Would anyone care to help


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the loss of one's volitional faculty (who needs it, when you get anything you choose ); morality? redundant and amoral, when men's values fade away; and following from all that, the emotional regression, until all one's feeling goes. Any sane man would commit suicide. The rest will go insane.

But one wouldn't get anything one chose, in the sense of simply wanting it and "printing" it on a 3-D computer or whatever, even if one had all one's physical needs easily satisfiable.

For example, there are days when I'd like to be able to go wander around in the warren of courtyards at the Hofburg in Vienna, then have a bowl of Viennese soup and a sundae at a nearby cafe called Griensteidl and return home to sleep in my house. Can't do it, not without the procedure of getting from Connecticut to Vienna and back. The example could be multiplied ad infinitum.

Nor can one do everything one might want to do which one could do within a given time frame. And with increasing abundance comes a proliferation of plausible choices, not a diminution.

Nor do I see that "scarcity" would disappear. For instance, how many people could hang any given original Rembrandt on a wall in their home?

Also why do you think values would fade away? Has there been a fading of values as prosperity has increased? I'd say there's been an increase in possibilities which can be valued.

Ellen

To reply to your last point, first: The "increase in possibilities which can be valued" sure have mega-multiplied, but the ability of people to value hasn't kept pace (in my view). It's why I consider capitalism as not primarily consumerism. Capitalism and rational morality presuppose a valuer, "capable of acting to achieve a goal in the face of an alternative. Where no alternative exists, no goals and no values are possible. [VoS]

So what if the alternatives were infinite? I think goals and values would be just as impossible. When everything is possible to an individual, everything is equal, and his hierarchical, volitional faculties would become superfluous.

As it is now, to those of quite high consciousness, abundance provides a better life - to the semi-conscious it represents doubt and confusion, I think. And degrees between. I believe I see some degree of second-handedness in individuals imitating what other people (and ditto, ad infinitum) wish for, and desire, in all the hi-tech products, etc., for the sake of those products (as ends in themselves) alone. To choose for themselves would require values and therefore, an ego.

There, I've managed to slip altruism-collectivism into this discussion, too.

But this is not about the way things are, it is about the way the author (Derek) envisages things as they ought to be.

#61

"The idea of the book is a situation where every[one] CAN provide everything they NEED for themselves in any amount, shape, or kind that they shall desire, controlled by each individual".

[...]

"You find the central premise of each person having full control over producing as much of anything that they want, to be frightening?"

[DMcG]

I said I did.

Derek described his book as sci-fi, and as long as it is fiction it's disturbing but not frightening. I've read novels more disturbing. However, to advocate it as a possible, future ideology disregards metaphysical reality. The premise is subjective, the consequence of existing unchecked by reality and regardless of man's nature is a recipe for insanity.

("Take what you want, but pay for it").

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Tony,

Along with the illogic in your post above, there's an attitude which reminds me of worries expressed by some 19th-century persons about the spread of literacy and wealth to the working classes. However, speaking of NOT "everything" being "possible to an individual," no matter what the person's circumstances, my current circumstances are that Thanksgiving looms and time spent writing a post is time not spent on things I!d like to have done before my guests arrive.

Meanwhile, there are some thoughts I've been having about Derek's imagined future, and I'd like to get down a preface to later discussion. One thing I've been thinking of is parallels to my own life history. For approximately three-fourths of my life, my existential circumstances have been similar to those Derek projects as being possible for everyone.

For convenience, I've done the math on a 70-year basis, though I'm actually 71 at this point. The years from my birth in November 1942 to November 2012 divide roughly into the following segments:

Up to age 26, relative luxury. My physical needs were provided for, and major wants - my childhood desire for a horse culminated in my having several horses; my father could pay for my college education at Northwestern; as a graduation present from grade school I was given a baby-grand piano; books were in plentiful supply. All this with no need for my bringing in any income.

From 1968-1977, the need to have employment for income, but on jobs I enjoyed, jobs I can imagine myself having chosen to do for the enjoyment, especially the five years ('72-'77) I worked full-time in publishing.

From 1977-1986, scrimping to make ends meet while "buying time" for a project which absorbed me - a similar existence to that of an artist having a struggle financially while trying to get time to follow his/her muse. (I lived on savings and some income from estate funds and a bit of free-lance editing work during that stretch.)

From 1986-1995, again the need to have employment for income, but partly on jobs which I wouldn't have chosen to do if not for the need, jobs which gave me personal experience of what I think a lot of people's working lives are like - the jobs were in the insurance business. (I also did some editing work which I enjoyed but wouldn't have done if I hadn't needed the money.)

