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Author Topic: Occupy Round Table on Bitcoin  (Read 9999 times)
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December 11, 2011, 07:21:39 AM
 #41

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Dunbar's number is suggested to be a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person.[1] Proponents assert that numbers larger than this generally require more restrictive rules, laws, and enforced norms to maintain a stable, cohesive group. No precise value has been proposed for Dunbar's number. It has been proposed to lie between 100 and 230, with a commonly used value of 150.[2] Dunbar's number states the number of people one knows and keeps social contact with, and it does not include the number of people known personally with a ceased social relationship, nor people just generally known with a lack of persistent social relationship, a number which might be much higher and likely depends on long-term memory size.

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number

Even if the 150 person estimate is off, most people would agree that there must be some limit, after which the stereotyping begins. This is one reason that it is unreasonable to expect large human societies to naturally function like a big, happy family (sharing, good will, altruism, etc). Since it is not going to happen naturally, you will need some centralized authority to enforce the "sharing". The problem with this is that no one would know how to avoid the corruption of this authority, so it would become corrupted eventually... leading to inequality of some sort (even if it was a post-scarcity society). Even in star trek, the ensigns were always allowed to just die while the officers got the best medical treatment the future could offer.

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December 11, 2011, 08:25:58 AM
 #42

i wont go into why i think bitcoin should not be the worlds currency as it is now, but i dont think the current money management system is the sole problem.

the disparity of wealth makes people frustrated and angry, "why does he have so much and we have so little, yet we expend 3x more energy to get less than him?." if this becomes too unbalanced things like russia form, where the current gov collapses and certain characters find their way into office. this is almost never good. and taking another persons wealth is almost never the long term solution.

i advocate worker cooperatives and decentralization, as seen in Capitalism: A Love Story (really the only good part in the movie, a lot of the rest of it is rubbish). i like it because it incorporates socialism and "laissez-faire" into one. its not complete socialism because companies are privately owned by the workers, and it is laissez-faire because the government should have little to do with it once its set up (government involvement is almost required to get it started big). it should be encouraged by government through cheap loans and low taxes at first. once success is verified, people will see how great it is and do it willingly. a final note, not everyone in the cooperatives would get exactly equal pay and power inside the company would not be exactly equal. however it should not be extreme, say no more than 200% than the average and no less than 25% than the average. so if the average employee salary was about 50k, then the highest paid employees would make no more than 100k and no less than 37k. of course this is extremely generalized and there is a lot not mentioned. but one way a worker could make a lot more money would be if for example that worker worked twice as many hours or had more units of output than another worker. this would not scale exactly, but it should also be about a little less than 1:1, close to 8-9:1, more than enough reward, and it has the very small effect of benefiting everyone else inside the cooperative.

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Dunbar's number is suggested to be a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person.[1] Proponents assert that numbers larger than this generally require more restrictive rules, laws, and enforced norms to maintain a stable, cohesive group. No precise value has been proposed for Dunbar's number. It has been proposed to lie between 100 and 230, with a commonly used value of 150.[2] Dunbar's number states the number of people one knows and keeps social contact with, and it does not include the number of people known personally with a ceased social relationship, nor people just generally known with a lack of persistent social relationship, a number which might be much higher and likely depends on long-term memory size.

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number

Even if the 150 person estimate is off, most people would agree that there must be some limit, after which the stereotyping begins. This is one reason that it is unreasonable to expect large human societies to naturally function like a big, happy family (sharing, good will, altruism, etc). Since it is not going to happen naturally, you will need some centralized authority to enforce the "sharing". The problem with this is that no one would know how to avoid the corruption of this authority, so it would become corrupted eventually... leading to inequality of some sort (even if it was a post-scarcity society). Even in star trek, the ensigns were always allowed to just die while the officers got the best medical treatment the future could offer.

i would suggest again worker cooperatives, and splitting populations into smaller more spread out groups. additionally "sharing" does not work. i believe in working for what you get and getting paid for how much you worked, and the current system does not do that. some people get paid a lot for little work, some get paid little for a lot of work, and some get paid for doing nothing.

and you bring up a very interesting thought, medical care. i would suggest this video. it illustrates indirectly the idea of a lack of competition in the medical field. and usually competition brings down prices, and according to the video, there is very little because "somebody else pays". im not saying there should be no insurance, but i definitely think insurance should not cover silly things like flu shots, useless and socially controversial procedures. useless would be things like cosmetic surgery (besides birth defects and accidental injuries like burns and such). socially controversial would be things like sex changes and abortions. at heart medical insurance should be just that, insurance that if/when you do get majorly hurt or sick, you will be covered, not for an ER trip for the sniffles.

