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Author Topic: A Resource Based Economy  (Read 261155 times)
4v4l0n42
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September 06, 2011, 12:01:46 AM
 #781

Aah, but in all that you wrote here you didn't use the word 'better', which was what i was talking about.
Better is an opinion and is not based on hard data.
Better is always from some(ones) point of view.

And i agree with most of the rest of your post, hard facts are hard facts.

Then it's just playing with semantics, and I'm not interested in that.

Now, what's relevant? Hard data suggests some things that we need and some things that we ought to avoid. That's enough to start a scientific discourse about well being.
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4v4l0n42
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September 06, 2011, 12:08:08 AM
 #782

I don't want to nitpick but i think this is a terrible example.
There is no very clear distinction between food and poison.

It amazes me the simplistic view that you and jtimon have of any science. So, there is no clear distinction between food and poison... actually there is. There is no clear distrinction between certain foods and certain substances, in particular circumstances, doses, etc... but we generally know what constitutes poison and what not.

Science is not about this or that, black or white. That's philosophical bullshit. Science is about studying the millions of degrees in between things, defining the different conditions, how those play out when you change the variables etc.

According to your reasoning, nutrition is not a science and serves nothing, because there is no distinction between what's good for you and what's not. We might as well drink arsenic instead of water, because we there is no clear distinction between what's good and bad for us, and we can't know anything!

We all know that's bullshit. Certain foods and good, in certain doses, to certain people. To others, it plays out differently. But this is not a deficiency of science, this is its very strength, it has the ability to adapt and be scalable.
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September 06, 2011, 12:09:50 AM
 #783


Aah, but in all that you wrote here you didn't use the word 'better', which was what i was talking about.
Better is an opinion and is not based on hard data.
Better is always from some(ones) point of view.

And i agree with most of the rest of your post, hard facts are hard facts.

So hards fact are telling us it is better to take care on our offspring then to abuse it.
They are also telling us it is better to have energy then dont have it.

I dont see any opinions attached. It is just semantics.
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September 06, 2011, 07:59:44 AM
 #784

The scientific method provides the best of any method, because it has no assumptions, it does not require any supernatural belief in unprovable things such as the invisible hand or god(s)

Well, invisible hand of the market can be a useless concept, or outright wrong, but it's not supernatural. I agree that it can be made into something supernatural when used out of context.

On of the many proofs that others methods we used don't work just as well with societies at large, is that we have more than enough food for everybody. Such a disgraceful misallocations of resources is the result of economic and political activities, deciding what's best for their self-substantiation, and not for the people at large.

I'm not sure what methods you talk about (skimmed through the thread, so I'm guessing), but arguably they involve other values than the well being of society at large. In fact, I think even you would have higher values than that. For me, the misallocation is in fact disgraceful because it prevents humanity from achieving what I think are higher goals. My antipathy towards unnecessary suffering is therefore indirect, as indirect as my antipathy towards unnecessary luxury, both of which are tautologies since I am the one who defines what's necessary (or what's misallocation). This may seem redundant but I see that the free market discussion boils down to this simple nuance.

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If you get down to the science of it, we do everything to produce some types of neurotransmitters. Even eating is to achieve that "goal". You then end up with the brave new world.

Not in anything that resembles a serious scientific model, such as the Biopsychosocial.

Biopsychosocial model is indeed useful. What I'm worried about is that these models can be brought out of their scope. They are not science, they are helpful for science. If you get results that are useful to reach a certain goal, it's fine. If you use them in a normative manner, or in place of the unknown or unknowable facts, that's a fallacy that paves the way to dystopia. Biopsychosocial model is a perfect path into the Brave New World. Smiley

Scott Atran is a very intelligent person, I saw his argument against Harris years ago at the Beyond Belief conference, here's a backup:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VWO6U6248c

However, it deals pretty much only with the comparison to religion, and the sole real line of argument is that he's not sure such a worldview would generate more happiness, compassion or peace, meaning that he agrees these are desirable conditions to strive for.

So far, I see no real argument against using science to maximise well being, as opposed to... what?

I think the argument is not about using science to maximize well being, it's about what we know, what we don't know and what we can't know. "Not being sure" is the key to scientific discipline, and I think Atran's examples and heavy scientific language is to present what science actually looks like. Sam fucking Nobody is a dangerous person and if Hume was alive, he would beat him with a stick. Wink

And, in any case, whatever the goal, I am discussing the method, not the goal itself (for now).

