[extropy-chat] Re: A view of what politics is

Giu1i0 Pri5c0 pgptag at gmail.com
Mon Oct 17 05:58:26 UTC 2005

Having a black belt, or being rich, while buying apples is not being
"violent". But threatening to beat the other guy to a pulp, or force
him out of business, if he does not sell at a given price, is
Look Rafal, we have been discussing this for years on this list. I do
not question that free trade between consenting individuals, without
using violence, where every player is free to set a fair price for
products and services, and free market dynamics does the work,  is a
good thing.
All I am saying is that it does not happen in the real world.
In the real world power is a runaway phenomenon - more power you have,
more power you get - and those with power can and do disrupt free
market dynamics. Instead of buying apples at the fair price set by the
market, the guy with the big guns can force all producers to sell at a
minimum price barely sufficient for subsistence. This is what happens
in the real world unless some kind of balancing mechanism is put in

On 10/16/05, Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 10/16/05, Giu1i0 Pri5c0 <pgptag at gmail.com> wrote:
> > First let us define violence.
> > Let me define it as "using a weapon to solve a conflict".
> > And we still have to define "weapon".
> > Of course a gun is a weapon - the first image of my definition of
> > violence that comes to my mind is someone forcing me to deliver my
> > wallet at gunpoint.
> > But also superior physical strength or fighting skills are weapons. In
> > the example above nothing changes if the bad guy has no gun but is a
> > black belt twice bigger than I.
> > And also superior financial strength is a weapon, as the mafia guy
> > explains to Andy Garcia in Codfather 3. Everyone who has played
> > serious poker knows the golden rule that you don't play against people
> > with much more money than you.
> > In the apples example one of the farmers can be much richer than the
> > other and threaten to force him out of business (for example by
> > underselling until the other is broke) unless he sells the apple at a
> > given price.
> > Assuming they are peers, your apple example is good politics.
> > With the definitions above, I cannot think of something that is not
> > Good Politics but still solves conflicts without using violence. Of
> > course, there is good politics and better politics.
> > I don't agree that that all politics is bad, and all "good politics",
> > is in fact trade, or forbearance. How do you accommodate civil rights
> > or criminal law policies (just to make two examples) in the
> > definition? I think fair trade is a necessary element of good
> > politics, but I do not think all politics can be reduced to trade.
> > G.
>  ### So refusing to sell a single apple is using "violence"?
>  Having a black belt while buying apples is being "violent"?
>  Being rich while selling apples is being "violent"?
>  Of course, if you redefine all words, from "violence", to "apple" and
> "orange", you can make your definition of "politics" apply to whatever you
> want.
>  I am not saying that all politics is trade - I am saying it is antithetical
> to trade. Trade is voluntary exchange, not compelled by the threat of
> violence. Politics is the use of organized violence to achieve dominance.
>  Perhaps I should add "politics is the use of organized violence to achieve,
> or deny dominance". This would accommodate the organized resistance to
> politics in the form of insistence on maintaining personal freedom, as a
> form of politics, although I would rather call it anti-politics.
>  Rafal

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