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Author Topic: A Resource Based Economy  (Read 261163 times)
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June 24, 2013, 09:38:45 PM
 #1501

The USA version of capitalism works this way. No one wants to provide for the needy (even if it may be in their self interest to do so) they have to accumulate as much wealth as they can before the next guy gets it first.

That likely has a lot to do with most people here just struggling to survive paycheck-to-paycheck, bill-to-bill, let along build up capital. Wealthy corporations and individuals give to charity all the time though. Even Wal-Mart.

God, I hope Walmart gives to charity. They're one of the largest abusers of the poor underclass that exists.

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June 24, 2013, 09:48:42 PM
 #1502

In a voluntary exchange--a capitalist exchange--I look out for my own interests, and the other party looks out for theirs. There is no conflict of interest, and if a deal completes it is because both participants feel they will be better off after the deal is done than before, or else the deal does not take place. Thus every transaction in a capitalist system results in more and more benefit to society in general.

I don't see how a voluntary exchange implies that there is no conflict of interest.
If the other party withholds information that would make you change your mind about the deal than that is pretty much direct conflict of interest.
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June 24, 2013, 09:53:34 PM
 #1503

In a voluntary exchange--a capitalist exchange--I look out for my own interests, and the other party looks out for theirs. There is no conflict of interest, and if a deal completes it is because both participants feel they will be better off after the deal is done than before, or else the deal does not take place. Thus every transaction in a capitalist system results in more and more benefit to society in general.

I don't see how a voluntary exchange implies that there is no conflict of interest.
If the other party withholds information that would make you change your mind about the deal than that is pretty much direct conflict of interest.

Bring in a third party that both of the first two parties agree to use, to make sure there are no conflicts of interest such as these, and have both of the first two pay the third one. Everybody wins.

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June 25, 2013, 07:10:53 AM
 #1504

In a voluntary exchange--a capitalist exchange--I look out for my own interests, and the other party looks out for theirs. There is no conflict of interest, and if a deal completes it is because both participants feel they will be better off after the deal is done than before, or else the deal does not take place. Thus every transaction in a capitalist system results in more and more benefit to society in general.

I don't see how a voluntary exchange implies that there is no conflict of interest.
If the other party withholds information that would make you change your mind about the deal than that is pretty much direct conflict of interest.

Bring in a third party that both of the first two parties agree to use, to make sure there are no conflicts of interest such as these, and have both of the first two pay the third one. Everybody wins.
And how will this third party learn the deepest motivations of the other parties to make sure there is no conflict of interest? Vulcan mindmelts?

If i rent a big truck from you, how would you, or a third party, know that i was going to use it to drive straight through your house tonight?
There is just no way to be sure that there is no conflict of interest.
And there is nothing special about a voluntary exchange that forces the parties to act without conflict of interest.


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June 25, 2013, 08:37:16 AM
 #1505

In a voluntary exchange--a capitalist exchange--I look out for my own interests, and the other party looks out for theirs. There is no conflict of interest, and if a deal completes it is because both participants feel they will be better off after the deal is done than before, or else the deal does not take place. Thus every transaction in a capitalist system results in more and more benefit to society in general.

I don't see how a voluntary exchange implies that there is no conflict of interest.
If the other party withholds information that would make you change your mind about the deal than that is pretty much direct conflict of interest.

That's fraud, and both rare and punished. It's not a market action, it's a criminal action.

Democracy is the original 51% attack.
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June 25, 2013, 08:38:42 AM
 #1506

In a voluntary exchange--a capitalist exchange--I look out for my own interests, and the other party looks out for theirs. There is no conflict of interest, and if a deal completes it is because both participants feel they will be better off after the deal is done than before, or else the deal does not take place. Thus every transaction in a capitalist system results in more and more benefit to society in general.

I don't see how a voluntary exchange implies that there is no conflict of interest.
If the other party withholds information that would make you change your mind about the deal than that is pretty much direct conflict of interest.

Bring in a third party that both of the first two parties agree to use, to make sure there are no conflicts of interest such as these, and have both of the first two pay the third one. Everybody wins.
An agent can maybe represent one person's interests legitimately without conflict, but surely not two people, for if their interests diverge he will have to choose one of them. This is why we don't allow one lawyer to represent both sides of a court case and the like.

Democracy is the original 51% attack.
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June 25, 2013, 11:49:52 AM
 #1507

In a voluntary exchange--a capitalist exchange--I look out for my own interests, and the other party looks out for theirs. There is no conflict of interest, and if a deal completes it is because both participants feel they will be better off after the deal is done than before, or else the deal does not take place. Thus every transaction in a capitalist system results in more and more benefit to society in general.

