on freedom and wealth

Facebook – Dirk Shared a paragraph from 1931 on freedom and wealth

[ 4/August/21 “You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from someone else. When half the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, then that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”]

That was arguably mostly true until the invention of fully automated systems.
Now I can create a set of code, and in a few seconds it can be available to anyone anywhere on the planet, and it can perform the function I created it to do for anyone with a compatible system.

Once we fully automate the manufacture of such systems (something potentially not very far away), then there is no longer any need for anyone to do anything for everyone to have all that they reasonably require to responsibly exercise their freedom in whatever way they choose.

And there are always real limits in real systems.

Responsibility is always required in any real system to ensure those limits required for survival are not broken.

And that gets deeply complex.

The very idea of money, of measuring value in exchange in markets, fails when it encounters fully automated production.

We need fully automated production in order to mitigate some very well characterised existential level risks; so it is markets and money that have to be modified to work with fully automated systems.

The argument is no longer a reasonable approximation to the reality we find ourselves in. It really is much more complex, and there is existential level risk in the general failure to appreciate that difference.

[followed by]

Agree Dirk that any form of central control entails multiple levels of existential risk.

Security demands distributed systems, and massive redundancy and diversity. That is the exact opposite of any sort of central control.

Any real expression of freedom necessarily results in diversity, and such diversity must be respected.

So if anyone is interested in either security or liberty, then logic demands that they accept and respect diversity (all levels).

Anyone who thinks that they actually control anything is living in an overly simplistic model of reality. And in some contexts we can exert influence that can very closely approximate classical control – and frequently it doesn’t take much of a change of context for the illusion of control to vanish.

And it is true that complex systems demand some degree of reliability in boundaries, so something very closely approximating classical cause and effect has to exist in some contexts to allow for the existence of complexity such as ourselves.

Central control can be optimal in times of extreme risk, but in times of lower risk can pose extreme risk in and of itself. I had 17 years of being at sea on boats, mostly as captain. When you are in a storm trying to keep the vessel afloat then that is the time for crew to obey, and do exactly what the captain says. The time for questioning is during calmer weather, when the cost of error is not so high. A crew’s choice of captain is as important as a captain’s choice of crew. Both parties have influence in such things.

During calmer times the role of captain is to build the most skilled and capable team possible, so that the probability of survival of all are enhanced during the times of stress when they really count.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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