To me, this article has the picture upside down.
It is not technology that is the problem. Technology is neutral – it is what we do with it that counts.
The greatest determinant of what we do is the value set we have.
Sure we have genetic influences on behaviour, and cultural/mimetic influences, and the higher one’s levels of awareness the more important are the value sets one brings to decision making.
Our society has (for the most part, to a good first order approximation) value sets based upon market values.
Markets were great tools for allocating scarce resources.
Markets require scarcity to function (in the more abstract sense, they require poverty).
Markets cannot give a positive value to universal abundance.
If you doubt that, consider oxygen in the air, arguably the single most important thing for every human being, yet of zero market value, due to its universal abundance (zero scarcity).
Technology holds the promise of delivering universal abundance to everyone.
This is a huge threat to market based values, and to classical conservatism.
The article above reads almost as a conservative push against universal freedom, though in the guise of promoting emotion.
Sure we have emotional systems.
Sure they can be powerful.
There are many tools used to control people, and ignorance has been the tool of choice for thousands of years.
It remains true, that the bigger the lie, the more likely people are to believe it.
The biggest lie of our modern era is that markets will deliver prosperity to all.
They will not.
It is a mathematical and logical impossibility.
We have the technical capacity to deliver abundance, security and prosperity to all, yet our dominant social valuation paradigm (the market exchange value of money) cannot support it.
Humans are very complex entities.
We have emotional systems.
We have reason.
We can be highly competitive in competitive environments, and we can be highly cooperative in cooperative environments.
A deep understanding of evolution demonstrates that cooperation is a far more powerful force that competition, and both play important roles in the process of evolution. And it is clear that it is cooperation that is becoming exponentially more powerful over time.
Axelrod demonstrated that all new levels of cooperative strategies require attendant strategies to prevent the cooperative being overrun by cheats.
A strong case can be made that most of the finance sector, and much of our government and justice systems have been overrun by cheating strategies.
Our educational systems seem largely to be based in acceptance and obedience, rather than in individuals freedom and exploration of possibility in a cooperative context.
Most of our education systems are based in a very simple understanding of reality.
I like David Snowden’s Cynefin framework for the management of complexity.
It breaks systems into 4 arbitrary but useful classes – simple, complicated, complex and chaotic.
Simple systems have well defined boundaries, and essentially obey easily quantified rules, and appropriate classifications of response can be developed for every state of the system, and it makes sense to develop and follow “best practice” rules in such environments.
Complicated systems have more relaxed boundary conditions with more variations on themes, individuals develop complex context sensitive knowledge from experience that for the most part they are not even aware of until the context arises. Such situations cannot be strictly controlled by rules, as individuals need sufficient freedom to use their expert knowledge to deliver optimal outcomes.
Complex systems don’t have hard rules or boundaries, they are dispositional. They can respond in any way, but certain modes of response are more probable than others. One needs to probe such system, to sense small changes in disposition to action, and to reinforce those going the way you want, and to dampen down those heading in other directions.
Chaotic system are not predictable, for any of a potentially infinite set of classes of mathematical and logical reasons. All one can do in the grips of such a system is to act, sense, respond – prediction is of no help – even in theory.
Reality seems to contain large numbers of each class of systems, and living systems also contain large numbers of each class of systems.
The idea that life is predictable, even in theory, belongs in the history books. It is not what a modern understanding of either complexity theory or quantum mechanics delivers.
Some aspects are more predictable than other aspects, and some aspects are not at all predictable.
Some people have a real problem accepting this reality, or taking sensible actions in complicated, complex or chaotic domains.
Yes modern technology has both complex and chaotic aspects, and so does every sort of living system (and even non-living things like weather and climate).
I agree with the final paragraph in a sense, in the sense that people will respond to the context in which they find themselves.
If we use technology to supply a context of abundance, security and cooperation, then the vast majority of people will immediately respond appropriately and cooperatively.
