[ExI] The INCREDIBLE acceleration of the wealth gap

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Tue Jan 17 03:05:42 UTC 2017

On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 6:05 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

> >
>>  John, if things happen that seem inexplicable to you,

Events are not inexplicable but they're happening much faster than I
expected.  I've known for a long time there was a conflict between my
libertarian economic ideas and my belief that there is no fundamental limit
to the upward curve of AI's power, but I figured it would be several
decades before the contradictions became serious. I was wrong, the day has
arrived. With regard to economic matters I no longer think pure classical
libertarianism is consistent with the survival of civilization. I always
knew the day would come when I had to say that,  I just didn't think it
would come this soon.   ​

> ​> ​
> You are the only one here who promotes the notion if fewer than 8 people
> have more wealth than the bottom half of humanity combined, it all suddenly
> explodes.
​Well Spike, how long do you think the acceleration of the wealth gap can
continue before the social fabric of the world ruptures? With the
unexpected success of Bernie Sanders,  Brexit, and the election of Donald
Trump it's clear to me that a populist revolution is in the air. And
revolutions seldom make people happier.

>   How do we know it
> ​[the wealth gap] ​
> is true?
> ​Induction, the same reason I believe the stuff I read in Science or
Nature is probably true. If a news source has told the truth in the past it
is probably doing so now. ​

​> ​
> If it all explodes to chaos, what does that mean, very specifically
> please?
> If ​very specific predictions could be made then it wouldn't be chaos, all
I know is there are far more ways something can change for the worse than
change for the better. Trump voters don't understand that but they'll find
out. And soon.

>  What are they hoping to take, so that they will improve their wellbeing?

​They don't exactly know but think any change must be a change for the
better​, and in that the mob is entirely wrong.
​When people becomes angry and scared they behave irrationally, especially
if they are in a crowd and a
​ knows how to push their buttons. See Trump in action. The accelerating
wealth gap makes people despair for the future, and that makes them angry,
and that makes them reckless, and that makes them vote for Trump. And it's
the nature of accelerating things that you ain't seen nothing yet.

>   Are there historical examples?
> ​The French
​Revolution immediately comes to mind but there are others, none of them
very pleasant . ​

>   What is similar now and what is different now from your historical
> examples?
>None of the
historical examples are particularly good
analogies with the present situation
because AI is something new in the world
and the obvious limit to the trend I'm talking about is not 8 people but
zero people because all the wealth will be owned by the AI. It's only a
matter of time before we're all dependent on the kindness of
machines, in the meantime
the poorest 99% of humanity will be dependent on the kindness of the rich.
So if the rich wish for their heads to be fully connected to their bodies
they sure as hell had better be kind!

​> ​
> What if religion comes into the picture, such as a really rich guy of one
> major branch of a major religion is being attacked by followers of the
> other major branch, so that the rich feller’s branch come to his aid, then
> what?
> Then it would be bad but there is nothing new in that,
​ as
 Christopher Hitchens
​ said religion poisons everything. ​

>   If these really poor people decide it is time to rise up and slay the
> rich, it stands to reason they are far too poor to purchase plane tickets
> to get to at least seven of those richest people, so they will have to
> settle for the nearest one, such as your example of the castle-builder in
> Mumbai, so they slay him.  Now what?
> ​Nah, that Mumbai guy may have a billion dollar house but he's not REALLY
rich, he's not one of the big 8.  I'm talking about real money.​

​> ​
>  What if they storm the castle but can’t find the scoundrel because he
> already thought of that and had a contingency, a secret tunnel to a
> non-descript house with an escape vehicle, now what?
> ​That's ​
​what worries me, ​the mob won't find the scoundrel but they will find me,
and if his neck isn't available they'll just have to make do with mine, and
so my head and shoulders will part company.

John K Clark
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