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December 11, 2011, 12:11:47 PM
 #43

Animals don't need money. Humans are animals. Therefore humans don't need money. Families take care of one another throughout most of the animal kingdom. They share resources.
You have a very idealized image of nature. Please go spend a few months in the jungle without weapons and tell us if that still flies for you (if you ever come back).
You are just forgetting one point : in nature, animals not only share resources, they ARE resources themselves. Are you sure you want such a human society?
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December 11, 2011, 12:22:08 PM
 #44

Animals don't need money. Humans are animals. Therefore humans don't need money. Families take care of one another throughout most of the animal kingdom. They share resources.
You have a very idealized image of nature. Please go spend a few months in the jungle without weapons and tell us if that still flies for you (if you ever come back).
You are just forgetting one point : in nature, animals not only share resources, they ARE resources themselves. Are you sure you want such a human society?

I said nothing about society, only families. Our society is a jungle. Go spend a few months in Somalia with weapons and tell us if that still flies for you (if you ever come back). You are just forgetting one point : WE have evolved to use TECHNOLOGY and don't need to depend on the laws of nature. If you think this is the best society we can ever invent, I pity you.

Any significantly advanced cryptocurrency is indistinguishable from Ponzi Tulips.
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December 11, 2011, 01:25:45 PM
 #45

No one has incentive to steal or hoard if there is enough for everyone.

sorry do not accept that. the utopian ideas i have read so far are just that. ypu have to realise you are fighting nature here (human nature) and there is a no win senario.  BTC will I believe revolutionise the way we interact as the internet did and that is good. It will regain freedom for individuals that the state  has taken for its own purpose of control. However individuals will still be greedy and hoard but not to the extent they can subjugate whole populations for decades ,as they can now. that is the benefit and why I hope it will become more widespred . reg.
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December 11, 2011, 02:19:33 PM
 #46

Animals don't need money. Humans are animals. Therefore humans don't need money. Families take care of one another throughout most of the animal kingdom. They share resources.
You have a very idealized image of nature. Please go spend a few months in the jungle without weapons and tell us if that still flies for you (if you ever come back).
You are just forgetting one point : in nature, animals not only share resources, they ARE resources themselves. Are you sure you want such a human society?

I said nothing about society, only families. Our society is a jungle. Go spend a few months in Somalia with weapons and tell us if that still flies for you (if you ever come back). You are just forgetting one point : WE have evolved to use TECHNOLOGY and don't need to depend on the laws of nature. If you think this is the best society we can ever invent, I pity you.
You are totally right, humans do not need to depend on the laws of nature, which makes any comparition with animals totally vain. Thank you for making my point.
Technology needs money, humans need technology, therefore humans need money.
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December 11, 2011, 05:07:57 PM
 #47


"Money" is simply the most successful barter-good in an economy.

So far. Something better will come along as only technology will provide.

I can't tell what that even means. Yet it seems to be the entire basis behind this whole "resource-based economy" stuff.

Evoorhees' statement is just a description of what money is. Almost anything, in the right conditions, can be money.

"Something better will come along". Something better than money? OK. Then that will be the new money. Something better than trade? BS. Even in a world of unlimited energy and StarTrek-level replicators, there will still be trade, for storytelling, massages and new fashion designs if nothing else. And that trade will, on it's own, as a natural consequence of human nature, prompt a search for convenience--a medium of exchange.

