Kill them? Deport them? Eat them? Force them to behave rationally even though they don't want to (maybe involving some sort of agency to help police their thoughts)? Or maybe you're imagining that you build a Utopian society on the Moon, and you only allow smart people to immigrate. But then how do you decide who's smart and who's not? A written test? An oral examination? Blood work? Genetic profiling? A desire for fashion? That's a nasty can of worms to open.

    Uh...huh. Funny how that doesn't contradict anything I said at all.
    I wasn't contradicting you. I was saying that video games are big business. Even if you think they're stupid, lots of other people don't. And contrary to what you said (hmm, I guess I am contradicting you), gamers are likely to breed and produce baby gamers.
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    double post, sorry
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    And contrary to what you said (hmm, I guess I am contradicting you), gamers are likely to breed and produce baby gamers.
    Gaming might one day be dominated by virtual reality. What better way to deal with the idiot masses! Brainwash them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    And contrary to what you said (hmm, I guess I am contradicting you), gamers are likely to breed and produce baby gamers.
    Gaming might one day be dominated by virtual reality. What better way to deal with the idiot masses! Brainwash them.
    Haha, I guess you could just invent some large virtual world where the humans can live in a perfect utopia. But then there's always the danger they'll reject the programming, and whole crops will be lost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    Name one way in which what you propose is different from anarcho communism, and I will take back my comparison.

    My guess is that instead you're going to start another flame about the straw man fallacy or something. I'll be surprised if you give a straight answer.
    Well with that attitude you shouldn't get one. I don't propose the abolition of private property (lolwtf). I would go on, but you only require one.

    Sewing shoes and clothing. You design a machine which can do either automatically as well as humans can, you'll be rich.
    A machine would not be necessary for an object with a single design created based solely on efficiency. Making yourself a pair of shoes does not take long at all, nor does sewing clothing (my grandmother does it constantly and I've done it myself). If designed for efficiency in mind, diversity would be reduced to very small selections. As you are equipped with the skills required, you can choose to make...inefficient items, but intelligent people are unlikely to do so.

    also, if only efficiency was considered, then a machine COULD be made to mass produce the select clothing and would likely only need minor modifications as further advancements are made. If major modifications are necessary, oh well.

    The technology does not exist at present to automate clothing production. I guarantee every piece of clothing you are wearing right now (you do wear clothes in your Utopian society, don't you?) was sewn by hand. Partly because fashion changes faster than machines could keep up, and partly because a skilled seamstress is more skilled than any machine is. If you replace seamstresses with machines, you're going to have shoddier clothing seams. Do you want your clothing ripping apart when you walk? Then fine. Most of us do not.
    So...what year are you from? Apparently it's before computers. If we really wanted we could easily have machines make shoes and create modular machines that used computer data to provide each step for each shoe. Although, really, if real science were involved only one shoe would need to be made. Efficiency tends to lack diversity.

    The sole reason we don't use machines for this is because the initial cost would be hugenormous. You'd have to make the software and so on, same with clothes. Even ignoring that, though, there's the simple fact that if something is designed for maximum efficiency it obsoletes every other design. One shoe type and one clothing type (per season). Upgraded, of course, with advancements in science.

    What's to stop me from making a fashionable dress out of your grey jumpsuits and trading it to a friend for her ipod? And then whats to stop me from making more dresses, and trading them to other stupid people for stuff? It's called trade. I've just described a system of barter. People want fashion, so if your machines don't make it, an entrepreneur will. Even if they have to do it by themselves.
    Except that's totally not how a gift economy works. You don't trade, you give. In a gift economy outright trading is looked down upon because if you really want something and someone has extra, you need only ask. Trying to profit from it is shrewd and greedy. Now if you HAPPEN to have something someone wants, and they equally have something they don't need but you want, then that's a gift exchange. Much like a trade, but no profit or mass production is to be made and the "quality" or any other aspect of an item really isn't taken into consideration.

    Now suppose I tell a friend of mine that I'll give her half of what I make if she helps me. And suppose I can make 2.5x times as many dresses with my extra helper, because she handles the minor details and I'm able to get "in the zone". We're capable of producing more by working together than we were separately. That's called economies of scale. It's not a capitalist concept. It's fundamental to economic theory in general. You can choose to ignore it if you want, but the law still exists.
    Sorry, it's not a law, and your example is capitalist and not based on a gift economy at all. It would appear you have a fundamental problem even processing what it means to give GIFTS rather than trade. Economy of scale works on the concept that bulk production is CHEAPER, which means COSTS LESS which means CAPITALISM. You could argue it's "cheaper" in man hours, but not with proper machines in use.

    As for the resultant MASSIVE blocks of text, I'm amazed how much every single word of it does not apply at all. Production is based on need and advancement to better facilitate those needs.

    Machines aren't 100% efficient with raw materials. Often there are quick and dirty ways of producing something, but they waste a lot of the resource. Another method might be more efficient, but be more expensive.
    And again, expense does not matter in a gift economy. Wow. It's like your brain is made of carbon steel. Nothing gets through. It's why it's my economy of choice: The only thing that matters is raw efficiency.

    Do you have an example where a brilliant idea wasn't utilized by a corporation because the guy wasn't "in". In my experience people think they have a great idea that's being ignored, but really it just isn't practical. As a programmer I see this a lot with lay people trying to invent an MMO that won't work because of technical limitations. Generally ideas are a dime a dozen, and it's the practical effort of getting something to work which is hard.
    Great ideas aren't ignored. Great ideas never reach the table.

    In present society, if you're smart enough to think of genuinely good ideas, you're smart enough to get hired by someone to develop them for their company. For the most part, anyway.
    More like not at all. You're obviously an optimist. To highlight what our current society thinks of geniuses, you can be denied a position on the police force for scoring too high on an IQ test. Capitalists only want "intelligent" people that are too stupid to disagree with them yet smart enough to provide better ways to cut costs. It's uneconomical to have a true genius come in and start telling you why everything you're doing is terribly inefficient and needs a swift kick in the balls.

    Capitalists. Hate. True. Intelligence.

    Are we talking science fiction or technology available right now? Because right now, machines are expensive. Both to buy and maintain. There are jobs where the expense is justified because of the high throughput or danger to fleshy humans. Burger flipping isn't one of them. Producing 1000 burgers an hour is pointless if you only have 25 customers an hour. If you replace a teenage fry cook with a machine, your burgers are going to cost more. Period. Doesn't matter if you use money or energy credits or whatever. It is going to cost more raw resources. Otherwise, McDonalds would use machines right now instead of relying on unreliable teenagers to flip their burgers. They use teenagers because it's cheaper (uses fewer resources, energy credits, whatever).
    Gift economy. Work with me here. No currency. Objects don't have inherent value.

    Oh, well, okay then. By the way, what are you going to do with all the stupid people? Kill them? Deport them? Eat them? Force them to behave rationally even though they don't want to (maybe involving some sort of agency to help police their thoughts)? Or maybe you're imagining that you build a Utopian society on the Moon, and you only allow smart people to immigrate. But then how do you decide who's smart and who's not? A written test? An oral examination? Blood work? Genetic profiling? A desire for fashion? That's a nasty can of worms to open.
    Only if you have no idea how to go about it. Ideas for a proper "intelligence" test are still in the drawing board stages, but there have been interesting suggestions. Ideally a technocratic society would be established away from any major population center, and ideas for seasteading are common. Although my colleagues prefer the idea of mars. Hah

    I wasn't contradicting you. I was saying that video games are big business. Even if you think they're stupid, lots of other people don't.
    Surprise! The majority of stupid people enjoy stupid games! Oh wait.

    And contrary to what you said (hmm, I guess I am contradicting you), gamers are likely to breed and produce baby gamers.
    I'm not going to respond to this until you carefully reread what I REALLY said and stop acting like a moron.
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  60. #59  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    I don't propose the abolition of private property
    Neither does anarcho-communism. If you read the link I keep posting, you would know this, too.

    Still, bravo on a straight answer. Keep it up.

    So...what year are you from? Apparently it's before computers. If we really wanted we could easily have machines make shoes and create modular machines that used computer data to provide each step for each shoe. Although, really, if real science were involved only one shoe would need to be made. Efficiency tends to lack diversity.
    I'm in the year 2009. Where we all wear clothing hand stitched by human laborers. The technology to automate clothing manufacture as well as human hands are capable of does not exist. Do you want to go to the year 2192 where machines are as capable as humans? That's fine, I just thought we were sticking to present technology instead of scifi.

    Much like a trade, but no profit or mass production is to be made and the "quality" or any other aspect of an item really isn't taken into consideration.
    What you're talking about isn't a gift economy then. Gift economies run on respect. The more awesome your gift, the more people respect you. People definitely care about quality. And the richer you are the more you have to give, and the more respect you'll earn. So people definitely care about quantity.

    And even if you don't take in to consideration the quality of an item, it still exists. Items still have some inherent quality. And from the quality and quantity of all items in a society you can arrive at some level of affluence. Even if you don't want to think about it, all societies have some level of affluence. It's like saying all objects have mass. It's just a basic property of society. And I'm saying specifically that what you propose would lower the affluence of a society.

