1993-10-17 - Re: William Gibson

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From: rjc@gnu.ai.mit.edu (Ray)
To: chrome@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu (Alexander Reynolds)
Message Hash: cc1c539348207969e7eb7853cd62445655ea85c83027381e60446dcbabc14589
Message ID: <9310170141.AA05687@geech.gnu.ai.mit.edu>
Reply To: <Pine.3.05.9310162053.A22061-c100000@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu>
UTC Datetime: 1993-10-17 01:42:19 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 16 Oct 93 18:42:19 PDT

Raw message

From: rjc@gnu.ai.mit.edu (Ray)
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 93 18:42:19 PDT
To: chrome@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu (Alexander Reynolds)
Subject: Re: William Gibson
In-Reply-To: <Pine.3.05.9310162053.A22061-c100000@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu>
Message-ID: <9310170141.AA05687@geech.gnu.ai.mit.edu>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Alexander Reynolds () writes:
> 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.

   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.

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

> You can't throw around terms like anarchy and anarchosocialism, etc. 

  Actually I can, I have a dictionary.

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

> >    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.

 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.

> > 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.

> > 
> >   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?

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.

  Taken directly from Webster's.

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