[ExI] Private and government R&D

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 30 13:48:12 UTC 2009

--- On Tue, 6/30/09, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
> Date: Tuesday, June 30, 2009, 7:01 AM 2009/6/30 Dan <dan_ust at yahoo.com>:
>> To me, this reveals a misunderstanding of what it
>> means to operate voluntarily -- e.g., like a free market
>> would or anytime people do stuff uncoerced.  Yes, they
>> might not do everything with the expectation or desire for a
>> money profit.  (I donate money and things freely to various
>> groups and individuals.  I'm not expecting any money profit
>> in return.  E.g., I donate clothes to a certain
>> international organization.  I don't expect anything in
>> return -- over and above, maybe feeling good about helping
>> someone out.)
> Then we could extend the free market to any collective
> action. People
> choose to support a government that pays for science or
> education or
> whatever, because they think it's a good idea. Not everyone
> agrees,
> but they are bound by the decision of the majority, as IBM
> shareholders are bound by the decision of the majority.

Again, you're back to the myth of a social contract.  A government is fundamentally unlike owning stock in IBM.  You usually have no exit option -- or the exit option is set along the lines that makes exiting extremely impractical, such as you have to leave the country.  (Leaving the country to escape a state, of course, happens, but from the rights point of view, the state does not own the country -- any more than a criminal gang owns your neighborhood and you must leave if you don't like it simply because the gange moved in and claims the neighborhood.)

> If you limit
> yourself to decisions that can be made only on an
> individual basis or
> with 100% agreement of all affected individuals, that
> places a severe
> limitation indeed on what can be achieved.

This puts a false dichotomy: either we have majoritarian democracy or we have some form of individual veto democracy.  Again, the choice is a voluntary society or some form of coercion (which includes all forms of democracy).  In the voluntary society, you don't need 100% agreement on things.  You can spend your money your way and I mine.  We might, as it stands, come to a voluntary relationship where you and I both agree to spend some of our money on something together -- as in a business agreement.  That's the kind of collective pooling of resources that can and does happen voluntarily.  But your and my agreement does not bind anyone else.  You and I can't say, "Well, we agreed to fund the nanotech project.  Now, since we two constitute a majority, any third person we grab now must spend her or his money the way we want."




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