Re: Public Perception

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Bryan Bishop

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Dec 19, 2008, 5:10:57 PM12/19/08
to Thomas Knight, diy...@googlegroups.com, kan...@gmail.com, openmanufacturing
On Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 3:18 PM, Thomas Knight <t...@csail.mit.edu> wrote:
>> On Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 1:21 PM, Bryan Bishop wrote:
>> I like the example. What more, what if a philanthropist showed up and
>> started manufacturing via giant vats some ridiculous amount of
>> artemisinin, which Artemisania relies on for economic livelihood?
>> After the cost of the initial investment in the hardware is paid for,
>> the cost of having the organisms grow and such is near-zero, as long
>> as you continuously have nutrient/input supply. So in this scenario,
>> not only do you have a country that isn't selling the product, but
>> nobody's "selling" it at all, yet the demand is being satisfied.
>
> Well, what we are really seeing here is a profound transition from
> manufacturing being a capital intensive enterprise to one which is
> information-driven. Think of the factories as being as easy to duplicate as
> the torrent download of your latest movie. Exactly the same things that are
> happening today to authors, musicians, film makers, and artists will be
> happening in the construction and manufacturing industries. This is an
> essential part of the transition from factory based to self-replication
> based manufacturing technology.
>
> We don't know how to run an economic system based on abundance rather than
> scarcity, but we had best learn rapidly. I hope and trust that the system
> that results will be better, not worse for everyone.

There's a lot of discussion about this on openmanufacturing.net and
p2pfoundation.net that might be of interest here--
http://p2pfoundation.net/

In particular:
http://p2pfoundation.net/Abundance_vs._Scarcity

There's also some pages on the site about "open money" and "new
monies", but personally I'm not too interested in pursuing that
because if you're going to end up with a post-scarcity model, which I
think would qualify as an advanced civilization, why would you want to
implement money? And if you didn't, is there no longer an economy?
Even though things are still happening?

One issue that is underexplored in this territory are "transistional
issues". You don't just flip a switch and suddenly everything is
post-scarcity; you don't flip a switch and suddenly the Artemisanians
are no longer going hungry, etc. So, I don't know how to address this.
Nathan Cravens has spent some time thinking on this and might comment
(so I'm cc'ing the openmanufacturing list).

- Bryan
http://heybryan.org/
1 512 203 0507

marc fawzi

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Dec 19, 2008, 5:56:30 PM12/19/08
to openmanu...@googlegroups.com, Thomas Knight, diy...@googlegroups.com, kan...@gmail.com

I've been developing a sustainable model for an abundance-based P2P economy where the value of money is derived from renewable energy, and where "the more you share the more you have" is the principle for wealth creation...

The logic of "sustainable abundance" is counter-intuitive to those who are used to thinking that an abundant resource (e.g. solar energy) is abundant as long as we can produce it for "free" and on renewable basis (the sun always burns)

In a P2P Energy SmartGrid like the Peer Grid concept in the model I've been developing, which enables the sharing of energy as currency, there is a cost to the production of an abundant and renewable resource like solar energy and if someone or some group of people decide to dump energy into the market at below cost of production then they will drive out other producers, especially the smaller ones. There is also the speculative bets on energy prices that can drive prices too high or too low, which throttles economic growth and can culminate in the failure of the renewable-energy-backed currency.

Such considerations as well as many insights are covered in the Energy-Backed P2P Social Currency article.

Marc
http://evolvingtrends.wordpress.com/

Bryan Bishop

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Dec 19, 2008, 6:06:30 PM12/19/08
to Meredith L. Patterson, diy...@googlegroups.com, Thomas Knight, openmanufacturing, kan...@gmail.com
On Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 4:48 PM, Meredith L. Patterson
<clon...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 2:10 PM, Bryan Bishop <kan...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> One issue that is underexplored in this territory are "transistional
>> issues". You don't just flip a switch and suddenly everything is
>> post-scarcity; you don't flip a switch and suddenly the Artemisanians
>> are no longer going hungry, etc.
>
> This. Nor do you just flip a switch and an entire country loses its
> economy, either -- it takes time and money for new manufacturing
> processes to get up to speed, new distribution channels to get laid
> down, &c, &c.
>
> For that matter, name one country whose *entire* economy rests on one
> commodity. Hint: there's not one.

Yes, but I thought we were talking about the people in the fictional
country that get screwed? I'd be more concerned about people not being
able to meet basic needs in these scenarios at first, in the case of
sudden economic collapse and such, rather than be concerned about the
vanishing 'economy'.

