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Author Topic: Liberals, why do you like Bitcoin?  (Read 14374 times)
Explodicle
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May 26, 2011, 11:52:14 PM
 #41

My 0.02 BTC:

I'm a left-libertarian - a geoist/Georgist. Bitcoin is conveniently very compatible with what I want; one could evade sales/income/death taxes but not land/pollution taxes. If your economic activity has no detectable impact on third parties, then they IMHO have no business interfering with it. Once you start monopolizing natural resources or poisoning the air, then I start to care.
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enmaku
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May 26, 2011, 11:53:54 PM
 #42

It also means more food and fuel consumed. A finite number of resources cannot sustain any number of people indefinitely and if our use of the renewable resources outpaces the pace of their renewal, we drive them extinct; Food is a renewable resource with a given renewal rate.

As with everything else, though, some brilliant mind has already put it more succinctly than I ever could:

"It is hard to believe that this simple truth is not understood by those leaders who forbid their followers to use effective contraceptive methods. They express a preference for "natural" methods of population limitation, and a natural method is exactly what they are going to get. It is called starvation."
-Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene (1976)

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May 26, 2011, 11:54:55 PM
 #43

Colonize space, and this limitation ceases to exist.

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

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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May 26, 2011, 11:59:06 PM
 #44

Colonize space, and this limitation ceases to exist.
Fail to do anything about this limitation while we're figuring out how to colonize space (we're a ways off still) and WE will cease to exist.

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May 26, 2011, 11:59:28 PM
 #45

It also means more food and fuel consumed. A finite number of resources cannot sustain any number of people indefinitely and if our use of the renewable resources outpaces the pace of their renewal, we drive them extinct; Food is a renewable resource with a given renewal rate.

True, but to get the most productive use out of any given resource of any given amount requires a highly advanced division of labor, and more creativity and productive labor rather than less. I don't believe for a second that we have obtained the greatest possible yield of food from a cubic meter of soil. More people, not less, will have to look at that soil before we figure out how to get there.

The problem is that there tends to be more people where the capital necessary for technological development is lacking, and people with more capital tend to spend it on consumption and decrease the rate of their population growth. The solution isn't to control population; it is to (1) free the third world from their parasitic states which inhibit the accumulation of the capital which is the foundation of technological development; and (2) end the political paradigm in the first world which encourages consumerism through cheap credit and debt-financing.

Which brings us around to bitcoin, which may have a significant role to play in both. Smiley

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May 27, 2011, 12:10:33 AM
 #46

Fail to do anything about this limitation while we're figuring out how to colonize space (we're a ways off still) and WE will cease to exist.

people screaming about overpopulation need to do a little research and a little math.  the rate of population growth worldwide has been dropping steadily for 50 years now and shows no signs of rising.  within another 40 years, population growth will not be happening.
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May 27, 2011, 12:11:29 AM
 #47

It also means more food and fuel consumed. A finite number of resources cannot sustain any number of people indefinitely and if our use of the renewable resources outpaces the pace of their renewal, we drive them extinct; Food is a renewable resource with a given renewal rate.

True, but to get the most productive use out of any given resource of any given amount requires a highly advanced division of labor, and more creativity and productive labor rather than less. I don't believe for a second that we have obtained the greatest possible yield of food from a cubic meter of soil. More people, not less, will have to look at that soil before we figure out how to get there.

The problem is that there tends to be more people where the capital necessary for technological development is lacking, and people with more capital tend to spend it on consumption and decrease the rate of their population growth. The solution isn't to control population; it is to (1) free the third world from their parasitic states which inhibit the accumulation of the capital which is the foundation of technological development; and (2) end the political paradigm in the first world which encourages consumerism through cheap credit and debt-financing.

Which brings us around to bitcoin, which may have a significant role to play in both. Smiley

I certainly do agree with the concept of bitcoin (or something like it) as a solution to a great deal of the problems of inequity. Bringing the third-world out of the slums and into educated modernity would certainly go a long way toward population control, since the third world tends to be the location of the highest birth rates. We would still have many problems to contend with, and overpopulation would not cease to be an issue, but an injection of wealth tends to lower infant mortality rates in a nation which tends to decrease birth rates - albeit after a delay during which the population explodes out of control.

