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Author Topic: Did the cryptography revolution begin too late?  (Read 10180 times)
grondilu
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January 16, 2011, 03:20:38 AM
 #61


Anyway I doubt something like bitcoin could have come sooner.

It needed the financial crisis to happen.  I'm personnaly convinced that Satoshi wrote his code after the "Too big to fail" thing.

And if not, at least IMO many of bitcoin early adopters came into being interested in it after having been disgusted by financial bail-outs.
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gene
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January 16, 2011, 08:39:31 AM
 #62

I'm personnaly convinced that Satoshi wrote his code after the "Too big to fail" thing.

You could always ask him.

Shooting someone in the face and denying them a means to earn food lead to the same predicable outcome: death. If they only way to earn food is by working in a sweatshop, I think one could demonstrate that the situation is coercive. In my estimation (and I would wager - the estimation of most), this is criminal.

I was going to stay out of this thread, but statements like this really have to be answered.  Let's conduct a thought experiment.  There exists an impoverished, third-world village where most of the inhabitants don't get enough to eat.  If nobody from the outside does anything, conditions in the village will likely remain the same for generations.  A businessman comes along and builds a factory on previously-unused land and offers jobs to those who wish to work there.  Everything about the working conditions and wages is disclosed beforehand.  Each villager has the option of continuing to scrounge/trade for food in the same way they have for generations or work at the factory.  Some choose to work at the factory and decide that it is better than the old way of surviving, even though the hours are long and the conditions less favorable than in the industrialized countries.  How is this coercive or criminal?

Do you realize that these are exactly the same arguments of any CEO of any multi-national? I am sure that they believe the arguments, but the thought experiment collapses immediately upon inspection of its presuppositions.

It may prove instructive to ask why the village is destitute. Or why cities are crowded with miserably poor and desperate people - people who, conveniently for the businessman, make really good employees because they don't have any choices (what was that about free trade?). Typically, the whys aren't accidents. They are deliberately planned and executed acts of centralized power and capital - acts with easily predictable (indeed, predicted) outcomes.

The idea that your hypothetical company just happens to come in and help the poor masses by offering them sweat shops and fascist dictatorships (you neglected to mention that corresponding aspect) is morally offensive to many, especially when considering all the requisite conditions which are systematically designed and implemented.

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ribuck
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January 16, 2011, 09:29:11 AM
 #63

It may prove instructive to ask why the village is destitute. Or why cities are crowded with miserably poor and desperate people - people who, conveniently for the businessman, make really good employees because they don't have any choices...

Indeed, that is why anarchy would work so well for poorer people. Most of the destitute people in the village are creative, resourceful, hard-working people. But in a statist society they compete against corporations who can retain profits while externalising many risks (that's what a state-protected corporation is, in essence).

In the absence of state coercion, the people in the village would have much more opportunity to benefit from self-organization and bottom-up growth, and the village would flourish. You don't need a large organization to perform agriculture, services, or most kinds of manufacturing. Sure, a factory is capital-intensive, but that doesn't mean it needs a corporation. Instead, it can be the coming-together of a number of individuals or smaller autonomous organizations, one of whom does one subtask: owns and leases the building, owns and leases various pieces of machinery, supplies and drives a truck, etc.

Only the very largest of projects (designing and building a new kind of airliner, for example), need more than this, and those industries will of course only exist in heavily-populated areas with high levels of education etc.
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January 16, 2011, 09:53:51 AM
 #64

Indeed, that is why anarchy would work so well for poorer people. Most of the destitute people in the village are creative, resourceful, hard-working people. But in a statist society they compete against corporations who can retain profits while externalising many risks (that's what a state-protected corporation is, in essence).

Large companies can become (have become) virtually indistinguishable from states. They represent centers of capital and, by extension, power.

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In the absence of state coercion, the people in the village would have much more opportunity to benefit from self-organization and bottom-up growth, and the village would flourish.

Perhaps. Or perhaps a large corporation would impose its own forms for coercion. State vs private: they look the same from the end of a barrel.

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You don't need a large organization to perform agriculture, services, or most kinds of manufacturing. Sure, a factory is capital-intensive, but that doesn't mean it needs a corporation.

I agree. Cooperatives run via democratic principles can and have achieved success. However, don't expect concentrated power to let this go unchecked. Democracy is the most powerful threat to centralized power that we know of.

Quote
Instead, it can be the coming-together of a number of individuals or smaller autonomous organizations, one of whom does one subtask: owns and leases the building, owns and leases various pieces of machinery, supplies and drives a truck, etc.

