1993-10-17 - Re: William Gibson

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From: Alexander Reynolds <chrome@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu>
To: Ray <rjc@gnu.ai.mit.edu>
Message Hash: 1f78f4e305d5a36452d967727326767e8874cf853fe77b14abddd7127ad1ff80
Message ID: <Pine.3.05.9310162053.A22061-c100000@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu>
Reply To: <9310162315.AA04893@geech.gnu.ai.mit.edu>
UTC Datetime: 1993-10-17 00:32:19 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 16 Oct 93 17:32:19 PDT

Raw message

From: Alexander Reynolds <chrome@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu>
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 93 17:32:19 PDT
To: Ray <rjc@gnu.ai.mit.edu>
Subject: Re: William Gibson
In-Reply-To: <9310162315.AA04893@geech.gnu.ai.mit.edu>
Message-ID: <Pine.3.05.9310162053.A22061-c100000@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu>
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On Sat, 16 Oct 1993, Ray wrote:
> > > On the other-hand, you can also envision an anarchist future much like
> > > Gibson's novells where everyone is a free agent and thus out for his
> > > own good: capitalism.
> > 
> > 	It is only through theory that an pseudoanarchist capitalist State can
> > exist, read Ayn Rand's _Atlas Shrugged_ and you'll see my point.  Gibson's
> > futuristic view is not anarchy, it is multi-national oligarchy to an extreme.
>   The very same thing could be said about anarchosocialism. Without the
> fictional non-selfinterested man and the postulate of non-scarcity it couldn't
> possibly work. (taking 3. anarchy - "absolute and complete freedom")

Freedom is a tricky word.  Is freedom from governoeconomic restrictions
"absolute and complete freedom?"  Skinner (the behaviorologist) would say
no, because the money which isn't under the government's control is under
some businessman's control.  Ayn Rand would say that non-scarcity isn't an
issue, i.e. when the sun dies, mankind will have found a substitute, etc.
You can't throw around terms like anarchy and anarchosocialism, etc. 
Anarchy means no rules, no rulers, period.  Rulers use many tools,
yes, including money, to coerce behavior out of people and enforce rules
upon them.  This includes the grand scheme of net-cash people are throwing

>    I have never seen someone argue economic theory by quoting _fiction_
> books. Gibson (and Sterling) are as clueless on economic issues as they
> are on computers (e.g. Gibson's plan to improve schools by forcing telephone
> companies to give teachers "free" long distance)

Some authors (including Rand) use fiction as a means to present their
individual political and economical theories.  Aldous Huxley did so in his
_Brave New World_.  Using numerous Rand works I could argue a pseudoanarchist
"free-"market state.  Like I said before, I feel Gibson is not intending
to argue any economic theories but to add depth to his storytelling.

>    The only way the super corporations in Gibson's world could exist is
> through government help (e.g. Japan's restrictions on trade, distribution,
> and banking) 

	In this country, the same argument is wrong.  There are anti-trust
laws which prevent American zaibatsus to form.  Some theorize that this is
the reason Japan has grown so fast.

> The barriers to entry in many markets are historically
> low, 

	????  Go to Japan and try to start a business there!

> developing. Stop reading fiction for your education and pick up
> David Friedman's _The Machinery of Freedom_.

	I'll take that as a friendly jibe.
>   Anarchy is the non-existence of rulers, not the non-existence of rules.

	It's both.  Do some fiction and non-fiction reading.

	Alex Reynolds