    The only defensible position I can imagine is if you believe that affluence is inherently bad, and people should be living an acetic, primitivistic lifestyle. But I don't think that's what you're saying at all.

    Economy of scale works on the concept that bulk production is CHEAPER, which means COSTS LESS which means CAPITALISM. You could argue it's "cheaper" in man hours, but not with proper machines in use.

    And again, expense does not matter in a gift economy. Wow. It's like your brain is made of carbon steel. Nothing gets through. It's why it's my economy of choice: The only thing that matters is raw efficiency.
    You can call it a gift economy, a planned economy, a market economy, whatever you want. But at the end of the day, objects have a cost associated with making them. You can not produce an infinity of all things. Not even with machines.

    In a market economy, the cost of making an item is put in to the price. In a gift economy, the cost of making an item improves the status you get from the gift.

    In a planned economy, the cost of an item is reflected in how long you have to stand in line to get one (:P)

    And if nothing else there's always opportunity cost.

    It is impossible to produce enough stuff to make everyone so happy that they don't want anything else. No matter how much stuff people have, they always want more. And we only have finite resources. And that means opportunity cost, and that means cost. My last post demonstrated how cost can exist without even currency, based just on opportunity cost alone.

    In present society, if you're smart enough to think of genuinely good ideas, you're smart enough to get hired by someone to develop them for their company. For the most part, anyway.
    More like not at all. You're obviously an optimist.
    Actually quite the contrary. I trust people only so far as their self interest.

    To highlight what our current society thinks of geniuses, you can be denied a position on the police force for scoring too high on an IQ test.
    I'll need a source to believe that. Sounds more like an urban myth to me.

    Capitalists only want "intelligent" people that are too stupid to disagree with them yet smart enough to provide better ways to cut costs. It's uneconomical to have a true genius come in and start telling you why everything you're doing is terribly inefficient and needs a swift kick in the balls.
    Let's imagine two companies. The first one is filled with your idea of how a company runs. The second is your true genius. The true genius should be able to produce the product more cheaply, right? Which means over time they'll out compete the set-in-their-ways company. And then that old company will die and the true genius alone will be left standing.

    That's the capitalist ideal. Sometimes this fails because the real market strays from an ideal market. Maybe the government grants a chartered monopoly (like what happens with the utility companies). Or maybe the market is "closed", and free competition isn't allowed. Or maybe the existing company does a price war. Etc. Etc.

    In fact the more likely scenario is that the "true genius" is actually a spoiled brat with 0 social skills who pisses off everyone around him and is impossible to work with. In this case, even if his ideas are valid, it's not worth the effort for the company to investigate them.
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    Sorry, no, when you got the definition of "Gift Economy" completely wrong even when the Wiki page gets it right, you're too ignorant to have any serious discussion with.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gift_economy

    Try actually reading, and you'll notice (surprise!) that no status whatsoever is correlated with any gift. You gain NOTHING material or social back from giving the gift. This is why it's called a GIFT not a TRADE. I'm done here. Were you serious you would not have got the definition incorrect in the FIRST place.
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    Wiki says:

    "Typically, a gift economy occurs in a culture or subculture that emphasizes social or intangible rewards for solidarity and generosity:"

    It's like the second sentence.
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    That is incorrect, and the FIRST sentence reads
    A gift economy is a social theory[1] in which goods and services are given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future quid pro quo.
    Also notice "CITATION NEEDED". Which has (the statement) been there long enough to actually be REMOVED according to wikipedia policy.
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    Do you know what quid pro quo means? It's reciprocity. The two statements are not in conflict. It means that, in a gift economy, I give you a gift without expecting a gift back. In exchange, I get an increase in status (my social reward).
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    Lets try this again, this time use GLASSES:

    [...] in which goods and services are given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future quid pro quo
    This means the two statements are in CONFLICT. WITHOUT reciprocity in any form. Also, I have modified the wiki article because the statement IS contradictory and WAY BEYOND the time limit for "citation needed". Unless you'd care to find one.
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    lol
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    Okay, lets just run through the definition of gift for you:

    Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.
    Compensation in the form of social status negates the definition of gift. Do you need MORE evidence?
    Om mani padme hum

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    The big problem with automatic assault rifles is that they give a single person the ability to totally deny the democratic will of a large group, because the attack comes too fast for anyone to respond, and because you can't overwhelm a person armed that way with numbers (least not very easily).
    Unless absolutely everyone is armed that way. You're applying the same half-logic many pro-ban supporters do. In country's ridden with internal conflict, such as Iran, everyone is armed. Even the women are allowed weapons to defend themselves (in some areas). This is actually beneficial because the insane people you describe, the sociopaths, flush themselves out right away and are quickly annihilated by the thousands of other armed civilians.

    Our current method of dealing with these sociopaths, if they're ever caught (rarely killed), is to ship them away for their entire lives in ever growing prisons that take up the resources of the country. Arming everyone can get a little violent at first, but disarming everyone has long term downsides.
    Well, the trouble with automatic weapons is just the sheer number of casaulties that can be caused before the first responsible citizen has time to get their gun out. People who go psycho are usually looking to take down the maximum possible number of people with them.

    The other problem is that, even if everybody has the option to be armed, not everyone will choose to carry their weapon with them at all times. (And it would be a bigger inconvenience to have to carry a rifle with you everywhere than a hand gun anyway)

    The big story that I think sparked a lot of the assault rifle issue was a fellow who took an AK-47 to a school yard and shot a bunch of kids, then shot himself. Now.... no matter how militant our society gets, it's unlikely that we're going to have fire arms on a playground. A more important question than whether we'd ever go that far is: who wants to have to go that far?

    A recent case happened in Portland of a schitzophrenic who flipped out and shot a bunch of people before shooting himself. Do you think retaliation was really a concern for him? He took a handgun and shot into a crowd, but only managed to actually kill something like 2 people. And...well.... I think it probably helped that he only had a handgun.



    As far as "armed americans", that's a myth. The kind of weapons the US military has these days make an assault rifle look like a slingshot. If the US military were faced with an armed rebellion of assault rifle armed angry citizens, how hard do you really think it would be for them to put that down?
    I did not speak of only assault rifles; You did.

    Trouble is, you need real weapons.

    Even if everything were legal, you'd still have to be a multi-millionaire to build your own tank or helicopter.
    Tanks and heliocopters are so easily shot down it's hilarious. One $50 home-made armor-piercing rocket tends to reduce them to shrapnel. This is why nobody goes in tanks blazing anymore, because that would be stupid.
    I hadn't really considered that. If Americans were armed with rockets, we probably could put up a fight against our own military, as long as they were willing to do things kind of like in Iraq, where artillery and high altitude bombing are pretty much being left out of the equation.

    Come to think of it, we have so many civilian electronic devices, and so many people who know how to hack them, that we could probably improvise our own guidance systems, as long as we knew how to make the explosives.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Well, the trouble with automatic weapons is just the sheer number of casaulties that can be caused before the first responsible citizen has time to get their gun out. People who go psycho are usually looking to take down the maximum possible number of people with them.
    So? The end result is they're automatically flushed out, and after the initial burst the TRUE psychopaths are gone. If our society BREEDS such people, then we really should have some deep introspection as to how and what we need to change.

    The other problem is that, even if everybody has the option to be armed, not everyone will choose to carry their weapon with them at all times. (And it would be a bigger inconvenience to have to carry a rifle with you everywhere than a hand gun anyway)
    Who said anything about a rifle? Even before the automatic weapons bans the number of crimes comitted with automatic weapons were very few, and overall gun crime was comapratively low to total population. In fact AFTER the ban nothing changed. Carrying a hand gun or automatic hand gun would be just as well as carrying an assault rifle in urban areas.

    The big story that I think sparked a lot of the assault rifle issue was a fellow who took an AK-47 to a school yard and shot a bunch of kids, then shot himself. Now.... no matter how militant our society gets, it's unlikely that we're going to have fire arms on a playground. A more important question than whether we'd ever go that far is: who wants to have to go that far?
    It's not about being a MILITANT society, it's about being a society that actively flushes out harmful members and CLEARLY points out what we're doing wrong. Genetic freaks of nature are one thing, unstable people that shoot up schools because they've been condemned to a life of cleaning toilets is another. Also, that story is ridiculous, because there are ALWAYS teachers on the school ground and were they armed that person would've been shot down almost immediately (MINIMIZING casualties).

    A recent case happened in Portland of a schitzophrenic who flipped out and shot a bunch of people before shooting himself. Do you think retaliation was really a concern for him? He took a handgun and shot into a crowd, but only managed to actually kill something like 2 people. And...well.... I think it probably helped that he only had a handgun.
    The key word is minimizing casualties. Currently such psychopaths are allowed to kill freely until they decide to kill themselves. Were all those people armed one of them would have got off a shot before he finished.