And what happens when, say, the truck owners decide they want something and decide to stop running their trucks? Or any other economically important property?

Quote
Only the very largest of projects (designing and building a new kind of airliner, for example), need more than this, and those industries will of course only exist in heavily-populated areas with high levels of education etc.

... they will only exist in the presence of concentrated capital. In early US history, this need was recognized. This was the role of the corporation. One difference between those corporations and modern corporations is that as soon as its charter was satisfied (bridge built or river dammed) the corporation would be dissolved. Now, corporations have all the rights of people (and more, actually) and can live forever.

The state can take those rights away. In the absence of a democratically appointed authority, a corporation will never impose checks on itself. It becomes a total tyranny, absolutely devoid of any accountability besides the threat of popular revolt, to be kept in check by force.

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January 16, 2011, 12:08:13 PM
 #65


Large companies can become (have become) virtually indistinguishable from states. They represent centers of capital and, by extension, power.

Colors are not indistinguishable because you are colorblind. I can tell the difference easily.

If some corporation has a problem with me, they don't give me things anymore, and I don't give them money anymore. If some government has a problem with me they put me in a cage and try to kill me if I resist.

You are absolutely right to look at why people's best option is to accept a shit job from a corporation. And the answer is always a government. People leave bad conditions if there aren't laws and borders preventing them. People want to make their lives better and will if they aren't threatened with prison and death.

I'm not saying that corporations are blameless, but when they do evil the tool they use is government.

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January 16, 2011, 12:44:24 PM
 #66


Large companies can become (have become) virtually indistinguishable from states. They represent centers of capital and, by extension, power.

If some corporation has a problem with me, they don't give me things anymore, and I don't give them money anymore. If some government has a problem with me they put me in a cage and try to kill me if I resist.

Actually, that is no longer true. Large corporations have become so powerful, they can kill you if they don't like you, and they get away with it:
http://killercoke.org/

For now this usually happens in small third world countries, where law is weak and governments are corrupt. But it won't be like this forever. Also, you should probably watch/play some Resident Evil.

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January 16, 2011, 01:36:06 PM
 #67


Large companies can become (have become) virtually indistinguishable from states. They represent centers of capital and, by extension, power.

If some corporation has a problem with me, they don't give me things anymore, and I don't give them money anymore. If some government has a problem with me they put me in a cage and try to kill me if I resist.

Actually, that is no longer true. Large corporations have become so powerful, they can kill you if they don't like you, and they get away with it:
http://killercoke.org/

For now this usually happens in small third world countries, where law is weak and governments are corrupt. But it won't be like this forever. Also, you should probably watch/play some Resident Evil.

Sure, I shouldn't speak in absolutes like I did.

I completely know that individuals and corporations (well, individuals using the cover of corporations) hurt people all the time. But for anything truly systemic, enormous and awful government (well, individuals using the cover of governments) have to be involved.

I have little doubt coke has killed many people. Maybe 10 or 100 or 1000. But I know for sure that my government has killed 1000s of 1000s and imprisons right now a similarly huge number. They do it in the open, they tell everyone, they are proud of their wars on people.

Government is not the only problem, but it is so much bigger than every other problem combined that I just don't care about the other ones right now.

You can hide a few dozen murders, but since you can't hid a few million you have to train people to ignore that reality. It's massive, it's right in front of us.


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ribuck
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January 16, 2011, 02:11:01 PM
 #68

Democracy is the most powerful threat to centralized power that we know of.
Democracy is centralized power, so it can't possibly be a threat to centralized power. That's like saying that democratic control of the Fed would be a threat to centralized banking.

And what happens when, say, the truck owners decide they want something and decide to stop running their trucks?
Oh, come on. If the co-operative needs the truck owners more than they need the co-op, the co-operative will give in to some of the truck drivers' demands. If the truck drivers need the co-op more than the co-op needs them, either the co-op will find someone else to drive the trucks, or the truck drivers will come crawling back asking for work again. In this way, a stable equilibrium will soon be reached. In a non-coercive society, everyone benefits from co-operation and negotiation and a show of strength is rarely needed.
gene
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January 16, 2011, 04:22:50 PM
 #69

Quote
I have little doubt coke has killed many people. Maybe 10 or 100 or 1000. But I know for sure that my government has killed 1000s of 1000s and imprisons right now a similarly huge number. They do it in the open, they tell everyone, they are proud of their wars on people.

Just who do you think benefits from wars?

Quote
I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

-Major Gen. Smedley Butler, US Marines


Quote
Government is not the only problem, but it is so much bigger than every other problem combined that I just don't care about the other ones right now.

"The biggest trick the devil played was convincing the world that he didn't exist."

