marc fawzi wrote:
> The things we learn growing up in a hierarchical society is not to
> upset the hierarchy but the only way for society to reach its full
> potential is to continuously break that hierarchy, so in copying
> multiple lists I am broadcasting to all those who may be interested in
> many hierarchies (each list is a hierarchy of moderators, long time
> users, and new comers) so as not to create dependence on any one of
> those hierarchies, because as I see it no hierarchy is a good
> hierarchy, so any one hierarchy can go bad and try to control its
> environment to stay in place.
As has been pointed out before:
"Manuel De Landa on Meshworks, Hierarchies, and Interfaces"
"Indeed, one must resist the temptation to make hierarchies into villains
and meshworks into heroes, not only because, as I said, they are constantly
turning into one another, but because in real life we find only mixtures and
hybrids, and the properties of these cannot be established through theory
alone but demand concrete experimentation. Certain standardizations, say, of
electric outlet designs or of data-structures traveling through the
Internet, may actually turn out to promote heterogenization at another
level, in terms of the appliances that may be designed around the standard
outlet, or of the services that a common data-structure may make possible.
On the other hand, the mere presence of increased heterogeneity is no
guarantee that a better state for society has been achieved. After all, the
territory occupied by former Yugoslavia is more heterogeneous now than it
was ten years ago, but the lack of uniformity at one level simply hides an
increase of homogeneity at the level of the warring ethnic communities. But
even if we managed to promote not only heterogeneity, but diversity
articulated into a meshwork, that still would not be a perfect solution.
After all, meshworks grow by drift and they may drift to places where we do
not want to go. The goal-directedness of hierarchies is the kind of property
that we may desire to keep at least for certain institutions. Hence,
demonizing centralization and glorifying decentralization as the solution to
all our problems would be wrong. An open and experimental attitude towards
the question of different hybrids and mixtures is what the complexity of
reality itself seems to call for. To paraphrase Deleuze and Guattari, never
believe that a meshwork will suffice to save us."
But, that has even been pointed out before directly when you raised this
anti-hierarchy issue, even on postscarcity Google group.
So, it is true you are ignoring a key point.
The world is full of both both centralized hierarchies and distributed
meshworks, as a duality like Yin and Yang. One may, of course, argue about
the desirable degree of each in specific circumstances, but setting either
to zero is just not possible in this universe to my understanding. Living
cells, to begin with, need both meshworks in them and hierarchies in them.
Organized wars by hierarchical states are awful, but so are eternally
running feuds. A lot of historic human wisdom has to do with halting feuds,
though unfortunately we've lost much of that as we've come to depend more on
the hierarchies for basic neighborly functions.
You are also simultaneously promoting a unified currency system (or various
spinoffs, I'm not sure what your proposal is at this point, as it has gone
through some iterations) that itself will no-doubt contain one or more
hierarchical authorities to function in any global way. Otherwise, as Kevin
Carson said in reply to your post on the postscarcity list:
you can just as well let local system for trading emerge using whatever
currency systems they chose within whatever economic framework they adopted.
Maybe they will use energy as a currency, or CPU hours, or person-hours, or
maybe they will not.
> By broadcasting to all lists, I simply
> spread the risk, so if OM decides that they want to be close minded
> and label agile as spam because they can't understand the thought
> process then let it be. I have no time to start digging out old
> threads from OM and resending them to other lists after the fact. The
> approach of sending to all lists concerned creates more resiliency on
> my end, so again if one list decides to label agile as spam I will
> have lost nothing and my message continues to flow so I can continue
> to receive thoughtful feedback and thoughtful arguments and continue
> the process.
On crossposting in general, as is said here:
it is true that it makes sense sometimes, so while I find it often
questionable (including in this case, as you are getting a bad reception
here but not in the other group), I personally am not absolutely opposed to it.
Still, you suggest you don't have time to dig out or digest old threads, but
on the other hand, you expect others to have time to read your posts and
respond to them? Or categorize them twice if they are subscribed to both lists?