    I hadn't really considered that. If Americans were armed with rockets, we probably could put up a fight against our own military, as long as they were willing to do things kind of like in Iraq, where artillery and high altitude bombing are pretty much being left out of the equation.
    Quite frankly we wouldn't really NEED to, because most of our military is on the AMERICAN CITIZEN side not the government side. Still, arming people would allow us to break through the POLICE (police are on the GOVERNMENTS side). The military is of no concern. The POLICE, however...
    Om mani padme hum

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    the AMERICAN CITIZEN side not the government side. Still, arming people would allow us to break through the POLICE (police are on the GOVERNMENTS side). The military is of no concern. The POLICE, however...
    US vs. THEM eh? Is this your dystopia or your current attitude?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Were all those people armed one of them would have got off a shot
    You propose everybody carry weapons? Against the one-in-a-million nutter? Wow that one nutter sure holds sway over the nation and economy. How is this freedom?
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    You propose everybody carry weapons? Against the one-in-a-million nutter? Wow that one nutter sure holds sway over the nation and economy. How is this freedom?
    Actually the ratio of violent criminals is well over one in a million. In fact per 100,000 the rate is 466.9. Beyond just the random nuts, though, it adds security against the government itself. To what degree can be debated, but a completely unarmed populace only capable of peaceful protests (and even then police generally conduct illegal breakups and so on) is completely ignorable. Not everyone HAS to carry a weapon, of course, but it should be completely legal.

    Were a group of about a thousand or more protestors to march on the whitehouse with guns in hand somehow I think congress would organize swiftly. Meanwhile tens of thousands sitting peacefully on the lawn doesn't do jack shit or even warrant congressional notice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Actually the ratio of violent criminals is well over one in a million.
    Okay, I think you're talking about a nation I don't know. Your solution does not apply everywhere.

    Largest most modern city on Earth, people just leave their property lying around. I mean handbags in the food court while off to the washroom, unlocked cars, unlocked houses. Toddlers always getting lost but parents trust a stranger will point them home. Would you introduce guns there? Wouldn't guns deprive people of freedom they enjoy now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Were a group of about a thousand or more protestors to march on the whitehouse with guns in hand somehow I think congress would organize swiftly.
    That's astroturf. I mean any foreign power wants to kick over your government they just buy rose/orange/tulip revolution i.e. pump up a few thousand civil disobedience mercenaries with talking points and Kalashnikovs. Occupy your public buildings and call the press. I think your various groups would be queuing up for turns. A handful of transnational billionaires would own the country. That's not freedom.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Largest most modern city on Earth, people just leave their property lying around. I mean handbags in the food court while off to the washroom, unlocked cars, unlocked houses. Toddlers always getting lost but parents trust a stranger will point them home. Would you introduce guns there?
    Yep! Because it wouldn't change anything. If anything it would make people feel less afraid of random whacko's walking in the door and shooting resteraunt patrons execution style. I recall this story from a news article (alas, I cannot locate it right now), and one of the survivors lost his family. The reason? He left his gun in the car due to the sign on the door that said "no guns". Which, CURIOUSLY, did not stop the murderer. Go figure, people that kill tend to ALSO be disobedient to requests.


    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    That's astroturf. I mean any foreign power wants to kick over your government they just buy rose/orange/tulip revolution i.e. pump up a few thousand civil disobedience mercenaries with talking points and Kalashnikovs. Occupy your public buildings and call the press. I think your various groups would be queuing up for turns.
    If that was attempted the whole of the american people would be so outraged they'd march on the merc's themselves. Also, let me introduce another key concept: CLOSED BOARDERS. Nobody gets in that isn't already in.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    left his gun in the car due to the sign on the door that said "no guns".
    Okay, I think you're talking about a nation besides Japan or Canada.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    CLOSED BOARDERS. Nobody gets in
    *sigh* This is growing predictable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Okay, I think you're talking about a nation besides Japan or Canada.
    Wholesale banning of weapons has a similar problem. Australians, for example, may have almost no gun crimes but the few it DOES have are impressively horrific.

    *sigh* This is growing predictable.
    I believe immigration to be a very bad thing. It lets nutjobs from other countries in that we should not be responsible for. If every country closed its borders to permanent residences I predict many would be better off today. Not the least of which because immigrants can no longer run and hide, but have to stay and fight en-mass. We should be no more responsible for another country than we should be for the movement of the planets. All of our resources should be devoted to ourselves, excepting the sharing of non-resource commodities like knowledge.

    From your derogetory tone I take it you believe immigration to be gods gift to humans. If you want to see the damage an open border does, look at the UK. Thousands of britains are being displaced by ignorant and uneducated immigrants that will freely work for less and work harder. Their retarded customs are trying to displace british customs, and basically bring THEIR country to the UK. The massive influx of muslims, for example, is a serious issue.

    Trade is perfectly fine. Allowing people to move here? Not fine. In fact, if we had closed borders to begin with, 9/11 would not have happened. GO FIGURE.
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    I'd like to go back to technocracy for a moment (as in the material linked at the top of this thread).

    As I see it, present capitalism is fairly efficient at deciding what to produce (what to invest in). That's really one if its key strengths. Replacing this with a simple democracy seems like a step back to me. If the goal of technocracy is to produce the highest quality of life for the highest number of people, it seems to me you wouldn't want to meddle in this aspect of capitalism.

    But on the other side of capitalism there's a major problem. That's purchasing power. The technocracy movement makes a good point that replacing human laborers with machines reduces the amount of money in circulation. It's easy to take it as a thought experiment to the extreme: replace all laborers with machines. The machines run the company, from the bottom all the way to top management. All human jobs have been completely replaced. And for kicks lets say artisan jobs, too (writer, sculpter, etc.)

    The companies still produce goods to sell, but the only people with money to buy with are the investors, who are making a killing, at least until the bottom falls out of their markets from demand shock. People with no savings are left without even a living wage, and are broke. The rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. That's been a known criticism of capitalism for over a hundred years.

    So it seems to me that in designing a technocratic economic model, the trick is to equalize the purchasing power of all citizens without screwing with the investment side of capitalism.

    The most naive solution would have people purchasing goods using energy credits, and investing in business with a more contemporary style currency which can be freely traded and saved, etc. The problem here is finding something to replace the underlying motive for economic investment in a capitalist society (eg: greed).

    One thought which occurred to me is that people with a lot of currency get something energy credits can't buy: status and social respect. In modern society, people who made a lot of money through investments (really the only way to make a lot of money) have way more money than they really need. They use this money to display social status through conspicous consumption. Or through "conspicuous philanthropy", like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (they're doing excellent work, don't get me wrong).

    So as long as you can still reward successful investors with comparable social status to our existing society, I think you would be free to modify the way in which purchasing power is allocated to citizens. Maybe in addition to the normal energy credits, each paycheck citizens also get a stipend of "normal" currency (tradable, savable, but nut consumable) to use to invest in the market. People with good market sense will reap better returns on their investment credits, and thus get a larger vote in what gets made in the future. People without good sense will tend to lose their investment credits and hang their head in shame.

    So one thought which occurs to me is to have house color regulated by law, so that "broke" families have a white house, and families with a lot of investment credits are allowed increasingly colorful houses. It's a little silly, but it fills the role of conspicuous consumption without giving the rich winners any additional purchasing power (white paint is about as expensive as red paint). There are probably better ideas, of course, not nearly as contrived. The trick is to allow conspicuous social status that doesn't involve an increase in consumption (which is costly to society).

    The other potential issue is that because people who work harder (or better) don't receive any additional compensation, people aren't likely to try harder, so the utility of society will tend to drop compared to a capitalist economy. The problem of unfair distribution of wealth in modern society has more to do with people striking it rich through investments, and less to do with one woman's salary being higher than another's salary. As long as people can't convert their investments to purchasing power, I think you might be able to introduce a "reap what you sow" aspect to technocracy instead of just giving to everyone according to their need. Like everyone receives a base energy credit salary just for existing, which allows for a reasonably comfortable existence (well above poverty), and beyond that they are capable of earning more purchasing power by labor.

    I think this works fine for most jobs, but there are two which I think would pose problems: artisan and CEO. An artisan produces works of art, where their value to society is incredibly subjective. Forcing the artisan to sell their art work for supplies + labor undercuts the very nature of what being an artist is about: social recognition. So maybe when citizens sell goods to each other they made themselves, they can also trade their investment credits (which allow social status). I'm not sure of the implications of this exactly...

    And the CEOs (and major league baseball players, etc.) have salaries which are just literally insane, because of the highly competitive nature of the jobs. Here too, maybe investment credits can come in to play, with a company treating the hiring of a CEO as not only a labor issue, but an investment, with the company paying the CEO a modest increase in purchasing power plus a crazy amount of investment credits.

    Ultimately this might just be the same thing as a reverse income tax system.

    So that's just a brain dump of what I've been thinking about the last day or two. I'm curious for people's reactions. Sorry if this was a bit long winded
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  77. #76  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Well, the trouble with automatic weapons is just the sheer number of casaulties that can be caused before the first responsible citizen has time to get their gun out. People who go psycho are usually looking to take down the maximum possible number of people with them.
    So? The end result is they're automatically flushed out, and after the initial burst the TRUE psychopaths are gone. If our society BREEDS such people, then we really should have some deep introspection as to how and what we need to change.
    Well, most of the real psychos kill themselves the first time they flip out. There's no "flushing" involved.

