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Author Topic: A Resource Based Economy  (Read 261150 times)
MaxwellsDemon
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November 12, 2013, 12:54:16 AM
 #1621

Interesting ideas, but also lots of assumptions and some of the anecdotal evidence seems to go against what you're saying.

E.g.: childbearing seems to be the lowest per person in areas with a well developed market system, like European countries or the English-speaking West. Why? More anecdotal evidence suggests fear: people are simply afraid that they can't afford a family, and the solo child is usually an accident.

Free market dogma also promotes costly private education that can only afforded by a minority of successful business savvy couples. And the same applies to private health-care. Meanwhile, the system is gamed by bankers, brokers, and other profit-seeking middlemen who profit by putting themselves in between the resources and the consumers of those resources, and artificially restricting access. If the ongoing feedback from the population isn't strong enough, such a system can trend towards Fascism, as seems to be happening in the US. How is that not "tyranny of the free market"?

I don't agree with any of this, particularly the underlying assumption that the US is a free market, but I won't even go into it because it's besides the point. None of what you're saying contradicts what I said. The Malthusian principle is not an "idea" or an "assumption" but a recognised and widely applied scientific principle. Populations always grow right up to the point when they can't grow anymore. Therefore, resources can never be over-abundant unless the population size is artificially reduced.

I'll reiterate:
-The wealthiest, "least authoritarian" economies somehow have the least ability to grow their populations.
-Developing countries, i.e.: the ones with less resources and more authoritarian governments, end up making more babies.

How is that possible unless there was either something you missed or something wrong with the theory? It seems Earth's population has been running up against hard limits ever since Capitalists figured out ways to profit from war.

Besides, why isn't Norway's oil wealth resulting in a population boom? Don't tell me it's because of their oppressive socialist policies that discourage families. That's why I'm suggesting that maybe exposing critical services like education and health to the amoral ruthlessness of "market forces" is actually more tyrannical than a forthright government that steps in and provides those things as public services.

There is no doubt that richer and more educated people have less children. That's a well-known sociological fact, and so it is not surprising that richer countries have lower population growth rates.
But global population growth isn't stopping. People figured out ways to profit from war thousands of years ago, and Earth's population isn't running up against any hard limits quite yet. A certain percentage of the world's population is always near starvation, then agricultural technology advances, allowing more people to be fed, and then the population grows accordingly so that roughly the same percentage is near starvation.

Are you saying that if resources were over-abundant (essentially, if everyone was arbitrarily rich), people would have less children? Perhaps, but I doubt it. A considerable percentage of the world's population would have even more children. You yourself said that the main reason people have less children in developed market economies is fear that they will not be able to afford a family. If resources were abundant, there would be no such fears and anyone could have an arbitrarily large family.
I would add another piece of anecdotal evidence: highly educated people in rich countries tend to be more focused on career rather than family. They delay having children to an older age, so as not to interfere with career development, and then end up with few or no children. This will also disappear in a utopian technological over-abundant society - people would essentially have nothing better to do than start a family.

Either way, in the long run, there are only two possibilities: either people choose not to have children and the human race will eventually go extinct, or (much more plausibly, as I said above) population will grow to the point where resources are no longer over-abundant.
The third possibility, that population size will remain constant, seems impossible in the long run. It requires that the global average number of children per couple will remain exactly 2 forever, and there is absolutely no reason for this to be exactly so (unless central planning is involved).


As for exposing critical services to market forces, that's a completely different debate...

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grondilu
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November 12, 2013, 01:08:58 AM
 #1622

Are you saying that if resources were over-abundant (essentially, if everyone was arbitrarily rich), people would have less children? Perhaps, but I doubt it. A considerable percentage of the world's population would have even more children. You yourself said that the main reason people have less children in developed market economies is fear that they will not be able to afford a family. If resources were abundant, there would be no such fears and anyone could have an arbitrarily large family.

