[ExI] the formerly rich and their larvae...

Damien Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Wed Feb 13 20:20:22 UTC 2008

On Tue, Feb 12, 2008 at 08:17:38PM -0500, Rafal Smigrodzki wrote:

> I would be genuinely baffled by anybody who would refuse his e^D
> dollars only so that Mr Gates doesn't get e^(D+10e10) dollars. This
> would be painfully stupid, not to mention criminally destructive.

Actually it could be quite rational, from two entirely different

1) As evolved beings, the ultimate purpose our emotions are designed to
serve is reproductive success.  Status, whether social or relative
wealth, easily translates to relative reproductive success.  Feelings of
envy and fairness are rooted in our genes not wanting to go extinct.

2) Even for non-reproducing immortals, such a wealth disparity could be
disturbing, unless one assumes that it will never be abused for purposes
of power.  If everyone is a perfectly moral libertarian, well, fine!
But if not, more money can mean more bribes to politicians, more hired
soldiers, more hunter-killer robots built.  If I have 10 dollars and you
have 20, it's not that easy for you to shove me around.  If I have (2^D)
1000 dollars and you have a million, you can blot me out.  Of course,
you might have less incentive to, since I have only 1/1000 of what you,
but if I've got something else you want, like a house with a nice view,
or any other limited resource which didn't enjoy an exponential increase
in availability, I'd have reason to be worried.  Especially if part of
the reason you have 20 dollars is that you're a bit more ruthless than
everyone else.

-xx- Damien X-) 

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