People who structure their lives around a single job are relying on
that "one commodity" (their job), and when it goes away in a puff of
smoke, that's what I'm talking about for 'transitional issues'.

"Welcome, you have now become unemployed. We regret to inform you that
there aren't many openings for jobs, and the alternative to working to
live hasn't been able to fully scale and deploy at this time. Good
luck." <- That's kind of what I mean. :-/

Bryan Bishop

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Dec 19, 2008, 10:49:38 PM12/19/08
to Thomas Knight, William Heath, diy...@googlegroups.com, openmanu...@googlegroups.com, kan...@gmail.com
On Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 7:47 PM, Thomas Knight <t...@csail.mit.edu> wrote:
> I think this thread is missing a very major point. We HAVE self replicating
> machines, which fulfill all of he requirements of "closure" that are
> outlined here. They are living cells. Our job is to engineer them. This
> is the essence of synthetic biology, and exactly why the enterprise is so
> very important from an engineering standpoint. Big clunky xyz robotic
> platforms and milling machines are great, but they do not vaguely approach
> the closure properties of a living cell. Biology is the nanotechnology that
> works.

Amorphous computing/fabrication isn't quite what everyone expects.
It's not the same as traditional engineering. I'm preaching to the
choir, everyone around here knows this. Insert notes here on the
packaging of projects, blah blah blah wouldn't it be optimal to have a
lot of tiny little tools that we could combine into a synthetic
biology compiler, etc. :-) (I've said this all before, nothing new, or
so it seems.)

On a more serious of a note, a few months ago I started talking about
the concept of a bioreactor or some type of tank that could be fed
nutrients and such and be a fully contained, self-replicating toolkit
for do-it-yourself bio. One of the major hurdles is the construction
of a completely biological DNA synthesizer (another major hurdle is
specialty purified chemicals for specific protocols/recipes). There's
a set of ideas that I worked on, with some others, for a "retarded
polymerase" that would probably take an entire lab to develop over
many years, which would respond to some wavelength of light to attach
a certain nucleotide to a batch of DNA; issues with this idea is that
it's slow, slow and still slow. A "writozyme" if you will. Also the
experimental methodology to construct it requires something like a
triple-tiered directed selection experiment, aptamers, and a number of
other things that make me increasingly less optimistic.

Another issue to consider is that the majority of lab tech is
manufactured using giant bulky milling machines, CNC machines and so
on as you mention, Tom. So the dependency requirements on lab stuff is
already requiring some industrial ecology. I don't know about
specialty chemical factories that Dow, Sigma-Aldrich and friends are
using, Meredith might know something about IDT that she could
elaborate on though? Lab instrumentation is also another issue.
Growing perfect pipettes doesn't seem likely, but I can guess that
there are alternatives that we will have to grow from the ground up.

What may end up happening anyway is the mutual and gradual growth of
both the toolkits for the do-it-yourself synthetic biology platforms
in conjunction with fablabs and open manufacturing. I'm kind of
jealous of you Boston folk, since this is already happening up where
you are.

Any ideas on completely biologically manufactured biolabware (esp.
synthesizers) always welcome though.

Nathan Cravens

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Dec 20, 2008, 2:15:12 AM12/20/08
to openmanu...@googlegroups.com
Money is used today and will continue for at least two primary reasons: 1) Intelligence scarcity and 2) materials scarcity. Intelligence scarcity means humans must perform tasks to create a demanded product/service. Materials scarcity means physical resources cannot be fabricated infinitely. The more scarce the good/service is considered, the greater value that's had in a monetary system. To turn home manufacturing into something as effortless as breathing will constitute a monetary value of zero. Money exists because its believed to be necessary and of value because intelligence and materials are considered scarce. I believe the failure of that assumption is presenting itself as we speak.   
 