Little kids on playgrounds get this. A generation or two ago, those colorful little glass balls made an excellent currency for trading sandwiches, favors, etc. A while back, it was colorful pieces of paper displaying fictional anime creatures. No one told these kids to do this. Most probably didn't even have examples of how to do it "properly." But if you don't think even children can continually re-invent this concept, and master it to the point they have a fully functional marketplace with detailed valuations and exchange rates, then you seriously don't understand human nature.

Money is NEVER going away. The fact that some seem to see it's absence as desirable (or even possible, for that matter) is beyond baffling.

Bitcoin is the ultimate freedom test. It tells you who is giving lip service and who genuinely believes in it.
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In the future, books that summarize the history of money will have a line that says, “and then came bitcoin.” It is the economic singularity. And we are living in it now. - Ryan Dickherber
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The idea that deflation causes hoarding (to any problematic degree) is a lie used to justify theft of value from your savings.
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December 11, 2011, 06:56:13 PM
 #48


"Money" is simply the most successful barter-good in an economy.

So far. Something better will come along as only technology will provide.

I can't tell what that even means. Yet it seems to be the entire basis behind this whole "resource-based economy" stuff.

Evoorhees' statement is just a description of what money is. Almost anything, in the right conditions, can be money.

"Something better will come along". Something better than money? OK. Then that will be the new money. Something better than trade? BS. Even in a world of unlimited energy and StarTrek-level replicators, there will still be trade, for storytelling, massages and new fashion designs if nothing else. And that trade will, on it's own, as a natural consequence of human nature, prompt a search for convenience--a medium of exchange.

Little kids on playgrounds get this. A generation or two ago, those colorful little glass balls made an excellent currency for trading sandwiches, favors, etc. A while back, it was colorful pieces of paper displaying fictional anime creatures. No one told these kids to do this. Most probably didn't even have examples of how to do it "properly." But if you don't think even children can continually re-invent this concept, and master it to the point they have a fully functional marketplace with detailed valuations and exchange rates, then you seriously don't understand human nature.

Money is NEVER going away. The fact that some seem to see it's absence as desirable (or even possible, for that matter) is beyond baffling.


Brilliantly stated
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December 11, 2011, 07:40:47 PM
 #49


agreed.  the child playground analogy is brilliant.

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December 11, 2011, 07:46:48 PM
 #50

i wont go into why i think bitcoin should not be the worlds currency as it is now, but i dont think the current money management system is the sole problem.

the disparity of wealth makes people frustrated and angry, "why does he have so much and we have so little, yet we expend 3x more energy to get less than him?." if this becomes too unbalanced things like russia form, where the current gov collapses and certain characters find their way into office. this is almost never good. and taking another persons wealth is almost never the long term solution.

i advocate worker cooperatives and decentralization, as seen in Capitalism: A Love Story (really the only good part in the movie, a lot of the rest of it is rubbish). i like it because it incorporates socialism and "laissez-faire" into one. its not complete socialism because companies are privately owned by the workers, and it is laissez-faire because the government should have little to do with it once its set up (government involvement is almost required to get it started big). it should be encouraged by government through cheap loans and low taxes at first. once success is verified, people will see how great it is and do it willingly. a final note, not everyone in the cooperatives would get exactly equal pay and power inside the company would not be exactly equal. however it should not be extreme, say no more than 200% than the average and no less than 25% than the average. so if the average employee salary was about 50k, then the highest paid employees would make no more than 100k and no less than 37k. of course this is extremely generalized and there is a lot not mentioned. but one way a worker could make a lot more money would be if for example that worker worked twice as many hours or had more units of output than another worker. this would not scale exactly, but it should also be about a little less than 1:1, close to 8-9:1, more than enough reward, and it has the very small effect of benefiting everyone else inside the cooperative.

Quote
Dunbar's number is suggested to be a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person.[1] Proponents assert that numbers larger than this generally require more restrictive rules, laws, and enforced norms to maintain a stable, cohesive group. No precise value has been proposed for Dunbar's number. It has been proposed to lie between 100 and 230, with a commonly used value of 150.[2] Dunbar's number states the number of people one knows and keeps social contact with, and it does not include the number of people known personally with a ceased social relationship, nor people just generally known with a lack of persistent social relationship, a number which might be much higher and likely depends on long-term memory size.

