[ExI] Book: THE LIGHTS IN THE TUNNEL
avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Sat Jun 5 10:16:28 UTC 2010
>From: samantha <sjatkins at mac.com>
>To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
>Sent: Thu, June 3, 2010 3:47:50 PM
>Subject: Re: [ExI] Book: THE LIGHTS IN THE TUNNEL
>> Yes. Start by rooting out the primary cause. The huge entitlement programs and the bloated government that attempts to manipulate economic reality in utterly irrational ways until it can't no more and the entire thing goes SPLAT!
There will come a time, if it that time has not long since past, where these government programs you speak of, namely welfare and the like are the only things that stave off total anarchy. The situation with modern society and automation is not very different than that faced by the waning Roman Empire. The only difference is that instead of machines taking all the jobs, it was slaves taking all the jobs. So in the later days, the Roman citizens were stratified into an aristocracy that owned all the land in the countryside and the poor who were crowded together into cities like Rome proper. The wealthy found it was far cheaper to have slaves do all the work than to hire Romans. Because the Roman aristocracy had access to very skilled slaves such as the Greeks, even high IQ labor such as tradesmen, artisans, and teachers were replaced by slaves. The Roman middle class disappeared and was replaced by the fickle, hungry, and excitable mob and even the
Emperor had cause to fear the mob when they were agitated. The solution the aristocracy implemented was one of "panem et circenses" or bread and circuses. Keep the mob fed and entertained and they would refrain from tearing down the aristocracy and looting everything in sight.
Some economists like to invoke "social darwinism" in reference to capitalism but that is not really a valid comparison. The economy is a game with winner and losers and so long as enough players have some stake in the game, the game will continue. But if a large enough percentage of the players lose and are marginalized by the capitalist system, then bonafide darwinism will take over. People are not so out of touch with their animal natures that they will meekly allow themselves and their family starve because they lost the money game. They will find something to eat, even if it is the rich themselves. So these government entitlement programs you criticize are in a way necessary because they are the rich and the powerful's insurance against mob rule.
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