The surgical doctor can represent the chiseling away of intelligence and materials scarcity. Surgeons are paid highly because they are considered more knowledgeable than others. Surgeons also perform mechanical tasks or operations. Both diagnosing an illness and performing the operations to 'treat' the patient are becoming assisted more and more by computational and mechanical devices that contain modular extensions of the Surgeon's practice. Without going into a detailed argument by describing the historical progression of surgical technology, I'll leave it to your imagination to fill the gap between 1) mostly human surgeon with a few simple mechanical tools, 2) Mostly human surgeon augmented by more tools to serve more patients than before, onward to the conclude 3) Surgical analysis and operations without a human doctor. The treatment by a Surgeon will require money until both intelligence scarcity, materials scarcity, or illness itself is no longer a factor. The old Surgeon with an Industrial work ethic may well volunteer out of boredom to console patients of his own generation, making suggestions knowing full well a software program can and will make more accurate evaluations and operations. Like the Queen of England, President of the United States, or our dear friend the surgeon, the roles may be romanticised and highly regarded well after they serve no useful purpose other than as a social aesthetic, a human element in an otherwise fully automated world of complete human abstraction. I generally believe the clarity of our combined human abstractions can help us to better understand what it means to be human. On the other spectrum, I believe technology will able complete isolation from direct human contact. This assumes an elegant flow of decentralised decision making as time progresses, humans insist, and technology performs in an increasingly greater capacity what humans once could scarcely imagine.
 
Now back to the beginning of the 21st century to the greatest economic meltdown in history. Why is this happening? 1) Money has gone global, it can move around at the rate of electricity. The consensus view once believed this spread of free trade would garner economic prosperity for everyone. Analysis has proven the contrary. 2) Industrial production in the form described in Adam Smith's 'An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations' began in Europe and the United States and has persisted with little modification in ideology since. The profit these scarce productive technologies have created spread throughout the world. Exploitation of people and resources is only profitable in a monetary system if it can increase the demand of goods/services at the rate economic growth requires. Evidence clearly shows that  false growth began in the early 1970s due to A) Productive technology like outsourcing, deskilling, and automation. This B) encouraged executives and primary owners of capital increased their own salaries. The richest 1 percent of U.S. tax filers claimed 80 percent of all income gains reported in federal tax returns between 1980 and 2005.[1] This in kind led to C) real wages unable to pay for goods/services being produced[2]. D) Debt was then issued by banks for consumers to propel fallaciously the growth model, deceiving both consumers and investors alike, until the weakest link E) sub-prime loan defaults lead to investor panic which hastened the trend for further loan defaults. E) Defaults mean wage earners were unable to make enough to pay the loans. Continued loan freezes, job cuts, and wage decreases mean a continued downward spiral. Debt has grown exponentially since it began to the tune of roughly 40 trillion dollars in the United States. This includes national, corporate, and household debt. The lack of payment on this debt based on dimished real wages from the continued use of outsoucing, deskilling, and automation is what I believe to be the cause of the current economic collapse.  
 
It was not clear that the increased debt was a house of cards, because it was assumed debts would be paid on indefinitely whether they were paid off or not. Such an observation ignores the decline of real wage earnings, often highly debated between economists. Low unemployment figures were assumed to be a measurement of economic well being. Not enough attention was paid to the separation of real wages and production made increasingly apparent by the increase in overall debt.
 
If we consider the U.S. an island, it had the ability to venture toward a post-scarcity environment beginning in the late 60s when poverty began to increase as debt creeped into the system. Norbert Wiener, a founder of cybernetics, in the 50s was well aware technology would destroy jobs in mass. His presentation to the AFL-CIO was largely ignored. Economist and social strategist Robert Theobald was one of the first to make known increased poverty due to automation. Written by Theobald and others, The Triple Revolution argued for a "guaranteed income," a call for a basic subsistence income as a right by the government to prevent the increase in poverty and economic collapse caused by automation and computers then called "cybernation," the fusion of computer-hardware interfaces, a novel developmental trend at the time. Guaranteed income proposals fueled by the concern over poverty were considered by the U.S. government throughout the 60s and 70s. The carefully worded rhetoric of the Family Assistance Plan succeeded in convincing political majorities and was the closest the U.S. came to enacting a guaranteed income.[4] As economic downturn continues, its only a matter of time before Washington has no choice but to bailout everyone indefinitely, that is, until money becomes worthless. The decline in real wages and increase in debt has suggested this possibility for decades. 
 
If historically we've experienced the separation between wages and production, given technologically productive systems continue to chisel away at intelligence and materials scarcity, I believe with the right forms of social organization we can leave all monetary systems to historians.
 
[1] Levy, F. Temin, P. Inequality and Institutions in 20th Century America
http://web.mit.edu/ipc/publications/pdf/07-002.pdf
 
I'll have more to say on this later. I just wanted to get some of this information written for my own sense of clarity before suggesting a monetary and social architecture. I wrote this information in a "read only" sort of manner as a primer for an essay draft.
 
