[ExI] don't let your guard down, not for a minute...

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 10 14:54:18 UTC 2010

You wrote, "Capitalism requires people to do something they possibly may not 
wish to do, or even have the ability to do." There is no realistic social system 
that can escape that people having to "do something they possibly may not wish 
to do, or even have the ability to do." That's a constraint from reality and 
people proposing reforms or radical changes can ignore it, but this will not 
make it go away.

Also, the problem of ownership is really about control: who gets to control 
what. No workable social system can leave this issue alone as long as we live in 
a world of scarcity. (And there is no post-scarcity world. There are merely 
better or worse ways of dealing with scarcity or different ways in which 
scarcity evinces itself. One can pretend scarcity won't exist, that the problem 
with go away, but, thus far, this is merely wishful thinking.)

The slogan "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" 
-- which, IIRC, Robert Nozick countered with the libertarian slogan "From each 
as he[sic] chooses, to each as he[sic] is chosen." -- does not overtly state 
ownership, but it's implied that someone will be deciding those abilities and 
those needs. (Needs, of all things, are subjective. So, this entails, in any 
real social system, some person or group, imposing their subjective preferences 
regarding what are considered needs on everyone else. And the same goes for 
abilities. The social order attempting to implement "from each according to his 
ability, to each according to his needs" will have to decide just what the 
abilities of each of society's members are. This will entail central planning of 
some sort. Yes, would be social engineers can pretend this is all easy and there 
are transparently objective means of figuring this all out, but history and 
sound economic theory underscore the problems here and should give pause.)

Also, I don't believe no one is free until everyone's minimum needs are met. Nor 
do I believe everyone must wait to be free until that happens. This doesn't mean 
I'm against charity or think no one should ever care about helping out a person 
who's poor, starving, or otherwise deprived. But it does mean that someone 
else's poverty or lack of something or other cannot be used as claim on everyone 
else's freedom. In other words, one can't validly and honesty argue that because 
X is destitute, Y must be coerced -- any more than one can argue because Y is 
coerced, X must be made destitute.

Regarding, too, the subject kicking off this thread -- Castro's recent 
admissions during an interview -- I find it strange that a dictator is really 
being taken seriously. The guy is merely admitting his social system doesn't 
work now. He's not admitting it never worked ever. Nor is he even owning up to 
the wrongs he's committed -- which are not of the armchair type of debating the 
merits of social sytems, but of the real world type of hurting and killing 
people. I may be overly cyncial, but a man who wants to stay in power or have 
his clique stay in power and who likely realizes that time is running out, that 
his allies are either feeble or abandoning him, is unlikely to be having a 
genuine change of heart. Instead, it seems like he sees it's not working out and 
his regime, brittle as all dictatorships are, might collapse the moment his 
subject realize how utterly weak it is. (And this is the same for all regimes 
everywhere: they rule only as long as the ruled go along with it. Once that 
support or acquiescence diminishes below a certain level.)

2010/9/9 samantha <sjatkins at mac.com>

From: Tim Halterman <timhalterman at gmail.com>
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Fri, September 10, 2010 3:24:07 PM
Subject: Re: [ExI] don't let your guard down, not for a minute...

On 9/9/10 6:55 AM, Tim Halterman wrote: 
>>Really, what do you make of this?
>No current system is perfect and everlasting, communism, capitalism or 
>otherwise.  Why? What makes them fail?  Are some better than others?  In what 

The fact that governance is requried.  As long as there is a human in authority 
there will likely be envy and certainly inequality.  This is imperfect.  And 
sure I find some better than others.

I don't think any system which requires people to do something they don't wish 
or relies on exploiting another being as a permanent solution.  Laissez faire 
capitalism requires neither. 

I'd say produce or starve is a flaw.  Capitalism requires people to do something 
they possibly may not wish to do, or even have the ability to do. 
These systems are simply biding their time until technology advances to a point 
that a true communism is possible.BARF. Communism is utterly broken by design.   

>   Communism in that sense being a society where individuals are free to do as 
>they wish and do not require the exploitation of others to do so.  I think Marx 
>felt this way, although specific quotes elude me (It's been a number of years 
>since I read his work).
>>That is not communism.  In communism the collective owns everything and the 
>>individual owns nothing.  "From each according to his ability, to each according 
>>to his needs" is a common slogan of communism at its most idealistic.   That is 
>>utterly unworkable.  When everyone owns everything and nothing no one has the 
>>right to do with anything at all what she wishes.  

The ideal communism I speak to does not contain the word "own" nor does it take 
anything from each.  And yes I've read Atlas Shrugged.  
I always looked at the Soviet Union as simply picking a model close to a hopeful 
end-state.  Had technology progressed at a faster rate I'm not sure the collapse 
would have been inevitable, they could have simply evolved.  I see the most 
technologically advanced societies the closest to achieving true communism.A 
state that killed tens of millions on its own citizens on purpose is held up as 
an ideal and just before its time?  This is utterly abhorrent. 

>- samantha

I'm not going to defend the Soviet Union, that wasn't really my point.  I will 
say however that unless you live on another planet we're all pieces on the same 
game board.  Until a day comes when not one person goes hungry the same day a 
resource is spent on the defense or offense of one nation against another I'm 
not going to participate in finger-pointing.  We all pay taxes, we all own a 
piece of a gun.


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