From 1995-2012, a less luxuriant version of my early life, no need to have gainful employment, my needs and basically my wants provided for.

The breakdown is roughly 43 of 70 years with no need to bring in income = 61%;

9 years of employment which I might have chosen even without need = 13%;

(Thus the total of those two categories = 74%);

9 years of scrimping to meet expenses = 13%;

9 years of employment which I wouldn't have chosen without need = 13%.

Unlike Tony, I'm not in the least disturbed by imaginings of everyone's having fortunate circumstances comparable to those I've had for about three-fourths of my life. I think the human world in general would be a much happier world and with far less of "man's inhumanity to man." I don't think it would be a world where money as a medium of exchange would become obsolete. My imaginings differ at least in that respect from Derek's.

Ellen

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I trust you didn't keep the guests waiting too long...

Your intent I gather is to show me up as spoiled elitist. Wrong, kid. Without needing to go into details, my folks did the best they could with not a lot. After, I've never expected anything as my automatic due.

The "spread of literacy and wealth" is the concern of idealist-intrinsicists. "Spread", how? From where? Which outcomes?

i.e. "Value - to whom, for what?"

The old top-down, numbers game - like other failed social experiments.

Do you see a huge increase of man's freedom from man, as a consequence of the spread? I see spreading collectivism, envy and self-entitlement. (Are the two "spreads" connected in some way? that's interesting.)

(Again, Sowell: "The first lesson of economics is scarcity : there is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics".)

"Illogic"? Nah, I don't believe so. Clearly, MY concern was one's consciousness and reality. I wrote from concepts formed by my personal experience and observation - and logic.

Within each person's existence, ANY thing is possible (within reality) but EVERY thing is impossible - and no consciousness can contain or comprehend it. So, irrational. This was my point and you missed it.

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Derek wrote:

. . . this is where we probably do have a difference of opinion. I thought the primary goal of Objectivism was freedom and that capitalism simply was the most successful method of implementing it.

end quote

On this thread I have not read past this yet but I will later, so pardon me if this has been mentioned. In a pragmatic sense freedom works, and a money-less, but free society is sketchily illustrated on Star Trek. They barter. The commodity Latinum is sometimes exchanged with less advanced cultures like the Ferenghi, but money is not commonly exchanged.

Still every member of The Federation is free, (though I wonder about the Klingons), and free people are lined up to serve on The Enterprise with no exchange of money.

Peter

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Still every member of The Federation is free, (though I wonder about the Klingons), and free people are lined up to serve on The Enterprise with no exchange of money.

The Klingon Empire is not a member of the Federation but an ally of it.

Yes one of the episodes of TNG made the point that the Enterprise, a space faring vehicle of extreme, bleeding edge, technological accomplishment, .... didn't cost anything to build.... that concept has truly stuck with me all these years

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:smile: One thing's for certain, Greg - you're a capitalist, through and through.

That I am, Tony. :smile:

And there is but one qualifier... American Capitalism only works for the decent.

Greg

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:smile: One thing's for certain, Greg - you're a capitalist, through and through.

That I am, Tony. :smile:

And there is but one qualifier... American Capitalism only works for the decent.

Greg

You figured it out on your own which is great. But try putting over the notion to more people that decent people are self-interested people and self-interested people are the decent ones.

Heh. If only. One thing's quite clear to me, that's never to presume too much on people's self-interest. A fair proportion would rather be seen by others to be 'good', than to be happy. (They must derive some pleasure I suppose.)

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Empathic. Fascinating. Thanks to Deanna Troi for reading my mind and linking us to all the “mentions of money” in the StarTrek Series.

Derek wrote:

As I wrote in the Meet and Greet section of this site, I am a supporter of freedom, not necessarily a supporter of capitalism and I plan to write a post on why I think capitalism is not as free as I would like it to be (not even laissez-faire) but I'm also a realist. My solution will not happen without extreme technological advances and my book does take place in the future, reflecting that.

end quote

I just came across the following article that negatively elucidates Derek’s futuristic hypothesis.

Peter

From the November 27th, Tracinski Letter, Battlefield Earth Economics:

I wrote a little while back about the rise of "Star Trek economics"—the left's view that distributing wealth is like ordering food from a "replicator" in the Star Trek science fiction franchise. You ask for it, and it just appears. To paraphrase one of Arthur C. Clarke's rules about science fiction, any sufficiently advanced economy is indistinguishable from magic.