I think the discussion of method is secondary to the goal. Do we want to feed everyone? Do we want them to be happy? Do we want them to live longer? Do we want them to be free? These may not be mutually exclusive but certainly are not the same thing. Also, do we have a goal as humanity other than being here until the next impact event? I don't think any of the methods presented are inherently unscientific, they just serve different purposes. I might be wrong though...
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September 06, 2011, 09:48:38 AM
 #785

I'm not sure what methods you talk about (skimmed through the thread, so I'm guessing)

Capitalism, socialism, fascism, communism, totalitarian regimes, free and unrestricted market...

Biopsychosocial model is a perfect path into the Brave New World. Smiley

I agree that it can be misinterpreted by non scientifically trained. But any serious discussion about human needs makes any dystopic scenario impossible. You can read the works of prof Gabor Mate or Robert Maurice Sapolsky, professor of Biological Sciences, and Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences and, by courtesy, Neurosurgery, at Stanford University.

I think the discussion of method is secondary to the goal. Do we want to feed everyone? Do we want them to be happy? Do we want them to live longer? Do we want them to be free? These may not be mutually exclusive but certainly are not the same thing. Also, do we have a goal as humanity other than being here until the next impact event? I don't think any of the methods presented are inherently unscientific, they just serve different purposes. I might be wrong though...

As I said, there are degrees and it's a matter of scientific debate. However, we alrady have a starting point, which is not based on human opinion, but on solid scientific facts.

Fact: we all need food and water to survive -> we should provide those for free as a right to life, since it's technically possible.
Fact: research shows that beating and abusing children undermines their psychological development -> we should not employ violence on children.
...and so on. As the research continues, we'll have more and more facts to add to our list, and we'll use the scientific method to achieve those goals.

Peace.

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September 06, 2011, 02:08:53 PM
 #786

Aah, but in all that you wrote here you didn't use the word 'better', which was what i was talking about.
Better is an opinion and is not based on hard data.
Better is always from some(ones) point of view.

And i agree with most of the rest of your post, hard facts are hard facts.

Then it's just playing with semantics, and I'm not interested in that.

Now, what's relevant? Hard data suggests some things that we need and some things that we ought to avoid. That's enough to start a scientific discourse about well being.

If you want to put any meaning into what you say you need to take semantics seriously.
Hard data does not suggest anything, but an observer of that data can.
Unfortunately suggestion is not hard at all.

There are things we need, but not everyone needs the same thing and not everyone wants what they need.
Do you want to force me, for instance, to eat more vitamins because you (or society or whoever) think it is 'better' for me?
Or will you let me eat my bad foods because i'm happy that way (which is also 'better', but this time from my perspective)?

There is no hard distinction between 'good' and 'evil'.
One person could describe something as good, while another person sees it as evil.
Thinking that you do know what is good or evil would make you pretensious.

But of course no morals at all would lead to a chaos and so we have to settle on some set of values that we all more or less agree with. And that is what our forrest of moral systems is, a collection of sets of agreed upon values.

Things are just not as simple as your need them to be.
There are many many different people with different looks on life.
I bet the Taliban have different morals than people from the USA.
And i bet your neighbor has different morals from you.

Part of being human is having a slight randomness to the genes.
What you would need is perfect clones, raised in identical environments, fed identical information so they would have identical moral values, if such a thing is even possible.
But real people are not like that.
Moral values are mostly a grey area and it's more of a moving average than anything objective.
If you look throughout history then you will find that morals are just a consensus of rules that help a population stabilize.
But these same morals can lead to oppression and revolution.
There are no universal morals.
There are, however, rules that help an animal prevail in a given environment and we have some of that stuff built in as a pointer for our own morals.
But these are not very specific and always put a tension between the individual and the group (or species or environment).
It's the field between egoism and alturism, a battle between spending energy for your own purposes or for the purposes of your community (which may or may not be serving yourself).
Since the mechanics of society change so do our morals.
If you can predict how society will function in the future you may be able to get a general feel of how morals will change.
But nothing hard or definitive.
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September 06, 2011, 02:32:34 PM
 #787

I agree that it can be misinterpreted by non scientifically trained. But any serious discussion about human needs makes any dystopic scenario impossible. You can read the works of prof Gabor Mate or Robert Maurice Sapolsky, professor of Biological Sciences, and Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences and, by courtesy, Neurosurgery, at Stanford University.

Sure, as long as real scientists interpret it, this is where likes of Sam Harris become dangerous. Most of these are dystopia because of our current conditioning, not because there's something scientifically wrong with them. I can picture a world where everyone is healthy in every way and I wouldn't want to be a part of. I'll take your recommendation and do some reading though.

