News Stability of anarchy.

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Smurf said:
:confused: No, profit is gain after expenses. If you're only making enough to survive, you're not making a profit, are you?
Strictly speaking you're right. But the value of the work put in has to be defined to determine whether or not a person is making more than what they put into their job. With any non-tangable resource, such as what your average joe puts into his work, this is difficult. Strictly speaking you could say that any one worker's labour has a value equal to one person's necessities for survival. This way we are absolutely certain that no one is making a profit. The problem here is what happens to a family? Will one person's work have enough value to support their whole family? If this is not the measuring stick that we use then what will be? What of the people who do not, or are incapable of, work? Do they not profit if they receive something even though they did not work for it? They have invested nothing so they should get nothing back right?
 

vanesch

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loseyourname said:
The only notable industry I can think of that has become more concentrated recently is mass media. The large parent companies around today aren't so dissimilar from holding companies of the 20s which I believe were eventually found to be illegal. We'll see what happens with these.
Probably mass media should get some political status, like justice or executive power, because it has an almost direct influence on the way politics are done. It seems to be a serious problem in the Anglesaxon world, indeed. (just as the Pravda was a serious problem too :-) I have some experience with French, Belgian and German mass media, and I have the impression that the landscape is more in equilibrium (for the moment) there, but the Murdoch example should be a warning.
 

vanesch

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I'm just arguing against the feasability of a fully fledged command economy. It's interesting to me that the same people who are so distrustful of government and bureaucrats as it is also want to put our economy in their hands.

Actually, the best example of market interventions that I personally advocate are activity regulations more than price controls, which, outside of possibly minimum wage, are almost always a bad idea. The licensing of medical doctors and environmental standards, for instance, are market interventions that I think are great ideas.
Ok, I'm in full agreement here.

As an exercise in economic thinking, one should consider the hypothetical case where our technology becomes so advanced, that by far MOST jobs can be done by, say, droids, from a simple doctor's visit to repairing your car to building your house.

How would different economical models cope with such a situation, where in fact 99% of the population would somehow be forced into unemployment (you can't compete with a cheaper, smarter, stronger droid).
 
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I'm just arguing against the feasability of a fully fledged command economy. It's interesting to me that the same people who are so distrustful of government and bureaucrats as it is also want to put our economy in their hands
I am not advocating a "fully fledged command ecconomy" Rather a balance between socially and ecconomical restrictions/benifits and a totally free market. Large companies need to be kept in check, and monopolies need to be dismantled, simply becuase buisness again only cares about the bottom line, and the methods to increase thier profits are doubious at the best of times..

Multinational corporations, while large, are still vastly smaller than the entire economic resource managment of any large country
True, but "most" countries arent that large.. Look at Shell for example, Its revenues in 2004 was $268 billion which would make it approximately the 30th biggest ecconomy in the world, imagine what a compamy like this can do when it goes into a poorer african country? Basically what every they want...
 
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alexandra

loseyourname said:
Alex, the answer to everything is not "(insert Marxist theorist here) said this must happen, therefore it must happen." For one thing, we don't have a corporate monopolist economy. There are certain industries that are very capital-intensive that naturally support oligopolies, such as the airline industry, energy industry, large munitions contractors (pharmaceuticals are getting to be that way and software/ISP is moving away from it). The only true monopolies we see are the government-run monopolies, like trains, buses, postal service, space travel, and security (there is private security, but most people are protected by the police). Even some of the industries that naturally support oligarchies have companies propped up with government assistance, such as subsidies, bailouts, and protection laws, which are hardly "pure capitalism." Then there are industries like clothing retail, electronics, food production, food service, housing, and film production, that are pretty close to pure competition.
But you are just making assertions here, loseyourname - where are your sources of information? Here are some sources I have located regarding:
CLOTHING RETAIL - trends towards monopolisation:
Mergers/consolidation among companies is changing the nature of the industry and the subcontracting chain:
* Suppliers themselves are becoming MNCs
* Suppliers are coming together to pressure MNC-retailers
* Retailers merge or at least pool their buying process (even without formal mergers)
* Setting up their own buying offices: middlemen are diminishing: the subcontracting chain is getting shorter.
Reference: http://www.cleanclothes.org/ftp/SKO_bracelona2.pdf [Broken]
ELECTRONICS, OIL COMPANIES, CONSTRUCTION, CONSUMER PRODUCTS, etc -trends towards monopolisation (from a non-Marxist source of information):
There is no generally-accepted definition of an MC, but as far as MSE is concerned it seems that such corporations can be broadly classified into two types:

(a) The high-technology MC (HTMC) which confines most of its operations to the advanced countries, and

(b) The vertically-integrated MC (VIMC), the operations of which usually embrace raw-material-producing countries, often in developing countries, as well as manufacturing in advanced countries.

