Derek McGowan

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Everything posted by Derek McGowan

  1. I went to Kyle's link on Rebirth of reason and I began reading the comments. One statement from Post 11 caught my attention. He was talking about direct barter and said "...that maybe it could work on a limited, local commune basis like the Amish. Nothing is wrong with the Amish but I can't imagine all of America functioning as the Amish. In fact, I can't remotely imagine how one constructs anything remotely like a NYCity based on Amish sensibilities and commerce." I agree, well I dont think it would be impossible, but the probabilities of an Amish community creating a skyscraper, let alone a hundred of them, is extremely extremely low. But then I thought, without the government controlling and directing tax dollars, what are the probabilities that private industry would have sent a man to the moon? I'm certainly sure that private enterprise would have sent up satellites even if we weren't prompted by the government program that sent up Sputnik, but would it have ever sent a probe out of the solar system, or robots to Mars? The odds are fairly low but I suppose they might lay in the 10% range. But the probabilities of private enterprise creating the Large Hadron Collider? Infinitesimally small. Of course one could say that we don't need those programs, but then one could say that we don't need New York City. I guess the answer lays in the fact that NYC WAS created by private ambition and the LHC was not, period. So that would automatically mean that NYC is more important to our specific society than the LHC is. I suppose that I personally just find that to be sad. testicles that is all ....
  2. I do not understand this line from the interview If there’s an enemy like Iran, you say, ‘Iran’s an enemy, don’t trade with Iran.’ That’s it. Clearly I'm misunderstanding but it sounds like Yaron is saying that government can and should declare who are our enemies and then it can and it should regulate trade? If that is what he is saying then that is a clear case for mission creep. Also Yaron clarified his perspective on Edison but it seemed to me that Glenn's point contained a major focus on Tesla as well. Yaron did not answer (at least not in the written transcript on the website) anything about Tesla. I feel as though he should provide a well thought out response to that because that is a easy line of debate for someone who wants to argue that those who hold economic power can and will destroy those who may challenge their throne (challenge by innovation) and I mean destroy not by producing a better product by cutting off as many avenues of success for those who challenge. There is an epic rap battle (look them up on Youtube- funny, funny, funny) between Edison and Tesla and one of Tesla's lines is (to Edison) "you didn't steal from me, you stole me from humanity." Its a great line, but I admit, my knowledge on the specifics of what happen between them is not expert level, though it is above average. So, again, I feel it was important for Yaron to respond.
  3. Selene, I was the one in deep need. I went about 15 months in between girlfriends so my next door neighbor took one for the team!
  4. I don't know about men, but women can definitely have pity sex (charity)
  5. Ellen, I thought I did answer it, not by the specific Vienna example but within it I emphasized that if you couldn't get a "want" then you would have to reprioritize. My goal in my book is to provide abundance in the "need" department. A person can want all they want and my example with the vacation is to show how one specific desire can be fulfilled. But even that wouldn't be fulfilled for everyone and then it would be up to them to either make it happen through their own ingenuity or reprioritize. Needs shouldn't stand I'm the way of one's dreams so I provide abundance there. Wants, desires... That's another subject
  6. Ellen, This scenario is covered in my book. If you weren't following the previous conversation, my book ends with a 40 page conversation between a guy who is trying to recruit for a money-less society and Joe-Blow recruitee. The recruitee asks questions as to how the society would work and the recruiter provides answers. Your scenario is what I call the "vacation problem" and I believe I have solved it in three parts. Before I begin, I have to state of course I really don't know how it would work out, it is a work of fiction, reality has a way of throwing monkey wrenches into every situation. Secondly, while I surveyed many folks as to what their initial reactions would be to someone offering a money-less society (in order to generate as many real questions for my final conversation of the book) while writing the book, I am open to the fact that there are many things I may have missed and if you come up with other points that I didn't tackle satisfactory then I regret you were not one of the people I surveyed. So how do you fairly distribute trips to far off places? The ability to travel will not be solved by the two technological advances that end scarcity in my book, but I do feel that they will still be solved by technology. This three points which follow will cover most "wants" which will still be scarce in any future society. 