I don't see how a voluntary exchange implies that there is no conflict of interest.
If the other party withholds information that would make you change your mind about the deal than that is pretty much direct conflict of interest.

That's fraud, and both rare and punished. It's not a market action, it's a criminal action.

Of course it is fraud, but it can be frivolously applied to voluntary exchanges. It is neither rare nor can it be punished if not detected.
There is a very large overlap between market action and criminal action.

If by 'voluntary exchange' you mean clean perfect crime-less markets then those don't actually exist on account of some people always trying to screw others over.
In any market you have the chance of finding a dishonest person that has motives that are both negative and unknown to you.
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June 25, 2013, 12:05:15 PM
 #1508

In a voluntary exchange--a capitalist exchange--I look out for my own interests, and the other party looks out for theirs. There is no conflict of interest, and if a deal completes it is because both participants feel they will be better off after the deal is done than before, or else the deal does not take place. Thus every transaction in a capitalist system results in more and more benefit to society in general.

I don't see how a voluntary exchange implies that there is no conflict of interest.
If the other party withholds information that would make you change your mind about the deal than that is pretty much direct conflict of interest.

Bring in a third party that both of the first two parties agree to use, to make sure there are no conflicts of interest such as these, and have both of the first two pay the third one. Everybody wins.
An agent can maybe represent one person's interests legitimately without conflict, but surely not two people, for if their interests diverge he will have to choose one of them. This is why we don't allow one lawyer to represent both sides of a court case and the like.

In that respect you should see the judge as the actual agent resolving the conflict by following a common document of conduct called the law.
The judge represents neither parties and is supposed to be independent.

The problem with this is that it is only possible to show conflict of interest within a small sphere around the case. Without a thorough investigation into the financial and social lifes of the parties no deep assessment can be made about conflict of interest.
So for all intents and purposes you will always be at risk in an exchange. It can be called 'voluntary exhange' and you still have no way of preventing being screwed over.

Fraud/conflict of interest and voluntary exchange are not mutually exclusive.

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June 25, 2013, 12:30:39 PM
 #1509

Very nice and accurate description of each circumstance. So, do you agree with the Zeitgeist Movement that a resource based economy can work?

Yes. But only if the centrally controlling computer is able to know what everyone thinks and wants, know all the resources that exist, can track every single resource through its entire production method, is able to motivate inventors and doers with more stuff, if that's what they want, without upsetting the neighbors who are getting less stuff, and is able to make everyone happy and like itself.

Personally, I can't make everyone like me. Maybe it's possible if I abduct people and drug them, and then make sure they all take drugs from then on to stay complacent and ignorant? Have you seen Equilibrium before?

No, there is no such thing where humans are concerned. Your population would need to cooperate completely and that wouldn't happen. Civilizations failure, regardless of the system in place, is always the human element. Capitalism only works to an extent because it is basically founded in greed which everyone can support.
It's not founded on greed, it's founded on self-interest. There's a difference.


Greed is just self interest not being worked against by environmental factors.

The 'problem' with any organism is that it evolved to be pretty specific to a cerain environment.
We humans have evolved in an environment where there was always too little of everything.
In such a situation blind self interest (greed) works out pretty well. Everyone fights over the limited resources out of instinct and the strongest organism wins.
But put this organism in the field of plenty and it turns out that there is no real limit to this self interest.
The interesting bit is that people exhibit this self interest behaviour even when it undermines their own position. So we can conclude that whatever it is, it is not a rational interest in oneself. It is much more like a redundant instinct designed to perform optimally in the situation like it was 100.000 years ago.
At the same time humans also have group interest behaviour.
And these behaviours are often in conflict. What may be good for a particular individual may not be good for the group, even to the point that the group no loger can support that particular individual. So there is self interest in group interest.
The other way around also works. What may be good for the group may not be good for the individual and that can break up the group. So there is group interest in self interest.

Same thing basically goes for ambition, too.
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June 25, 2013, 04:23:10 PM
 #1510

Bring in a third party that both of the first two parties agree to use, to make sure there are no conflicts of interest such as these, and have both of the first two pay the third one. Everybody wins.
And how will this third party learn the deepest motivations of the other parties to make sure there is no conflict of interest? Vulcan mindmelts?

If i rent a big truck from you, how would you, or a third party, know that i was going to use it to drive straight through your house tonight?
There is just no way to be sure that there is no conflict of interest.
And there is nothing special about a voluntary exchange that forces the parties to act without conflict of interest.

How do courts or arbitration companies learn about motivations of parties they are resolving disputes or setting up trades for now? Vulcan mind melds?