Demographs do study all this, and their conclusions differ from yours.   It's not just fear that prevents people from having large family.  To some extend, it might even be inverse.   Fortunately it is not necessary to try to guess why people chose to have many or few children.   You can do statistics, and infer demographic projections.   And several of those tend to predict a stagnation of human population during this century, followed by a possible decline.

http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Excel-Data/population.htm
http://phys.org/news/2013-04-world-populations.html
MaxwellsDemon
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November 12, 2013, 01:14:18 AM
 #1623

The Malthusian principle is not an "idea" or an "assumption" but a recognised and widely applied scientific principle. Populations always grow right up to the point when they can't grow anymore.

Go tell this to German, Russian and Japanese people.   The lack of resources is not the only way a population can stop growing.  As a matter of fact, populations in developed countries tend to decline not because of a lack of resources, but because of a tendency women have not to have more than 2 children, thus being unable to renew generations (in order to renew the population, women must have statistically at least one daughter, which means at least two children).

The Malthusian model of population dynamics is overly simplified, and does not fit well in current demographics and reproductive behavior.

You're absolutely right - the Malthusian model fits terribly with current demographic and behavioural patterns.
But that's only because we're not defining 'population' and 'resources' properly.
In an interconnected world, countries are just local population pockets, not distinct populations. The same goes for resources. Economics has proven time and again that rich people can't be rich unless there are lots of poorer people working for them, and rich countries can't exist without exploiting poorer countries.
The Japanese have a negative population growth rate and a very high standard of living (two things which are highly correlated). But they wouldn't be able to live this way without using the services of people in other countries with a lower standard of living and a higher population growth rate. So the only way to look at this properly is the global way. And globally, Malthus still works - population is ultimately limited by resources.
Some people in the world are rich, some are poor. Some have more children and some have less. A certain percentage is always on the brink of starvation. As the global economy grows, as more resources become available, as improved agriculture feeds more people, population continues to grow. But the differences between rich and poor remain. The percentage that's on the brink of starvation remains.
If you try to make everyone rich, I have no idea what will happen in the short run, but in the long run things will return to equilibrium with a bigger population and the same old income gaps.

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MaxwellsDemon
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November 12, 2013, 01:21:36 AM
 #1624

Are you saying that if resources were over-abundant (essentially, if everyone was arbitrarily rich), people would have less children? Perhaps, but I doubt it. A considerable percentage of the world's population would have even more children. You yourself said that the main reason people have less children in developed market economies is fear that they will not be able to afford a family. If resources were abundant, there would be no such fears and anyone could have an arbitrarily large family.

Demographs do study all this, and their conclusions differ from yours.   It's not just fear that prevents people from having large family.  To some extend, it might even be inverse.   Fortunately it is not necessary to try to guess why people chose to have many or few children.   You can do statistics, and infer demographic projections.   And several of those tend to predict a stagnation of human population during this century, followed by a possible decline.

http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Excel-Data/population.htm
http://phys.org/news/2013-04-world-populations.html

I'm not an expert on current demographics, but I know that population growth rates have indeed been declining for some years and projections have them going down further. Of course the projections are totally speculative but let's not even get into that. The point is, why is this happening? I think it's quite clear this decline stems from the fact that technology is no longer capable of extending available resources indefinitely. There's just so many calories you can grow on an acre of agricultural land, and while this number has been increasing for thousands of years and is still increasing today, it's increasing at a lower rate. Eventually, the world simply won't be able to support a bigger population.

All of this is perfectly Malthusian.

Will the population really start to decline when we reach the maximum? I doubt it.

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November 12, 2013, 01:25:58 AM
 #1625

The point is, why is this happening? I think it's quite clear this decline stems from the fact that technology is no longer capable of extending available resources indefinitely.

Well, I disagree.  I think the main reasons are modern contraception and women rights.   Those things did not exist at Malthus time, so no wonder he could not include them in his population model which basically postulated that we reproduce like rabbits.
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November 12, 2013, 01:38:29 AM
 #1626

The point is, why is this happening? I think it's quite clear this decline stems from the fact that technology is no longer capable of extending available resources indefinitely.

Well, I disagree.  I think the main reasons are modern contraception and women rights.   Those things did not exist at Malthus time, so no wonder he could not include them in his population model which basically postulated that we reproduce like rabbits.

Of course, contraception and women's rights are very important factors... But again, they only exist in rich countries. These countries would never have contraception and women's rights without economically relying on countries with larger populations that have much higher growth rates. Globally, I think it averages out.