This "Star Trek economics" was the premise behind a push for a guaranteed minimum income in Switzerland. But the idea is too ridiculous to call "Star Trek economics," because—well, because I like Star Trek (as do many Objectivists, for reasons I have explained elsewhere) and because many of the television series' science fiction projections have actually become reality, from flip phones (which have already been and gone) to tablet computers. So let's pick a science fiction source that is a bit more on the crackpot fringe. Maybe call it "Battlefield Earth economics."

The problems with this idea are so many and so fundamental that it is hardly worth examining. One commenter on my original piece quoted the suggestion that a government-provided income could allow people to "pursue a lot of activities that are not particularly well paid but that have a lot of social use or personal satisfaction: art, creative work, volunteer work, working with people who have disabilities."

He replies: "Because that's exactly what generational welfare recipients in America do today." This names the fundamental problem: treating the economy as a magical "replicator" that produces wealth is only possible in a very advanced economy, built on the thrift and industry of a highly productive population—yet this is precisely what a guaranteed minimum income undermines by telling its recipients that work and productivity are unnecessary, so they might as well sit at home, watch TV, and drink malt liquor all day. This commenter goes on to point to what welfare payments do for "the incremental increase in income from working compared to not working": "If I get $16/hour to not work, or can get $20/hour to work, I am effectively getting $4/hour to work."

Yet it is a mistake to dismiss the guaranteed income as a fringe, crackpot idea that is too obviously ridiculous to make headway outside the fevered imaginings of a splinter party in a small country. The American left, including relatively mainstream publications, has begun pushing the idea for us, too.

An article in The Atlantic describes how giving every American an annual check for $3,000 is an "easy" way to "cut the poverty rate in half."

"In the United States, we are generally told that poverty is a deeply complicated problem whose solution requires dozens of reforms on issues as diverse as public schooling, job training, and marriage. But it's not true. High rates of poverty can, as a policy matter, be solved with trivial ease. How? By simply giving the poor money."

Gee, how come nobody ever thought of that before?

end quote

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Without the specifics of what establishes the onset of Derek’s “free but money-less” society I find this discussion to be a bit rudderless. Is Derek saying there is no compulsion in his Utopia? Are there no laws and therefore no government? No taxation to run a government? Everything is voluntary? People donate their time? Is this another version of Rational Anarchism?

Yet postulating the future based on current human achievements such as 3-D printing, Amazon.com’s delivery drones, the “free” internet, etc., then a moneyless, StarTrek society, is conceivable. But what if you meet a sentient being who wants payment for services rendered?

Like Ellen Stuttle I think of people born rich or people who are retired and have enough money to pay for what they want as a type of “moneyless” existence. Just whip out your card!

Derek have you every thought of writing an episode of StarTrek The Next Generation as if it were still on the air? And explain the fictional history of Earth that occurs when “replicaters” are first developed? Is that what you have written? Is your story based on science or fantasy? I can suspend my disbelief in the magical world of “Harry Potter” for a couple of hours but not long enough to read yours or a J. K. Rowling novel.

Peter

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:smile: One thing's for certain, Greg - you're a capitalist, through and through.

That I am, Tony. :smile:

And there is but one qualifier... American Capitalism only works for the decent.

Greg

You figured it out on your own which is great. But try putting over the notion to more people that decent people are self-interested people and self-interested people are the decent ones.

Heh. If only. One thing's quite clear to me, that's never to presume too much on people's self-interest. A fair proportion would rather be seen by others to be 'good', than to be happy. (They must derive some pleasure I suppose.)

I know, Tony. That's a hard sell rarely worth trying to make, especially when people have already chosen their view. I'm totally into my own self interest. And learned that doing what's morally right is always in my best interest. But not just for me, also in the best interest of everyone around me.

This is how Paradise comes to Earth. :smile:

It begins inside, and then fills our personal sphere of influence. It can even fill your whole world when you realize that the world for which you are personally responsible is everyone with whom you come into direct real world face to face contact.

This excludes what you see in the media, because those are things over which you have no control nor bear any personal responsibility. Those are within the spheres of influence of others for which they are personally responsible.

Greg

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Is that what you have written? Is your story based on science or fantasy? I can suspend my disbelief in the magical world of “Harry Potter” for a couple of hours but not long enough to read yours or a J. K. Rowling novel.

Peter

I'd love to reveal all to you Peter in private conversation. If you so choose, please send me a message. I'll even send you the final 40 pages of the book where the discussion over this proposed society takes place.