If you were renting a big truck from me, and we used such a party, I would know that you would know that this third party would f*ck you up if you tried something like that. You do know that there are a ton of private exchanges that happen around the world that don't have the luxury of government protection, right? Black market is a large part of our world's economy, and it's surviving just fine. Often with the help of such third parties providing security and trust to those trading.

Of course it is fraud, but it can be frivolously applied to voluntary exchanges. It is neither rare nor can it be punished if not detected.
There is a very large overlap between market action and criminal action.

If by 'voluntary exchange' you mean clean perfect crime-less markets then those don't actually exist on account of some people always trying to screw others over.
In any market you have the chance of finding a dishonest person that has motives that are both negative and unknown to you.

Read the second paragraph here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicilian_Mafia#Protection_rackets

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June 25, 2013, 04:25:33 PM
 #1511

An agent can maybe represent one person's interests legitimately without conflict, but surely not two people, for if their interests diverge he will have to choose one of them. This is why we don't allow one lawyer to represent both sides of a court case and the like.

We have arbitration with arbitrators doing just that. As long as both parties agree to the arbitrator being used, it's not really a problem.

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June 25, 2013, 04:43:20 PM
 #1512

The judge represents neither parties and is supposed to be independent.

The problem with this is that it is only possible to show conflict of interest within a small sphere around the case. Without a thorough investigation into the financial and social lifes of the parties no deep assessment can be made about conflict of interest.
So for all intents and purposes you will always be at risk in an exchange. It can be called 'voluntary exhange' and you still have no way of preventing being screwed over.

Fraud/conflict of interest and voluntary exchange are not mutually exclusive.

What you claim would suggest that it is never possible to have fair exchanges of anything, regardless of whether there is law, government, or anarchy, and that we should either just live within those means and assumptions, or use some other system. So, is your point simply to point out that in all trade, free or government regulated, there will always be fraud (a blanket statement that doesn't actually provide any purpose), or do you know of some system whereby we can exchange goods and services without fraud that no one is aware of yet?

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June 25, 2013, 06:03:10 PM
 #1513

Bring in a third party that both of the first two parties agree to use, to make sure there are no conflicts of interest such as these, and have both of the first two pay the third one. Everybody wins.
And how will this third party learn the deepest motivations of the other parties to make sure there is no conflict of interest? Vulcan mindmelts?

If i rent a big truck from you, how would you, or a third party, know that i was going to use it to drive straight through your house tonight?
There is just no way to be sure that there is no conflict of interest.
And there is nothing special about a voluntary exchange that forces the parties to act without conflict of interest.

How do courts or arbitration companies learn about motivations of parties they are resolving disputes or setting up trades for now? Vulcan mind melds?

If you were renting a big truck from me, and we used such a party, I would know that you would know that this third party would f*ck you up if you tried something like that. You do know that there are a ton of private exchanges that happen around the world that don't have the luxury of government protection, right? Black market is a large part of our world's economy, and it's surviving just fine. Often with the help of such third parties providing security and trust to those trading.
You are absolutely right.
But the problem is that you do not always know what you should have known, even in hindsight.
What i'm trying to say is that a free market based only on voluntary exchages will not automatically exclude scamming or conflicts of interest.
The courts can only go so far and it really depends on the quality of the information available. If no sufficiently incriminating information is found then a judge cannot (or should not) convict you.
And this information problem will be present in any market, free or otherwise.

Quote
Of course it is fraud, but it can be frivolously applied to voluntary exchanges. It is neither rare nor can it be punished if not detected.
There is a very large overlap between market action and criminal action.

If by 'voluntary exchange' you mean clean perfect crime-less markets then those don't actually exist on account of some people always trying to screw others over.
In any market you have the chance of finding a dishonest person that has motives that are both negative and unknown to you.

Read the second paragraph here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicilian_Mafia#Protection_rackets
This second paragraph scetches a situation where the maffia acts as a referee in black markets.
I'm not sure how this relates to this discussion.
Maybe you can elaborate a bit?
The fact that the maffia found this stable niche is evidence that such a problem exists and needs to be dealt with.

It still leaves me thinking what this 'voluntary exchange' is supposed to be, exactly...

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June 25, 2013, 06:03:45 PM
 #1514

An agent can maybe represent one person's interests legitimately without conflict, but surely not two people, for if their interests diverge he will have to choose one of them. This is why we don't allow one lawyer to represent both sides of a court case and the like.

We have arbitration with arbitrators doing just that. As long as both parties agree to the arbitrator being used, it's not really a problem.

