What is a fair life, what is fair work?
Like OM – more questions?
What is fair?
Is restricting the freedom and creativity of people fair? If not, how do we justify the education system?
Is the very notion of work fair?
Why should any person be required to do anything just to get enough to eat and to live safely?
Why can’t our automated systems simply deliver the real material needs of everyone, without all this advertising and sales to make us buy stuff that most of us don’t really want or need?
Is it fair that some people get to send other people off to war, and call it patriotism, while in reality it is all about making money for a very small sector?
What does fair mean?
What does freedom mean?
What does respect for life and liberty actually mean?
How do we deliver fairness, in a world where we can extend the lives of everyone indefinitely?
What might fair look like to someone who is 1,000 years old, how about 1,000,000 years old, how about 1,000,000,000 years old, how about 10,000,000,000 years old?
What significance might our little lives and their concerns have to such individuals?
Does the concept of fairness have any real meaning?
(Odd that I should ask this question, given that much of my life has been about being fair.)
Hi Paul, Kathy, FOS, Mendy and others
Like OM – hope you secure a connection in some way. I do a thing here where three households contribute to the cost of maintaining the highest speed connection available, and we share it. Maybe you can arrange something similar with neighbours, I don’t know your situation that specifically. Our case is special in the sense that two of the households are so far away from town that they cannot get a service directly from the service provider, so we do long distance point to point links from our house on a hilltop.
In respect of what you wrote re fair, I appreciate something of the depth and complexity of the consideration you have given the topic, and to me some of the assumptions underlying that interpretation do not seem to hold up, close, but not quite.
And I acknowledge that all knowledge contains heuristic elements – things that may not conform to any theory but work in practice often enough to be useful – so this is not any sort of total dismissal, and more a few steps down a path towards understanding that seems to me to be a path without end.
Exchange is what we have based most of society on for most of human history.
Now we have a different option. Now we have the option of using automated machinery to deliver all of the essential goods and services to everyone.
That option gives us the real opportunity to go beyond exchange.
It creates the real possibility of doing what we love to do, provided that what we love to do works within a context of respect for life and liberty.
In such a world, we are all free to create whatever we responsibly choose.
I am clear, beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt, that such a world is far preferable to the world that most of us experience today, which despite all of the neat toys, does not deliver us a sense of security, a sense that we all have a future of security and freedom.
I am equally clear that no system of markets can ever have universal abundance as a natural outcome, there are just too many meta level incentives within a market system to destroy any abundance and turn it into a scarcity that can be marketed.
So for me, future security requires of us that we go beyond markets, beyond exchange in any sense, and into a set of systems that encourages each and every one of us to explore what we see as interesting and possible and of contribution (to ourselves and others).
It seems clear to me that the sense of fairness that we have has both genetic and cultural components, and other components that are related to the various levels of awareness we may have attained. There is a sense in which cooperation requires some sort of set of attendant strategies to ensure that cheats do not overwhelm cooperation. Games theory mathematics dictate that some sort of strategy is required for this at every new level of cooperation, and the idea of fairness is one strategy (of what appears to be an infinite class of possible strategies) that can fulfil this function at many different levels.
The word work has come to have such a close ties to money that I prefer not to use it.
For me, the idea seems to be expressed more clearly by saying that we enable people to contribute in whatever fashion they responsibly choose.
I don’t see any evidence for a universal brain in the cosmos (which isn’t to say it isn’t there, just that I see nothing in the evidence sets I have available to indicate that it does, and those evidence sets are substantial in respect of evolutionary genetics).
The idea of complete doesn’t seem powerful in respect of people. The idea of acceptance that we are as we are does seem to be powerful.
I agree substantially with Mendy that what we see, what we experience in life, is very largely determined by our choice of contexts and interpretations and actions.
Hi Kathy, Paul et al
It seems clear to me that equality of opportunity is a possibility that does not yet exist in reality.
What can it possibly mean to say we have a “right” to be “born free and equal”, when quite clearly and demonstrably the dominant valuation system of our society does not support that?
As an aspiration – I say that every individual has a right to life and liberty, and I acknowledge the reality that all individuals start from very simple beginnings, and grow in complexity in some dimensions thereafter (the number of dimensions is theoretically infinite, yet in practice is always finite within any particular individual, and mostly restricted by cultural constraints to a relatively small number). And there are some very strong culturally imposed constraints on such growth that are for the most part are hidden to most people.
It is clear to me, that when (in history) we had a reality of a systemic environment that had real scarcity of most items, then markets were a very useful tool in encouraging sharing such abundance as we possessed, and to encourage greater abundance.
However, once we developed the ability to use complex tools of manufacturing and automation, then we became capable of delivering universal abundance, but the market based value system of exchange that served us so well in our past, has now become the greatest single barrier to universal abundance.