If we continue to use markets to deliver a context which is characterised by scarcity, insecurity, competition, uncertainty, and threat, then people will respond in appropriate aggressive and competitive fashion.
We can use technology to deliver a context which promotes the more abstract and cooperative aspects of being human, or we can continue to use systems which favour older and lower (animal like) aspects of being.
I am clearly for the use of technology to create an environment that promotes adoption of values that hold sapient life and individual liberty as the highest values.
And all things are connected in the amazing reality we find ourselves in.
What we do, what we value, does make a difference.
I am very much pro technology if we use that technology for the benefit of all, and I am even more pro sapience, and pro liberty – for all – no exceptions.
And once one accepts the notion of infinity, one is faced with the logical necessity of always being infinitely more ignorant than we are knowledgeable.
It pays to stay as humble as possible, and to admit that all knowledge has something of a “best guess” aspect to it.
Enjoyed both your posts, and align with significant aspects of both, and there are also seem to be significant differences.
There are many issues with the money system, it is an extremely complex set of interacting systems, with more aspects being created every day. It is not controlled by banks, and they are a significant influence. Nor is it controlled by governments or corporations, and they are significant influences. The issuance of credit, in all its forms, at all levels of social players, from individuals, through all scales of business and social groups, to the various branches of government and banking, all play a part in the system we have today behaving as it does.
Certainly there are evolutionary aspects to it.
And evolution is poorly understood by most people.
Evolution is far more than a simple – survival of the fittest competition. And survival is a significant driving filter in evolution.
Levels of organisation, levels of complexity, levels of coordination, levels of cooperation, when viewed through the lens of systems thinking and complexity theory provide a view of evolution that shows clearly that cooperation is a far more powerful factor in evolution than competition, which is not at all denying the power of competition. Competition is definitely a major part of what makes evolution work. And it is only a part of the story.
The more complex the system, the more important the role of cooperation.
Once one can begin to look at evolution through some subset of the infinite landscape of possibilities offered by complexity theory, in a probabilistic context, the view is rather different.
Some realms assume vanishingly small probabilities (like the realm that assumes that good and bad, or true and false, have any sort of general applicability in the reality in which we seem to find ourselves).
Once one can begin to grasp that our experiential reality seems to be a software construct of a human brain immersed in a cultural and physical set of constraints, and is only probabilistically connected to the reality in which we seem to exist, then everything changes.
All knowledge becomes heuristic knowledge, with associated sets of probabilities in particular contexts of experience. The common name, “common sense” starts to make sense in a whole new set of levels, as one realises that common sense makes sense only in experiences that are common. And in a social context, makes sense only in contexts that are socially shared.
The further one strays from social norms, the more uncommon one’s “common sense” starts to become, and the greater the difficulty of communication of anything non-trivial.
Human brains seem to be infinitely flexible, yet they do come with certain sets of dispositions that contain sets of information (as both sets of feelings and tendencies to action) crafted there by genetic evolution over deep time.
They also contain many sets of information and behavioural responses that are deeply embedded in cultural constructs, that very few people consciously examine or question to any great depth.
Julian Jaynes is interesting when examined from this context.
When one views human responses from these contexts, in the knowledge of the sorts of extreme events that happen periodically that force transitions from cooperative to competitive modes at different levels of association, then one sees sets of patterns, and sets of possibilities that are not common.
Yes certainly, human beings can be greedy, can be vicious, can be cruel and unthinking of others, and they can also be kind and loving and caring. Every person has both sets of sets, and expression is highly context sensitive.
Change of context can bring instant change of behaviour.
And certainly also, our neural networks are habit forming machines.
We develop certain tendencies, and these can rapidly self reinforce and block other possibilities that for a short time were nearly equally probable.
Timing at all levels is crucial to the emergence of new levels of self sustaining patterns.
Changing focus to money and technology.
I reassert that technology is neutral, it is what we do with it that matters.
And certainly there are cultural tendencies present that lead to high probabilities of certain technologies producing certain outcomes in certain cultural contexts.