    I still think guns are still highly necessary. I just don't sympathize with automatic weapons. Too easy to take too many hostages to quickly. It opens up a tactical option for bad people without opening up an equal and opposite tactical option for good people.

    Good people are going to want to be surgical about who they shoot. Bad people don't care who gets caught in the cross fire.

    The big story that I think sparked a lot of the assault rifle issue was a fellow who took an AK-47 to a school yard and shot a bunch of kids, then shot himself. Now.... no matter how militant our society gets, it's unlikely that we're going to have fire arms on a playground. A more important question than whether we'd ever go that far is: who wants to have to go that far?
    It's not about being a MILITANT society, it's about being a society that actively flushes out harmful members and CLEARLY points out what we're doing wrong. Genetic freaks of nature are one thing, unstable people that shoot up schools because they've been condemned to a life of cleaning toilets is another. Also, that story is ridiculous, because there are ALWAYS teachers on the school ground and were they armed that person would've been shot down almost immediately (MINIMIZING casualties).
    Well, that's the point. Nobody wants the teachers to have hand guns around children. It's just too easy for someone to slip up and leave in unattended for a moment, with all those curious children around.

    You can always use safety devices on the guns, like finger print readers, but then you worry a little about malfunction. Some of it is paranoia, but you know..... parents are like that. They get paranoid. It's a fact of reality that nobody could reasonably hope to change.

    A recent case happened in Portland of a schitzophrenic who flipped out and shot a bunch of people before shooting himself. Do you think retaliation was really a concern for him? He took a handgun and shot into a crowd, but only managed to actually kill something like 2 people. And...well.... I think it probably helped that he only had a handgun.
    The key word is minimizing casualties. Currently such psychopaths are allowed to kill freely until they decide to kill themselves. Were all those people armed one of them would have got off a shot before he finished.
    If he had an AK-47, he'd have opened up on full automatic, and everyone would have ducked until his first clip was empty. Automatic weapons have the attribute of "suppressive fire". However, I'm sure somebody would have shot him before he could re-load.

    From what I can tell, the person had no history of violent crime. Most crazy people don't. It's the rational ones who have histories. The deliberately violent people who use violence to help them carry out profitable crimes are usually best dealt with by simply being unarmed. (They don't kill if they don't feel like they have to kill).

    I mean, if you're a security guard armed with an AK-47, you're more likely to be shot than if you're a security guard armed only with a radio and a can of mace. At least that's what all the people I know who work in that field tell me.

    It depends, though. In the armored car industry (transporting money), you're better off to be as well armed as possible. It kind of depends on what you're guarding. Most people won't kill you over a few boxes of TV sets.

    I hadn't really considered that. If Americans were armed with rockets, we probably could put up a fight against our own military, as long as they were willing to do things kind of like in Iraq, where artillery and high altitude bombing are pretty much being left out of the equation.
    Quite frankly we wouldn't really NEED to, because most of our military is on the AMERICAN CITIZEN side not the government side. Still, arming people would allow us to break through the POLICE (police are on the GOVERNMENTS side). The military is of no concern. The POLICE, however...

    They are right now, but there are a number of possible ways to turn them. Tell them the crowd they're supposed to suppress is a bunch of "liberals", who have been "protesting them".

    In a way I see Iraq as perhaps a test run to see how effective the military can be at suppressing a civilian population. The "us and them" logic can easily be turned a number of directions. It's all about defining things the right way, and convincing your brain wash victims that the majority of Americans are still on their side of the fence (the government's side), even while the revolution is under way.

    Such a claim need not be true to be convincing. It's not like the soldiers have any means of ascertaining the truth for themselves.
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    Oh wow. Just...wow. THINK OF THE CHILDREN! I'm done correcting your obvious errors and leaps of logic to justify your emotionally generated ideas. Onto something that doesn't involve the mentally handicapped!
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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  79. #78  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Oh wow. Just...wow. THINK OF THE CHILDREN! I'm done correcting your obvious errors and leaps of logic to justify your emotionally generated ideas. Onto something that doesn't involve the mentally handicapped!
    I'm not trying to pull heart strings. I'm just pointing out that, you may be failing at a larger goal in the process of attempting to accomplish a much smaller goal. The end only justifies the means if the benefit is genuinely greater than the cost.

    I'm not saying there are no benefits at all to allowing automatic weapons, but the benefit doesn't need to be absolute zero in order to make something a bad idea. It just needs to be smaller than the benefit of the alternative.


    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    I'd like to go back to technocracy for a moment (as in the material linked at the top of this thread).

    As I see it, present capitalism is fairly efficient at deciding what to produce (what to invest in). That's really one if its key strengths. Replacing this with a simple democracy seems like a step back to me. If the goal of technocracy is to produce the highest quality of life for the highest number of people, it seems to me you wouldn't want to meddle in this aspect of capitalism.

    But on the other side of capitalism there's a major problem. That's purchasing power. The technocracy movement makes a good point that replacing human laborers with machines reduces the amount of money in circulation. It's easy to take it as a thought experiment to the extreme: replace all laborers with machines. The machines run the company, from the bottom all the way to top management. All human jobs have been completely replaced. And for kicks lets say artisan jobs, too (writer, sculpter, etc.)

    The companies still produce goods to sell, but the only people with money to buy with are the investors, who are making a killing, at least until the bottom falls out of their markets from demand shock. People with no savings are left without even a living wage, and are broke. The rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. That's been a known criticism of capitalism for over a hundred years.

    So it seems to me that in designing a technocratic economic model, the trick is to equalize the purchasing power of all citizens without screwing with the investment side of capitalism.

    The most naive solution would have people purchasing goods using energy credits, and investing in business with a more contemporary style currency which can be freely traded and saved, etc. The problem here is finding something to replace the underlying motive for economic investment in a capitalist society (eg: greed).
    A possibility I've considered is to allow most parts of the economy to remain un-equal, and only equalize some parts. Energy credits is kind of similar to my idea. I use land(/raw resource) credits instead.

    My idea is that you trade land on a separate currency from everything else. The government re-issues the currency every couple of years or so, and old currency instantly becomes invalid at that time.

    The government surveys all the land, and assigns prices to it, based on a combination of the land's traits/qualities and the government's macro-economic goals, then issues an amount of currency exactly equal to the value of all the land, dividing it so as to issue the exact same amount of currency to every citizen.

    Land has to be repurchased at every re-issue of the currency. (Though the current occupant is usually given priority)

    Basically, if you sell your share of land currency to someone, in exchange for ordinary currency (to buy things other than land with), you're only really giving it up for two years. (If two years were the renewal period)

    If a 30 acre ranch costs 15 times the amount of currency a person receives, and a rancher wants to have a 30 acre ranch, then that rancher needs to find 14 other people willing to sell him their currency for ordinary money (or 28 people each willing to sell half their currencies, or .... etc)

    He needs to do this every renewal period.

    It wouldn't be very hard, because I'm sure there would be professional land currency brokers out there willing to connect sellers and buyers. Some people might choose only to sell maybe 5% of their currency and use the rest to secure a plot of land to live on, so the broker would pay them according to the current market value of land currency. You know... the way a lot of commodities are traded today.

    The rancher would have to be making enough of a profit (in terms of ordinary currency) to justify buying land currency from people again and again, or it wouldn't be worth it to stay in business.

    The philosophical idea is simple: Just as ownership of one's own labor is considered a right, one you cannot legally divest yourself of. (You can work for a wage, but you can't legally sell yourself into slavery) So also, ownership of a proportional part of your country's land would be a right. (You can sell your share for 2 years, but it's not legal to sell all your shares for life in one shot).

    I mean, I guess you could contract your future shares away, but then the buyer has to count on you not to die, because the shares stop issuing to you when you're dead. By this system, it's absolutely impossible for your children to be affected, because you can't sell their shares, only your own. (And they wouldn't be issued shares until they reached adulthood).

    And... the other half of the philosophical basis: Nobody creates land. It exists absolutely independent of human labor/effort. You can terraform it (which is why the current occupant is given priority at the time of re-purchase), but you can't claim to have created it.

    Therefore: there is no point in allowing land to be used as a reward for exceptional economic effort.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Nobody creates land. It exists absolutely independent of human labor/effort.
    People create real estate value though. British Columbia may be extreme example, but here we have vast expanses of land practically worthless due to remoteness (how're ya gonna earn a living in the bush?), yet a few vertically dense cities where the average condo costs $350,000 and detached dwelling pushes a million. Admittedly this weirdness owes to the fact most land is reserved from the market, but anyway it's plain that whether or not a road leads to it and how long the commute is, makes all the difference.