Fact: research shows that beating and abusing children undermines their psychological development -> we should not employ violence on children.
...and so on. As the research continues, we'll have more and more facts to add to our list, and we'll use the scientific method to achieve those goals.

I think the debate here originally was whether we had enough science to start building on or not. That's a tough question. If you started engineering society by putting science in charge, and set the goal to "well being of all", would the world prosper? Or would it kill the economy so badly that there wouldn't be enough resources to allocate? One problem is that we put scientists in charge, not science, so demagogues will still get in and screw things up. Second, we don't even have a proper theory of mind, let alone clear definitions of suffering or happiness, and we have extremely limited abilities of social prediction. On top of that, social sciences have the habit of inventing reality.

Child abuse is a good example. I agree that there currently isn't an understood practical way to prevent abuse without intervening. I also think that we don't have scientific tools to measure what we sacrifice by doing so. So what if I decided to have sex with my kids? Would that undermine their psychological development by itself, or would the stigmatization of sex in society be responsible of that? Either way, since I'm the one deciding with full knowledge of consequences, I am to blame, no? Since we have no means of determining the intentions in minority cases or the far future outcome, fixing the issue at hand is to label any kind of sexual intercourse between adults and children as rape to be on the safe side. As a conventional parent, I tend to agree with that, but still not comfortable with it. It's probable that the best mode for humans is sexual social behaviour of bonobos, in which case how we are forced to raised our kids (erm, not "raping" them?) is pretty cruel.

Also, who is "we"? There are many "we"s who claim to be scientifically minded in this world, and people still go hungry.

This is where a free and unrestricted market begins to make sense. Got to go now, but this topic probably needs to be divided into smaller ones.
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September 06, 2011, 03:34:21 PM
 #788

Do you want to force me, for instance, to eat more vitamins because you (or society or whoever) think it is 'better' for me?

As I explained throughout the discussion, the question is of access, not of forcing.

Necessities are not opinion, they are objective facts. If you have access to the necessities, and still decide not to use them, it's not going to be imposed on you.

What I don't understand is why should we forcefully deprive people of the necessities, even though we can technically provide them.

A dystopia comes into place as soon as you coerce people into doing certain things. By providing access to the necessities, as well as education and a nurturing environment, you are creating the basis for a civilisation worthy of this name.

Quote
There is no hard distinction between 'good' and 'evil'.

I already explained this before. Good and evil are loaded terms and mean almost nothing. Let's start from the basic: necessities, then you can build up from there.

Sadly, people tend to get into semantic arguments of meaningless discussions about good and evil, while billions are starving to death.

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What you would need is perfect clones, raised in identical environments, fed identical information so they would have identical moral values, if such a thing is even possible.

It's not possible, and it's not even meaningful to talk about that. You don't need such conditions to know that people need food, clean water and air, shelter, education, a loving and caring environment to grow up. Regardless of what you or I think, the science shows that.

If you still in doubt about this, please see this course before continuing any further:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL848F2368C90DDC3D

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There are no universal morals.

...and they are not need for the sake of the argument.

Quote
It's the field between egoism and alturism, a battle between spending energy for your own purposes or for the purposes of your community (which may or may not be serving yourself).

This is another common misconception. Every action one takes is for self-reward. The only difference is how many people you consider to be part of your extended family, and if you understand that your happiness is related to that of others. If you have that realisation, people call you altruistic. If not, they call you egoistic.

It's just a matter of how educated you are about human relationships.

Quote
If you can predict how society will function in the future you may be able to get a general feel of how morals will change.
But nothing hard or definitive.

You don't need anything definitive. It's like saying that until we understand 100% quantum mechanics, we should not try and build LCD screen, lasers and so on. Yet, we did, and it's working out wonderfully.

According to your reasoning, something like The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is completely meaningless, because it's not definitive.

http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

Oh yes, also sociology, psychology, anthropology, behavioural neuroscience, physics, mathematics... all meaningless because they are not definitive.

meh.
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September 06, 2011, 03:40:33 PM
 #789

I will attempt to make it as simple as possible.

Fact: humans need food and clean water to survive.

Fact: we can provide food and clean water to all the people on the planet.

Fact: billions are starving to death or dying of preventable diseases, mostly due to water pollution and food deprivation.

Question: should we give people access to those necessities?

My thesis is that we must.

If that is agreed, we can build from there.
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September 06, 2011, 04:55:43 PM
 #790

You can't give what you don't have.

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September 06, 2011, 06:08:15 PM
 #791

You can't give what you don't have.

Thats the whole point , to make shit in abundant quantities if possible.
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September 06, 2011, 06:12:44 PM
 #792

Question: should we give people access to those necessities?

My thesis is that we must.