And I make the assertion that it is the cultural context, not the technology, that is the driver.
In a certain sense, any technology with an appropriate set of characteristics could fit into that role in that cultural context – and money is a good example. Some cultures used rare metals, some used rare sea shells, some used rare bird feathers. It was the rareness (the lack of abundance) rather than any other characteristic, that was the key driver. Whatever they used as a token of exchange had to be common enough that it was present in sufficient abundance to work, long lived enough to be useful, and rare enough that it was difficult to flood the market.
Everything about money, about exchange based thinking more generally, is based in scarcity.
Exchange based thinking cannot deal with radical abundance. It just ignores it.
Very few people think seriously about the value of oxygen in the air, three major exceptions are those who do deep free diving, and those who pilot aircraft or climb mountains to high altitudes (I’ve done all three).
A better test for real value is what is the personal effect of scarcity, rather than some averaged market effect.
It doesn’t take most people very long to get how important oxygen is when they don’t have it.
Unfortunately most transition directly to panic, without much conscious contemplation of the profound implications.
Deep divers spend thousands of hours in deeply meditative states extending their ability to operate under very low oxygen conditions. One has time to think about such things in the extended transition phases to such states.
As to our interests.
Certainly, we come pre-loaded in a sense with all sorts of heuristic shortcuts that worked to defend our interests over deep time. These come in the form of genetic influences at many levels on the structure and function of brain, and in similar multi-level cultural influences on how we interpret and experience existence (whatever existence actually is).
There do not appear to be any definite answers to any non-trivial question.
It seems that all knowledge is heuristic, based in probabilities derived from experience at some level (ours, or our cultural or genetic ancestors).
This seems to be what it is to be human.
And it does seem that our currently dominant exchange based (scarcity based) set of values now pose far more risks than they deliver in benefits.
It seems that humanity generally is about ready for a transition to the next major level of cooperation, one based in a social context of abundance, where universal respect for individual life and individual liberty dominate our choice of action.
And liberty in this sense is not some licence to follow whim or fancy, but rather a responsibility to weigh the probable consequences of one’s actions on others, and to do nothing that unreasonably increases the risk to the life of others, or restricts the liberty of others.
And there are no hard boundaries there.
Everything has uncertainties, everything rests in the concept of reasonableness, and makes allowance for the unforeseen consequences of ignorance, of complexity and of chaos. For in logic, once one accepts the concept of infinity, we must always be far more ignorant than we are knowledgeable, which is not an excuse for wilful ignorance, and it does give a limit to hubris.
Hi Swami Cat,
I’m all for dialectic, and challenge, and I tend to the Feynmanesque of putting out the challenge and see what happens.
I agree and acknowledge that markets have played a valuable role in our past.
The problem lies not in our past but in our future.
The real dilemma we face is the transition from relative abundance to a near approximation of absolute abundance.
There are many problems in the transition.
Most of our processes now are optimised for profit, and not necessarily for log term human benefit.
The doubling time on price performance on computation is now around ten months, and reducing (it is a double exponential).
We do, right now, have the technical capacity to automate most of the processes of production, and free most individuals to do whatever they responsibly choose – requiring only a half day a week for socially necessary activities from most people.
We have the technical capacity to do that today.
But doing that would break the economic system.
When you can produce any good at close to zero marginal cost of production, the cost of that good drops to the point that the greatest cost is the transaction cost (of time).
The marginal cost of production of anything digital is, to a good first order approximation, zero.
The idea that it is profit that drives innovation is only true in a certain domains of relatively simple systems. When one enters domains of complicated, complex or chaotic systems, then market pressures actually lead to decreases in innovation (a well documented fact of psychology – pressure narrows focus and reduces creative innovation).
What you say about red queen processes and 8 fold increase in wealth per century are true in a classical economic sense, but not in an information or technology sense.
Information and technology are on a double exponential, that is already less than a year.