Marc, at first glance, it doesn't look as if our monetary proposals have much overlap. I'll give your plan a good read as soon as I can to get a better sense of your perspective.
 
Since the Industrial economy started going into a rapid downward spiral, I pondered on a basic income (guaranteed income) given by a government just above the rate of debt creation, tax free. I thought my idea was original and ultra radical until Allan Sheahen, a commitee member of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network, sent a forward of the proposal, 'Bailout for the People' by Richard Cook[1]. Its a heavy monetary perspective which suggests, as I will later, that "Debt has no end in sight." so with this bit of insight backed by evidence shows a need for a tax free income for everyone without a means test. At the rate of debt that would be roughly $1000 a month for every U.S. resident according to Cook's proposal.
 
People who structure their lives around a single job are relying on
that "one commodity" (their job), and when it goes away in a puff of
smoke, that's what I'm talking about for 'transitional issues'.
 
Yes, and jobs will continue into more rapid rotation with less labor value until they are no longer required. This suttle deskilling of the average worker was overlooked by many authors of Basic Income. Most that look to productive technology take the Marshall Brain, Robotic Nation approach and assume an instant replacement of all human tasks involved in a work position. High rates of employment, assumed to be a sign of a stable economy, debunked Marshall's arguement. Employment figures provided the haze for a wealthy minority to become an even greater minority. A Basic Income would soften the blow between layoffs and rehires, including the option to leave the job market at any time.
 
A Basic Income plays only a part in what I anticipate will be a multi-part transition. I look at what has happened economically and then make a series of proposals that match the assumption of a steady rate of technological change I described in the surgeon argument. I then assume the currency may at first become worth less at the beginning of a Basic Income. Organizations will adjust and reorganize into open enterprises (something I'll explain later) and increase the value of a laborless currency--meaning--more goods/services purchasable with each digit. This complete u-turn may well increase each numeric in value exponentially, like debt has since it first emerged in the late 60s. The ideal ending of a monetary system would include stacks of unspent cash as services/goods become financially free. This one paragraph involves numerous paragraphs of explaination.
 
More to come on this...
 
Nathan
 

Paul D. Fernhout

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Dec 20, 2008, 9:14:05 PM12/20/08
to openmanu...@googlegroups.com
That web site from the forth link you included is interesting:
"The U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network"
http://www.usbig.net/
So, they are having a conference in NYC at the end of February?

Anyway, I feel Bryan is right in wanting to separate out some issues. Here
are six broad areas of exploration I see right now that have been discussed
on this list:

* The world how it was historically (like what has been tried and thought
about, all the "-ologies" and "-isms", and also how they would relate to
open manufacturing and related ideals, as in, how does open manufacturing
affirm or invalidate the principles of, say, "the iron law of wages" or
"hunter/gatherer ideals" or the almost half-century old "Triple Revolution"
document.)

* The world as it is right now, and how it might be patched up (with open
manufacturing or the open enterprise or other alternatives like a new
currency to redirect the flow of manufacturing, for example, can Iceland be
saved with open manufacturing under the current dominant economic system? Or
could an Icelandic electric-Krona help it right now?)

* The world in transition to a post-scarcity future (and how open
manufacturing relates to that, as well as other proposals like, how can a
slowly expanding open source movement bring abundance to more and more
people? Or, can a different sort of currency bring about a better future
with manufacturing happening in a more open and sustainable way, like an
electric-based dollar, or a basic income guarantee, and so on). There is
some overlap here with the previous topic of patching up the world -- I'm
not combining them though because there may be people who do believe in open
manufacturing but don't believe in the possibility or desirability of a
post-scarcity future moving beyond conventional economics.

* The world as a fully post-scarcity society in the future and how it would
work (once we got there, like, how what are the implications of every home
having a 3D printer or similar system at the neighborhood level, such as
what it means to be able to print toys, or print agricultural robots to grow
our food, or print solar panels to collect power, or print diamandoid
materials to build our spacecraft, or print machines to make more 3D printer
toner from air, water, rock, and print shredders that can recycle no longer
needed printed objects back into 3D printer toner). A lot of this entails
speculation, and relates to a lot of sci-fi, from authors like Vinge, Banks,
Hogan, Brain, and so on.

* The world approaching "The Singularity" or a series of singularity-like
transitions, and a how open manufacturing values and approaches may interact
with a singularity. Again, there is overlap here with the post-scarcity
world idea, but there are people who may believe in one but not the other,
and some who believe in both, and some who believe in neither.

