[ExI] The ultimate test of your transhumanist convictions...

Ross Evans ross.evans11 at gmail.com
Fri Jun 25 02:12:07 UTC 2010

On Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 2:38 AM, Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at canonizer.com>wrote:

> On 6/24/2010 3:44 PM, Ross Evans wrote:
>> Productive deployment of capital now will always beat passive investment
>> for the future. Pensions plans are the only way a person on average income
>> can ever hope to accumulate a fund big enough to provide a meaningful
>> retirement income. These plans basically involve playing the stock market,
>> and as such their performance cannot be guaranteed. The reality is that
>> people on average incomes cannot afford to set aside a sufficient amount of
>> capital for a retirement plan that does not resort to casino capitalism to
>> make returns. The whole pension system is predicated upon actuarial
>> assumptions that no longer hold true; it was never envisaged that people
>> would live 20+ years beyond their retirement age, and this flaw now
>> represents a risk of systemic failure in the pension system, especially in
>> Europe. I'd say if you're 30 years or more from pension age, putting capital
>> into a pension is likely to be a bad financial decision.
> I've heard other transhumanists have this plan.  I think most people are
> making several critical mistakes in their thinking.  First off, you said:
> "their performance cannot be guaranteed", which is completely wrong if you
> invest in the entire world stock market.  Always when there are long periods
> of stagnation in any one country, like Japan durring the 90s and the US
> durring the 70s, and Europe before that... this is only because some other
> country is eating their lunch, or undercutting their labor prices, and
> gaining on them, and so on, for the time being.  Whenever there is a 'crash'
> the stock market always always always comes back, to continue it's
> exponential long term constant reliable exponential growth.  After the
> depression it took about 50 years to recover.  During the 70s, for the US,
> it took about 25 years (while the rest of the world exploded by undercutting
> our labor costs).  After dot bomb, it took 6 years.   And we're well on our
> way at beating this time interval, even though this one was much deeper than
> dot bomb (but nothing even close to the depression where we learned what not
> to do during such crashes) was.
> And thinking about how long you will be 'retired' and worrying about
> running out of money is also completely the wrong way to think about it.
>  The whole idea is to become 'financially independent', and making more from
> your capital than your living costs, plus some for an exponentially growing
> lavish and capable future, so that you no longer have to be a slave to some
> employer to pay your living expenses.  You work first, to pay your basic
> living expenses forever, and get this done as soon as possible, then you
> play at things like bringing about the singularity for the rest of eternity,
> with your exponentially growing financial assets.
> I'm now 50, and we almost had enough to quit my day job before the crash
> started.  It was exciting to be that close.  This crash will just make it so
> I have to work 5 or 10 more years, then I'll finally be there - forever.
> Brent Allsop
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Given your age group, your perspective is obviously going to be different
with regards the fiscal cogency of pensions. I do think any bullishness
about world markets is naive though. What little recovery there has been,
has come on the back of massive economic stimulus, created by the
governments of the world. What has seemingly been missed from the panopoly
of trite analysis economists have come out with, is the obvious truth of the
matter. The nominal value of labour across many sectors has been eroded, to
the point where a worker can only support themselves, by resorting to credit
to meet the difference between their wages and their living costs. This has
been caused by wage arbitrage as a consequence of globalisation, and
advances in mechanisation. These two forces in tandem have permamently
removed millions of people from the workforce, and many will never find work
in private industry again. Governments may well step in and create many
wasteful public sector jobs (as happened in the UK) to try and address the
issue, but these efforts are largely counter-productive. Our technology is
doing what we design it to do, ameliorating the need for human toil.

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