The impact on real goods is tiny at present, that technology is still in its infancy, and it is doubling in capacity every 10 months. If one is looking for signals in a noisy environment, and one can only detect a signal once it hits 1%, then the time from detection of the signal to 100% is 7 doublings or about 6 years currently (and reducing).
Everything that comes out of this realm are essentially “Black Swan” events to those working with linear models.
While it is true that very few have any experience of a close approximation to liberty, and most individuals today live in quite constrained realities (defined by the implicit assumptions they do not question, in all aspects of being, culture, language, paradigms, abstractions), real liberty is coming,and with it diversity and chaos in the mathematical sense.
Very few have yet seriously questioned all the assumptions of the past.
In an information theoretical sense, all of our feelings, our deep likes and dislikes, many of the aspects of the function of major parts of our brains and the chemical function of our brains and sense organs can be thought of as information systems optimised over evolutionary time.
We are changing faster that those systems can respond.
Much of how we think and feel is no longer appropriate to our circumstance.
Same goes for most of the cultural constructs within which we find ourselves.
If one adopts values of individual life and individual liberty, applied universally within a cooperative context, then market based systems pose an exponentially increasing set of risks (to both life and liberty).
Most people still think using linear intuition – it worked well for our ancestors in most situations.
It doesn’t work well with exponentials.
We have the potential to deliver universal security and freedom to a degree beyond the imagining of most, and market based thinking, with its need for exchange is, beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt, the single greatest impediment to achieving such a future.
Anything that is universally abundant has no market value.
Markets require asymmetric distribution to function.
Hence the corporate push through vehicles like the TPPA to extend intellectual property law – which is in practice a creation of artificial scarcity, where none need exist. It is a ban on the free exchange of information.
One can make a valid economic case for the IP laws that last one technology generation, which is now about two years. Anything more than that is entirely motivated by the greed aspect of profit.
It is, in reality, corporate imposed poverty for the masses.
And I work in the IP business. I have owned and operated a software business for 29 years. I speak from practical experience, as well as theoretical understandings.
And economic interactions are not necessarily voluntary or cooperative in nature.
People do not have a choice about eating or not.
I can buy junk food has a high risk of causing cancer quite cheaply, but buying fresh healthy food with a low risk of toxins from weed and pest killing chemicals is very expensive.
The IP law around GE seeds is insane.
Non-GE corn farmers who have their crops cross pollinated from neighbouring GE crops have to pay the GE patent holder, rather than the GE farmer having to pay for contamination.
There are many such insanities in the system, they multiply daily.
People who no longer live on their own land and grow their own food, do not have the option of not engaging in the market.
They must buy food to survive.
They must buy energy to survive.
If they don’t have work, they don’t eat.
I’m one of the lucky ones.
I have land, I have automated systems growing food organically, I have income. I need only work a couple of hours a week.
I am very much the exception.
Most people I know work long hours simply to feed and house their families.
I see the distress of those people.
I see how much they hate the system that promises so much and denies them all but the most basics, demanding most of their waking hours in return.
It is an insane system.
We have the ability to deliver to all, yet most experience what is essentially poverty in a time when we have the technical ability to deliver abundance.
The problems are not technical.
The problems are as Mark Twain is purported to have said “It aint what we don’t know that gets us into trouble, It’s what we know for sure that just aint so.” That is applicable on so many different levels to all levels of our economic, social and political systems.
Human beings are fundamentally cooperative (over 95% of them) if presented with a cooperative context.
Our current systems are not cooperative.
They are highly competitive and exploitive, and almost everyone knows it.
The emperor (markets) has no clothes!
Hi Swami Cat,
I’ve been in the software game for over 40 years, and done a lot of other things at the same time.
I knew poverty as a child, I certainly appreciate many of the material aspects of the wealth I enjoy. I both worked hard and got lucky – one seems to need a bit of both in this life.
I am not in the “life sucks” class.