1. When I stopped working full time 6 years ago, I found I had the weirdest reaction. It seemed that though I had the time to travel, my desire to travel actually went down. Its because many times that people want vacations, it is to get away from work and the "real" world. But when your time is your own and you spend it doing something you love, it is actually harder to tear away from it to go somewhere else. Therefore while the entire world in my theoretical society would have the time and ability to go places, the demand on such vacation would not be equal in number, though, I admit, it will rise so that... 2. For the millions who do want to travel, the first thing that must be worked out is where to stay. This is a problem easily reduced to ashes by "house trade" sites which are around now and would explode in popularity in the future. You live in Florida and want to visit London. The software matches you with that person in London who wants to visit Florida. In fact the software could easily connect "20+ person chains" if needed. Example. You want to visit London but the person there wants to visit Vegas, and the person in Vegas wants to visit Boston and the person in Boston wants to visit Florida. Easy- Solved! 3. How to get there? Of course planes trains and boats will be in limited supply, so how to distribute? Today it is worked out by the formulas of supply and demand. As demand goes up, so does price, which causes those at the bottom of the resource ladder to rethink their priorities. There is nothing wrong with that. But in my society there is no money or value system to fall back on. Again we can look at today. There are wants now that a majority of people can easily afford if they save for a few weeks or months (the new Iphone, XBox One, etc) so ask yourself how do we solve a situation where a large number of people have the resources and the desire. The answer is simple, first come first serve. There are probably people right now, or at least by Monday, who will/are camped out in front of a Best Buy in anticipation of Black Friday. Those who don't want to wait will have to rethink their priorities. There's nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong if some people never get to travel. I'm sure the majority of people in the US never visit more then a state or two beyond the one they grew up in, so what. 3a. The physical planes trains and boats. Where do they come from if no one will own and operate them for profit? In the future, I'm sure we all agree that all those things will be auto piloted. So Imagine fleets of these vehicles, all produced with space age materials which, endure more stresses, last much longer than today's materials, and are made for free from technology two in my book. They are powered by technology one and simply loop routes 24 hours a day, picking up and dropping off passengers. Edit: Sorry forgot to mention... How do the tracks, tunnels or other such infrastructure needed to carry the vehicles get built. How do the large vehicles get built even if the materials they are composed of are free? Lots of infrastructure will already have been made and still used. Example, there is no need to build a new tunnel between London and Paris if we already have one. New infrastructure and vehicles would be put together by volunteers. People who, and there are many of them, who either love to build or who love to be apart of big projects. If there is a lack of volunteers for a project, then it doesn't get made, so what? Its only a "want" so if there aren't enough planes on Sunday to take the kids to Vienna, then take them down the street to the Zoo instead.
  7. Going through my old music today, I remembered this beautiful song. Jill Scott singing about love but she relates it in a way that shows that she is the only one that matters. It is only her feelings that are truly real to her in the end and there is nothing that someone else can do to make her feel differently (as long as she is strong) Sounds very Ayn Rand! Here is the youtube link to a video with a static image (without the official video) so that you may concentrate on the lyrics. I especially like verse two. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOML1ndDtfw
  8. Do I need to solve the issue of evil? Has any system ever solved the issue of evil? Of course mine is not as system but a new environment in which people will be people. I don't seek to change anyone, to stop evil or to make people more moral or even to have them read the philosophies of great people. A new environment will change some things though, I'm just not smart enough to predict what would happen.