Really I think the issue from a financial sense is that the markets are no longer directly driven by supply and demand. There is so much in this world that is post-scarcity that we continue to pay for without any valid reason. Why should I pay thousands of dollars to a college for knowledge? Knowledge is post-scarcity, I can learn on my own as long as I've got the drive and an internet connection. Helium, on the other hand, is so cheap that we use it to fill colorful balloons for parties, yet our stockpiles are rapidly depleting. If the market were allowed to determine the price of college, it would be free (or nearly so) and if the market were allowed to determine the price of helium, a single party balloon would be worth hundreds of dollars.

Because governments have been allowed to "incentivize" what we purchase and marketing firms have been allowed to lie to us about what is and is not rare (how uncommon are diamonds, really?) our concepts of value are grossly distorted. Bitcoin solves part of the problem by largely removing the ability of governments to interfere with our purchases in the forms of subsidies and tariffs but we also need to do something about the marketing and media that have us convinced that common things are rare and that rare things are of never-ending supply.

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May 27, 2011, 12:15:50 AM
 #48

Fail to do anything about this limitation while we're figuring out how to colonize space (we're a ways off still) and WE will cease to exist.

people screaming about overpopulation need to do a little research and a little math.  the rate of population growth worldwide has been dropping steadily for 50 years now and shows no signs of rising.  within another 40 years, population growth will not be happening.

The fact that in the last 50 years we've done this:


Does little to undo the fact that in the last 10,000 we've done this:


While I certainly hope that the 50-year trend continues until we stabilize, that ten-millennium-long exponential trend seems hard to break. That said, nature will slow us down one way or another, I'd just prefer to do so of our own volition rather than begin dying of starvation.

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May 27, 2011, 12:29:11 AM
 #49

While I certainly hope that the 50-year trend continues until we stabilize, that ten-millennium-long exponential trend seems hard to break. That said, nature will slow us down one way or another, I'd just prefer to do so of our own volition rather than begin dying of starvation.
I know of no physical limitation that says a person must inhabit a 100-liter sack of carbon and water---and I don't think circumventing that is any more "cheating" than is finding ways of growing more food on the same amount of land. This exponential trend can continue for quite a long time before we hit any hard physical limits on personhood.

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May 27, 2011, 01:13:31 AM
 #50

Population is less of a problem if you colonize space to extract more energy from the sun.

It is also less of a problem if we decrease the energy requirement of each individuals. That may require genetic engineering or cybernetic enhancement.

I am optimistic that we will reach 1 trillion human beings, no problem.

Believing starvation is coming to decimate us all because there's so much human beings is merely a failure of imagination. People starve not so much because of the lack of  the food but the lack of efficient and robust market that can distribute food and stabilize the supply. There may be lack of speculators who would bear the risk or it is not possible to transport food.

You can have the most efficient agricultural output in the world, but it means dilly squat if you can't get it to the right people.

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May 27, 2011, 01:45:00 AM
 #51

That's true, but only to some extent. More people also means a more advanced division of labor, as well as more creativity and productive potential.

This is a popular misconception.  Division of labor is in no way limited by the number of people on the planet.

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May 27, 2011, 01:48:44 AM
 #52

And now my attempt at the OP:
It has the potential to hamper the government's ability to run society by allowing for citizens to control the earnings of their labor in an anonymous private environment. There is little accountability in a citizen paying their dues. How could you like this? Why are you here? Why don't you just keep supporting the US dollar or other fiat currencies?
Disclaimer: I don't consider myself a liberal these days, or at least I'm a pretty strange one. That said, I do want jack-booted thugs with rifles to take your money and give it to public schools. Not all of these points apply to me personally, though some of them do.

0 This is perhaps too obvious, but if I think Bitcoin has a good chance of succeeding, then whatever my political platform I will be more able to carry it out in ten years if I have some bitcoins. So even if I outright hated the idea of Bitcoin I still ought to own some.

1 You aren't describing a liberal, you're describing every ordinary person in the world. Most people want the government to control where and how others spend their money, though how they spend their own money is of course their business. Most people want everyone else to pay their fair share of taxes, though they feel like their own share is unfair. Most people want the government to stop giving handouts to the undeserving, but consider everyone they know personally to be deserving. This is called hypocrisy and it's among the most common traits found in humanity.

2 Have you considered that liberalism is perhaps a bit more complex than "The government knows best"? That at its foundation is not social control, but fairness---the radical notion that equality of opportunity is good? Fairness isn't some bizarre modern invention, it's an impulse built into our very genes. A conservative will say, "Well, the world isn't fair. Get over it." A liberal will say, "Well, the world isn't fair. Let's fix that." And in the long run, Bitcoin ought to make the world more fair, since it will reduce the ability of the already-powerful to enrich themselves every time someone wants to buy a cup of coffee. If I can easily send a few mBTC directly to a farmer in Africa, why should I let agribusinesses and warlords have their cut?