By the way, looking at the links you have presented just strengthens my opinion on demographic projections. These models are based only on extrapolation of past growth rates. Economics never enter into it.
Of course if you look at declining growth rates and extrapolate forward, eventually you will reach negative growth rates... Heck, if you keep extrapolating you'd eventually reach negative population size Smiley
From the point of view of economics and ecology, there is a very good reason to assume a declining growth rate, but absolutely no reason to assume population shrinkage once the maximum supportable population size is reached. As we've known since the time of Malthus, the best fit for population size is still the logistic function, and I have yet to see any conclusive evidence to dispute this.


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November 12, 2013, 01:49:13 AM
 #1627

Of course, contraception and women's rights are very important factors... But again, they only exist in rich countries. These countries would never have contraception and women's rights without economically relying on countries with larger populations that have much higher growth rates. Globally, I think it averages out.

Well, some demographs have made comprehensive studies about that, studying the trend on the fertility rates in developing countries, and they made a different conclusion from yours.   They tend to observe that the reproductive behavior of developped countries is being followed by developping countries.

I rred this here few years ago.



You can have an opinion by saying 'Globally, I think it averages out", but I'd rather believe those guys who have academic formation and made a several years study about the subject.

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As we've known since the time of Malthus, the best fit for population size is still the logistic function, and I have yet to see any conclusive evidence to dispute this.



Well, there are countries already where the rate of natural increase is negative, the most famous one being Japan, but also Germany and Russia, IIRC.

The truth is that nobody knows what happens exactly after a demographic transition.   You seem to think that the population stabilizes, but it can also crash, if women chose not to have more than two children, as it seems to happen currently in Japan.   There are very serious demographs who even fear a global demographic crash sometimes called the demographic winter.   Anyway, it really seems to depend much more on our reproductive behavior than on our ability to extract resources.
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November 12, 2013, 06:13:37 AM
 #1628

And the transhumanists who seem to believe (without any evidence) that computers will one day come to life, ARE NOT HELPING. All this 'singularity' bulls* is just sci-fan bulls*.

Here's some bulls* http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/12/tech/human-brain-computer/index.html

(Basic rat level bulls* was accomplished a couple of years ago, apparently)

Your link does not provide any evidence for machines coming to life.

Depends on what you mean by life. Did you mean capable of reproducing? Shouldn't be too hard. Or did you mean capable of cognition and simulating the brain? The link points to our progress with that.

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November 12, 2013, 07:49:14 AM
 #1629

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eb4w6cKja4c

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November 12, 2013, 12:27:56 PM
 #1630

The US is the ultimate expression of a free market. The dominant market participants have created and empowered a government to protect it's profits and interests

Indeed.

The question is what to do about it.  There are two main approaches.

One approach is for government to enslave everybody to prevent them from being enslaved by the evil corporations.  This is your approach, and since it has already killed hundreds of millions of people across the globe over the last century or so, it is not something that will ever gain much traction here.

The other approach is to shrink government until it no longer has the power to cause much harm.  The US was actually born from this method, and God willing, it will be reborn in this way.

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November 12, 2013, 12:58:45 PM
 #1631

One approach is for government to enslave everybody to prevent them from being enslaved by the evil corporations.  This is your approach, and since it has already killed hundreds of millions of people across the globe over the last century or so

Yep, and it still does:

SEOUL – North Korea publicly executed around 80 people earlier this month, many for watching smuggled South Korean TV shows
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November 12, 2013, 01:01:16 PM
 #1632

The US is the ultimate expression of a free market. The dominant market participants have created and empowered a government to protect it's profits and interests against the population's desire for peace and mutual prosperity. If you don't understand how this is the case, then you don't understand your own dogma.

What you call a "free market" I call corporatism. This is absolutely not what most people here arguing against you mean by the free market or capitalism. The US is an extremely hampered market, stricken with reams and reams of regulations. Look at 1800s US and maybe we can talk.
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November 12, 2013, 01:17:52 PM
 #1633

Question:

How is everyone here defining the word "scarce"?

