[ExI] anti-capitalist propaganda, was: retrainability of plebeians

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Tue May 12 11:45:28 UTC 2009

2009/5/12 spike <spike66 at att.net>:

> All businesses need to be bailed out or prevented from failing, rather just
> the opposite.  Governments must not attempt to repeal the business cycle.
> The US has just tripled our national debt attempting to prevent a recession.
> But that recession is coming anyway, in fact it will likely be much worse,
> partly because of the billions in taxpayer dollars have been dumped into GM
> and Crysler, which will likely fail anyway.  They must fail now: who would
> buy the cars, knowing the companies likely will not be around to service the
> warranty?  We have just wasted all that taxpayer money, which takes away
> from individual freedom.  Bailing out the car companies was madness.

It didn't work in Japan over the last 20 years. They tried everything
the present regimes in the US and Europe are trying: deficit spending,
zero interest rates, bailing out banks, outright printing of money,
and none of it really had much effect. Interestingly, not even the
money printing had much effect on deflation and did not cause the yen
to depreciate. And the Japanese had more savings, so they were in a
better position to increase personal spending and at less risk of
personal bankruptcy. Some say the government should have allowed the
insolvent banks to go down, and that this would have produced a short,
sharp recession rather than a prolonged deflationary stagnation, but
there is no way to really know.

I'm in Tokyo as I write this. An interesting thing I have noticed is
that there seem to be more Japanese workers doing a job that
apparently one person would do elsewhere. For example, it took two
people to change my money in Japan, while in Singapore and Australia
it took only one. I guess this is why the unemployment rate is very
low here. On the other hand, it doesn't seem to have hurt efficiency:
Japanese-made goods are still of the highest quality, and still
competitively priced despite the strong yen.

> All our transhumanist dreams of enhancing our minds and bodies will cost
> money, and that money must be in the hands of individuals, who will
> experiment and show the rest of us the way.  Governments will never pay for
> your brain enhancements while your neighbor is suffering from diabetes.  I
> fear the current government spending spree is killing our future.

Governments will pay for *preventive* medicine, and anti-aging
treatment is preventive medicine. Diabetes, atherosclerosis, cancer,
Alzheimer's etc. etc. are all diseases of aging, and if they can all
be prevented, you will stay younger for longer, work longer, pay taxes
longer, and cost less to treat. Anti-aging treatment is not
fundamentally different to what the normal health care system does
anyway, and reframing it in this way would boost PR, IMHO. Some people
freak out at the idea of making people live longer, stronger and
smarter, but very few would argue that it is reasonable to deny their
grandmother her hip replacement and anti-dementia drugs on the grounds
that it constitutes unnatural enhancement.

Similarly with brain enhancements: governments spend huge amounts on
education because a smarter population is a more productive
population, and historically only real loonies like Pol Pot have gone
against this. Direct cognitive enhancement would only be an extension
of this. Once people overcome their horror of it they would start to
demand it, and those countries that didn't provide it for all their
citizens would be left further and further behind.

Stathis Papaioannou

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list