But who arbitrates the arbitrators... Cheesy
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June 25, 2013, 06:26:06 PM
 #1515

This second paragraph scetches a situation where the maffia acts as a referee in black markets.
I'm not sure how this relates to this discussion.
Maybe you can elaborate a bit?
The fact that the maffia found this stable niche is evidence that such a problem exists and needs to be dealt with.

It still leaves me thinking what this 'voluntary exchange' is supposed to be, exactly..

It's just an example where all three parties to the exchange got into the exchange voluntarily. They specifically wanted to conduct the exchange in that way. And through this method, the chances of information problems are minimized, if not eliminated.

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June 25, 2013, 08:00:04 PM
 #1516

The judge represents neither parties and is supposed to be independent.

The problem with this is that it is only possible to show conflict of interest within a small sphere around the case. Without a thorough investigation into the financial and social lifes of the parties no deep assessment can be made about conflict of interest.
So for all intents and purposes you will always be at risk in an exchange. It can be called 'voluntary exhange' and you still have no way of preventing being screwed over.

Fraud/conflict of interest and voluntary exchange are not mutually exclusive.

What you claim would suggest that it is never possible to have fair exchanges of anything, regardless of whether there is law, government, or anarchy, and that we should either just live within those means and assumptions, or use some other system. So, is your point simply to point out that in all trade, free or government regulated, there will always be fraud (a blanket statement that doesn't actually provide any purpose), or do you know of some system whereby we can exchange goods and services without fraud that no one is aware of yet?

Well, almost.
You cannot know all circumstances or consequences of a deal in all cases, so you can never guarantee a fair deal.
The more information you have and can process, the better you can be sure you get a good deal.
So certainty about fairness of a single unprotected voluntary exchange only goes so far.

My point is that you can only have relative fairness in society. You cannot have an absolutely fair system, in principle. Fairness is a human construction anyway. There is nothing fair about nature, for instance.
I see this as a big problem for both the resource based economy and a lot of the anarchistic ideas.
On one side, the resource-based-economy people wants to control eveyones resources.
It requires some godly computer running some godly software that makes no errors and has no exploits. It's almost religious if you think about it.
And it requires the current holders of resources to comply and share fairly (or at least, according to the computers demands). I don't see this happening any time soon because it will lead to a conflict around a different opinion of what is fair.

On the other side anarchist capitalists want free uncontrolled market states (preferably floating) and naively assume everyone will trade in a fair way (or else they pull out their guns) and that the market will automagically balance in a fair way.
Free markets, altho efficient, balance towards maximum profit, not towards where there is the most need for a good. This will lead to lots of friction which will lead to conflict. Not a stable substrate to run large societies on.

I find neither of these solutions particulary fair altho both systems were thought up with fairness as a goal.
An optimum fair solution probably lives somewhere between these two extremes of statism and freedom.
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June 25, 2013, 08:10:54 PM
 #1517

This second paragraph scetches a situation where the maffia acts as a referee in black markets.
I'm not sure how this relates to this discussion.
Maybe you can elaborate a bit?
The fact that the maffia found this stable niche is evidence that such a problem exists and needs to be dealt with.

It still leaves me thinking what this 'voluntary exchange' is supposed to be, exactly..

It's just an example where all three parties to the exchange got into the exchange voluntarily. They specifically wanted to conduct the exchange in that way. And through this method, the chances of information problems are minimized, if not eliminated.
This is certainly not true.
I agree that it gives you a sort of first level protection. But what if, for instance, necessity is in play?
Can a deal that includes necessity be voluntary, in principle?
I make a point of it because it was suggested that you can have a civilization based fully on these voluntary exchanges.
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June 25, 2013, 08:59:13 PM
 #1518

On one side, the resource-based-economy people wants to control eveyones resources.
It requires some godly computer running some godly software that makes no errors and has no exploits. It's almost religious if you think about it.
And it requires the current holders of resources to comply and share fairly (or at least, according to the computers demands). I don't see this happening any time soon because it will lead to a conflict around a different opinion of what is fair.

On the other side anarchist capitalists want free uncontrolled market states (preferably floating) and naively assume everyone will trade in a fair way (or else they pull out their guns) and that the market will automagically balance in a fair way.
Free markets, altho efficient, balance towards maximum profit, not towards where there is the most need for a good. This will lead to lots of friction which will lead to conflict. Not a stable substrate to run large societies on.