Especially LightRider.
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November 12, 2013, 03:13:44 PM
 #1634


There is an interesting trend that I noticed in this video, whic applies to the Resource Based idea, too, and hints at a general "brainwashing" of all the groups mentioned, whereby they can't even consider an alternative due to being raised in a specific mindset (which is somewhat ironic, considering ZGM proponents claim that capitalists are brainwashed for the same reason). The different systems proposed by Eric and ZGM proponents are:

1) Primitive > Slave > Feudalism > Capitalism > Socialism > Communism (at least if we consider Soviet style)
2) Primitive > Slave > Feudalism > Capitalism > Individual Sovereignty > Everyone Votes (Democracy)
3) Primitive > Slave > Feudalism > Capitalism > Socialism > Communism > Centrally Planned Merit-based Government
4) Primitive > Slave > Feudalism > Capitalism > Socialism > Centrally Planned Resource Based

Note that every single one of these has one thing in common: Someone, or some entity, is in control deciding things for everyone else.

What struck me about Eric Li's speech was that he listed the stages off one by one, got to the bolded part with "individual sovereignty," and then suddenly took a sharp turn and veered off a cliff in the red part with "everyone voting in a democracy." The two are not the same thing, since the latter is essentially giving up your sovereignty, and decising whom you want to subjugate yourself to. I realized that Eric, and the Resource Based proponents here, all have the same mental block: they can't imagine anything beyond the idea that people will need to be controlled by someone, as if people always subjugating themselves to someone or something is the only way things can be, and thus they don't even think of or consider alternatives.
Eric should have said:

Primitive > Slave > Feudalism > Capitalism > Individual Sovereignty

and stopped right there, since that is where we are headed. As we are able to provide our own communications (post office replaced by e-mail), security (guns, home security systems, private security/investigators), travel (cheaper flight replacing highways, telepresence replacing need for travel), manufacturing (3d printing), law (arbitration and digital contracts), and now finance (bitcoin), the role of the single all-ruling body that is the government is slowly diminishing. We are literally approaching the state of Individual Sovereignty, where each individual is capable of weilding the powers of control and production for themselves that used to be reserved for entire countries. While at the same time, we still have people fighting over who should have control over whom, and in what configuration.
In the list of systems above, 1 through 3 all have individual sovereignty, brought on with the help of technology, as the final outcome. Though I think #4 may be impossible to achieve in the first place, the only outcome I can think of for 4 is war between humans trying to achieve individual sovereignty, and the machine that is programmed to think that it MUST continue to subjugate and control all people at any cost, in order to "save" them.

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November 12, 2013, 05:14:48 PM
 #1635


There is an interesting trend that I noticed in this video, whic applies to the Resource Based idea, too, and hints at a general "brainwashing" of all the groups mentioned, whereby they can't even consider an alternative due to being raised in a specific mindset (which is somewhat ironic, considering ZGM proponents claim that capitalists are brainwashed for the same reason). The different systems proposed by Eric and ZGM proponents are:

1) Primitive > Slave > Feudalism > Capitalism > Socialism > Communism (at least if we consider Soviet style)
2) Primitive > Slave > Feudalism > Capitalism > Individual Sovereignty > Everyone Votes (Democracy)
3) Primitive > Slave > Feudalism > Capitalism > Socialism > Communism > Centrally Planned Merit-based Government
4) Primitive > Slave > Feudalism > Capitalism > Socialism > Centrally Planned Resource Based

Note that every single one of these has one thing in common: Someone, or some entity, is in control deciding things for everyone else
So who's forcing you to pick a story and believe in it before it becomes the established order? You forgot:

5) Don't believe in any of the stories. Just work with what you've got and try to make it better.

That's what I think Eric Li was trying to get across. He seemed to be advocating a kind of "rational conservatism" by implying that it's better to work on improving whatever system you have, rather than throw it out and replace it with somebody else's better sounding story. Revolutions tend to be bloody for some, and profitable for armchair manipulators behind the scenes. And believing in the Anarchist story does not give you a free pass because it's just another story full of plot holes.

Story = synonym for 'ideology'.

Quote
What struck me about Eric Li's speech was that he listed the stages off one by one, got to the bolded part with "individual sovereignty," and then suddenly took a sharp turn and veered off a cliff in the red part with "everyone voting in a democracy." The two are not the same thing, since the latter is essentially giving up your sovereignty, and decising whom you want to subjugate yourself to. I realized that Eric, and the Resource Based proponents here, all have the same mental block: they can't imagine anything beyond...