* Interwoven with all those societal discussions are the specific technical
artifacts we might be talking about and the process of actually designing
them in detail. But this interconnection would be more obvious if we had
some critical mass of manufacturing designs and metadata encoded in common
open formats and usable for analysis and simulation to explore all these
areas (historic, current, transitional, post-scarcity, singularity).
If there is an argument for a "openmanufacturing-dev" list like Bryan made,
that might be a clearer boundary -- the focus on making such a system (or
systems, SKDB, OSCOMAK, fenn's Gingery-related work, open biotech, and so
on, maybe in partnership with others, or using existing platforms and
standards) so it may be used to inform general discussion here, like support
detailed simulations of alternative economics and sustainability. Though
even then, should discussions of simulations be on which list? Or building
simulations is discussed on that one, and running simulations is discussed
on this one? But one could possibly work that out down the road.

All of these are overlapping, yet distinct, areas of discussion. But
discussions can quickly go from one area to another. So, amplifying on
Bryan's theme, we can wonder how open manufacturing relates to each of these
areas, and also ask how this list itself or "open manufacturing" is
presented to the public in this context. Are we emphasizing one of these six
areas? Or all? I feel all six areas have been fair game, and that's why I
feel Bryan is right to focus on the more general statement for the list;
also, it is not clear what solutions will emerge from discussions, so I feel
it is premature for the group as a whole to endorse one approach (beyond the
virtue of open manufacturing using open source methods, which ties all these
things together). Still, the clearer we have all this in mind, maybe the
stronger the argument can be for a separate dev list like Bryan started?

I started a mailing list related to the simulation of enterprises from a
chaordic perspective in 2002, but did not push that forward for various
reasons: (please don't sign up for it now, the link is just included to look
at the archives where I posted some links and comments).
http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/simulchaord-discuss/
Here is a slashdot article on "Simulating Societies" which was a key citation:
http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/04/11/0030236
And here is the Atlantic article it relates to:
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200204/rauch
Anyway, simulation is one way to bridge this gap from general informed talk
to at least some notion of scientific exploration and repeatable experiment.
(Maybe we're all part of someone else's simulation of such issues. :-)
For me, when we are using an open manufacturing database to do detailed
simulation of a society (or even just in a game :-), I will feel we have
made a huge step forward. You can see a very crude paper prototype of such a
system here:
http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com/oscomak/prototype.htm

But with that said, I'm talked out for the moment myself :-) and I'm
starting to feel like fenn and wanting to get back to development, focusing
mostly on the sixth area, with content related to the third area of
transition, through making more free and open source software and related
manufacturing content. :-) That isn't meant to say talking about other areas
is not worthwhile, I'm just saying how I feel myself right now. I tend to go
in these kind of cycles, talk for some weeks, program for some weeks, get
distracted for some weeks, then repeat the cycle in some permutation. :-)

--Paul Fernhout

marc fawzi

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Dec 20, 2008, 9:38:24 PM12/20/08
to openmanu...@googlegroups.com

Tokenized energy flows (aka "money" in my model of the world) will continue to be the evolution invariant until we reach a level in our physical reality that allows for non-tokenized energy flows.

This type of thinking falls under the thermodynamic model of reality (see: Thermoeconomics) and while an infinite number of different realities are possible, if they were ever to come in contact with the real world, they'd need to recognize what has already been observed in terms of its physical laws.

Gavin Fauss

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Dec 20, 2008, 11:36:16 PM12/20/08
to Open Manufacturing
Ah, the smell of new pseudonym.

Anyways, I'd first like to remind you all that political philosophy is
something that people go and get doctorates in. That's not to say
these discussions are futile, but that a lot of people have been
thinking about these things for a very long time, and a huge amount of
justification is needed for any new claim. Second I haven't given as
much attention to this list as I should have; sorry if I misunderstand
any of you. Here's my view on this whole issue though.

I could start with a long proof starting with the social contract, but
I think you can all fill in the gaps if I start with this quote from
Burke:
"Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human
wants."

Democracy is here to decide what these wants are, and how the
government should provide them. A mistake that seems to me obvious,
yet is made over and over again, is that each social good has its own
meaning and its own principles of distribution. Some examples:

Here's an obvious one: if you have nine healthy people, one sick
person, and one pill, I think the pill goes to the sick person. It
doesn't matter if the sick person worked hard, or if the pill cost a
lot to manufacture. No one else has a use for it, and if they become
unhealthy they won't have a chance in the future to work hard. Also if
they are born sick then it was through no fault of their own. That is,
treat equals equally.