Personally, I've read lots of flame wars, so they don't especially bother me
in the long term that they are in the archives or that they happen. They no
doubt turn newcomers off, but not everything can be about newcomers.
What really bothers me most is just not seeing two or more people making a
better attempt to get along, even if they disagree. Part of that may be
simply that Bryan may feel his and others' "attention" is being unfairly
taken away from what he and some others deem more productive uses.
Herbert Simon was perhaps the first person to articulate the concept of
attention economics when he wrote: "...in an information-rich world, the
wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of
whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is
rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth
of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that
attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that
might consume it"
That's another basis that has been proposed for economies and currencies, if
one needs them. :-)
I know this "crisis" is taking attention away from me programming right now.
I think it is a valid issue to think about whether this is the right place
to do extensive "agile development" of ideas on currency if that means
repeating a lot of the same stuff, as opposed to setting up a new mailing
list, blog, or just posting pointers to a wiki page (like you have). I don't
Personally, I think people can ignore the stress of stuff they don't like
easier than the stress of the worry they might say something off-topic and
get banned. There isn't some simple solution to censorship or banning.
Sometimes a group decides it is needed, but it's more likely to be worth a
ban for obviously commercial posts for "wristwatches". Or a ban for
persistent uncivil behavior, which unfortunately has been coming recently
from a few people, and would entail banning Bryan too, and maybe some
others, to be fair, if it's just about language used recently. If Bryan and
others had held their keys back on those sorts of comments, then if the
uncivilness was one-sided, a ban for incivility would be easier to
contemplate if it's all by just one person. But, when it is on various
sides, feeding on itself, then any one person has to get a free pass if
others do too, IMHO. I guess a one week ban for uncivil behavior for
everyone involved might be possible? But it still seems more trouble than it
is worth in the current situation, including then arguing about what is
"uncivil" enough to get banned.
Some people are obviously frustrated here, so addressing those frustrations
in some positive ways might be valuable and a better idea than censorship.
Whether that solution is new groups, new technology, new statements about
values and goals, or just new ideas, I don't know. This is not just an issue
of one person. I've contributed my own amount of noise relative to some
people's definition of signal. Bryan created a new group a while back for
"openmanufacturing-dev" with a narrower charter, so maybe it is time to
revisit that as well.
In general, the question is, what are the group's goals, as I raised here
but without replies, where I said:
"Anyway, if Marc's posts are not well received by some here (or even many.
or most), I'm just suggesting we take a moment to reflect on what the bigger
picture social issue is in terms of group goals and group process, rather
than just single any one person out right now for stepping over some
boundary that might (or might not :-) be hazily defined. :-) "
But obviously, incivility, whether in retort or not, is stepping over a
different hazy line.
"Incivility as a Barometer of Societal Decay"
Incivility is problematical in part because it creates fear and bad stress,
and fear and bad stress shut down a spirit of play. A spirit of play is
essential to a healthy society:
We're here to develop a system of open manufacturing, right? Maybe we need
to debate things occasionally, but really, that sort of adversarial conflict
is not the main point -- it's more to learn to cooperate on building a new
I can acknowledge that with your open technical proposals you are genuinely
trying to do what you see right towards that open future end. So, you've
started down the path, great. :-)
> I find that a few people here act like bullying IRC admins (throwing
> out words like "spam" and "bullshit") and lack the ability to reason,
> and like Wikipedia admins if they don't like what they hear regardless
> of the rationality behind it they resort to cursing which invites
> cursing. I admit I have a tit for tat angle when it comes to
> interacting with people who resort to lowest common denominator
And as for "tit for tat", see:
"The vengeance-based non-biblical forms of Lex Talionis have been
criticized; its critics maintain that merely limiting vengeance is not
enough as even limited retaliation continues a potentially endless cycle of
violence. Mahatma Gandhi remarked: "An eye for an eye will make the whole
world blind." Even though it may be hard to do in practice, certain belief
systems (such as Christianity) teach individuals to forgive those who wrong
them, rather than seek retribution for a wrong. Other belief systems adhere
to similar concepts, such as the Taoist wu wei which encourages a wronged
individual to simply accept the infraction and to take the least "resistive"
action to correct it, if any action need to be taken at all. Buddhism
stresses the weight of karma: one can take retributive action, but that
retributive action is not without its consequences, and living on a finite
planet guarantees that the suffering incurred by a retributive action will
return to the individual who was wronged (as well as the one who did the
wrong-doing). Some subscribe to the Golden Rule of ethics rather than any
law of retaliation. It can also be seen as an extension of the informal
logical fallacy, two wrongs make a right."