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This names the fundamental problem: treating the economy as a magical "replicator" that produces wealth...

Just an amusing side note...

The government is already fully engaged in the insanity of magically "replicating" dollars.

Greg

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The universe is made up of stories, not atoms. - Muriel Rukeyser

Derek wrote:

I'll even send you the final 40 pages of the book where the discussion over this proposed society takes place.

end quote

I appreciate people like Derek who have actually produced something and attempt to sell it to the world. However, before I read it, I want to have a bit of fun with the scenario. So the following little tale is just in fun, and not meant to disparage your thesis. Yet, the idea of no money, in theory, is interesting - so would there be no inflation? No stores? No services? No tipping?

The game is afoot. He was born at home using the latest birthing module, into a society of no isms. No capitalism. No Socialism. No Cronyism. No money. No need to earn anything. Everyone is one hundred percent free and everyones food and water is without cost. He is home schooled by his mother who gladly donates her time.

One day he toddles out the door onto the street. He meets another, taller boy. The other boy says, I have plenty to eat and almost all my needs are fulfilled but I want your view. Wherever you are standing I will push you out of the way and stand in your view.

The little toddler wants to stand his ground and he doesnt like bullying, but the other boy is just too big to attempt the use of retaliatory force. His mother had the same eviction problem with her old apartment that had a view of the Statue of Liberty. Suddenly, the little boy has an epiphany. When I am grown up I will travel the world and right the worlds wrongs. My name is Derek Jack Reacher, D. J. Reacher, for short.

Sorry. Its hard for me not to joke.

Its the chicken and the egg conundrum. Before I read it, I wonder, where does Dereks protagonists street come from? Who built it? Who fills the potholes? Who will protect the little boy when his mother is not around? Who will protect his mother? Those are some of the problems I have with Dereks brief synopsis. You need to start somewhere as within the story line of a post apocalyptic society. If this were Scifi, then I could accept universal translators, replicaters, and star ships but Derek is telling us of a contemporary society with no need for the economic freedom we call free enterprise or Capitalism.

Its kind of like the magician Uri Geller who told us that he did REAL magic. Oh yeah? Give us a peek, Derek. Everyone is wary of too good to be true stories where we need to get something that might infect a computer. Perhaps you could get the OK from the moderator to print 40 pages on Objectivist Living.

Peter

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Its the chicken and the egg conundrum. Before I read it, I wonder, where does Dereks protagonists street come from? Who built it? Who fills the potholes? Who will protect the little boy when his mother is not around? Who will protect his mother? Those are some of the problems I have with Dereks brief synopsis. You need to start somewhere as within the story line of a post apocalyptic society. If this were Scifi, then I could accept universal translators, replicaters, and star ships but Derek is telling us of a contemporary society with no need for the economic freedom we call free enterprise or Capitalism.

Its kind of like the magician Uri Geller who told us that he did REAL magic. Oh yeah? Give us a peek, Derek. Everyone is wary of too good to be true stories where we need to get something that might infect a computer. Perhaps you could get the OK from the moderator to print 40 pages on Objectivist Living.

Peter

It reminds me of the The Time Machine:

There's Eloi... but no Morlocks.

No Utopia will ever work as long as the issue of evil is ignored. Technology does not produce decent people.

Greg

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Technology does not produce decent people.

Greg

Really?

And of course you have proof of this declarative statement, correct?

Also, while you are framing your answer, please provide a definition of "decent" as you apply it to people.

My personal experiences tell me that your statement is absurd.

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Peter,

Perhaps you haven't read all of the posts in this thread (and who would?!) so just to catch you up.... You asked how would my fictionalized world come into play (before you could then tear its foundations apart). Well, the book is basically about how it comes into place. The book does not deal with, nor show this fictionalized world. It is "The Path to Free"

The conversation at the end is basically, "now that we have this stuff, is this possible? Yes or No" This conversation is framed by two people and yes, one of them does live in such a voluntary society and he is out recruiting others (like John Galt) but at no point does the reader "live" among the inhabitants. Your questions about who would do this and where would this come from is precisely what the conversation is. Question and ... answers!