3 Large agencies and the super-wealthy already have the power to hide money, violate financial restrictions, and evade taxes through clever accounting and jurisdictional games. Therefore Bitcoin isn't giving those people anything. Instead it's giving that same power to the individuals who don't have the benefit of being born a Hilton. This is like asking why support Tor if you don't like child pornography.

4 Only the least financially savvy are foolish enough to hold their savings in cash. Generally these people are lower working class. So in practice inflation is quite a regressive tax. I don't like regressive taxes, and neither do more ordinary liberals.

5 Just because I want a big bully to extort wealth from rich people and hand it to public works and the disabled, doesn't mean I want to pretend that isn't what they're doing. I'd much rather just say, "Some big bully should extort wealth from that guy and hand it to public works and the disabled." This is because I don't like extortion in itself, and I want to remember that that's what I'm advocating. Otherwise I might find myself saying, "Some big bully should extort wealth from that guy and then pay someone to hold him captive for ten years if he smokes some pot." Bitcoin will force me to be honest, since the only way to take it by force is directly, or at least at one degree of removal through an agency like the IRS.

6 I agree with liberals that a monopoly is frequently a bad thing, and a monopoly propped up by law is pretty much always a bad thing. So why in the world would I support a legally mandated monopoly on currency production?

7 Like liberals, I support harm reduction over cracking down. If we're going to have an industry of people smuggling guns and heroin into the country, at least we don't have to have a parallel industry of people smuggling cash back out. If people are going to evade taxes, I'd prefer that they do it by hiding some cash under the bed rather than by creating a national money laundering network with all the associated violence and seediness attached.

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May 27, 2011, 01:50:15 AM
 #53

Division of labor is in no way limited by the number of people on the planet.

That's really hilarious. I'm not even going to bother refuting it, because the fallacy is so obvious that to believe that you must have left plain logic far behind, which would render any argument pointless. Next you'll be telling me that wars stimulate the economy. Cheesy

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May 27, 2011, 02:29:58 AM
 #54

the fallacy is so obvious

Like the fallacy of assuming that labor requires humans?

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May 27, 2011, 02:33:47 AM
 #55

That's not a fallacy, unless you have a few billion solar-powered robots sitting around somewhere.

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May 27, 2011, 04:47:59 PM
 #56

That's not a fallacy, unless you have a few billion solar-powered robots sitting around somewhere.
Welcome to the Zeitgeist philosophy.
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May 27, 2011, 05:21:43 PM
 #57

It has the potential to hamper the government's ability to run society by allowing for citizens to control the earnings of their labor in an anonymous private environment. There is little accountability in a citizen paying their dues. How could you like this? Why are you here? Why don't you just keep supporting the US dollar or other fiat currencies?

What I don't understand is why you conservatives like bitcoin. It has the potential to hamper the government's ability to monitor society by allowing for citizens to hide their activities in an anonymous private environment. There is little accountability in a single citizen paying their dues, forcing the higher taxation of big businesses and the wealthy who own those businesses. How could you like this? Why are you here? Why don't you just keep supporting the US dollar or other fiat currencies since it enables the existence of the military industrial complex?
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May 27, 2011, 05:22:32 PM
 #58

That's not a fallacy, unless you have a few billion solar-powered robots sitting around somewhere.
Welcome to the Zeitgeist philosophy.
...I should have known.

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May 27, 2011, 05:25:22 PM
 #59

It has the potential to hamper the government's ability to run society by allowing for citizens to control the earnings of their labor in an anonymous private environment. There is little accountability in a citizen paying their dues. How could you like this? Why are you here? Why don't you just keep supporting the US dollar or other fiat currencies?

What I don't understand is why you conservatives like bitcoin. It has the potential to hamper the government's ability to monitor society by allowing for citizens to hide their activities in an anonymous private environment. There is little accountability in a single citizen paying their dues, forcing the higher taxation of big businesses and the wealthy who own those businesses. How could you like this? Why are you here? Why don't you just keep supporting the US dollar or other fiat currencies since it enables the existence of the military industrial complex?

What do you mean by "you conservatives"? Might it be that there is a political philosophy that consistently opposes ALL government violence against peaceful people, which would attract the same sort of people who are interested in depoliticizing money? Hmm...

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May 27, 2011, 05:35:32 PM
 #60

Also, this should have been in the original post.


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