Computer simulations are often used to see the consequences of decision
theory. They aren't perfect predictors, given humans are still a hard to
duplicate run-time phenomenon, but they are a start. One of the pioneers in
this is Robert Axelrod.
While it is true that in Robert Axelrod's first book:
he showed that "tit-for-tat" was a good strategy for computer agents in an
iterated simple "prisoner's dilemma",
in the sequel, Axelrod says he discovered something else from further
simulation. That discovery is described here:
"Tit for tat (TFT or T4T) emerged as the most robust strategy in early IPD
tournaments on computer, combining a willingness to cooperate with a
determination to punish non-cooperation. It turns out that under various
circumstances such as the possibility of error, strategies that are a little
more cooperative or a little less punitive do even better than TIT FOR TAT.
Generous TFT, or GTFT, cooperates a bit more often than TFT, while Contrite
TFT or CTFT defects less frequently."
Note that was for a simple system. Real life is more complex. So, since
Axelrod talked "tit-for-three-tats" being best in general in an iterated
Prisoner's Dilemma with noise and error, I'd suggest if people want to do
"tit-for-tat" on perceived insults, at least adopt "tit-for-three-tats" and
everyone will be happier. :-) And part of the reason for that is, given the
ambiguity of communication, it is never always clear what someone's
intention was or what other factors are operating in their lives at the
moment. Since email lacks most of the cues humans need to assess intent and
emotion (facial expression, tone of voice, gestures, body language,
pheromones, whatever), I'd suggest, "tit-for-ten-tats" would be an even
better strategy for cooperation via email. :-)
Also, everyone should remember that when anyone "tats" on someone else on a
mailing list, everyone on the list suffers too, to an extent, even as a
bystander. So, there are 120 members here, so if one accidental bystander
"tat" is worth, say, even one-tenth of a direct "tat" in indirect stress,
then "tit-for-tat" on a 120 member list would be causing a twelve times
increase in stress on every go round (beyond the original), which is likely
to lead to an explosion of the community in some form. So, if, as above,
"tit-for-ten-tats" is better on an email list in general, then on a list
this size, with a ten times multiplier, it should really be
Of course, that ignores stress to non-subscribers reading the archives now
or in the future, whose numbers we don't know, but may be enormous someday
(in our dreams. :-)
Or, by that point, it is probably better just to be polite all the time, at
least in public email forums. :-)
But that's not to argue for no structure or no response to problems. There
is still Clay Shirky's point that:
"And the worst crisis is the first crisis, because it's not just "We need to
have some rules." It's also "We need to have some rules for making some
rules." And this is what we see over and over again in large and long-lived
social software systems. Constitutions are a necessary component of large,
long-lived, heterogenous groups. Geoff Cohen has a great observation about
this. He said "The likelihood that any unmoderated group will eventually get
into a flame-war about whether or not to have a moderator approaches one as
time increases." As a group commits to its existence as a group, and begins
to think that the group is good or important, the chance that they will
begin to call for additional structure, in order to defend themselves from
themselves, gets very, very high. "
Anyway, we've had more name calling on various sides in the thread this
comes from (including sexism which was probably not even consciously
intended), so how about we all call the previous thread quits, take a deep
breath, and start over tomorrow a little calmer? At least that can delay a
constitutional crisis for a bit longer. :-)
> so if someone comes and says that this is spam (referring to
> the agile process of release often, release early and high bandwidth
> communication that starts out raw in quality and gets better over
> time) then I think they have no business running a mailing list about
> anything "open" and especially not something as elevated in vision as
> "open production"
Well, it's still not clear to me if this particular mailing list is the best
place to do agile development on currency, given most people disagree with
the basic assumptions you are making and are getting tired of pointing that
out. There is, say, this group (unfortunately named IMHO):
"Post-autistic economics network"
"Parecon, or participatory economics"
Seriously, you'd probably get much more productive feedback at groups like
that focused on currencies and such.