    Under your scheme Kojax wouldn't many people just settle for the most isolated jobless community and trade the remainder of their land-money for living expenses? Also how would you sell land to immigrants?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    I understand the philosophical arguments as far as no one creates land, but in practice I have no objection to the current system. I don't own even a square millimeter of land but I consider myself pretty well off. Plus there are thornier issues like mining rights. And there's a lot of natural wealth not in land: like (the lack of) air pollution. And also, people tend to take better care of things they own than things they rent. If a logging company can log an entire forest in its two year lease of the land, then not renew its lease, that land is going to be deforested. If that logging company owns the land, they're going to plant seeds and maintain roads so they can come back 10 years later and harvest again.

    The problem can really be summed up like this:

    On a macroeconomic level, an economy needs to balance current consumption and future consumption (investment)

    On a personal "what do I do with my money" level, an individual needs to balance consumption and savings (investment).

    On a personal "where do I get my money" level, an individual needs to balance wages earned (fruits of labor) with interest earned (fruits of investment).

    Now, capitalism has really got the whole investment side figured out pretty well. That's why capitalism is considered "efficient". It's really good at deciding what to make. Occasionally a society gets carried away, and a "market correction" (see current economic crises caused by overinflated real estate prices) needs to fix things to properly reflect the needs of a society. But for the most part a capitalist society efficiently balances all the competing needs a society has and produces goods to sell to people with money.

    So I don't see a need to play around with equalizing things on the investment side. It's okay if only .01% of the population owns land and makes money off of it. It's their reward for being savvy investors. They'll take that money and reinvest it, continually deciding what gets produced and how much of it. In a technocratic sense, the rich are the "experts" on deciding what gets produced. And the system automatically hires promising new talent and fires poor talent just by how the returns of investment get distributed.

    The problem is on the consumption side of things. Most of the poor are wage slaves: they have no savings and require 100% of their wage just to survive at subsistence levels. Many of the rich, the so called trust fund babies, live entirely off of the interest earned from investments. They don't contribute labor to society. Plus their conspicuous consumption distorts the amount of high luxury items a society produces. Essentially these "trust fund babies" cause the rest of society's wealth (utility) to decrease. They're a net burden.

    An "ideal" society would have every citizen be roughly middle class. They'd have a job, and any surplus wage they earn would be put into savings. They'd either invest the savings themselves, or hire other people to invest it (mutual funds). Eventually they'd spend all of their savings on retirement (consumption) and die. Each person's wealth is only a function of their labor and the interest on any labor they've saved.

    On a personal level, the percentage of the paycheck each person saves is a function of their immediate desires and the interest they're likely to earn. Just like the current system. It's pretty good at balancing the future needs and current needs of society. As interest rates go down, current consumption goes up and people save less (present infrastructure accurately represents the desires of people). As interest rates go up, current consumption goes down and people save more (present infrastructure can be improved to provide a net increase in wealth to society).

    So the two main issues with capitalism are inherited wealth and unequal purchasing power. The naive solution to inherited wealth is just to 100% tax it on the death of the earner. But there are severe issues with this method. Like what if it's a small family farm worth several million on paper, but that's all "invested" in farm equipment? Or what about corporations, which never die even if the founder does? The current system tends to drain inherited wealth from individuals if they aren't as savvy as their dead relatives. They'll make bad investments and eventually spend down the inheritance until they have nothing left. They'll have no job skills and die in poverty. So even though "trust fund babies" are bad for the economy as a whole, it'll eventually sort itself out. It's inefficient but there are forces at work to balance things.

    The problem in the mean time is the conspicuous consumption. The rich spending loads of money and luxury items they don't really need or want just to show off social status. It's the economy's way of bleeding wealth from the rich, and many times it works (rock stars eventually dying poor, lottery winners losing all their money, etc.). But other times it doesn't. So this is an area where maybe improvement is possible. We need to find a more efficient way of bleeding money from the rich other than conspicuous consumption. And the rich need to find a better way to show off their social status toe each other than having 100 porsches. (Those 100 porsches could go to 100 people, which are going to value each one way more than this single rich guy).

    The other issue is wage slaves. The poor. The problem isn't that there are poor people. In an ideal society everyone is born poor, with no inherited wealth. The problem is that once you're poor, it's hard to get out of that cycle of poverty and rise up to a middle class level. Also, imagine if all jobs were converted to machines. The only people with wealth to buy goods would be those with investments. The poor would really be disenfranchised, with no way out.

    You want a system where everyone, even the bum on the street, can afford a place to live, food, and some basic living wage, no matter what, just for existing. But you also want a system which encourages people to work (without requiring it). If no one works, and everyone lives off of their living wage, then nothing gets done in the economy and no goods are produced, and everyone is poor.

    The naive solution in present society would be to just give every tax payer, no matter what, $15000 every year. But I suspect that would cause at least as many problems as it solves. If nothing else it would raise either taxes or inflation (depending on where the money comes from).

    Another solution might be efficient education. If anyone at any time can freely go back to school and retrain, and live comfortably in the mean time on their living wage, then losing a job isn't as big a deal. It just means the individual needs to spend time investing time in themselves. Of course, the current education system is pretty bogus. Most B.Sc. degrees don't represent a whole lot more than just a piece of paper (what you get out of it is what you put in to it, which doesn't reflect in the one-size-fits-all degree you get). An efficient education system instead probably relies on certification type training. Finish a single class, get a single degree. That sort of thing.

    So I'm not sure in the end what the answer is. But I can tell that it isn't to muck around with investments, with the means of production. Because that's what capitalism is good with.
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  82. #81  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Nobody creates land. It exists absolutely independent of human labor/effort.
    People create real estate value though. British Columbia may be extreme example, but here we have vast expanses of land practically worthless due to remoteness (how're ya gonna earn a living in the bush?), yet a few vertically dense cities where the average condo costs $350,000 and detached dwelling pushes a million. Admittedly this weirdness owes to the fact most land is reserved from the market, but anyway it's plain that whether or not a road leads to it and how long the commute is, makes all the difference.
    This is true, and it is the big limitation of the system. I have a notion of how to solve it, but it gets kind of complex trying to explain the system as a whole if I include this part. (Though I admit it's a very necessary part)

    Look at how broadcast rights work. Say you're a radio company, and you've got the exclusive right to broadcast at the 101.5 mhz frequency in northern Ohio. (A rough example)

    If we assume nobody was listening to that channel before you got the rights to it (or the previous owner before you really sucked), whatever you do to increase your listening base could be seen as equivalent to a farmer draining a swamp, irrigating, and setting up a farm.

    However, the state is never going to consider you the outright owner of the 101.5 mhz frequency. You have to renew your broadcast rights by paying a regular fee and abiding by certain rules (like no profanity). At the same time, short of gross misbehavior on your part, the state usually isn't going to let anybody else buy those rights out from under you. It wouldn't be fair. You did a lot of work to make that station credible.

    Someone else might approach you sometime, and ask if you'd be willing to sell them the broadcast rights. You don't own them, per se, but you own something that can be sold. You can forfeit your right to renew.

    Now, let me apply this back to the land system. When you use land currency to re-purchase your land from the government, you're doing what a radio station does when it renews its broadcast rights.

    So, let's make one modification to the system: If you ever choose not to renew your ownership of a plot of land (you don't feel like coming up with that amount of land currency anymore), and you decide to forfeit your right of re-purchase, you would have the right to name your successor.





    Under your scheme Kojax wouldn't many people just settle for the most isolated jobless community and trade the remainder of their land-money for living expenses? Also how would you sell land to immigrants?
    I have no problem with people trading the remainder of their land money for living expenses. Actually, creating that situation is one of the goals of the system. That way, when/if a time comes when robots are doing everything, people still have a way to acquire food.

    As far as immigrants, until they naturalize, they don't get any land credits issued to them. Of course, they are free to use normal currency to buy land credits from the citizens, every renewal term, and use that to gain access to land, if they want. (The same way as the 30 acre rancher does it.)
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    How would we flush old currency out of the system? Because if every few years enough was issued to theoretically purchase all land... ack! no no it all must flush out.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    Put a date on the bill. Remember that, while people can trade it to each other, that doesn't mean they can redeem it to each other for land rights. Land rights can only be obtained by redeeming it directly to the government. Trading it to each other, it's possible someone might pull a quick scam or something to sell people outdated bills. But, when they take those outdated bills to the government, the government is going to refuse them.


    And, by "land rights" in this case I'm not talking about the right of renewal. I mean the right of use that you get after you renew.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    I understand the philosophical arguments as far as no one creates land, but in practice I have no objection to the current system. I don't own even a square millimeter of land but I consider myself pretty well off. Plus there are thornier issues like mining rights. And there's a lot of natural wealth not in land: like (the lack of) air pollution. And also, people tend to take better care of things they own than things they rent. If a logging company can log an entire forest in its two year lease of the land, then not renew its lease, that land is going to be deforested. If that logging company owns the land, they're going to plant seeds and maintain roads so they can come back 10 years later and harvest again.
    The old system works fine here in the USA, where people have a great deal of upward mobility.

    Where I'd really want to see this kind of land use system applied would be places like Mexico. (It was a class on Mexico that made me think of it.) The problem in Mexico is that, once one group owns all the land, everybody else is reduced to permanent peasantry, generation after generation.