Quote
You can hide a few dozen murders, but since you can't hid a few million you have to train people to ignore that reality. It's massive, it's right in front of us.

The thin, peeling veneer of government over private power serves a few purposes. It convinces people that government (in which they may at least have some nominal participation and ability to change) is far worse than a system of private control over which they have no control whatsoever. It also convinces people that democracy is evil or a path toward centralized power, which is exactly where private control over all capital consistently leads.


An example, as if I had planned it:

Quote
Democracy is centralized power, so it can't possibly be a threat to centralized power. That's like saying that democratic control of the Fed would be a threat to centralized banking.

War is peace, black is white and up is down. It is impossible to discuss these issues when the terms of the discussion have no meaning. Let's establish a point of reference:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/democracy
Quote
Definition of DEMOCRACY
1
a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
2
: a political unit that has a democratic government
3
capitalized : the principles and policies of the Democratic party in the United States <from emancipation Republicanism to New Deal Democracy — C. M. Roberts>
4
: the common people especially when constituting the source of political authority
5
: the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges

Quote
Oh, come on. If the co-operative needs the truck owners more than they need the co-op, the co-operative will give in to some of the truck drivers' demands. If the truck drivers need the co-op more than the co-op needs them, either the co-op will find someone else to drive the trucks, or the truck drivers will come crawling back asking for work again. In this way, a stable equilibrium will soon be reached. In a non-coercive society, everyone benefits from co-operation and negotiation and a show of strength is rarely needed.

Sure, but this example generalizes. Consider the limiting case of private control over unique (no substitutes exist) and critical resources. The demands can literally be anything. This is the definition of coercion. "You want access to clean water? How much are you willing to pay?"

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January 16, 2011, 04:55:02 PM
 #70

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Sure, but this example generalizes. Consider the limiting case of private control over unique (no substitutes exist) and critical resources. The demands can literally be anything. This is the definition of coercion. "You want access to clean water? How much are you willing to pay?"

All these scarce resources have to be rationed, anyhow.

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It also convinces people that democracy is evil or a path toward centralized power, which is exactly where private control over all capital consistently leads.

All governments are centralized power. Democracy is a kind of evil you prefer.

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January 16, 2011, 05:11:28 PM
 #71

The idea that your hypothetical company just happens to come in and help the poor masses by offering them sweat shops and fascist dictatorships (you neglected to mention that corresponding aspect) is morally offensive to many, especially when considering all the requisite conditions which are systematically designed and implemented.

I never said anything about a fascist dictatorship.  That's something you added.  Corporations are fictitious entities, creations of the state.  So yeah, I'm in agreement with you that there shouldn't be a government behind which businesses can hide.

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January 16, 2011, 07:45:04 PM
 #72

Just who do you think benefits from wars?

Quote
I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

-Major Gen. Smedley Butler, US Marines

Interestingly, Smedley Butler is widely quoted by us anti-statists as an argument for precisely why we shouldn't have a state.  The State is used by private interests to advance their private goals at the expense of the rest of society.

I'm curious, gene.  If you are so much opposed to private control over money, then why are you supporting bitcoin?

"We will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.

Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks, but pure P2P networks are holding their own."
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January 16, 2011, 08:13:02 PM
 #73


I'm curious, gene.  If you are so much opposed to private control over money, then why are you supporting bitcoin?

Bitcoin also make it easy for people to accumulate wealth!

I think Satoshi is like, the richest bitcoiner on earth.

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January 17, 2011, 02:33:31 AM
 #74

Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on whats for dinner .

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January 17, 2011, 05:10:54 AM
 #75


I think Satoshi is like, the richest bitcoiner on earth.

I doubt that, really.  There are a number of early forum members who seem to have had substantial resources before jumping into this, who likely had a better ability to generate than a single, presumedly middle class, programmer.  ArtForz likely had greater wealth overall, both outside and inside of Bitcoin.  I can't imagine that it's terribly likely that Satoshi has personally dedicated more than a few cpu's to generation.  Assuming that ArtForz's claims with regard to his own generating capacity are remotely accurate, which has more or less been verified by at least one other forum member; it is very unlikely that Satoshi is even in the top five.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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January 17, 2011, 05:51:37 AM
 #76

Gene, you're absolutely correct, defenseless stateless populations would pretty obviously be subject to aggression by private powers.  It should be noted, however, that if a private power relies on maintaining a good reputation in order to preserve its customer base, then this imposes an added cost of messing with the defenseless stateless populations.