I am actually more optimistic than at any point in the past, and I am not unconscious of the risks that exist.
It seems to me that we have a very good chance of creating a system that universally supports people to do and be whatever they responsibly choose, where responsibility involves taking reasonable practical steps to reduce the risks ones actions (or inaction) poses to the life and liberty of others. And for many, at least initially, that may occur as some sort of rule based framework, and for a larger number it wont.
I don’t know your background Swami Cat, so don’t know where to begin. And I am confident, beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt, that we have the technical capacity, right now, to deliver an abundance of good food (fresh fruits and vegetables), secure housing and clothing, communications, education, transport and healthcare to every person on the planet. The only thing preventing it is the incentive structures derived from market values that deliver the legal, cultural and political realities that we find ourselves in.
I have intentionally taken a very broad interest, in many different domains, and attended the 25th Foresight conference in Palo Alto 4 years ago as one example. So make reasonable efforts (several hours reading most days) to keep myself reasonably well informed of developments in many domains.
There is a sense in which most of what you say is true, and for all that truth, it missed the deeper truth (in a probabilistic sense of truth) below it.
Yes there can be constructive competition, and there can also be destructive competition.
Within cooperative entities (at all levels) unrestrained consumption of resources by some subset of the cooperative at cost to the whole, is the definition of cancer.
Growth, in and of itself, is not necessarily beneficial to the whole.
And I am all for growth and technology and expanding our capabilities and the wealth and security available from that. And it is clear to me, from a deep study of the incentive structures, that market based systems have reached the point that they now pose at least as much risk as they deliver in value.
And yes they are complex and chaotic, and all of that.
And there is another level in which one can look at the incentive structures (from a systems perspective) that give rise to the incentive structures of the market (a sort of double differential, an abstract of an abstract).
There are many existential risks.
If you are interested, in being specific, take a look at http://www.lifeboat,org or at some I have in my much older site http://www.solnx.org .
Markets drive hard for short term profit, and have very high discount rates on long term risk.
It is easy for those with money to buy those willing to argue any case for enough money. There are many such examples.
Cancer is one of the greatest examples.
My own battle with terminal cancer is interesting. I just went where the evidence and the logic took me. I cured an incurable cancer, basically with diet and lifestyle change. I’ve been a strict vegan for over 5 years, having been largely a carnivore for 55 years prior to that. The link between animal products and cancer rates is undeniable. The link between vitamin C and immune function is undeniable. A big part of what our immune systems have evolved to do is fight caner. No 100% guarantees, and some very strong probabilities.
But no profit in something so cheap as vitamin C (and for C to be effective, it needs all the requisite cofactors, particularly B group and zinc, and effectively all the vitamins and minerals – at some point, each can become the rate limiting step in the chain of production – and vitamin C can be used in huge quantities by an immune system operating at full capacity – 100g or more per day).
So lots of half truths and deliberate deceptions out there all in the name of profit. There are thousands of examples where profit for a subset is not in the interests of the majority.
And one does need to have evidential tests, and reasonableness; and it is very difficult for individuals to take on corporate profit machines.
And not all corporations are dangerous, and some are. Currently the balance of probabilities is definitely on the side of profit, rather than erring towards the long term interests of the individuals within the system.
And it is really difficult.
One of the many “hats” I wear is chairing a joint committee of our regional and district councils charged with developing water management strategies that the regional and local planners can turning into planning rules.
I find about half my energy going into educating planners immersed in rule based systems about the limits of rule based systems when dealing with complex systems.
Having to find a balance between market needs, recreational needs, traditional values, geological processes, biodiversity and conservation needs, irrigation, power generation, etc.
It is not easy.
It is not simple.
It is, by definition, really complex.
And pretending that markets have some magic answer, some unerring “invisible hand” is a nonsense.
Certainly, there are some things that markets do very well, in certain contexts, and they have had huge historical utility.
And markets cannot deal meaningfully with universal abundance of anything, it is out of scope – reduced to zero value by the market’s requirement for scarcity.