No one is equal before the law when the law is governed by market values. Most of the penalties in law have upper limits. Those limits might seem sensible to most, but to the ultra-wealthy, they act as no incentive whatever. The ultra wealthy can afford to employ armies of lawyers and advocates and lobbyists to work for them and deliver influence (often equivalent to deflecting opposition) at every level and every aspect of the political process. So when the process of law development and implementation is so fundamentally skewed it is impossible to deliver any real equality; the entire playing field is skewed.
If one gets a set of fundamental values that do deliver equality – like the values of life and liberty, and then commits to delivering systems at all levels that give effect in reality to those values, then one can be said to be delivering on real human rights, but so long as one accepts without question the culturally bounded structures we find ourselves within, then there can be no human rights, not really.
I am very clear, that the right to life, and all the material requirements to continue that life, are number one. Without that, we cannot exist.
Once we have that, we need the right to free choice, free movement, free expression, at whatever levels we are capable of, acknowledging that our choices need to mitigate any negative effects on the life and liberty of others.
We have the technology now, today, to free every person on the planet from the prisons of wage slavery, and culturally imposed blindness to possibility and the acceptance of the necessary diversity that must result from real freedom.
Freedom demands of us that we accept the diversity that must result from people making free choices.
The only constraints we can apply to that freedom are those that can be demonstrated to be a significant influence in mitigating the risk to the life or liberty of another. Rules don’t do that. never can – not in the specific. In the specific, life is always much more complex than any rule maker could possibly allow for, and the rules will always produce perverse outcomes. The more rules we have, the greater the frequency of perverse outcomes.
I am clear, that no market based or exchange based set of values can ever deliver such freedom, such diversity.
In order to deliver security and freedom, we must base our values in life (primary) and liberty (secondary).
The existence of such freedom demands of us an acceptance of diversity that few (if any) human cultures currently display.
Nothing else I have investigated is stable in the long term.
In a very real sense, such a change of values can be said to be the natural next level of evolutionary development, where we can see clearly that all new levels of complexity in living systems are characterised by new levels of cooperative strategies (stabilised by attendant strategies that prevent cheating).
When one can see it, it is just so blinding obvious that it is cooperation, not competition, that is the great guiding principle in the evolution of complexity.
Competition is simply a low level filter that works on the lowest of survival levels.
The psychological and pedagogical literature is clear, that competition works only at the lowest of levels.
All higher level creativity is enhanced by cooperation, and diminished by competition.
None of the measures of success in exams correlate to success in life, yet we persist in insisting on exams, because it is a comforting illusion.
Success in life is about living one’s life with passion, whatever that means for each of us as unique individuals. And sure that will contain various mixes of competitive and cooperative strategies, and for the vast majority of people it is cooperative rather than competitive that deliver the greatest passion in being.
Work – as commonly understood, is a culturally imposed myth which had historical utility. It is no longer required.
What we have is passion.
What we need are systems that empower each and every one of us to explore our passions, to make our mistakes, to have a learning journey of real choice, and real consequences.
And for most of us, such exploration will be undertaken in a cooperative social environment, because at so very many levels we are fundamentally cooperative social beings.
Still working on options for the how. Am definitely considering the crowd funding option seriously. If I could enrol one employed person in a hundred to give the cost of one low alcohol beer a week ($2), for a decade, then that would be enough to make the project a reality.
And yes, certainly, there will be a transition period, as we develop systems to replace money and markets but have not yet replaced them. And almost certainly there will be some interesting dynamics in that process.
In terms of the future I am championing, there really is very little need to regulate fair distribution, in so far as it is required, it is done mostly on the basis of energy allocation. One gets to choose how you allocate your share of the energy budget available to you. All mass can quite easily be recycled, so that really isn’t an issue. One would have enough energy to build a new house about once a year, but that would about use all of the energy not required for survival. I suspect most people will be happy with designing and building dwellings that could reasonable be expected to last a few centuries, and to use a little bit of energy to redecorate occasionally.
I suspect most people will have more than enough energy to do whatever they want. One should easily be able to travel the globe on a continual basis if that is what one wants to do. In a very practical sense, energy would be the new currency, and everyone would have the same.
All the really hi-tech manufacturing would be done in space – where energy is not a limitation.
People who want to do projects that require a lot of energy either enrol a lot of people to share a little of their energy, or they do the project in space, where there is energy aplenty.
And certainly people like to do stuff.
And today most people have a distinction between work and play.
And in the sort of world I want to create, that distinction would be extremely weak, if present at all.
For me, engaging in activity that excites me and makes a difference is one of the greatest joys in life, and it has almost nothing to do with money. Most of what I do has nothing to do with money, other than the fact that I need enough to give me food, and access to this technology and the transport and communication networks I need.