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number

Even if the 150 person estimate is off, most people would agree that there must be some limit, after which the stereotyping begins. This is one reason that it is unreasonable to expect large human societies to naturally function like a big, happy family (sharing, good will, altruism, etc). Since it is not going to happen naturally, you will need some centralized authority to enforce the "sharing". The problem with this is that no one would know how to avoid the corruption of this authority, so it would become corrupted eventually... leading to inequality of some sort (even if it was a post-scarcity society). Even in star trek, the ensigns were always allowed to just die while the officers got the best medical treatment the future could offer.

i would suggest again worker cooperatives, and splitting populations into smaller more spread out groups. additionally "sharing" does not work. i believe in working for what you get and getting paid for how much you worked, and the current system does not do that. some people get paid a lot for little work, some get paid little for a lot of work, and some get paid for doing nothing.

and you bring up a very interesting thought, medical care. i would suggest this video. it illustrates indirectly the idea of a lack of competition in the medical field. and usually competition brings down prices, and according to the video, there is very little because "somebody else pays". im not saying there should be no insurance, but i definitely think insurance should not cover silly things like flu shots, useless and socially controversial procedures. useless would be things like cosmetic surgery (besides birth defects and accidental injuries like burns and such). socially controversial would be things like sex changes and abortions. at heart medical insurance should be just that, insurance that if/when you do get majorly hurt or sick, you will be covered, not for an ER trip for the sniffles.

What is preventing any of this from happening in the US right now?
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December 11, 2011, 10:08:25 PM
 #51


"Money" is simply the most successful barter-good in an economy.

So far. Something better will come along as only technology will provide.

I can't tell what that even means. Yet it seems to be the entire basis behind this whole "resource-based economy" stuff.

Evoorhees' statement is just a description of what money is. Almost anything, in the right conditions, can be money.

"Something better will come along". Something better than money? OK. Then that will be the new money. Something better than trade? BS. Even in a world of unlimited energy and StarTrek-level replicators, there will still be trade, for storytelling, massages and new fashion designs if nothing else. And that trade will, on it's own, as a natural consequence of human nature, prompt a search for convenience--a medium of exchange.

Little kids on playgrounds get this. A generation or two ago, those colorful little glass balls made an excellent currency for trading sandwiches, favors, etc. A while back, it was colorful pieces of paper displaying fictional anime creatures. No one told these kids to do this. Most probably didn't even have examples of how to do it "properly." But if you don't think even children can continually re-invent this concept, and master it to the point they have a fully functional marketplace with detailed valuations and exchange rates, then you seriously don't understand human nature.

Money is NEVER going away. The fact that some seem to see it's absence as desirable (or even possible, for that matter) is beyond baffling.


Children are influenced by their environment. They develop in world that values money, so they develop methods for mimicking and engaging in that kind of activity. The only reason you behave the way you do is because of the environment that produced you, notwithstanding the genetic code that produced your physical body and hence your physical needs and to a limited extent your physical ability. Human behavior is learned, human nature is the fiction we tell ourselves to feel comforted by the obscene status quo.

Bitcoin combines money, the wrongest thing in the world, with software, the easiest thing in the world to get wrong.
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December 11, 2011, 10:26:48 PM
 #52

This is why I quit trying to explain RBE to people. Every time you try to explain one fallacy they make, they make two more fallacies trying to refute you.

Any significantly advanced cryptocurrency is indistinguishable from Ponzi Tulips.
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December 11, 2011, 10:47:46 PM
 #53

This is why I quit trying to explain RBE to people. Every time you try to explain one fallacy they make, they make two more fallacies trying to refute you.

Name them.

There are many fallacies. http://lmgtfy.com/?q=fallacy+types If you are asking about people, I don't even bother here. I gave that up awhile ago. I would willingly debate a person live. It's much easier that way.

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December 11, 2011, 11:07:53 PM
 #54

This is why I quit trying to explain RBE to people. Every time you try to explain one fallacy they make, they make two more fallacies trying to refute you.
+1

I used to debate a lot on certain forums and got tired of it eventually. But I haven't done this in a while so I'm willing to give it a shot. Not that I expect outside the box thinking to emerge easily. It's difficult even in person, but definitely easier than in some Internet forum.