If that is agreed, we can build from there.

Of course. If I understand correctly, the question is: what if someone doesn't want to give? (Sorry if this was already answered.)
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September 06, 2011, 07:00:13 PM
 #793

Of course. If I understand correctly, the question is: what if someone doesn't want to give? (Sorry if this was already answered.)

I already replied several times to that, but I will answer again in a moment. First, can we agree that our starting point would be to provide access to those things?
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September 06, 2011, 07:48:35 PM
 #794

I already replied several times to that, but I will answer again in a moment. First, can we agree that our starting point would be to provide access to those things?
I can only speak for myself. I would like every human to have access to basic necessities, which includes access to information (not necessarily education), and I've stated my reasons for that. That can't be "the" starting point for me, but it's a starting point, so I can play that game.
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September 06, 2011, 08:51:49 PM
 #795

...

... Also, do we have a goal as humanity other than being here until the next impact event? ...

...
Personally, i plan to outlast the Sun itself.

(I dont always get new reply notifications, pls send a pm when you think it has happened)

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September 06, 2011, 09:31:08 PM
 #796

I can only speak for myself. I would like every human to have access to basic necessities, which includes access to information (not necessarily education), and I've stated my reasons for that. That can't be "the" starting point for me, but it's a starting point, so I can play that game.

Good. It's a starting point, as we said. We can extend the notion of necessities, as our culture grows and our scientific understanding of what's needed by humans for a healthy development.

Couple that with dynamic equilibrium, so that we can live sustainably on the planet indefinitely, and you have the basis for an RBE. Smiley
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September 06, 2011, 10:04:00 PM
 #797

Question: should we give people access to those necessities?

My thesis is that we must.

If that is agreed, we can build from there.

Of course. If I understand correctly, the question is: what if someone doesn't want to give? (Sorry if this was already answered.)


The natural resources of earth should be declared as common heritage of all people , since they weren't made by you or me they were made by nature , and we both were born on the same planet. We have the exacts same rights.

Now the question is do we behave like retards and fight over them until they are depleted or we die fighting , or do we use our brains to manage shit intelligently , the choice is yours.

I am not sure if that answer your question because it is not precised.
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September 07, 2011, 07:14:24 AM
 #798

The natural resources of earth should be declared as common heritage of all people , since they weren't made by you or me they were made by nature , and we both were born on the same planet. We have the exacts same rights.

Now the question is do we behave like retards and fight over them until they are depleted or we die fighting , or do we use our brains to manage shit intelligently , the choice is yours.

I am not sure if that answer your question because it is not precised.

Not quite. My question was, if I don't want to give up my land, would you come and get it from me venturing a fight (like retards) over it in the name of humanity? I don't want to be superficial here, just wondering how you see the path of evolution towards a RBE.

Also, a more realistic question is, whether it is better in the name of progress to fight over resources. One fact is, besides basic human necessities, economically more efficient ideas tend to take over. Although managing shit intelligently is probably a better strategy in the long run, I'd like to hear of ideas about how to get to a point where it could take over before resources are already depleted.

The second question is, what if having exact same rights isn't intelligent? I'm saying this because you stated two goals. One is equal rights and the other is resource depletion. What if these two conflict? Or, a better question is, what can these rights be if we want to reach dynamic equilibrium. And of course, is there a way to enforce these without conflicting with these two goals.
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September 07, 2011, 08:29:21 AM
 #799

I don't want to be superficial here, just wondering how you see the path of evolution towards a RBE.

We posted many responses and references in the discussion about this. Here's a video outlining the general principles:

Arriving at a Resource Based Economy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVPz7uXLZtI

... just as a starting point, there is much more material explaining it in details. Smiley

p.s. quick answer to your first question: nobody will take anybody's land. If you want to know how that works out watch the video and the rest of the material Wink
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September 07, 2011, 10:40:24 AM
 #800

Arriving at a Resource Based Economy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVPz7uXLZtI

... just as a starting point, there is much more material explaining it in details. Smiley

Well, I'm fairly aware of the material, but hadn't paid much attention to it, as I did watching this video. I don't see how this answers any of the questions.

Not only that, it presents the BPS model as natural law, moreover in normative manner, which I had already criticized as dangerous and thought we agreed on. This is not even tangential to scientific reasoning, don't you think? So because we believe the evolutionary model is true, would it mean that we have to eliminate the weak? It's the same kind of fallacy. The fact that it's politically appealing shouldn't make us less skeptical.

And no scientific evidence backing up the societal model and no transition plan? Sorry but there is nothing else I can offer other than repeating the questions and criticisms others have already posted.
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