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: 81a29c7d8cd2d6d751f7729bf023a9e6d0a7d7d82fb8fbbf0f561b8bd50c2f10
Message ID: <Pine.3.05.9310162131.A1293-e100000@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu>
Reply To: <9310170141.AA05687@geech.gnu.ai.mit.edu>
UTC Datetime: 1993-10-17 02:31:53 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 16 Oct 93 19:31:53 PDT

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From: Alexander Reynolds <chrome@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu>
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 93 19:31:53 PDT
To: Ray <rjc@gnu.ai.mit.edu>
Subject: Re: William Gibson
In-Reply-To: <9310170141.AA05687@geech.gnu.ai.mit.edu>
Message-ID: <Pine.3.05.9310162131.A1293-e100000@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu>
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> > > > > 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.
>    Absolute and complete freedom means "freedom from ALL restrictions" If
> you collectively own property, you are under the restriction of the majority's
> will to control that property.

That assumes that the majority has a will.

>    Non-scarcity _is_ an issue. If there is scarcity, there will be competition
> for the limited resources -- whether it is individuals, businesses, or 
> nations. We see this all throughout nature and all throughout history and
> there isn't anything to indicate that you can just ignore it. Your brand
> of anarchism won't work without massive reprogramming of the populace's
> meme structures. 

You're also assuming that I am pushing Ayn Rand's pseudoanarchist
theories on you.  Quit it, I never made any statement defending her

> Since you're so keen on "proof by fiction", take a look
> at Demolition Man, or perhaps Star Trek where everything is free and
> replicated.

I am not "keen on proof by fiction."  You are putting words in my mouth
just so you can have a moral high ground upon which to stand!  Again, quit

I'll make myself clear, OK?  Some fiction writers present ideas and
theories and philosophies, all of which are compatible metaphors in my
mind.  So if a writer takes 1000 pages to present her view of utopia, and
defends it with logic and clear-cut style, then she obviously has more on
her mind than a few opinions which she likes to spew.

Proof itself is circumspect; I could use statistics on almost anything to
run circles around you no matter where you might stand.  I never said you
could prove with fiction, but I did say that you could theorize using
fiction.  Ayn Rand did.  She said that people working for their own good
will prosper and that "resources be damned!" etc. etc.
> > You can't throw around terms like anarchy and anarchosocialism, etc. 
>   Actually I can, I have a dictionary.

Yes, with only a dictionary and obviously a closed mind you can define and
isolate anything the world!

> > Anarchy means no rules, no rulers, period.  Rulers use many tools,
>  Well if that is what it means than anarchy is physically impossible. You can't
> avoid the laws of physics. To survive, you must eat, to eat, you must work,
> or someone must work for you. 

I never said anarchy was easy.  If you want to starve, then that is your
choice; that is anarchy: nobody forcing you to behave as THEY want you to
by THEIR rules.  

> If you are forced to work, you are being
> ruled, if someone else is, you are ruling them. 

That is what a "free-"market economy does!  It removes government rule
over people and replaces it with business/oligarchial rule.

> No doubt someone will bring up automation or nanotechnology, but they work 
because they significantly lower scarcity, hence the non-scarcity requirement.
> > 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
> > around.
>   If net-cash is a tool used by rules, then we are the rulers, and we are
> ruling ourselves. I don't subscribe to these absurd socialist buzzwords
> though. Money was invented for specific reasons which benefit everyone --
> both rulers and the ruled. If you don't understand that, you don't understand
> how economics works.

I have read a good deal on the nature of money; its history and its use. 
Money is a tool to perpetuate the power of its possessor.  Its use
doesn't neccessarily benefit the "ruled," but it certainly benefits the
ruler, otherwise it would not have been created.  Don't tell me that money
is a means to quantify value of product, and that it has no power effects,
because a Monetarist would show you why it does. 

  > > > 
> > >    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.
>    Rand did not present an economic theory, she presented a philosophy.

You didn't read the book.

> You can present a theory through fiction, but you can not prove or disprove
> it through a story book world, hence I take object to your ridiculous
> assertion:
> >   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
>   Here you imply Atlas Shrugged proves that an anarchocapitalist
> state can only exist in theory. Whoops, back to logic 101.

Again you do not understand what anarchy is!  Read Skinner's Beyond Freedom or
Dignity!  That is a non-fiction book with an incredibly scientific view,
so you should have no moral qualms at least reading it!

> > 
> > >    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.
>   Actually, Japan has grown so fast because it came from so little. Look
> at the growth rates of South American economies, many averaging 10+%
> annual growth. Once you reach the level of complexity and bureaucracy of
> a typical western economy, you start to slow down. (e.g. marginal returns)
> It's easy to get 100% economic growth if your GNP is smaller than
> McDonalds and you are just switching to a capitalist industrial system.
I said : "SOME THEORIZE."  I did not say that I feel this way!  Stop
attacking me for total bullshit!

>  Anyway, My argument was that zaibatsus are metastable and will break up 
> without government restrictions in the market. Your argument is that I am wrong
> because America has anti-trust laws?? Again, your argument is circular and 
> makes no sense.  America's antitrust laws do more harm than good.

Ok, how is it a circular argument?  You feel that monopolies cannot exist
without government intervention, yet at the same time America cannot have
monopolies with government intervention.  Your argument is contradictory.

 >  >
> > The barriers to entry in many markets are historically > > > low, 
> > 
> > 	????  Go to Japan and try to start a business there!
>   Because they have an anti-capitalist INTERVENTIONIST system, this is an
> argument against GOVERNMENT, not free markets.
> > > 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.
>    I intended for you to read it so you could learn something.

Obviously we BOTH have some things to learn.

> > > 
> > >   Anarchy is the non-existence of rulers, not the non-existence of rules.
> > > 
> > 
> > 	It's both.  Do some fiction and non-fiction reading.
>   Fine, may I suggest you pick up a dictionary?

Fine, may I suggest you read something other than a dictionary?

> Anarchy: 1. the condition of a society without a government 2. an ideal
> society having no government and made up of individuals who enjoy
> complete freedom.

Freedom from others monetary sytems?  Freedom from each others guns?

>   Taken directly from Webster's.

Well, you can read alright, but can you _understand_?

> -- Ray Cromwell        |    Engineering is the implementation of science;    --
> -- EE/Math Student     |       politics is the implementation of faith.      --
> -- rjc@gnu.ai.mit.edu  |                         - Zetetic Commentaries      --

Science IS faith, as much as religion is, but on a much more inconspicuous