  9. I just began a new painting. At the end of the previous one I finished listening to a 6 hour lecture on the Apostolic Fathers, so i figured now would be a great time to get back to a classic. Its still early, chapter 5 but I have several points that, now that I'm on this forum, I'd love to state. One, her use of descriptions is fantastic and I'm jealousy Two, I wonder how much of my love of the novel is derived from the audio books reader! If you havent heard him, he's great! Three, when we hear about Nat Taggart, it is said that at one point he needed some money so he "mortgaged" his wife to a man who he didn't like for a loan. I feel like since Ayn Rand is famous for her strong women, I wish his wife would have said "You going to mortgage me? No, I'll mortgage you!" Like I feel like any women that was courted by such a strong man should have been incredibly strong herself. She should have had her own business and she could have bailed her husband out. I know Ayn Rand put that part in the story to show how strong Nat was but I would have loved to see another super strong woman in Dagny's line. Four, I wonder why Dagny's brother was allowed to be so weak in the Taggart family. I feel like the father should have sent him to military school to grow a backbone! Looking forward to everyday at the studio : )
  10. Why not, I shall now concede you a major point. While my ultimate goal is freedom, I have to admit that I am rather partial to scientific and technological advances. And when I was writing the book and examining certain implications, I did realize that human advancement could very well decrease by over 50%. People could become extremely complacent. I did multiple surveys among friends, family and total strangers asking them what percentage of the world would choose to do nothing at all if they lived in my society and some of the respondents felt that number could be as high as 90% (people who would literally do no productive work but simply sit on the beach or watch reruns of MASH) I think, honestly, that the number would be closer to 55-60% but that is still a majority and it would sadden me. I would rejoice in the freedom of people to make whatever choices they wanted, but would be traumatized if the world became the same as WALL-E. I have (partially) convinced myself that that complacency would only be for a generation or two or three before people's natural curiosity and social behavior caused the scientifically inclined to get together to perform this or that project and to continue the push of the human race into technological godhood (for lack of a better term) You win this round. next time Gadget, next time....
  11. Michael, Im very familiar with the studies that you speak of and how money has a diminishing returns as far as productivity is concerned. I believe those studies, thats why I don't think that my money-less society would collapse (but maybe it would) BUT I'm also aware of people saying things like "why would this or that CEO choose to work there if they are paying 5 million instead of the going rate of 7 million" Its not so much that the money itself makes them work, its that society dictates what the value of work is and the same society is coming more and more to outright worship money as an object of power, influence, sex etc. In such as society people will go onto shows like Fear Factor where people can be induced to eat sheep testicles if the money is right. The same society where "everyone has a price" is becoming more true by the day. But anyways, my point that I was making when I said money can make abundance is illustrated by the housing boom. So for years there has been housing shortages, almost as if the home builders were a doing all they could and could just barely keep up with demand. Suddenly people started to invest in flipping homes and the prices went through the roof. Out of the blue there were THOUSANDS of homes, condos and apts built in a two year period, more then were ever needed. This shows me that the world does indeed have the capacity to house everyone but that abundance is currently materialized by the incentivization of monetary reward.
  12. Moralist, you got me, we have solidly different views. I respect yours. I hope to continue our paths of persuasion into the future
  13. C'mon, WhyNot, let's be honest. You really haven't been following the conversation at all have you? The idea of the book is a situation where every CAN (let's say it again- CAN) provide everything they NEED for themselves in any amount shape or kind that they shall desired, controlled by each individual. You really missed that part of the discussion. Whether you feel that that is a possible future is not up for discussion, in my sci-fi book, it IS the case. So please answer my question. Here it is again if you missed it you find the central premise of each person having full control over producing anything and as much of anything that they want to be frightening? I dont see why. Is the goal of being super rich (in which case everything is basically free to you and you are able to follow whatever dreams you so choose) somehow different from my premise of everyone being able to follow whatever dreams they so choose?