There are some assumptions in what you post here that I'd expect most other
people on this list disagree with to some degree, like:
* that an advanced economy will take more than minimal human labor to keep
* that people need to be motivated by otherwise restricting access to goods
and services if they do not contribute labor,
* that people will demand infinite goods and services if they can (other
than ones who are mentally ill or immature in some way),
* and probably others, including the circular argument (you need to make
money so you can keep making money, even though this list is in part about
making other stuff than money) which have all been referenced before.
In short, they are summed up in Iain Banks' repeated adage in his Culture
novels: "Money is a sign of poverty". :-)
So, what you have been posting is being interpreted as proposing keeping us
all poor. :-(
Having said that, money in this culture is a tool, and to survive most may
need to use it, and I personally have no objection to thinking about
transition strategies. Your posts here don't bother me personally as far as
they are technical (ignoring name calling on various sides). There will
always be real limits to what a system can produce, like Marshal Brain talks
about in the "Australia Project" in Manna:
But those issues have been raised before, and there are various alternative
approaches to organizing a society than currency. For example, you have not,
to my knowledge, taken up (or rebutted) the idea of a "Basic Income
Guarantee" which is at the core of trying to make existing currency systems
Or as Frances Moore Lappe says:
"It was thus, very practically, the New Deal that freed me to explore the
"big questions." Food, the basis of life, seemed like a smart place to
start, so I asked, Why hunger in a world of plenty? Soon it began to dawn on
me: as long as food is merely a commodity in societies that don't protect
people's right to participate in the market, and as long as farming is left
vulnerable to consolidated power off the farm, many will go hungry, farmers
among them -- no matter how big the harvests. I might have gotten there
quicker if I'd studied Roosevelt's insight that, to serve life, markets need
help from accountable, democratic government. Against those who saw
"economic laws" as "sacred," he argued that "economic laws are not made by
nature. They are made by human beings.""
But I personally think the issues confronting us won't be solved by making a
new currency at this point, and the more you write on it, the more convinced
I become of that. Sorry, but also, thanks. :-)
These are more the things I worry about at this point:
"The Machine and the Garden: A Commodity Called Misery"
"Given the economic and societal breakdown now underway and accelerating
toward completion, ... it’s bound to be interesting to see if they can
indoctrinate, dope, counsel, and lock up or medicate the dissidence, and
perhaps outright resistance that will occur. Whether the final American
collapse takes four years or forty years is anybody's guess. But it's gonna
take a passel of behavioral management experts, whether in psychological
institutions, university research centers, or on Madison Avenue, to keep the
lid on this puppy when she blows. ..."
"GOP Conspiracies on Who Crashed America: Economy Without Escape Routes:
"I wonder how many private jets hiding in hangers belong to Republicans.
There are no escape routes for 99 percent of Americans from the peril we are
If it gets that far, with all the nukes and bioweapons around, pretty much
nobody is going to do well, no matter how much money they have (backed by
fiat or whatever), or likely, even if they live in a remote tropical place
(given airborne weaponized pathogens, nuclear fallout, and tradewinds).
See, for example:
"At its peak, the former Soviet Union had the world's largest biological
warfare program, with somewhere between 25,000 and 32,000 people employed in
a network of 20 to 30 military and civilian laboratories and research
institutions. Biological agents were developed and stockpiled for delivery
by a variety of means, including long-range missiles. Special cooling
systems in the warheads protect the biological agents during re-entry.
Parachutes slowed the warhead, which at a set altitude dispense over a
hundred small bomblets. At least twenty tons of weapons-grade dry smallpox
was stockpiled in bunkers for loading into these and other delivery systems."