I'm going to respond to multiple posts now, it'll be a wall of text.

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December 11, 2011, 11:22:30 PM
 #55

The only way you are going to get a unilateral human culture that meets your desires is through violence. This RBE is a pipe-dream. You're going to need to stick a state in the homes of families and perform eugenics on people that don't meet your criteria.

Feel free to stand by your beliefs but don't pretend to be peaceful.

I agree. The people in this world are too brainwashed and willfully ignorant. Fear not, RBE will not happen in your lifetime. You have a lifetime of violence and fear based culture to enjoy. Their children's children are who I wish to educate.

Any significantly advanced cryptocurrency is indistinguishable from Ponzi Tulips.
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December 11, 2011, 11:32:34 PM
 #56

The only way you are going to get a unilateral human culture that meets your desires is through violence. This RBE is a pipe-dream. You're going to need to stick a state in the homes of families and perform eugenics on people that don't meet your criteria.

Feel free to stand by your beliefs but don't pretend to be peaceful.

I agree. The people in this world are too brainwashed and willfully ignorant. Fear not, RBE will not happen in your lifetime. You have a lifetime of violence and fear based culture to enjoy. Their children's children are who I wish to educate.

No, they are only ignorant of your preferences. Don't honor yourself with an objective moral truth.

I would love to debate this over beers. You claim that people are not willfully ignorant. Priceless. What moral truth do you posit that I have declared? I posit only science that is testable, verifiable, reproducible, and predictive. Learn to distinguish hypotheses from theories. You will then find your platform more solid.

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December 11, 2011, 11:38:11 PM
 #57

Yes because there is an objective value on everything and people just don't know it. People don't know what they want. They don't know what's best for themselves. We should assign specialized technocrats to decide such values and how we should lead our lives. There is a real number and only the wise and virtuous technocrats know.  

Now, back to reality: The numbers match up perfectly because they are the culmination of asks and bids of the people who own said "stuff". Nobody knows better than the person who had to make the choices and actions necessary to produce and possess said product and/or service. Now, of course, there is not only one individual that can produce a good or service; there are many and the prices will adjust to competing bids and asks. The spot price is the "real" number. Just because somebody is willing to pay more than you are, it doesn't mean the price is wrong. It just means you don't value the object as much and you will have to pay just as much with whatever goods if you can only barter. Actually, bartering will only make it more expensive with the time you have to spend trading to get it.

Individual desires differ. We are all unique and special in our own way. Didn't they teach you that in preschool? I'm sorry everybody doesn't think and desire the same. We are called sentient individual human beings for a reason. If we all acted and thought unilaterally in unison, guess what: We would be a single individual. Sorry, we are not.

At the least, I am my own organism.
This is what I call the "price mechanism is perfect" speech. You are right that it's much more efficient than barter, I do not advocate that we go back to barter. Imagine international trade using only barter... I can imagine it and it would be much less efficient than what we have now.

But what the so called resource-based economy means is not going back to barter but basically automating the entire production chain. From mining natural resources to creating the final product for your use. It does not eliminate choice. You could go to a market, which would simply be a distribution center, and pick what you want. Just like people do now, but without price tags. This raises many questions and I'll try to answer some of them in advance.

First question usually is related to some need based on "human nature", "wouldn't people just empty the place in an instant?". That's an entirely valid question and this would definitely happen if a market decided today to just give everything for free. There would be a riot. This behaviour is 100% the product of living in a world like this. If you were born to a world without price tags and there were enough products to go around, no one would have incentive to hoard anything. You wouldn't have advertising either.

Now the second question is "how does it work?" and this is where it gets a bit more complex for someone who can only think in terms of prices. But it's really not that complex. There are other ways besides price that we can use to find out what needs to be produced for a certain area, a certain distribution center etc. The core of this is simple tracking of demand. We can use a combination of survey and actual data from the distribution centers to analyze the demand and then keep a supply based on this. We would put more value on less waste though, instead of keeping every product available in the shelfs at all times regardless of waste (because the approach is resource-based). We can then apply advanced trend analysis to predict changes in demand so the shortages are minimal.

