The invisible hand of egalitarianism.
Good article Paul – as far as it goes. Agree with most of what Mark writes, but while much of what Dick writes is accurate, it seems to me his conclusion in not warranted.
We all cherish our differences. Very few people actually like total equality, being forced to be and do exactly the same as everyone else is a nightmare for most of us.
And the idea of fairness means that when there are sufficient resources, then we all expect to get enough of those resources to be able to express our individual freedom and creativity in socially responsible (and individually different) ways.
And there are many levels and modalities present in the spectra of human understanding and behaviour, and some of them are far less tolerant of diversity than others.
The critical change that we now face is that fully automated systems make it possible to meet the reasonable expectations of every person on the planet to a high standard of living and choice and freedom, yet our market based systems value such abundance at zero, as any market measure of value has a scarcity component, and when scarcity drops to zero, value drops to zero.
That isn’t necessarily a problem on the distribution side, but it is a fundamental issue on the planning side.
So long as everyone has a high minimum standard (including material wealth, security and freedom), then asymmetries in the higher end of the distribution are fine.
And our psychologies and physiologies are far more complex than most people have any real conception. Jordan Peterson does a good job of explaining many aspects of the embodiment of cognition, how evolution selects sets of systems that produce outcomes in practice that are far ahead of our conceptual understanding of them in many instances. We are amazingly complex entities, even singularly, far more complex than we can possibly understand.
For all the many levels of very complex and valuable services markets have given us over recent centuries, the current explosion of computational capacity, and the automation and productivity that flows from it, are pushing markets out of the familiar and largely beneficial territory of our history and into territory that contains profound existential level risk profiles across an exponentially expanding set of domains.
I am confident that the future can be empowering for individual life and individual liberty, but only if we move beyond markets and their abstract construct of value (money), and into conceptual territory that does actually, in practice value and promote individual life and individual liberty, where all such individuals acknowledge the social and ecological responsibilities that are an essential part of existence our in the very complex sets of systems that is our expanding technological, philosophical and cultural existence.
We need to acknowledge that the competitive aspect of evolution drives systems to minimal complexity, whereas the cooperative aspect of evolution allows recursive emergence of ever more complex systems.
Evolution is a profoundly complex systemic, strategic and computational domain that emerges from a remarkably simple set of systems.
And to understand evolution, or time, or complexity, one must be prepared to examine far from equilibrium systems. One cannot understand evolution in terms of equilibria, however many near equilibrium sub-systems one can distinguish. That applies at every level, all systems, all domains.