How much "currency" are people going to have received selling off all that
Russian dry smallpox to the highest bidder? :-( :-( :-(
So, what I'm personally trying to do is, in part, create some alternatives
to that situation of people using post-scarcity tools (biotech, nuclear
tech, robotics, etc.) but still from a scarcity-oriented world view focusing
But that's the downside fear. The upside dream is to help more people
realize their potential and raise kids in happier and healthier sustainable
without the pain of "work" and boredom of "school",
in a world where there are just things to do and people who want to do them. :-)
But, the more I look at it, the less I see a new currency making sense to
accomplish that objective of a new post-scarcity vision, even if *part* of
our current problems are indeed currency related (like from fractional
reserve lending leading to bubbles without enough currency to pay the
"Money as debt"
We didn't need currency the last time most humans lived in relative abundance:
If in twenty years robots, computers, and other automation can do most of
what people can do now,
there just is no future for much of humanity without an alternative positive
vision given any currency system based around scarcity assumptions.
Even the Amish economy is based on the not-Amish buying their hand crafted
items and their farm production (at the very least, to afford to pay taxes
on their land). So, even the Amish would likely go down through automation,
because their land will be seized for non-payment of taxes for the services
they don't want. So, even the Amish need us to succeed to make a
post-scarcity world, if they are to have a future in a world of automation. :-)
Fundamentally, the currency proposals you advance ignore all those sorts of
issues, because a currency system is ultimately about shaping human behavior
in the face of scarcity to do labor (and labor of a sort those who set the
system up and hold the most currency deem desirable to be done). If there is
little scarcity, or there is little humans are worth employing to do, then
there is little need for currency. If you recast your proposal to being
about managing real resources with current limits to meet real current
demand (decided on in one of many more-or-less equitable ways, involving
currency or not), then you might get a better reception here.
Here is a start towards a new way to look at currency issues, from:
Here is a sample meta-theoretical framework ... economists no doubt could
vastly improve on if they turned their minds to it. Consider three levels of
nested perspectives on the same economic reality -- physical items, decision
makers, and emergent properties of decision maker interactions. ...
* At a first level of perspective, the world we live in at any point in time
can be considered to have physical content like land or tools or fusion
reactors like the sun, energy flows like photons from the sun or electrons
from lightning or in circuits, informational patterns like web page content
or distributed language knowledge, and active regulating processes
(including triggers, amplifiers, and feedback loops) built on the previous
three types of things (physicality, energy flow, and informational patterns)
embodied in living creatures, bi-metallic strip thermostats, or computer
programs running on computer hardware.
* One can think of a second perspective on the first comprehensive one by
picking out only the decision makers like bi-metallic strips in thermostats,
computer programs running on computers, and personalities embodied in people
and maybe someday robots or supercomputers, and looking at their
characteristics as individual decision makers.
* One can then think of a third level of perspective on the second where
decision makers may invent theories about how to control each other using
various approaches like internet communication standards, ration unit tokens
like fiat dollars, physical kanban tokens, narratives in emails, and so on.
What the most useful theories are for controlling groups of decision makers
is an interesting question, but I will not explore it in depth.
[See, that's what you are exploring with various currency ideas. :-)]
But I will point out that complex system dynamics at this third level of
perspective can emerge whether control involves fiat dollars, "kanban"
tokens, centralized or distributed optimization based on perceived or
predicted demand patterns, human-to-human discussions, something else
entirely, or a diverse collection of all these things.
And I will also point out that one should never confuse the reality of the
physical system being controlled for the control signals (money, spoken
words, kanban cards, internet packet contents, etc.) being passed around in
the control system.
Like most of economics, and like the circular reasoning point above, be
careful you don't confuse the reality of the physical system for the
coordination tokens being passed around. It's easy to do that. "The Map is
not the Territory." And "Data is not Reality".
"Data and Reality [Excerpts]"
"Kent attacks the pseudo-exactness of existing data models in a very neat
and clear (and often humorous) manner… This book is for everyone who thinks
about or works on data files and who wants to understand the reasons for his
Winston Churchill once said: "You make a living by what you get; you make a
life by what you give."