If there are ten people on an asteroid colony, all of who want to make
necklaces, but only one pound of gold, it is my intuition that it
should go to the one of them who works the hardest. Yet on a colony
where gold is needed to keep some water filter or other vital
equipment running, it might be justifiable to say it goes directly to
the state. The democracy is needed to interpret such needs.

If you have a huge amount of iron, and make pipes out of it using
robots and solar panels, then pipes should be given away for free. It
takes a very small amount of effort for one person to make sure the
factory runs, and it takes an initial cost to build the factory. The
people can volunteer to make the factory or the government can. It
really doesn't matter because a perfect democracy IS the people. It
simply has a formalized way of doing things, and if I was that guy
maintaining the factory I would feel a lot more comfortable getting my
paycheck from the government than by occasionally getting some
chickens from the neighbors if they remember me.

Can that situation one day evolve into a Voyage From Yesteryear
statelessness in which you walk to the market and take whatever you
want? Sure. But statelessness is the holy grail that Marx was aiming
for with communism, and I would advise against it.

Until that point, we will have some goods that are genuinely scarce.
Gold and platinum perhaps. And a democracy is still needed to
interpret the needs and distributive principles of those goods.

The reason we don't see simple goods like pipes or food becoming free
is because they are in the hands of corporations, which can reliably
be depended upon to make money for their investors. There is no money
to be made on something that's free, and our population has not even
thought of handing such roles over to the government. So there are two
things we need to be doing, convincing the people that the government
(or volunteers if one believes the government too imperfect a mirror)
can take care of abundant goods, and finding ways to make goods
abundant where corporations have taken side steps.

The corporations make these dodges by making a product artificially
better, and giving people artificial needs for it.

One major critique I have so far is the idea of a guaranteed wage.
That is an over simplification of things, since money can be used to
buy anything, including luxuries and health care which are very
different. Also it does not treat equals equally, as a sick black kid
born in a poor neighborhood gets the same amount as a rich person in
some models. Instead I would say give out food, health care, and
shelter to anyone who needs them. And since food should be given out
for free in the first place because it is already in the "abundant"
category of goods, that's just health care and shelter (and of course
anything else anyone needs to be able to flourish).

-Gavin Fauss
who would like to be able to get a job, but who's previous identity on
this list should be easy enough to guess.


On Dec 20, 7:38 pm, "marc fawzi" <marc.fa...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Tokenized energy flows (aka "money" in my model of the world) will continue
> to be the evolution invariant until we reach a level in our physical reality
> that allows for *non-tokenized energy flows.*
> >http://74.125.45.132/search?q=cache:mFbK9f9v75QJ:www.usbig.net/papers...
> ...
>
> read more »

Bryan Bishop

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Dec 20, 2008, 11:53:17 PM12/20/08
to openmanu...@googlegroups.com, kan...@gmail.com
On Sat, Dec 20, 2008 at 10:36 PM, Gavin Fauss
<ga...@gavinfauss.site50.net> wrote:
> Ah, the smell of new pseudonym.

Don't I know you from somewhere?

> Anyways, I'd first like to remind you all that political philosophy is
> something that people go and get doctorates in. That's not to say
> these discussions are futile, but that a lot of people have been
> thinking about these things for a very long time, and a huge amount of
> justification is needed for any new claim. Second I haven't given as
> much attention to this list as I should have; sorry if I misunderstand
> any of you. Here's my view on this whole issue though.

If you'd like to package up some hardware for us instead, that'd be
good. Please go right ahead:

http://groups.google.com/group/openmanufacturing/browse_thread/thread/8465dc23eb48e332/e185e43b59db6b7d?lnk=gst&q=todo#e185e43b59db6b7d
http://groups.google.com/group/openmanufacturing/browse_thread/thread/3f991441a6860b51#

> I could start with a long proof starting with the social contract, but

Let's not.

> I think you can all fill in the gaps if I start with this quote from
> Burke:
> "Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human
> wants."
>
> Democracy is here to decide what these wants are, and how the

Are you trying to say what is, what is not, or are you reading from a
dictionary? In reality nothing really follows this precisely, so let's
not pretend.

> government should provide them.