    The cycle doesn't seem to break, because the people have no control at all over the terms of their access to farming. (Food is the most perfectly coercive force of all economic forces). Worse still is when foreign investors come in and buy land, because then you're in a bidding war with a first world country, for who can produce the most widgets/dollars, which they're never going to lose.

    As far as ownership: the flip side of outright ownership is that you only lose the difference in purchasing price - sale price, if you ruin it. We're seeing a lot of urban sprawl over here in Oregon, because the value of farm land as real estate exceeds its value as farmland.


    So I don't see a need to play around with equalizing things on the investment side. It's okay if only .01% of the population owns land and makes money off of it. It's their reward for being savvy investors. They'll take that money and reinvest it, continually deciding what gets produced and how much of it. In a technocratic sense, the rich are the "experts" on deciding what gets produced. And the system automatically hires promising new talent and fires poor talent just by how the returns of investment get distributed.

    The problem is on the consumption side of things. Most of the poor are wage slaves: they have no savings and require 100% of their wage just to survive at subsistence levels. Many of the rich, the so called trust fund babies, live entirely off of the interest earned from investments. They don't contribute labor to society. Plus their conspicuous consumption distorts the amount of high luxury items a society produces. Essentially these "trust fund babies" cause the rest of society's wealth (utility) to decrease. They're a net burden.

    An "ideal" society would have every citizen be roughly middle class. They'd have a job, and any surplus wage they earn would be put into savings. They'd either invest the savings themselves, or hire other people to invest it (mutual funds). Eventually they'd spend all of their savings on retirement (consumption) and die. Each person's wealth is only a function of their labor and the interest on any labor they've saved.
    Having someone else invest for you is still a skill, in a lot of ways. You have to be able to read the person, and have the sense not to fall for scam artists. Just like how any good business person survives more on the basis of finding good people than on the basis of making perfectly intelligent decisions themself, so also for investors.

    The limitation on this is if a person is so wealthy that they don't need to make a very high return on their investments in order to maintain a rich lifestyle. Low risk investing doesn't take too much skill, so very mediocre people can hold onto their money very easily if they've the sense not to get too greedy.

    I look for answers in deciding what money can buy, and what it means. If dollars only bought temporary items (as opposed to permanent items, like land), then the options on how to easily keep one's fortune from depreciating would be a lot more limited.

    If you keep it as money, instead of investing it, then inflation will gradually wear away its worth until you're not so rich anymore. (Ever watch old episodes of the "Beverly Hill Billys"?) I think most people looking for safe returns convert a good share of their money into jewelry, paintings, antiques, land, and other items that do not depreciate in value with time.

    If we start limiting their options on that, then I think they'd have to begin participating more actively in the way their assets are managed.



    So the two main issues with capitalism are inherited wealth and unequal purchasing power. The naive solution to inherited wealth is just to 100% tax it on the death of the earner. But there are severe issues with this method. Like what if it's a small family farm worth several million on paper, but that's all "invested" in farm equipment? Or what about corporations, which never die even if the founder does? The current system tends to drain inherited wealth from individuals if they aren't as savvy as their dead relatives. They'll make bad investments and eventually spend down the inheritance until they have nothing left. They'll have no job skills and die in poverty. So even though "trust fund babies" are bad for the economy as a whole, it'll eventually sort itself out. It's inefficient but there are forces at work to balance things.
    So, our goal should be just to try and make these forces a little stronger (but not too strong). It's true that often the children of a good investor learn something from their parents, or at the very least they maintain their parents' social connections.


    The problem in the mean time is the conspicuous consumption. The rich spending loads of money and luxury items they don't really need or want just to show off social status. It's the economy's way of bleeding wealth from the rich, and many times it works (rock stars eventually dying poor, lottery winners losing all their money, etc.). But other times it doesn't. So this is an area where maybe improvement is possible. We need to find a more efficient way of bleeding money from the rich other than conspicuous consumption. And the rich need to find a better way to show off their social status toe each other than having 100 porsches. (Those 100 porsches could go to 100 people, which are going to value each one way more than this single rich guy).
    If they're buying antique cars, then they're really doing what I mentioned above, (putting their money in a safe place) in an interesting way that serves two purposes. If they're buying new Porsches, then someone is getting paid to make them, so it's not the worst thing ever. (Granted that it's probably Germans instead of Americans)

    Of course, I have to admit it's also still wasteful to go to the trouble of building a car that is never going to get driven (or hardly ever).



    The other issue is wage slaves. The poor. The problem isn't that there are poor people. In an ideal society everyone is born poor, with no inherited wealth. The problem is that once you're poor, it's hard to get out of that cycle of poverty and rise up to a middle class level. Also, imagine if all jobs were converted to machines. The only people with wealth to buy goods would be those with investments. The poor would really be disenfranchised, with no way out.
    Part of the reason I like the idea of no permanent ownership of land. That way wealth is continually getting redistributed, or any unequal situation requires continual maintenance to be sustained.

    You want a system where everyone, even the bum on the street, can afford a place to live, food, and some basic living wage, no matter what, just for existing. But you also want a system which encourages people to work (without requiring it). If no one works, and everyone lives off of their living wage, then nothing gets done in the economy and no goods are produced, and everyone is poor.
    If machines take over, then capital investment would soon become the only kind of useful work there is. That, and maybe engineering.

    What do you do with people that don't have the intellect?

    Is it genuinely possible to create jobs for them to do in a technically advanced society, or this a pipe dream? Should we just admit to ourselves that they can't contribute meaningfully, and start looking for a way to let them subsist anyway, as overhead?



    The naive solution in present society would be to just give every tax payer, no matter what, $15000 every year. But I suspect that would cause at least as many problems as it solves. If nothing else it would raise either taxes or inflation (depending on where the money comes from).

    Another solution might be efficient education. If anyone at any time can freely go back to school and retrain, and live comfortably in the mean time on their living wage, then losing a job isn't as big a deal. It just means the individual needs to spend time investing time in themselves. Of course, the current education system is pretty bogus. Most B.Sc. degrees don't represent a whole lot more than just a piece of paper (what you get out of it is what you put in to it, which doesn't reflect in the one-size-fits-all degree you get). An efficient education system instead probably relies on certification type training. Finish a single class, get a single degree. That sort of thing.
    Might as well just let lazy people be lazy, but force them to live at just a subsistence level, without nice things. Only give nice things to those who genuinely contribute.

    You want to go back to school? Fine, but you live in a basic apartment, and eat basic food, and sell/give back all your expensive toys until you're done.



    So I'm not sure in the end what the answer is. But I can tell that it isn't to muck around with investments, with the means of production. Because that's what capitalism is good with.
    It's weird how the American system doesn't seem broken, and yet it's in a state of decline. We might need to go back toward tariff-ing goods made abroad again (even if the factory owner is an American). That might help.

    In an idea capitalist system, the *only* way to make money is to produce something. This means that a society of exported labor, where most manufacturing is happening overseas, honestly should not be making money.

    If that situation allowed us to make money, that would mean the system was broken. Since it's not allowing us to make money, that tells us it's working properly. We're just not working properly.
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  86. #85  
    Forum Masters Degree Numsgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    The old system works fine here in the USA, where people have a great deal of upward mobility.

    Where I'd really want to see this kind of land use system applied would be places like Mexico. (It was a class on Mexico that made me think of it.) The problem in Mexico is that, once one group owns all the land, everybody else is reduced to permanent peasantry, generation after generation.

    The cycle doesn't seem to break, because the people have no control at all over the terms of their access to farming. (Food is the most perfectly coercive force of all economic forces). Worse still is when foreign investors come in and buy land, because then you're in a bidding war with a first world country, for who can produce the most widgets/dollars, which they're never going to lose.
    Mexico is actually a pretty good example. Just in terms of its GDP, it's an upper middle income country. The problem is the income inequality. There is a large fraction of the population in rural areas which are poor. On a macroeconomic level, Mexico is doing pretty well.

    They just have all this surplus population and nothing for them to do, because they're unskilled labor. That's why there's so much emigration to the US: the US has a large demand for unskilled labor in the agriculture and service industries, because most of our population has at least some training (highschool, college, vocational school, etc.). So the solution is either to depopulate their rural areas (let them emigrate) or integrate their rural populations into their urban centers as part of a job training initiative.

    As far as ownership: the flip side of outright ownership is that you only lose the difference in purchasing price - sale price, if you ruin it. We're seeing a lot of urban sprawl over here in Oregon, because the value of farm land as real estate exceeds its value as farmland.
    Is that necessarily a bad thing? I live in Irvine, CA, and we have the same thing. There's quite a bit of farmland right across the street from commercial industry parks (like Blizzard). As the need for commercial growth outweighs the need for strawberries, farm land will turn into parking lots. It's just a natural progression as an urban center grows from success.

    In places like Detroit, I imagine we'll see the reverse. Parking lots will get turned into farm land as real estate prices plummet. It's just the natural regression as an urban center shrinks from failure.

    The problem really is the people which get caught in the middle. The farmers which are suddenly billionaires, and the middle income families which lose everything as their houses become worthless.