Unfortunately this disincentive is not sufficient to deter attacks in all cases, since the customer base may be either
1) too uninformed or apathetic
2) other private powers whose customer bases are too uninformed or apathetic
3) governments whose citizens are either uninformed, apathetic, or just not powerful enough to keep their governments accountable

For all of these things, solidarity is indeed very important (most important in the long run, IMO); stateless people needs to organize effective PR campaigns.  They should take lessons from the Israelis here.  Wink

More important in today's world with today's human population, however, is actual muscle; stateless defense needs to be organized in such a way that overcomes the free rider problem enough to deter attacks.  Here's one possible solution: http://www.youtube.com/user/fringeelements#p/u/2/ylXAhyDZhZ4.  Long video, but most honest presentation on the subject I've heard so far.

I'll criticize ancaps for sometimes not recognizing the fact that all systems of property rights are involuntary to those that don't agree with them.  Also, sure they're useful from an economic efficiency standpoint, but the reason they emerge when they do is to prevent or mitigate disputes.  So it's a total violation of the natural order to try to impose systems of property rights from the top down.  (I'm looking at Natural Rights adherents and Objectivists here - refuting their moral theories is the topic for another tl;dr.)

That being said, I would prefer to live in a society that respects the private ownership of capital based on its apparent economic efficiency.  I would say that private powers in this society only become really problematic when they are unchecked, and the biggest factors in their ability to become unchecked are the existence of monopolistic law making institutions that have vast ideological support, called states, from which they can buy blindly-enforced laws cheaply, and also the degree to which people are "disarmed" - in various senses - by these states, and left unwilling or unable to create actual effective checks on private powers in an emergent, bottom-up, resilient fashion.  I think it is possible for a stateless society to defend itself from aggressive private powers, and I think solidarity based on a common set of values is extremely beneficial for the provision of this defense, as well as any otherwise unsupplied public goods.

I hope this helps to produce some understanding or agreement.  Or maybe I've just made enemies on both sides.  Tongue
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January 17, 2011, 05:55:23 AM
 #77

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I have little doubt coke has killed many people. Maybe 10 or 100 or 1000. But I know for sure that my government has killed 1000s of 1000s and imprisons right now a similarly huge number. They do it in the open, they tell everyone, they are proud of their wars on people.

Just who do you think benefits from wars?

Individuals in corporations. They see that people acquiesce to government violence so they pay individuals in government to do it. No corporation could sell anything after they killed a million people. The cost of hiding murders is so great that it has to be outsourced to a government (who is doing it in the open!) to happen on any but the smallest scale.  

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January 18, 2011, 02:25:33 AM
 #78

I want to clarify, I have no love for any corporation that makes deals with government, which happens to be all of them afaik.

You can think of my position as wishing to disarm corporations of their weapon, the government. So they can focus on the good they do, which is bringing me and my family things. And without government any that don't satisfy needs will simply fade away.

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January 18, 2011, 04:25:26 AM
 #79

I want to clarify, I have no love for any corporation that makes deals with government, which happens to be all of them afaik.

You can think of my position as wishing to disarm corporations of their weapon, the government. So they can focus on the good they do, which is bringing me and my family things. And without government any that don't satisfy needs will simply fade away.
But without government how do corporations play nice with scarce resources like electromagnetic spectrum, the environment, fisheries, etc.?

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January 18, 2011, 04:37:26 AM
 #80

I want to clarify, I have no love for any corporation that makes deals with government, which happens to be all of them afaik.

You can think of my position as wishing to disarm corporations of their weapon, the government. So they can focus on the good they do, which is bringing me and my family things. And without government any that don't satisfy needs will simply fade away.
But without government how do corporations play nice with scarce resources like electromagnetic spectrum, the environment, fisheries, etc.?

This is as general a question as "How will people resolve conflicts and make the world better?". It's a really really hard question to answer and anyone trying is doing it wrong. Every specific little issue is hard, it will best be answered by the people who know about it and care about making it work or making it better. All I'm saying is that force is not the answer to any of these problems. I don't have one millionth the hubris required to give a blanket solution to all the problems humans face now and in the future. The people with the armies police and nukes unfortunately seem to have unlimited hubris.

And don't forget that the current situation is that we do have governments and the corporations are not playing nice. The solution of "Corporations get to use the airwaves and if I try I get hurt" is not playing nice. Neither is "This guy can have a farm that leaks waste because he paid us and if you have a farm that doesn't pollute I'm going to put you in jail".

So it isn't like these problems have been solved and I'm talking about unsolving them. I'm suggesting that we start looking for real solutions instead of the psudo-solution of "Put 2 million people in prison and threaten everyone else over and over with 100000 laws"

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