And we can now deliver universal abundance of a large and growing set of goods and services.
The only reason we do not, is the constraints of exchange based thinking.
And sure, there are many positive things that have happened.
I am not in any way denying those.
And there are many things that markets do well.
And there are some things, an exponentially growing class of things involving universal abundance, that markets cannot deal with in a reasonable fashion.
We could be doubling wealth at roughly the scale of yearly, instead of restricting growth to 2.12% to give a 33 year doubling time and an 8 fold increase every century.
The needs of markets and capital are now major constraints, at many different levels.
Hi Swami Cat
I agree and acknowledge most of your points 1-4. I have always been very clear in stating that in situations of real scarcity, markets are valuable tools, and the myth of money serves a very useful purpose.
That is not what I am talking about.
And there are some of your conclusions that are not supported.
As my old stats lecturer drummed into to me, correlation does not imply causation, and it is a good place to start looking for causal mechanisms.
One can make a very strong case that technical innovation is much more a function of freedom, than it is of markets. And in an age of real scarcity, then markets are, as you accurately describe, a great aid to delivering options to free individuals.
I do seriously question your implication in 2 that all market transactions are voluntary. There are often huge asymmetries in consequence vs time in respect of transactions. A worker with no reserves has to work or starve, so long as there are more workers than work, the owner of capital need only pay just enough to avoid starvation. I see a lot of that today. I’ve seen a lot of it over the last 50 years. It seems to have been a common feature since time immemorial.
I had a taste of working for wages in my youth, and decided it wasn’t a path I was interested in following, so have been largely self employed, or worked in a consulting capacity, for most of the last 40 years.
Markets have for the most part been kind to me.
And most of what I have done has been in the area of systems design, systems optimisation, and systems support – legislation, property rights, business systems, political systems, manufacturing, service delivery, computer systems (all levels of the ISO model).
It seems clear that it is freedom, rather than markets, that delivers innovation and problem solving.
And certainly, in the simpler domains of skills of dexterity, competition does deliver increases in output.
However, in the more complex domains, of creative thinking, the psychological literature very clearly demonstrates that competition reduces creativity.
It is freedom, and freedom alone (without the competitive market aspect) that delivers real intellectual creativity.
Markets have been around for thousands of years.
What distinguishes life today is the dominance of market values in society.
What I am saying, is that we are now constrained in our thinking by concerns for the market, rather than concerns for individual welfare and individual freedom.
The concept “free market” has become equivalent to “freedom” in the minds of many.
They are not the same.
I am not suggesting that we go to any sort of central control.
Quite the opposite.
I am stating very clearly that the greatest security possible for all individuals comes from creating automated and distributed means of production that deliver abundant goods and services to every individual, on an as required basis.
About as far as one can get from central planning and central control.
Completely individualised production systems.
I am quite explicit about my values.
1/ Sapient life.
2/ Freedom of sapient individuals.
All other concerns are derivative from these.
Reasonable care for the environment that supports us all, etc.
I am in a dialectic process with you.
I am stating quite clearly that markets, as a valuation framework, cannot give a positive value to any universal abundance.
We have the technical capacity to deliver universal abundance of an expanding set of goods and services.
Market based thinking, market based values, must always contain incentives to prevent or destroy any such emerging universal abundance.
I acknowledge all of the historical utility of markets that you describe.
And I assert that this single aspect of markets now poses significant risk.
Most digital technologies are now on exponentials that are roughly yearly doublings (a little under in some cases, a little over in others).
We are currently in the first generations of digital manipulation of physical objects – 3D printers. Little more that kids toys at present, and that will change, rapidly.
We now have self driving vehicles.
Watson won Jeopardy.
Things are changing – very rapidly.
Markets are reaching the end of their social utility.
If they cannot deliver a positive value for universal abundance, then they are actively working to keep people in poverty.
Current digital systems growth has a logarithmic growth factor over 30 times that of the economic system.