  14. Your book, as fiction, could well be fascinating, well written and thought provoking. Frankly, though, I find the central premise quite frightening. In all seriousness, have you considered marketing it as a Dystopian novel? you find the central premise of each person having full control over producing anything and as much of anything that they want to be frightening? I dont see why. Is the goal of being super rich (in which case everything is basically free to you and you are able to follow whatever dreams you so choose) somehow different from my premise of everyone being able to follow whatever dreams they so choose? Even if you considered that society to be dystopian (and I'm sure there will be bad parts of that or any other society) I still wouldn't market the book as dystopian because, as I've said, that society never appears in the book. The book explores what path the world might take to take it to the point where that society COULD exist. That is the description of the book- what would it take to rid the world of money- not- now that we dont have money what should we do. Because my central idea is that I don't care what you do and you shouldn't care what I do and one of the ways we can completely separate ourselves from ever caring about what someone else contributes or doesn't contribute is for each person to have complete self sufficiency. I will say though that I would welcome someone coming along after me, picking up my story where it leaves off, and creating a new story that shows how the society collapses. This was done with the book Looking Backwards which received at least 11 negative novelized responses
  15. Derek, Oddly enough, I can't believe that at all. In my understanding, it's the contrary. Abundance is the cause of money. Michael thats interesting because I see that an abundant supply of anything is now, in our current society, only produced by the promise of monetary reward
  16. I do have the goal of freedom now and by most standards, I am freer than most. Alas I am not 100% free as I would like because their are things I have to do on a regular basis to keep up that freedom. I have 3 apartment buildings (house conversions, not apartment complexes) which provide a level of rent that allows me to concentrate most of my time to my art, writings, etc. I also have no rent to pay, no car payment, no student loans and my total credit card debt is 1300 on limits of over 20000. Unfortunately as a landlord, I personally have to fix things, I have to take people to court, I have to coordinate others with others when a job is beyond me. Those precious hours are ones that are lost doing something that I don't want to do. There are those who are employed in their dream jobs (dream job by inclination not by pay scale) and there are those who aren't. I am as connected to the dissatisfaction of those who don't the same as Dagny Taggart was connected to the great men that she saw being shackled by the parasitic masses. I may not care about those people's personal lives but I know injustice when I see it and I definitely know it when I personally feel it. Maybe injustice is too strong a word because I dont think there is anything unjust about struggle. Its more that I see how things could be better Edit: Maybe I am being to greedy in wanting more and more freedom
  17. While I am responding, I find it necessary to point out once again that this discussion is taking place in a thread about a fictional book. I do not think that what happens in my book will occur at anytime in the near future, even if I do think that it is at least possible. I do not think that capitalism should be replaced because in the current environment it offers the greatest degree of freedom that so far I can imagine.
  18. Tell that to the folks in Africa who are starving. Tell them that its their fault that they don't live in America. Opportunities are not level throughout the world. Voltaire said, the comforts of the rich depend on an abundance of the poor. The great strength in capitalism is that anyone has at least a small chance of fighting there way up a rung or two. This works great in first world countries because as a whole, we are the rich and the third world is the poor. But again my main issue that I take with capitalism is the fact that many many people are unable to spend ALL of their time pursuing their dreams natural talents. If everyone was able to get a job where they spent hours of everyday do exactly what it was that brought them life satisfaction, then my biggest problem with capitalism would be crossed out and I probably wouldn't had the ideas that caused me to write the book. Of course though that cant happen because the market determines if my natural inclinations are worth anything and if the market declares my talents to be meaningless then I'll just have to put my desires aside and either do something else that I don't exactly love for the rest of my life, or do something that I don't exactly love for multiple years until I have the ability to quit and do what it is that I exactly love. For me, those working to save and survive years, are an illustration of a lack of total freedom. I'm only going to live once, every person should have total freedom for their entire lives. Also, the first line of my book's description is Not a tale of Utopia... I don't believe in utopias
  19. The fact is that I can totally believe that money can be the cause for abundance. Absolutely, the problem why I think that it hasn't become a total (it has produced a extremely wide degree but not total) degree of abundance is because of either real scarcity, such as the amount of certain minerals, metals, etc in the world (high demand on low resources creates a situation with lower resources) but more more important is the FALSE scarcity that is maintained in the world by those who control certain things and use elementary logic to aid in their quest for greater profit. Example diamonds. The DeBeers company controlled 90+ percent of the diamond mines and distribution until the 1990s. They, as anyone would, decided to artificially control the supply in order to make diamonds appear to be rare and thus more valuable. OPEC did the same thing until they got competition from oil fields all across the world. So the analogy that occurs in my book is one where every single household on the planet has their own unlimited supply of all requirements for life, and most other "wants". At that point OPEC, DeBeers and everyone else loses their power to control the supply. For everyone else who decided not to read my book (its all good!) I have to restate that none of these abundance/scarcity changes occur with the idea of creating a world without money. So in summary Michael, I see the world as having the capacity to feed, clothe, shelter and provide for everyone. But I also see artificial scarcity AND I also believe in freedom, so that if someone doesn't want to produce for someone else, if they don't want to use their land to produce for someone else, if they don't want to sacrifice their time to do things they don't want to do, then they shouldn't have to. This is why my book offers a technological solution.
