[extropy-chat] "Hierarchical power is out"

Alex Ramonsky alex at ramonsky.com
Mon Dec 25 09:12:11 UTC 2006

I think something is missing from your 'farmers' example -the 'coercion' 
starts to come in when farmer # 5 can no longer buyresources, spares or 
parts for his/her technology or agriculture methods because the 
suppliers don't stock them any more. Folks are forced to upgrade or drop 
out. Psychological pressure to conform is also coercion; how will the 
kids at school cope with being called the 'hillbilly family' or 'the 
Amish'? It's hard to 'freely choose' anything when actual physical harm 
to oneself and one's kin results from doing anything that 'doesn't fit in'.
Just a thought.

Samantha Atkins wrote:

>Jef Allbright wrote:
>>Thomas -
>>Thanks for your thorough reading and feedback.
>>I detect two principle areas, apparently heavily laden with feelings of
>>value, on which we might focus for our mutual edification:
>>(1) What do we mean by coercion?
>>>From Wikipedia:  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coercion>
>>"Coercion is the practice of compelling a person to involuntarily behave
>>in a certain way (whether through action or inaction) by use of threats,
>>intimidation or some other form of pressure or force. Coercion may
>>typically involve the actual infliction of physical or psychological
>>harm in order to enhance the credibility of a threat. The threat of
>>further harm may then lead to the cooperation or obedience of the person
>>being coerced."
>>My concern, and the reason I don't like to use the word, is that it
>>fails when extended.  For example, suppose five individual farmers
>>operate within a small town, all using traditional farming methods for
>>many years, but recent developments in agricultural technology now offer
>>greater productivity at lower cost.  If four of the five farmers adopt
>>the new technology, but the fifth resists due to, say, religious
>>beliefs, then it's likely that he would lose his livelihood due to being
>>unable to effectively compete.  In such a case, is he being coerced?
>Of course not. The wikipedia definition is faulty. Coercion is using
>force or fraud to override a person's right to make their own decision
>and follow it. The four farmers above are obviously not doing anything
>of the kind. The fifth farmer freely chose differently. That his results
>are not as good due to this choice and he may fail as a farmer by so
>choosing is in no way coercion. It is simply consequences to the
>decision made based on whether it works well enough in reality, Reality
>includes the choices of others within the same field of endeavor. If
>they make choices that objectively improve their results more than your
>own then you will not be competitive with their offerings.
>>Others have defined coercion more narrowly as relating only to cases
>>involving the threat of *physical* force, including incarceration.  This
>>attempt at narrowing to "physical" fails because any number of alternate
>>forms of pressure ultimately lead to physical pressure.
>Mere pressure is not coercion unless force or fraud is involved. To
>define coercion more broadly is simply to be talking at cross purposes
>about something quite different.
>- samantha
>extropy-chat mailing list
>extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org

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