Everything is going to change – big time!!!
How we manage the transition is the big question.
I know very well what Bill Gates did. He got lucky, being in the right place at the right time, made a few smart moves, and managed to stay one step ahead of the competition. He leased an operating system to IBM for their PC that he didn’t even own, then he went and bought one off a Canadian guy. You might call it savvy business, or a bit of luck, and it was almost certainly both. He liked playing that game, he was good at it.
I was playing with computers at the same time. Didn’t make anything like the money Bill did, and I did OK.
Automation is rapidly approaching the point that it will put people out of work faster than they can retrain.
Wealth is being concentrated into ever fewer hands.
Median income, inflation adjusted, has gone down in this country over the last 20 years, though a small group at the peak of the distribution have become very wealthy.
That is what happens.
Of course I understood that the “invisible hand” was metaphor.
What I see, in this country, is values of the market dominating over values of human life and liberty.
If markets values dominate over human values, then an ever expanding set of people will be driven back into poverty as automation eliminates the middle class.
The math is unavoidable.
Other paths are possible.
Just requires awareness, and choice.
Our political and legal systems are dominated by money.
There are other systems, and they are all subservient to money (to a good first order approximation).
Pity to lose you Swami Cat – just when things were getting interesting!
I have been a student of the many levels and subtleties of evolution for half a century.
Competition certainly has an important role in evolution.
And when one looks at the levels of complexity emergent in evolved systems, it is clear that cooperation plays a very important role in the process also.
It is a good first order approximation to characterise all major advances in levels of complexity as the emergence of new levels of cooperation. And Axelrod showed clearly that raw cooperation is unstable, and vulnerable to cheating, and requires attendant strategies to prevent cheats (at all levels).
Yes certainly, there is always a role for competition.
I enjoy competition as much as anyone else, particularly on the golf course.
And at the higher levels, it is cooperation that takes on an exponentially increasing importance in the systems.
It is fine to have competition in markets, provided that there is a genuine sharing of the benefits of such competition.
The last 30 years is rather light on the genuine sharing (cooperative aspect).
What we see, in practice, over that period, is an erosion of the “middle class” and an increasing concentration of wealth at the apex of the wealth pyramid.
I am not proposing that wealth be shared evenly.
I am all for diversity.
And I am also clear that to be stable, systems require a level of cooperation that ensures a reasonable level of freedom for all.
I am perfectly happy that some have many orders of magnitude more that the minimum, provided that the minimum is a standard of freedom that all would consider reasonable – security of person, guarantees of food and shelter, access to education, reasonable freedom and means to travel, freedom to engage with anyone on any project that is not unreasonably dangerous to the life or liberty of anyone else (and an open means of making such determinations), free access to education, communication and information.
These are reasonable minima in a cooperative system.
It is the nutrients supplied to every cell in our body.
Cells in our body that compete for resources to the point that other cells cannot function are by definition cancerous.
By all means, any individual can be as high functioning as they wish, but not at the expense of a reasonable minimum to everyone else.
This is what I mean when I say that the focus of our society is out of balance.
Our society is focused almost exclusively on the competitive aspects of markets, and has lost focus on the cooperative aspects of being human.
That is a definition of a cancerous tumour.
Sure, we need a certain element of competition, and that must exist within a larger cooperative context.
I play golf at a small country club. We cooperate in many ways, via working bees and general course maintenance, to keep the cost of membership down, and the quality of the course as high as possible.
Most people rate our course very highly.
We have only one paid greenkeeper.
Many in the club put a lot of cooperative effort into making it a great course.
Without that high level cooperation, the competitive experience of playing golf would be greatly diminished.
Sure, there will always be places for competition at all levels, and at the highest levels of all aspects we require cooperation, if there is to be any real security.
We need to see much more of that cooperation explicitly extended to all levels of humanity and to all sapience.
The current focus on money and markets to the exclusion of individuals is not safe for anyone – not really.