http://evonomics.com/the-fairness-divide-intervention-that-liberals-and-can/ Inequality – The Fairness Divide: Intervention That Liberals and Conservatives Can Agree On
The economics of opportunity and outcomes
In one sense, the sense of the abstract notion of equality of opportunity, rather than equality of outcomes, I completely agree with you. Yet I apply that notion at one level higher in the order of abstractions.
Current educational systems are much more about the needs of money than they are about the freedom of individuals to self actualise in any way they responsibly choose.
I make the claim that we need to be providing equality of opportunity of freedom to self actualise.
I make the further claim that the security of all is most strongly enhanced by the provision of such opportunity.
I make the further claim that systems that support this can be fully automated such that they require minimal human input (minimal within the context that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, which seems to be a logical truism at recursive levels of abstraction that appear to be potentially infinite).
Thus it is clear to me that we now possess the technology to provide this environment to every person on the planet, in an exactly analogous fashion to how photosynthetic organisms now supply oxygen in the air universally to every person on the planet, at no cost. And oxygen is arguably the most important thing to every person – and it has zero market value.
If you look at what John Taylor Gatto achieved in terms of educational outcomes, and the methods he used, it is clear that our teaching systems are not there to meet the needs of students (in terms of empowering the life and liberty of those students).
Freedom is a difficult topic.
Understanding what we are is a difficult topic.
Understanding how differential survival leads to complexity is important.
Competition is often involved in differential survival, and not always.
In some classes of environment, cooperation leads to the greatest advantage in terms of differential survival (which is contrary to the classical notion that it is all about competition). Robert Axelrod was amongst the founders who made this concept available. Dawkins, Maynard-Smith, Dennett, Snowden, have broadened the conceptual base but none of them appear to have explicitly made the next level of abstraction and generalisation of the notion.
Evolution is really complex.
Cellular chemistry is really complex.
Intercellular communication is really complex.
The network complexity of neural networks is really complex.
Any one of those things is beyond the capacity of any human mind to deal with in detail, yet general understanding of the sorts of general classes of systems and complexity involved in each is essential to begin to understand just how complex each and every one of us is, and how creative we can each be, if we are given the freedom (in the sense of being freed from low level requirements to be able engage in higher level functionality).
Every concept we have is both a freedom and a constraint.
Every level of abstraction delivers both freedom and constraint (it opens up greater degrees of freedom, and it requires far greater conscious and subconscious processing time to operate effectively, which comes at an operational cost at lower levels – requiring empowerment at those levels).
So it is an infinitely complex, infinitely dimensional matrix of costs and benefits, and the very notion of using a scarcity based measure in those matrices seems clearly (at this higher level of abstraction) to now be the single greatest threat to our survival as a species.
We now have the conceptual and technical tools to develop and operate within matrices that deliver universal abundance of all essentials to survival, and thus empower diversity of outcomes that few have ever seriously contemplated.
So at one conceptual level I align with you completely, and at another, your adherence to the idea of markets as a tool appears clearly to me (in terms of second level abstractions derived from games theory and complexity theory) to be a survival limiting strategy – and I write as someone committed to personal survival and personal liberty applied universally.
What you appear not to have allowed for, is that this is the first time that the replicators have been fully conscious of the systemic spaces available to them.
It is no longer a case of having to take a random walk up mount improbable.
We can now design vehicles to carry us across chasms in the “landscapes” (aircraft, cranes, etc).
We can now consciously anticipate consequences of actions (with useful probabilities), and take action to avoid the worst of those things that threaten us by “virtue” of being dispositions from our evolutionary past (at genetic or mimetic levels). There seems no end to the recursive levels available in algorithm and abstraction spaces. [And as an odd heuristic, one of the strange things to come out of database theory, is that the most processor efficient search is a fully random search.]
If you can point me to some specific arguments that seem to you to clearly rebut the assertions above, I would love to read them.
I did not come out of a largely competitive ecosystem, and there certainly were many very competitive ecosystems in the evolutionary history of my ancestors.
Almost all of what makes me what I am came out of many levels of very high level cooperation, of many people in many circumstances.
Without that cooperation (that mutual benefit), I would not of survived childhood – many times.
And since then, I have certainly worked very diligently at times, and have read a lot, and tried a lot of different things. And to get that experience, most of the things I have done have been voluntary. It’s amazing what people will teach you if you display interest and competence and do for them what they need doing.
So I am the product of a system that was far more cooperative than competitive, at least 10:1. My parents grew up in the great depression. I grew up with stories from their childhood of people coming to the door hungry, and always being given food and shelter (my grandparents were keen gardeners, and grew several acres of garden during the depression – there was no money and there was food). I have never turned away anyone asking for food or shelter. Have met a lot of very interesting people.
We have the ability to feed everyone, with good healthy fresh food.
And yet we let the needs of money dominate our existence.