  20. BTW, asking what would it take to get rid of all money is just a thought exercise. The point worked out in the book is logically figure out all the elements that would need to fall into place if such a goal were possible. I find that those elements to be scarcity and my end goal stated time and again is more freedom for more people. Everything should be voluntary AND the events that lead to the abundance environment in my book are not coordinated in any way, nor is there a goal in any of those actors minds to rid the world of money. The same as it wasn't the goal in the mind of the inventors of washing machines and microwaves, to engineer a world where women all got jobs. Simply because their inventions led to less housework and more time for women doesnt mean they had some grand scheme on changing the social structure of the world against the wishes of the traditionalist men So again, your accusation is null and void
  21. Are you serious? I said it was voluntary. I'm guessing you didn't read my private message on what my book is about. You can't possibly be saying that simply because some individuals do something (voluntarily) and you don't like it, that they need your permission to do it?! That is what Galt's gulch is. And why do I think it would be better? First I don't think that SIMPLY getting rid of money would be better, it is in conjunction with getting rid of scarcity. You don't think it can happen, I also don't think the probability is very high in the short term but then I guess Im optimistic on what humans can achieve scientifically in the long run. I would be willing to wager that the first component of an abundance environment- fusion, WILL be achieved within our life time. The agreed upon energy reserve of the ocean (using the deterium as fuel) is over 100 BILLION years. That sort of achievement, difficult as it may be WILL change the energy environment of the world forever. But, why do I think that getting rid of scarcity is better than the current system, because then those who are uncomfortable with the pursuit of profit, probably 30-40% of the world, can choose a different lifestyle and be just as happy in it and free as Dagny Taggart would be in a Lassiez faire environment. Again, if you wanted to continue to use capitalism, then feel free to do that, it would be a voluntary choice to move to a money-less society. Second, I have already pointed out my other reasons why I think capitalism (my/google's definition) is not as free as it could be. Let me ask you this and you dont have to answer in any specifics but you should be honest with yourself. When you wake up in the morning do you look forward to doing exactly what you want to do everyday? Do all your friends? And I mean exactly what you want to do (outside of harming others)- absolute freedom. Or do you find yourself having to perform work for others in order to earn the money needed for you to do what you really want to do. Or maybe you work for yourself. But then do you REALLY work for your customers, afraid that if you dont provide exactly what they want then you will lose business and thus the money and the ability to do what you really want to do. Even if you only work for others for 1 hour a week, if that work is NOT what you would really like to do, then I don't think of that as absolute freedom. But imagine if you had the means of complete self production in your home. There would be NOTHING that anyone could say or do to get you to do a DAMN thing for them unless you really wanted to. And they better not crack slick neither cause you could walk away from them at a moments notice without it ever effecting your ability to do what you really want to do with your time in the slightest bit. No need to worry about what the boss thinks, no need to worry about what the share holders think, no need to worry about what the customers think, no need to worry about what the President thinks. Complete self sufficiency. Lets think of Native Americans. The settlers had no leverage over them because they were self sufficient, sure there may have been somethings that the settlers could provide that the natives wanted, but NOTHING that they NEEDED. So the settlers had to use force and then once they claimed the land, they could force the natives into their specific economic system by requiring the natives to pay land taxes and rent and other things but it had to be paid in the settlers' currency and under their terms. They set the values, they said what was owed and what wasn't. Same now, the value of my services are determined by the market, a force outside of my own. I can choose not to provide my service at any of these low ass values but then I have to deal with the consequences. I have to worry about where am I going to get clothing for Empress (my five year old) What if I was 100% self sufficient (as in I don't NEED the association of other for anything) and could provide those clothes on my own? Then I could truly say to those customers of mine, I'm not providing you with shit! You got nothing on me. My life, my associations are only what I choose. If me and my friends want to build a spaceship to Mars, well I'm not asking you to help and I