Pot kettle black?
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November 12, 2013, 08:12:12 PM
 #1636

So who's forcing you to pick a story and believe in it before it becomes the established order? You forgot:

5) Don't believe in any of the stories. Just work with what you've got and try to make it better.

It's not about picking, it's about forecasting and projecting based on current trends. The overall trend has been more individual empowerment through increasingly decentralized technology. I don't think things like file sharing, 3D printing, decentralized law, and decentralized finance can lead to a centralized power.

Quote
That's what I think Eric Li was trying to get across. He seemed to be advocating a kind of "rational conservatism" by implying that it's better to work on improving whatever system you have, rather than throw it out and replace it with somebody else's better sounding story. Revolutions tend to be bloody for some, and profitable for armchair manipulators behind the scenes. And believing in the Anarchist story does not give you a free pass because it's just another story full of plot holes.

Radical anarchists may be advocating throwing it out and replacing it, but that's not necessary. It's much easier to simply withdraw, ignore, and change things in small steps by simply making it impossible for the system we have to continue to exist. Whether that means ignoring copyright laws with filesharing, gun control laws with 3D printing, drug laws with Silk Road, and finance and tax laws with bitcoin. Centralized power requires financial and popular support, and decentralization is undermining both the popular, and soon the financial.

Quote
Quote
What struck me about Eric Li's speech was that he listed the stages off one by one, got to the bolded part with "individual sovereignty," and then suddenly took a sharp turn and veered off a cliff in the red part with "everyone voting in a democracy." The two are not the same thing, since the latter is essentially giving up your sovereignty, and decising whom you want to subjugate yourself to. I realized that Eric, and the Resource Based proponents here, all have the same mental block: they can't imagine anything beyond...

Pot kettle black?

Not so much. I understand that ZGM's claims can't work not because I am brainwashed into thinking that capitalism is right and socialism/government is wroong, but because it goes against basic human nature. On the other hand, Eric, and possibly the ZGMs, for some reason still want to give control over themselves to someone else, despite technological and cultural trends (guided by human nature) are taking us in a different direction.
However, if you were to claim that I am brainwashed about ZGM with a mental block of "Humans can't be convinced not to trade and freely give up the products of their labor for no compensation whatsoever" or "Resources are by definition limited, because we only have a limited amount of stuff, energy, and time," then yeah, feel free to say "pot kettle black."

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November 13, 2013, 03:17:13 AM
 #1637

Your continued assertions that I want to do terrible things to people, while hilarious, are ultimately indicative of an intellectually dishonest personality. If you want to see horrors on such a scale, you need only to look at what capitalism, which you admire so much, has done to the people and environment of the world.

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November 13, 2013, 05:01:52 AM
 #1638

Great points, Rassah.

LightRider is indeed, apparently, only advocating education. It just happens to be misguided. It's not fair to claim LightRider will support the use of force against people.
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November 13, 2013, 05:47:40 AM
 #1639

Your continued assertions that I want to do terrible things to people, while hilarious, are ultimately indicative of an intellectually dishonest personality. If you want to see horrors on such a scale, you need only to look at what capitalism, which you admire so much, has done to the people and environment of the world.

All you have to do to refute this is to explain how you plan to convince people to have their resources controlled for them. We had this discussion a year ago, and it never really went past the point at which someone said "won't this system fall apart as soon as a few people decide they want to trade things instead?"

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November 13, 2013, 06:27:06 AM
 #1640

LightRider is indeed, apparently, only advocating education. It just happens to be misguided.

He'd better educate himself first, but I'm afraid the level of brainwashing he's received from the ZM does not leave much hope.

Quote
It's not fair to claim LightRider will support the use of force against people.

One of his last message was:

which is a VLOG suggesting that "revolt" is the only solution against capitalism or something.  Does not seem very peaceful to me.

Personally I just wish they do revolt and get their ass kicked.

If you want to see horrors on such a scale, you need only to look at what capitalism, which you admire so much, has done to the people and environment of the world.

As compared to what?  Communism?  You can't be serious.
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