After this there is a third question which is "how do we decide what kind of televisions we produce?". Television is just an example. We would value things a little differently than today. We are aiming for intelligent usage of our resources, which means that instead of making products that get broken easily, can not be fixed, can not be recycled, we make products that last longer, can be fixed much easier and can be recycled as well as is technologically possible.

We would have no need to create hundreds of different models that have minor differences, we could create the best model possible and if there's disagreement on this, we could create two models. Or three. Using human resources and technological resources and natural resources to develop hundreds of models which are all made from the cheapest materials to last just enough so people can buy more, is not very efficient.

Then there is the question about "who would do this?" "what is the incentive for people to work?". This is possibly the fundamental issue. There are many directions we can take with this question, but first I have to say that extrinsic rewards are inefficient. They are scientifically proven to do more harm than good. It's obvious that people need money as a reward because money is required for people to live but as a reward and as an incentive to do something intrinsic incentives are much more powerful.

People want to be autonomous in their work. They want to do something interesting and something that's challenging enough but not too challenging. Something they can get better at. And finally, something that matters. These are the ultimate incentives and a saner system would get rid of all the jobs that don't offer these rewards and give people the possibilities to find something that they really like. I suggest reading this book to understand this a little better: http://www.amazon.com/Drive-Surprising-Truth-About-Motivates/dp/0143145088 (there is a short video about this but it only scratches the surface: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc)

I can debate and go further in any of these basic questions because I only gave the short version of each. And if there is some other question, I'm happy to tackle it.

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December 11, 2011, 11:38:27 PM
 #58

The only way you are going to get a unilateral human culture that meets your desires is through violence. This RBE is a pipe-dream. You're going to need to stick a state in the homes of families and perform eugenics on people that don't meet your criteria.

Feel free to stand by your beliefs but don't pretend to be peaceful.

I agree. The people in this world are too brainwashed and willfully ignorant. Fear not, RBE will not happen in your lifetime. You have a lifetime of violence and fear based culture to enjoy. Their children's children are who I wish to educate.

No, they are only ignorant of your preferences. Don't honor yourself with an objective moral truth.

I would love to debate this over beers. You claim that people are not willfully ignorant. Priceless. What moral truth do you posit that I have declared? I posit only science that is testable, verifiable, reproducible, and predictive. Learn to distinguish hypotheses from theories. You will then find your platform more solid.


My hypothesis is that I can drink more beers than you, Lets see if it supports the theory... Smiley

  btw: currently already had a few Smiley

Corporations have been enthroned, An era of corruption in high places will follow and the money power will endeavor to prolong its reign by working on the prejudices of the people until wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. ~Abe Lincoln 1ApJdWUdSWYw8n8HEATYhHXA9EYoRTy7c4
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December 11, 2011, 11:44:07 PM
 #59

The only way you are going to get a unilateral human culture that meets your desires is through violence. This RBE is a pipe-dream. You're going to need to stick a state in the homes of families and perform eugenics on people that don't meet your criteria.

Feel free to stand by your beliefs but don't pretend to be peaceful.

I agree. The people in this world are too brainwashed and willfully ignorant. Fear not, RBE will not happen in your lifetime. You have a lifetime of violence and fear based culture to enjoy. Their children's children are who I wish to educate.

No, they are only ignorant of your preferences. Don't honor yourself with an objective moral truth.

I would love to debate this over beers. You claim that people are not willfully ignorant. Priceless. What moral truth do you posit that I have declared? I posit only science that is testable, verifiable, reproducible, and predictive. Learn to distinguish hypotheses from theories. You will then find your platform more solid.

Yes because there is an objective value on everything and people just don't know it. People don't know what they want. They don't know what's best for themselves. We should assign specialized technocrats to decide such values and how we should lead our lives. There is a real number and only the wise and virtuous technocrats know. 