    Having someone else invest for you is still a skill, in a lot of ways. You have to be able to read the person, and have the sense not to fall for scam artists. Just like how any good business person survives more on the basis of finding good people than on the basis of making perfectly intelligent decisions themself, so also for investors.
    Sure. And there's always risk involved. My 401k was all in index funds, and it lost quite a bit of value with the recent market collapse. I timed the market poorly, and someone else somewhere who timed it well got some of my money. Redistribution of wealth based on ability to read the market.

    The limitation on this is if a person is so wealthy that they don't need to make a very high return on their investments in order to maintain a rich lifestyle. Low risk investing doesn't take too much skill, so very mediocre people can hold onto their money very easily if they've the sense not to get too greedy.
    Low risk investments are still useful to society. And of course you have to make at least as much as inflation not to lose purchasing power. There's a non-negligible risk in anything above the money market, and the money market never even breaks even with inflation (in a macroeconomic sense, inflation represents the average return on an investment for a society).

    I think most people looking for safe returns convert a good share of their money into jewelry, paintings, antiques, land, and other items that do not depreciate in value with time.

    If we start limiting their options on that, then I think they'd have to begin participating more actively in the way their assets are managed.
    But for jewelry, paintings, etc. to keep their value, you have to maintain them. Make sure your paintings don't burn to the ground, don't get stolen, etc. Those items are worth so much because they have value to society. If someone invests all of their wealth in art, it just means they're good at predicting what people's taste will be in 30 years. No different from predicting whether people will buy HDVD or Blu-Ray.

    So the two main issues with capitalism are inherited wealth and unequal purchasing power. The naive solution to inherited wealth is just to 100% tax it on the death of the earner. But there are severe issues with this method. Like what if it's a small family farm worth several million on paper, but that's all "invested" in farm equipment? Or what about corporations, which never die even if the founder does? The current system tends to drain inherited wealth from individuals if they aren't as savvy as their dead relatives. They'll make bad investments and eventually spend down the inheritance until they have nothing left. They'll have no job skills and die in poverty. So even though "trust fund babies" are bad for the economy as a whole, it'll eventually sort itself out. It's inefficient but there are forces at work to balance things.
    So, our goal should be just to try and make these forces a little stronger (but not too strong). It's true that often the children of a good investor learn something from their parents, or at the very least they maintain their parents' social connections.
    Yeah, I think so. Of course, you don't want to punish the frugal entrepreneur who has built his wealth with hard work and determination and business savvy. And you don't want to punish the family farm which passes from parent to child.

    But I can't think of a good way to do that. Maybe an added sales tax on any inheritance which is liquidated and spent on goods. But then you artificially increase the incentive to invest instead of spend, which distorts the free market equilibrium. And how do you say that buying a porsche is a consumption and not another form of investment?

    If they're buying antique cars, then they're really doing what I mentioned above, (putting their money in a safe place) in an interesting way that serves two purposes. If they're buying new Porsches, then someone is getting paid to make them, so it's not the worst thing ever. (Granted that it's probably Germans instead of Americans)

    Of course, I have to admit it's also still wasteful to go to the trouble of building a car that is never going to get driven (or hardly ever).
    It's not that it's bad for the economy, it's that it's sub optimal. A rich guy only needs maybe 4 or 5 cars. Anything beyond that would probably better serve society by going to someone else. I would cherish a porsche way more than a guy that already has 99.

    It goes back to unequal purchasing power. If all of the wealth your society produces goes to a single guy, then everyone else is poor.

    If machines take over, then capital investment would soon become the only kind of useful work there is. That, and maybe engineering.

    What do you do with people that don't have the intellect?

    Is it genuinely possible to create jobs for them to do in a technically advanced society, or this a pipe dream? Should we just admit to ourselves that they can't contribute meaningfully, and start looking for a way to let them subsist anyway, as overhead?
    There'll always be jobs to do. Imagine if every single job in society right now were replaced by machines. That would mean there would suddenly be a massive increase in the supply of unemployed labor, which would drive the cost of labor way down and encourage hiring of more employees by businesses. Or encourage new businesses which wouldn't have been profitable before.

    Look at the Amish for instance. In every absolute term, their production power is inferior to modern society. But there's still a relatively booming industry for Amish made goods. Woodwork especially.

    So the issue isn't so much unemployment, it's wage. At what wage will the labor market settle on? It could be as low as a $0.10/hour. It might be that a person has to work 40 hours a week just to earn enough money to buy food. There's no way out of that. That's the danger of a capitalist society. It becomes a bigger danger with the approach of the technological singularity.

    Another solution might be efficient education. If anyone at any time can freely go back to school and retrain, and live comfortably in the mean time on their living wage, then losing a job isn't as big a deal. It just means the individual needs to spend time investing time in themselves. Of course, the current education system is pretty bogus. Most B.Sc. degrees don't represent a whole lot more than just a piece of paper (what you get out of it is what you put in to it, which doesn't reflect in the one-size-fits-all degree you get). An efficient education system instead probably relies on certification type training. Finish a single class, get a single degree. That sort of thing.
    Might as well just let lazy people be lazy, but force them to live at just a subsistence level, without nice things. Only give nice things to those who genuinely contribute.

    You want to go back to school? Fine, but you live in a basic apartment, and eat basic food, and sell/give back all your expensive toys until you're done.
    Another solution might be to have businesses "sponsor" an unemployed person for retraining. Sign a contract saying that the business will hire the employee to go back to school and retrain, in exchange for 3 years of guaranteed employment. Indentured servitude essentially.

    It's weird how the American system doesn't seem broken, and yet it's in a state of decline. We might need to go back toward tariff-ing goods made abroad again (even if the factory owner is an American). That might help.

    In an idea capitalist system, the *only* way to make money is to produce something. This means that a society of exported labor, where most manufacturing is happening overseas, honestly should not be making money.

    If that situation allowed us to make money, that would mean the system was broken. Since it's not allowing us to make money, that tells us it's working properly. We're just not working properly.
    I laugh when people say that protectionist policies are the answer in times of economic collapse. Trade benefits everyone, makes everyone richer. Of course free trade makes it hard for a country to industrialize. Alexander Hamilton favored high tariffs for the early US to move it from an agrarian society to an industrial one. So it's during times of high economic success that a country should set up tariffs. It's a way of discouraging consumption and encouraging long term investment.

    The problem in the US right now is that it still thinks of itself as an industrial nation. But the US is a post industrial nation. Our industry is skilled labor and management, not assembly line work. We don't have enough unskilled labor available to make running a factory profitable. See Detroit.

    Instead, we export high tech, highly specialized services (see Microsoft), and our ability to effectively manage large corporations. Even if a corporation is "headquartered" off shore, most of the administrative work for the multinationals is done in the United States. 50 years ago we were a country of blue collar workers. We were an industrial nation. But sometime during the 70s that transitioned because of the high number of college graduates, and now we're a post industrial, white collar nation. We export our ability to schmooze, do accounting, and innovate in exchange for tangible goods like cars and ipods.

    Incidentally that was also when the US trade deficit started. I'm sure there's a connection between the two, but I'm not sure what it is. Maybe administrative export isn't measured in a country's trade deficit?
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  87. #86  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    As far as ownership: the flip side of outright ownership is that you only lose the difference in purchasing price - sale price, if you ruin it. We're seeing a lot of urban sprawl over here in Oregon, because the value of farm land as real estate exceeds its value as farmland.
    Is that necessarily a bad thing? I live in Irvine, CA, and we have the same thing. There's quite a bit of farmland right across the street from commercial industry parks (like Blizzard). As the need for commercial growth outweighs the need for strawberries, farm land will turn into parking lots. It's just a natural progression as an urban center grows from success.

    In places like Detroit, I imagine we'll see the reverse. Parking lots will get turned into farm land as real estate prices plummet. It's just the natural regression as an urban center shrinks from failure.

    The problem really is the people which get caught in the middle. The farmers which are suddenly billionaires, and the middle income families which lose everything as their houses become worthless.
    The problem is that a short term force is overpowering a longer term concern. Population growth needs to be limited in any society that wants to last forever. Once you convert fertile farmland into something else, you've pretty much lost it.

    If, say, in a generation or two, you start wanting the food that could have been produced (renewably) on that land, well too bad.


    I think most people looking for safe returns convert a good share of their money into jewelry, paintings, antiques, land, and other items that do not depreciate in value with time.

    If we start limiting their options on that, then I think they'd have to begin participating more actively in the way their assets are managed.
    But for jewelry, paintings, etc. to keep their value, you have to maintain them. Make sure your paintings don't burn to the ground, don't get stolen, etc. Those items are worth so much because they have value to society. If someone invests all of their wealth in art, it just means they're good at predicting what people's taste will be in 30 years. No different from predicting whether people will buy HDVD or Blu-Ray.
    That's a good point. The high value does lead to those things being preserved, and preserving them actually is of economic benefit. I hadn't considered it from that angle.

    What we don't benefit as much from is people who speculate on raw minerals or just plain real estate. In a sense, it's good not to see gold getting wasted to make too many electronic devices we're just going to throw away, but gold speculation can quickly become a sponge that sucks up all the dollars in our economy.