>
> Here's an obvious one: if you have nine healthy people, one sick
> person, and one pill, I think the pill goes to the sick person. It
> doesn't matter if the sick person worked hard, or if the pill cost a
> lot to manufacture. No one else has a use for it, and if they become
> unhealthy they won't have a chance in the future to work hard. Also if
> they are born sick then it was through no fault of their own. That is,
> treat equals equally.

You don't get it though: you're assuming a scarce model where we only
have one pill. There are many, many available materials; the trick is
sustainability and making sure you have a bootstrapped process so that
you're continuously growing your required material base for your
population growth. Otherwise you're just asking yourself to fail, from
a technical point of view.

> If there are ten people on an asteroid colony, all of who want to make
> necklaces, but only one pound of gold, it is my intuition that it
> should go to the one of them who works the hardest. Yet on a colony

But we're not here to decide who it is to go to. If you want your
asteroid colony to operate like that, once we "hand you the keys" as
it were, then fine, go ahead. But personally I'm not going to be too
fond of that sort of system.

> where gold is needed to keep some water filter or other vital
> equipment running, it might be justifiable to say it goes directly to
> the state. The democracy is needed to interpret such needs.

Maybe within your colony's social structure, so be it. But this has
nothing to do with the fundamental technical possibilities of the
myriad of possible system configurations.

> If you have a huge amount of iron, and make pipes out of it using
> robots and solar panels, then pipes should be given away for free. It
> takes a very small amount of effort for one person to make sure the
> factory runs, and it takes an initial cost to build the factory. The

I don't know what type of 'cost' you are talking about. The imagined
type of cost, or the type that actually matters?

> people can volunteer to make the factory or the government can. It
> really doesn't matter because a perfect democracy IS the people. It

Read up on some mathematics, like Godel, to see how this isn't
technically possible. Not that I'm against you attempting to figure
out how to effectively apply your values to situations, that's good,
let's just not fool ourselves though re: representation, values,
Godel, and the incompleteness theorems (completeness/consistency
tradeoffs).

> simply has a formalized way of doing things, and if I was that guy
> maintaining the factory I would feel a lot more comfortable getting my
> paycheck from the government than by occasionally getting some
> chickens from the neighbors if they remember me.

You assume that your neighbor is less standardized? But then you're
just assuming a point that I can't argue with.

> Can that situation one day evolve into a Voyage From Yesteryear
> statelessness in which you walk to the market and take whatever you
> want? Sure. But statelessness is the holy grail that Marx was aiming
> for with communism, and I would advise against it.

No, Marx wasn't thinking of the technologies we've been discussing.

> Until that point, we will have some goods that are genuinely scarce.
> Gold and platinum perhaps. And a democracy is still needed to
> interpret the needs and distributive principles of those goods.

I'm not sure that this is true.

> The reason we don't see simple goods like pipes or food becoming free
> is because they are in the hands of corporations, which can reliably

Although we do see sometimes piping systems given for free to third
world countries by student engineering organizations on university
campuses.

> be depended upon to make money for their investors. There is no money
> to be made on something that's free, and our population has not even

Yes, but some here might argue that there's value/wealth [but I don't
care much :-)].

> thought of handing such roles over to the government. So there are two
> things we need to be doing, convincing the people that the government
> (or volunteers if one believes the government too imperfect a mirror)
> can take care of abundant goods, and finding ways to make goods
> abundant where corporations have taken side steps.

I don't know if we should be trying to "convert" and "convince"
people. I'd rather just run some small scale projects and scale up
from there, Factor E Farm being an excellent example, which is also
somewhat doing the second part that you mention.

> One major critique I have so far is the idea of a guaranteed wage.
> That is an over simplification of things, since money can be used to

I agree, it is an oversimplification. It began being mentioned here as
a solution to "transitional issues" but I don't think that it solves
that problem, really. The problem that I was originally talking about
was where you have somebody lose their job, or something, and if they
wanted to convert over to "the network" -- a post-scarcity system
perhaps -- would just be impractical because the industrial supply
chain is still partially monetary, throwing the rest of the monetary
system kind of out of whack (a fountain of gold, as it were). Among
other issues.

> buy anything, including luxuries and health care which are very
> different. Also it does not treat equals equally, as a sick black kid
> born in a poor neighborhood gets the same amount as a rich person in
> some models. Instead I would say give out food, health care, and
> shelter to anyone who needs them. And since food should be given out
> for free in the first place because it is already in the "abundant"
> category of goods, that's just health care and shelter (and of course
> anything else anyone needs to be able to flourish).
>
> -Gavin Fauss
> who would like to be able to get a job, but who's previous identity on
> this list should be easy enough to guess.