Now, back to reality: The numbers match up perfectly because they are the culmination of asks and bids of the people who own said "stuff". Nobody knows better than the person who had to make the choices and actions necessary to produce and possess said product and/or service. Now, of course, there is not only one individual that can produce a good or service; there are many and the prices will adjust to competing bids and asks. The spot price is the "real" number. Just because somebody is willing to pay more than you are, it doesn't mean the price is wrong. It just means you don't value the object as much and you will have to pay just as much with whatever goods if you can only barter. Actually, bartering will only make it more expensive with the time you have to spend trading to get it.

Individual desires differ. We are all unique and special in our own way. Didn't they teach you that in preschool? I'm sorry everybody doesn't think and desire the same. We are called sentient individual human beings for a reason. If we all acted and thought unilaterally in unison, guess what: We would be a single individual. Sorry, we are not.

At the least, I am my own organism.
This is what I call the "price mechanism is perfect" speech. You are right that it's much more efficient than barter, I do not advocate that we go back to barter. Imagine international trade using only barter... I can imagine it and it would be much less efficient than what we have now.

But what the so called resource-based economy means is not going back to barter but basically automating the entire production chain. From mining natural resources to creating the final product for your use. It does not eliminate choice. You could go to a market, which would simply be a distribution center, and pick what you want. Just like people do now, but without price tags. This raises many questions and I'll try to answer some of them in advance.

First question usually is related to some need based on "human nature", "wouldn't people just empty the place in an instant?". That's an entirely valid question and this would definitely happen if a market decided today to just give everything for free. There would be a riot. This behaviour is 100% the product of living in a world like this. If you were born to a world without price tags and there were enough products to go around, no one would have incentive to hoard anything. You wouldn't have advertising either.

Now the second question is "how does it work?" and this is where it gets a bit more complex for someone who can only think in terms of prices. But it's really not that complex. There are other ways besides price that we can use to find out what needs to be produced for a certain area, a certain distribution center etc. The core of this is simple tracking of demand. We can use a combination of survey and actual data from the distribution centers to analyze the demand and then keep a supply based on this. We would put more value on less waste though, instead of keeping every product available in the shelfs at all times regardless of waste (because the approach is resource-based). We can then apply advanced trend analysis to predict changes in demand so the shortages are minimal.

After this there is a third question which is "how do we decide what kind of televisions we produce?". Television is just an example. We would value things a little differently than today. We are aiming for intelligent usage of our resources, which means that instead of making products that get broken easily, can not be fixed, can not be recycled, we make products that last longer, can be fixed much easier and can be recycled as well as is technologically possible.

We would have no need to create hundreds of different models that have minor differences, we could create the best model possible and if there's disagreement on this, we could create two models. Or three. Using human resources and technological resources and natural resources to develop hundreds of models which are all made from the cheapest materials to last just enough so people can buy more, is not very efficient.

Then there is the question about "who would do this?" "what is the incentive for people to work?". This is possibly the fundamental issue. There are many directions we can take with this question, but first I have to say that extrinsic rewards are inefficient. They are scientifically proven to do more harm than good. It's obvious that people need money as a reward because money is required for people to live but as a reward and as an incentive to do something intrinsic incentives are much more powerful.

People want to be autonomous in their work. They want to do something interesting and something that's challenging enough but not too challenging. Something they can get better at. And finally, something that matters. These are the ultimate incentives and a saner system would get rid of all the jobs that don't offer these rewards and give people the possibilities to find something that they really like. I suggest reading this book to understand this a little better: http://www.amazon.com/Drive-Surprising-Truth-About-Motivates/dp/0143145088 (there is a short video about this but it only scratches the surface: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc)

I can debate and go further in any of these basic questions because I only gave the short version of each. And if there is some other question, I'm happy to tackle it.

Do you guys think human society is more complex, or less complex, than an individual human brain?
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December 11, 2011, 11:51:45 PM
 #60

Do you guys think human society is more complex, or less complex, than an individual human brain?

To be honest, I don't know. Complexity is the science of chaos. We are mapping the brain and can actually program computers to mimic thought to a degree. The signal to noise ratio is higher in the brain than society. Society is really pretty simple if you filter out statistically insignificant error. I prefer to think of us as family. After all, we all evolved from the same ancestors. We're just a very dysfunctional family.

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