I don't blame you if you could no would not read it (with a fox) so that is why I am more than willing to have the full conversation with you in private messaging. Most people participating in this thread have heard my arguments enough (without me revealing too much of the story)

As for Moralist,

For the billionth time, I don't believe in Utopias, never have, never will. I do not need to correct or fix evil. Again, I dont believe in Utopias so I know that evil will exist in my society, so what? Evil exits now, evil would exist in lassiez faire, evil would exist in pure socialism, evil would exist in global Galt's gulch, so what? I'm not out to defeat evil, I'm not out to control people, I'm not out hoping that people will all think like me. One of the major themes in the book is to show that there are so many different mentalities in the world

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Technology does not produce decent people.

Greg

Really?

And of course you have proof of this declarative statement, correct?

Also, while you are framing your answer, please provide a definition of "decent" as you apply it to people.

de·cent /ˈdēsənt/ conforming with generally accepted standards of respectable or moral behavior

My personal experiences tell me that your statement is absurd.

Each of our different life experiences have led to completely different conclusions. As I see it, there is just as much evil in the world with technology as without... the only difference is that it's high tech evil.

Greg

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As for Moralist,

For the billionth time, I don't believe in Utopias, never have, never will.

Then would a better term for what you believe in be "fictionalized world"?

It wouldn't make much sense writing a tribute to the kind of world that you didn't want to come about, when you obviously believe that the world would be better without money, Capitalism, and "scarcity".

I do not need to correct or fix evil.

Not even for your own good? What kind of a world would it be if no one refined their own life? A hell world.

Again, I don't believe in Utopias so I know that evil will exist in my society, so what? Evil exits now, evil would exist in lassiez faire, evil would exist in pure socialism, evil would exist in global Galt's gulch, so what? I'm not out to defeat evil

Even in yourself?

I'm not out to control people, I'm not out hoping that people will all think like me.

That has aready come true, Derek. For almost everyone thinks like you do right now. You have the rising wind of society already at your back. For the overwhelming prevailing collective consensus is zero sum. The rich have too much, and the poor have too little, and the rich get rich by taking from the poor. That meme is already a pandemic.

Greg

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Technology does not produce decent people.

Greg

Really?

And of course you have proof of this declarative statement, correct?

Also, while you are framing your answer, please provide a definition of "decent" as you apply it to people.

de·cent /ˈdēsənt/ conforming with generally accepted standards of respectable or moral behavior

My personal experiences tell me that your statement is absurd.

Each of our different life experiences have led to completely different conclusions. As I see it, there is just as much evil in the world with technology as without... the only difference is that it's high tech evil.

Greg

Greg:

That iis not what you declared. You stated that:

"Technology does not produce decent people."

That is a 100% statement.

Would you care to modify the statement as it is clearly not warranted by your own reply.

It's OK to correct yourself.

A...

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Technology does not produce decent people.

Greg

Really?

And of course you have proof of this declarative statement, correct?

Also, while you are framing your answer, please provide a definition of "decent" as you apply it to people.

de·cent /ˈdēsənt/ conforming with generally accepted standards of respectable or moral behavior

My personal experiences tell me that your statement is absurd.

Each of our different life experiences have led to completely different conclusions. As I see it, there is just as much evil in the world with technology as without... the only difference is that it's high tech evil.

Greg

Greg:

That iis not what you declared. You stated that:

"Technology does not produce decent people."

That is a 100% statement.

Would you care to modify the statement as it is clearly not warranted by your own reply.

Sure. Be happy to make my statement perfectly clear. :smile:

"Technology does not produce decent people, and technology does not produce indecent people either."

All truths are double edged and cut both ways.

Greg

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I'm quite in agreement with you, as stated above. Technology in its outcome is morally neutral. One gets far more, far faster: the default position, as good as it gets. The accuracy of information and its intentionality place the onus on each person -more than ever- to integrate it into his conceptual and moral base or to reject it. Nothing new but the degree, in fact.

Then again, when *Technology* is perceived as less a tool, and more like a new Faith, it is one more leader for collectivists to fall behind.

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Sure. Be happy to make my statement perfectly clear. :smile:

"Technology does not produce decent people, and technology does not produce indecent people either."

All truths are double edged and cut both ways.

Greg

Greg:

Thanks, that makes much more sense.

Like a rifle/pistol/weapon, they are tools which do not involve morality/decency.

A...

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Sure. Be happy to make my statement perfectly clear. :smile:

"Technology does not produce decent people, and technology does not produce indecent people either."

All truths are double edged and cut both ways.

Greg

Greg:

Thanks, that makes much more sense.

Like a rifle/pistol/weapon, they are tools which do not involve morality/decency.

A...

Yeah, sorry about that. Because I take for granted the double edged property of every principle, I tend to assume that others infer the tacit other edge.

Greg

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