- Bryan
who should be coding.

Gavin Fauss

unread,
Dec 21, 2008, 1:20:34 AM12/21/08
to Open Manufacturing
> Maybe within your colony's social structure, so be it. But this has
> nothing to do with the fundamental technical possibilities of the
> myriad of possible system configurations.

I'm thinking on a more pessimistic premise. I'm not really thinking in
terms of asteroid colonies. In the replicateable colony case, and this
is the case that includes the fundamental technical possibilities you
speak of, you are completely right. Let any one who wants to go off
and start their own society, the only universal human right is freedom
of movement and freedom of information. I'm talking about what a
realistic model could be for the one place we have right now, which is
Earth.

Really what I'm trying to do is fit abundance into our current system
without falling back on a guaranteed wage by viewing it as a good with
a different social meaning. I think it works fairly well.

> I don't know what type of 'cost' you are talking about. The imagined
> type of cost, or the type that actually matters?

I think money should only be used to represent work and should only be
able to buy luxuries; and that's not the type I'm talking about. I'm
talking about the amount of labor and scarce resources required. So if
you already have all abundant resources, then there's no problem.

> Read up on some mathematics, like Godel, to see how this isn't
> technically possible. Not that I'm against you attempting to figure
> out how to effectively apply your values to situations, that's good,
> let's just not fool ourselves though re: representation, values,
> Godel, and the incompleteness theorems (completeness/consistency
> tradeoffs).

Ok, I suppose I should say democracy is close to the people. Ours
certainly needs some fixing that could make it a whole lot closer. But
I maintain that it is preferable to oligarchy or anarchy, the closest
step in either direction. Let's keep Orestes alive a bit longer than
he would be in an anarchy. The people here aren't too likely to have
read the Greek tragedies, but it's an eloquent point and I'm keeping
it, damn it!

The people on Chiron in Voyage From Yesteryear may have been able to
keep vigilante justice, but that's because they never knew anyone from
Earth.

> You assume that your neighbor is less standardized? But then you're
> just assuming a point that I can't argue with.

No, the chickens aren't currency :-) I'm just assuming that
centralized good production will be around for awhile. Once again, I'm
just assuming something more pessimistic. I'm not assuming everyone
has their own access to everything in my society that is inclusive of
many abundant goods. I'm assuming there is an abundant number of
chickens that are all in a centralized place, perhaps they are only
abundant BECAUSE they are centralized (i.e., mass production). So you
would be dependent on the people who (dare I use this word?) *own* the
chickens.

Again, this is contrasting to the premise that you can just get your
own abundant supply of chickens if you want them (this is obviously
one of the worst examples possible because you can, in reality, do
just that). The more decentralized you have things the better, but you
will still have situations like a gold mine where all the gold is in
one spot even if it is extracted at no cost. I would prefer to have a
loose, ad hoc, democracy to distribute such goods than trust the
people who live next to it or maintain the robot who gets the ore.

> > Until that point, we will have some goods that are genuinely scarce.
> > Gold and platinum perhaps. And a democracy is still needed to
> > interpret the needs and distributive principles of those goods.
>
> I'm not sure that this is true.

I am, at least for the next hundred years or so.

-Gavin Fauss
Who should be learning how to code usefully but lacks either the
ambition or intelligence to, he's not sure which.

On Dec 20, 9:53 pm, "Bryan Bishop" <kanz...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Dec 20, 2008 at 10:36 PM, Gavin Fauss
>
> <ga...@gavinfauss.site50.net> wrote:
> > Ah, the smell of new pseudonym.
>
> Don't I know you from somewhere?
>
> > Anyways, I'd first like to remind you all that political philosophy is
> > something that people go and get doctorates in. That's not to say
> > these discussions are futile, but that a lot of people have been
> > thinking about these things for a very long time, and a huge amount of
> > justification is needed for any new claim. Second I haven't given as
> > much attention to this list as I should have; sorry if I misunderstand
> > any of you. Here's my view on this whole issue though.
>
> If you'd like to package up some hardware for us instead, that'd be
> good. Please go right ahead:
>
> http://groups.google.com/group/openmanufacturing/browse_thread/thread...http://groups.google.com/group/openmanufacturing/browse_thread/thread...
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