1997-05-22 - Change, the Internet, and Government (was Cypherpunk criminalization)

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From: tzeruch@ceddec.com
To: cypherpunks@algebra.com
Message Hash: d98c9ddd887543295ad34c419b52a2f4fbe8168f8e9235eff2e667f672a2081c
Message ID: <97May22.134616edt.32257-1@brickwall.ceddec.com>
Reply To: <19970521231024.42348@bywater.songbird.com>
UTC Datetime: 1997-05-22 17:58:07 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 23 May 1997 01:58:07 +0800

Raw message

From: tzeruch@ceddec.com
Date: Fri, 23 May 1997 01:58:07 +0800
To: cypherpunks@algebra.com
Subject: Change, the Internet, and Government (was Cypherpunk criminalization)
In-Reply-To: <19970521231024.42348@bywater.songbird.com>
Message-ID: <97May22.134616edt.32257-1@brickwall.ceddec.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

On Thu, 22 May 1997, Kent Crispin wrote:

> On Wed, May 21, 1997 at 07:16:03PM -0800, Tim May wrote:
> > At 5:41 PM -0800 5/21/97, Kent Crispin wrote:
> [...]
> > But more rules need to change. Many of us (most of us?) expect strong
> > crypto to be a catalyst for some major changes. You, Kent, obviously
> > disagree,
> Yep.  I disagree.

Strong crypto is one facet of the internet.  I can now form a group with
people around the world (like the volunteer organizations DeToqueville
speaks of which organize to solve problems).  Data can now flow across
national borders.  Things like prices and ideas are data.  Even money is
to a large extent data.  When government begins trying to take action to
prevent data from flowing, it will simply be hidden from them.  It is one
mechanism for routing around "faults", though I don't think the designers 
of the internet considered taxation and censorship as faults.

Strong crypto by itself won't change anything.  Worldwide communication
that can be both point-to-point and broadcast already is changing quite a
lot of things.  When that needs to be, or even if it would just help to be
completely private or authentic strong crypto comes in. 

The steam engine changed very little except to remove water from coal
mines.  The production line and railroads had a greater impact.
In the same sense, PK systems were invented long ago and were a mere
curiosity.  Strong crypto won't catalyze any major change, but worldwide
private and authentic communications will.

> > and push for more government involvement to shore up the existing
> > rules.
> False.  How *do* you come up with these?

To continue on a more general level:  Going back to "Economics in one
Lesson" - one restriction invariably leads to another.  Rent controls keep
down prices.  So Landlords cannot maintain their buildings, so slumlord
laws are passed to try to force them to keep them open.  No buildings get
built so new subsidies have to be given to build rent-controlled
buildings.  People who live there will stay even when their income goes up
so more laws to means test must be passed.  So people hide their assets to
qualify so financial disclosure laws have to be added.  At each level, the
restriction needs several more restrictions to work.  (I think Hazlit uses
tariffs or food subsidies to illustrate it, but you can use almost

Everytime government passes an illegitimate restriction, it starts a race
between those seeking to evade it and the lawgivers who have to close
the loopholes or increase enforcement.

But to close the circle, the internet is much faster than government ever
can be.