don't need your tax dollars because THERE WOULD BE NO MONEY. We would be able to make our own parts and then fail or succeed on our own virtue. If someone was a part of the association and they decided right in the middle of the job that they were through, well that's on them, I couldn't stop them, I wouldn't have a paycheck to rub under their noses. This means that everything you can do in a capitalistic society, I can do in an abundance based, money-less society except I have the added bonus of complete and total freedom over my actions. No direct pressure, no indirect pressure, no "green belts wrapped around our minds", no threat of starvation, no "I can't afford the ticket out of Germany, so I guess I'll just die in the Blitzkrieg," no social rankings based on how much someone is "worth", no kissing up to those that are "worth" more than you, no " I'm sorry son, but you can't participate in that sport because we can't afford the equipment and travel costs", no "I can't go to the private school, not because I don't have the talent, but since I don't have the money, I can't even get to the places where I could showcase my talent and thus get a scholarship", no having to go in the direction that upper management says even though I think they are dead wrong, no, "I really need the job but some random hiring guy doesn't like my tattoos." none of that. Oh, you feel like you would have preferred that I do it this way? Fuck you. Oh, you guys are going there but I can't go? Fuck you. Oh, the shareholders are ditching the stock because we didn't make our quarterly whatevers? Fuck them. You don't like my music? Fuck you. You are racist? Fuck you. This is the way it has always been done and you want me to do it the same way? Fuck you. So and so says my stuff is crap so we don't want to support me. I wasn't asking for your support in the first place, FUCK YOU! Im doing this because I want to...PERIOD
  22. Before I respond to this, I feel the proper thing for you to do is either admit that you were wrong in accusing me of social engineering, even if you came to that assumption based on the lack of information I provided, or show me where I am attempting to change peoples lives against their will for the so-called greater good. Secondly, I take issue with your statement that I am waiting for something to "come save me" That is ridiculous and again you are assuming too much. I am looking objectively (scientifically) at the system of capitalism (my/google's definition) and I see many merits and I see some downsides. I'm quite sure you see at least one downside as well. The next thing you do, or maybe it is the next thing a creative mind does, is imagine if the situation could be improved. Next, if imagination allows for improvement, then you run that solution up against reality and whether the solution is actually possible. If it is then you can speak about what that possibility is. That is all I'm doing. I have stated time and time again that capitalism IS THE ABSOLUTE BEST SYSTEM for providing the greatest quality of freedom (my personal goal which drives my thinking) for the greatest amount of people and because of that I sought out objectivists in order to take that ABSOLUTE BEST SYSTEM to its absolute best limits. I have stated as well that capitalism works within a environment of scarcity and that my book proposes that humans, working in great scientific endeavors, "may" be able to change the environment. I have stated time and again that there is always the possibility that we cannot change the environment and even if we could it certainly wont happen in my lifetime. I don't expect ANYTHING to come save me. Save me from what? I work in my chosen field so I have the greatest freedom and life satisfaction available. Maybe I should just out of no where claim that you expect something to save you or that you are a fascist or any other random thing that has no bearing on anything that you have said. I apologize that I hadn't provided an ample amount of information as to the story of my book but you cannot simply assume. AND my posts outside of this thread that specifically has to do with my book, have all been in objective analysis of capitalism, where objectivism can make it work better (my thread on the gold standard) and where I see it lacking in certain freedom (my thread on capitalism is not as free as I would like). In all my threads I have said time and again what make capitalism great and at NOOOO time did I EVER say that we should replace it. Find a single statement of me on this site, on Facebook, anywhere where I say that the thing we should do is scrap capitalism for a better system. Man, you sound like a tea party member when as soon as someone points out the smallest problem with America you have to brand them a traitor....
  23. in which the means of production and distribution are privately owned by the way, in my book, everyone has the full means of production. In fact my solution only works if everyone has full and complete control over self production (that is what I mean by the elimination of scarcity) AND there is no way to take it away from them (and that doesnt mean by law, that would mean government controls)