    This is especially problematic if, say the fed decides to lower interest rates, or a president decides to bail out a bunch of investors and they immediately turn around and buy gold with the money. Then all that money has basically just become pure inflation. No new infrastructure was built with it, nor any kind of sustained production (that would involve jobs) has occurred.



    So the two main issues with capitalism are inherited wealth and unequal purchasing power. The naive solution to inherited wealth is just to 100% tax it on the death of the earner. But there are severe issues with this method. Like what if it's a small family farm worth several million on paper, but that's all "invested" in farm equipment? Or what about corporations, which never die even if the founder does? The current system tends to drain inherited wealth from individuals if they aren't as savvy as their dead relatives. They'll make bad investments and eventually spend down the inheritance until they have nothing left. They'll have no job skills and die in poverty. So even though "trust fund babies" are bad for the economy as a whole, it'll eventually sort itself out. It's inefficient but there are forces at work to balance things.
    So, our goal should be just to try and make these forces a little stronger (but not too strong). It's true that often the children of a good investor learn something from their parents, or at the very least they maintain their parents' social connections.
    Yeah, I think so. Of course, you don't want to punish the frugal entrepreneur who has built his wealth with hard work and determination and business savvy. And you don't want to punish the family farm which passes from parent to child.

    But I can't think of a good way to do that. Maybe an added sales tax on any inheritance which is liquidated and spent on goods. But then you artificially increase the incentive to invest instead of spend, which distorts the free market equilibrium. And how do you say that buying a porsche is a consumption and not another form of investment?
    The trick is to figure out how hard this guy should have to work just to stay where he is. Make it too hard, and he'll give up, or become disenfranchised with the whole system. (As will everyone else who sees what's happening)

    Make it too easy, and none of the people from below will have a means to pull themselves up to where he is.

    We need wealth to redistribute in a natural, and productive way, or stay where it is. We want it to move to the most capable and productive people possible, so that it isn't just a hereditary title passing from parent to child.



    [/quote]

    If they're buying antique cars, then they're really doing what I mentioned above, (putting their money in a safe place) in an interesting way that serves two purposes. If they're buying new Porsches, then someone is getting paid to make them, so it's not the worst thing ever. (Granted that it's probably Germans instead of Americans)

    Of course, I have to admit it's also still wasteful to go to the trouble of building a car that is never going to get driven (or hardly ever).
    It's not that it's bad for the economy, it's that it's sub optimal. A rich guy only needs maybe 4 or 5 cars. Anything beyond that would probably better serve society by going to someone else. I would cherish a porsche way more than a guy that already has 99.

    It goes back to unequal purchasing power. If all of the wealth your society produces goes to a single guy, then everyone else is poor.

    It seems that here we also need to balance concerns. Porsches make an excellent reward for people in the upper middle income class to want to work harder than the minimum required to stay where they are.

    They're useless as a reward for multi-billionaires. But what can you give those people that would make them still want to keep going?

    We don't want to just put stronger and stronger maintenance requirements on billionaire wealth (or do we?). But, it's true that, at a certain point, the whole incentive to keep building dissappears if you get too wealthy.


    If machines take over, then capital investment would soon become the only kind of useful work there is. That, and maybe engineering.

    What do you do with people that don't have the intellect?

    Is it genuinely possible to create jobs for them to do in a technically advanced society, or this a pipe dream? Should we just admit to ourselves that they can't contribute meaningfully, and start looking for a way to let them subsist anyway, as overhead?
    There'll always be jobs to do. Imagine if every single job in society right now were replaced by machines. That would mean there would suddenly be a massive increase in the supply of unemployed labor, which would drive the cost of labor way down and encourage hiring of more employees by businesses. Or encourage new businesses which wouldn't have been profitable before.

    Look at the Amish for instance. In every absolute term, their production power is inferior to modern society. But there's still a relatively booming industry for Amish made goods. Woodwork especially.

    So the issue isn't so much unemployment, it's wage. At what wage will the labor market settle on? It could be as low as a $0.10/hour. It might be that a person has to work 40 hours a week just to earn enough money to buy food. There's no way out of that. That's the danger of a capitalist society. It becomes a bigger danger with the approach of the technological singularity.

    This is the big problem. If the wage market settles on $0.10/hour, that might not be just a market problem. That might be an indicator. I mean, the messenger's message might be an accurate message.

    Of course, you never reach a point where a person's labor is absolutely useless in its entirety, but you can reach a point where the most useful thing they could possibly ever do is worth about $0.10. At that point you might as well stop hiring them, and let them stay home with their family or something.

    When I suggest that human labor may not always be economically valuable, I mean that it may not be valuable enough to be worth thinking about. We may reach a point where we have to value each other as human beings instead of workers. Or, at least we may have to find another basis other than productivity.



    Another solution might be efficient education. If anyone at any time can freely go back to school and retrain, and live comfortably in the mean time on their living wage, then losing a job isn't as big a deal. It just means the individual needs to spend time investing time in themselves. Of course, the current education system is pretty bogus. Most B.Sc. degrees don't represent a whole lot more than just a piece of paper (what you get out of it is what you put in to it, which doesn't reflect in the one-size-fits-all degree you get). An efficient education system instead probably relies on certification type training. Finish a single class, get a single degree. That sort of thing.
    Might as well just let lazy people be lazy, but force them to live at just a subsistence level, without nice things. Only give nice things to those who genuinely contribute.

    You want to go back to school? Fine, but you live in a basic apartment, and eat basic food, and sell/give back all your expensive toys until you're done.
    Another solution might be to have businesses "sponsor" an unemployed person for retraining. Sign a contract saying that the business will hire the employee to go back to school and retrain, in exchange for 3 years of guaranteed employment. Indentured servitude essentially.
    Well, that's how the military gets a lot of its professionals.

    The trick is to come up with a legal mechanism to make it so that training their own employees is somehow cheaper than finding and hiring employees that have already been trained.

    A successful capitalist business passes on as much as they can of the expense of production to someone else. Only well written laws can change that, or work against it.



    It's weird how the American system doesn't seem broken, and yet it's in a state of decline. We might need to go back toward tariff-ing goods made abroad again (even if the factory owner is an American). That might help.

    In an idea capitalist system, the *only* way to make money is to produce something. This means that a society of exported labor, where most manufacturing is happening overseas, honestly should not be making money.

    If that situation allowed us to make money, that would mean the system was broken. Since it's not allowing us to make money, that tells us it's working properly. We're just not working properly.
    I laugh when people say that protectionist policies are the answer in times of economic collapse. Trade benefits everyone, makes everyone richer. Of course free trade makes it hard for a country to industrialize. Alexander Hamilton favored high tariffs for the early US to move it from an agrarian society to an industrial one. So it's during times of high economic success that a country should set up tariffs. It's a way of discouraging consumption and encouraging long term investment.

    The problem in the US right now is that it still thinks of itself as an industrial nation. But the US is a post industrial nation. Our industry is skilled labor and management, not assembly line work. We don't have enough unskilled labor available to make running a factory profitable. See Detroit.

    Instead, we export high tech, highly specialized services (see Microsoft), and our ability to effectively manage large corporations. Even if a corporation is "headquartered" off shore, most of the administrative work for the multinationals is done in the United States. 50 years ago we were a country of blue collar workers. We were an industrial nation. But sometime during the 70s that transitioned because of the high number of college graduates, and now we're a post industrial, white collar nation. We export our ability to schmooze, do accounting, and innovate in exchange for tangible goods like cars and ipods.

    Incidentally that was also when the US trade deficit started. I'm sure there's a connection between the two, but I'm not sure what it is. Maybe administrative export isn't measured in a country's trade deficit?
    The problem with wide open borders is that you're unable to excercise control over how things are being manufactured before they enter your borders.

    If you know a country has no child labor laws, then a tarrif against their goods is the only way to keep your own country's manufacturers competitive with them. (other than to repeal your own child labor laws).

    Of course, that does nothing to prevent them from grabbing a larger international market share with their child-made goods, but it protects your own industries' ability to sell to your own people, at least.

    The only market you can guarantee to be available to a domestic company is the one inside your own border. I think that's a power countries should harness and use, rather than just discard. Being unable to excercise total power is no excuse to fail at excercising the marginal power that you still have.

    Also, I think people who talk too much about the benefit of international trade and ignore the effect of it on your degree of domestic control are either unaware of the trade-off (which is very direct), or have an inflated view of the value of trade.

    When people want to explain how international trade is valuable, they almost always use the most extreme example imaginible. (Like Cuba trading steel to France for quality wine, instead of growing its own really bad wine.) I don't think the example really stands up to scrutiny in more marginal cases.

    Mexico importing US grown corn that's only like 10 pesos cheaper a barrel, and putting its own farmers out of business is a fine example of an international trade that has a marginal benefit. You've got attrition of capital going on here, jobs disappearing, farmland going unused, and for what? A very slight decrease in the cost of corn? Mexico cripples its long term ability to produce, ... for that?
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