I agree, fairness is unattainable, but I look at the various systems, including out "somewhere in between" current one, with regards to incentives. I don't believe that a resource-based economy will work, because the incentive is for people to keep what they work on, and to not work on what is "someone else's job." With Resource-based economy, even if the accepted cultural understanding is that everything should be shared, it would take only one nonconformist asshole, be it an artist, inventor, or whatever, who doesn't want to share his creation or information, to throw a wrench into the system. The "someone else's job" problem is just the tragedy of the commons. If no one is maintaining that god computer or those robots that control everything, because it's someone else's job, and that someone else who's job it was quit a long time ago because he got bored, well... Likewise for information sharing with trade. I have no incentive to give information to the big computer, because it's just more work that doesn't make my life any easier. And you have no incentive to check my information, because you got used to trusting that the computer tells you everything.

With the ancap setup, there's no assumption that everyone will trade fairly. The only assumption is that everyone will have an incentive to check and learn about what it is they are trying to trade for, since it's something that will affect them directly. So, while in extreme statist society the expectation is to give up information to others, which goes against incentive, in an ancap society the incentive is to collect information yourself. I think that's really the only major difference between the two trade systems.

As for something in between, to me it just feels like trying to interject the "give up information" anti-incentive and the "tragedy of the commons" problem into the personal responsibility incentive to find out on your own, and calling it "balanced."

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June 25, 2013, 09:37:46 PM
 #1519

But what if, for instance, necessity is in play?
Can a deal that includes necessity be voluntary, in principle?
I make a point of it because it was suggested that you can have a civilization based fully on these voluntary exchanges.

No, obviously not completely. The idea isn't to make a utopia. In any civilization there will still be crime, desperation, and other aberrations that aren't considered "normal" or "ethical."  The only debate I guess is what people consider "ethical" or "fair" or "civilization." As mentioned, I think if you align incentives to match up with what people generally consider fair or just, civilization as a whole would be better off. What we have now has extremely misaligned incentives all over the place, with politicians being bought off, corporations writing their own regulations, bureaucrats enforcing laws for the sake of following rules without questioning if they are just, etc, and it may be easier to simply dismantle the giant house of misaligned incentives (or let it become irrelevant) than to try to fix it, simply because the incentives that keep it the way, many of which are personal wealth and trade related themselves, are too great to overcome.

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June 25, 2013, 11:22:10 PM
 #1520

On one side, the resource-based-economy people wants to control eveyones resources.
It requires some godly computer running some godly software that makes no errors and has no exploits. It's almost religious if you think about it.
And it requires the current holders of resources to comply and share fairly (or at least, according to the computers demands). I don't see this happening any time soon because it will lead to a conflict around a different opinion of what is fair.

On the other side anarchist capitalists want free uncontrolled market states (preferably floating) and naively assume everyone will trade in a fair way (or else they pull out their guns) and that the market will automagically balance in a fair way.
Free markets, altho efficient, balance towards maximum profit, not towards where there is the most need for a good. This will lead to lots of friction which will lead to conflict. Not a stable substrate to run large societies on.

I agree, fairness is unattainable, but I look at the various systems, including out "somewhere in between" current one, with regards to incentives. I don't believe that a resource-based economy will work, because the incentive is for people to keep what they work on, and to not work on what is "someone else's job." With Resource-based economy, even if the accepted cultural understanding is that everything should be shared, it would take only one nonconformist asshole, be it an artist, inventor, or whatever, who doesn't want to share his creation or information, to throw a wrench into the system. The "someone else's job" problem is just the tragedy of the commons. If no one is maintaining that god computer or those robots that control everything, because it's someone else's job, and that someone else who's job it was quit a long time ago because he got bored, well... Likewise for information sharing with trade. I have no incentive to give information to the big computer, because it's just more work that doesn't make my life any easier. And you have no incentive to check my information, because you got used to trusting that the computer tells you everything.

With the ancap setup, there's no assumption that everyone will trade fairly. The only assumption is that everyone will have an incentive to check and learn about what it is they are trying to trade for, since it's something that will affect them directly. So, while in extreme statist society the expectation is to give up information to others, which goes against incentive, in an ancap society the incentive is to collect information yourself. I think that's really the only major difference between the two trade systems.

As for something in between, to me it just feels like trying to interject the "give up information" anti-incentive and the "tragedy of the commons" problem into the personal responsibility incentive to find out on your own, and calling it "balanced."
Yeah, i agree.
I'd like to add that in the ancap situation for me the problem is that people mostly learn from direct experience.  A typical environment has many indirect effects that can nevertheless be essential to the success of a system. Some of these effects are even emergent and are difficult to control. I think that an ancap society would be too short sighted to stabilize its population on a larger scale and deal with all the problems the world throws at it.
To achieve this you will, in the end, need institutions that somehow dictate some behaviour so the system can become organized as a whole more effectively. In that respect i understand the need for a computer in the role of the benevolent dictator in resource based economy. It acknowledges the need for becoming organized on this scale and tries to offer as fair a solution as possible.
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