[extropy-chat] A view of what politics is.

Brett Paatsch bpaatsch at bigpond.net.au
Tue Oct 11 23:12:05 UTC 2005

Jef Allbright wrote:

> Why should politics be limited to issues of scarcity?

Because we are built of biological stuff. Selfish genes that
wanted to replicate.

> Of course, all actions are considered and taken within a
> context of constraints such as time, energy, materials,
> knowledge, but I don't think you meant such constraints
> when you specified scarcity.

Yes I did. To mortals time matters. Humans are mortals.
If one wants the assistance or attention of others to pursue
ones needs/wants/desires one usually has to compete for
it because the others that can help are mortal too. Their
attention and concentration of others is itself a limited
resource.  We humans can't do much on our own and we
have evolved to be social and to try to do what we can
to get copies of our own genes into the next generation.

You would have heard of lobbyists talking of "access"
to politicians.  And of donations to political parties buying

The media clamours for the attention of consumers. Because
the things that consumers attend to they might buy and those
they don't they won't.

The transhumanist themes weren't opposed by governments
they were crowded off the agenda recently by things like
wars, terrorism, disasters. But the point the very attention
of others is limited.  Memes have to struggle for mindspace.

> Isn't it appropriately called political action when working
> together to promote development toward increasing
> abundance...even after basic needs have been met within
> a given context?  [please, no red-herrings about how much
> of the world is lacking in the basics.  True, but a different
> argument.]

Maybe. The words are too general for me to say.

> I understand the 20th century perception of politics typically
> having to do with power, authority, government, and sure,
> competition for scarce resources--all zero-sum views--but
> can't we see beyond to a more general concept encompassing
> the current popular understanding but accomodating--or rather,
> encouraging--positive-sum growth?

I once thought that transhumanisms great offering and political promise
might have been something along the lines of a bold offering to the
haves (and have nots) of something they didn't have.  More time.
The attention grabber for transhumanists and the way to influence
for transhumanist thinkers was the vision that offered something.
Immortality was what it was offering. That was the bold product.

That product has been offered before but not credibly. By coupling
the product with technology transhumanism might have managed
to offer it credibly.

> I suspect that the seeds of an effective politics for the 21st
> century involves implementing principles of effective interaction
> to achieve growth (of what works over increasing scope, relative
> to human goals of increasing scope) given any baseline of relative
> scarcity or abundance.

I don't understand what you mean.

> Yesterday I suggest a definition of politics as social decision-making
> applied to groups, expecially with respect to methods of influence
> within those processes.
> Comments?

I'm not sure I understand what you mean.

One of Natasha's posts explored the idea of building new media. New
communications channels. To the extent that those new media can be
built and can gain a share of public attention or the attention of 
people or build a new form of power then of course they would be
politically effective.

Brett Paatsch 

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