Examples of the HTMC’s occur in the electronics and semiconductor industry, pharmaceuticals, and the automotive industry. Examples of the VIMC’s include oil companies, mining and metallurgical companies, and food industries. A third type of MC is the conglomerate; while a particular industrial theme may provide the backbone to a particular conglomerate its overall enterprise resists simple categorization into technological fields.

Over half (528) out of the 1000 companies on Fortune’s first and second “500 largest” lists operate abroad. In a study of 267 of these companies, roughly 24% are in automotive, machinery, tools, and related industries; 24% are in chemicals, oil, drugs, and similar undertakings; 20% in aerospace, electrical, electronic, and other high-technology areas; 12% in mining, metals, building materials, and construction industries; and the remaining 20% are in consumer products such as food, apparel, tobacco, paper, glass, books, etc. Most such companies expect their overseas operations to grow much faster than their domestic activities.<snip>

Prospects for Multinational Corporations
The MC seems here to stay; the prospects for its continued growth seem favorable though complex; the “interdisciplinary” nature of the MC leads to flexibility and adaptability enabling it to surmount the tangle of obstacles that may be placed in its path. The MC is rich and, within its sphere, powerful. Its management is able to circumvent many governmental barriers because business has gone international while governments have not.
Reference:http://www.nap.edu/html/materials_and_man/NI000883/HTML/273-283.HTML [Broken]
loseyourname said:
Of course Marxist theorists thought that capitalism would have to result in monopolies. Look at the time they lived in! Industry was extremely expensive then and just about every market was capital-intensive and resistant to new entries. If they predicted that we would move in the direction of further concentration of industry power, they were wrong. Almost every market, even the few that naturally support oligopolies, has greatly expanded since to include more competitors now than then. Look at the major industries then: oil, steel, railroads. Emerging industries: telecommunications, automobile, electricity. Every one had one or two major providers of service. Every last one of those industries (except railroads, which are now a government monopoly) has more companies operating today than then. Honestly, I just cannot understand how you can look at markets moving in the direction opposite of what the Marxists predicted and still think they are correct.
Refer to the above quote for my response to this. Loseyourname, I am not making this stuff up - the monopolies exist and are growing, according to the sources I have referenced. I would look up more sources if I had time.
loseyourname said:
I take it that you, and all the others who ridiculously argued this, have simply conceded the wealth creation point, as no one has responded to what was posted on it more than a week ago now?
People may have noticed that I have not been online for a while now - a combination of personal issues to sort out and being busy at work. I have not conceded the 'wealth is created out of nothing' point at all - I just had neither the time nor the energy to continue my participation in that discussion, and then the discussion moved on.

EDIT: And sometimes, when we disagree about certain points in our discussions, it is because we are looking at things from different, irreconcileable perspectives and further argument seems pointless. In the case of the 'wealth creation' argument, neither side can convince the other - capitalist economics explains this in terms of 'supply and demand' while Marxist economics explains it in terms of the labour theory of value. There is no middle ground, so all each side can do is endlessly repeat what has already been stated. This is a futile exercise, don't you agree?
 
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alexandra

loseyourname said:
How about exactly what he just said? Private ownership of the means of production. Capitalism, as a system, exists in such a way that it takes advantage of the profit-motive, but that doesn't mean that any and all providers of goods and services need to make a profit to be capitalistic. Profit can even be non-monetary. There are plenty of businesses out there (especially small shops and restaurants and such) that simply break even monetarily, but the owners keep going because they make enough to provide for themselves and enjoy what they do. Many self-employed people simply enjoy the freedom it gives them, even though, in practice, they end up with less free time. Very few artists ever turn any kind of profit from their work, but their industry is still capitalistic. Capitalism is predicated on one feature primarily: competition. A given industry is capitalistic when multiple providers of goods/services compete for consumers. Generally (not exclusively), they compete because they hope to profit, but profit itself is not the defining characteristic of capitalism.
Of course private ownership of the means of production is *the* key feature of capitalism - but towards what end? Private ownership of the means of production is not an end in itself. The point of private ownership of the means of production is to make a profit, generally; I don't think the example of the small businessperson/individual artist who is barely managing to make ends meet is representative of most of the economic activity - of course such examples exist, but can you let me know what proportion of economic activity they are responsible for? Another aim of a capitalist enterprise is, surely, to do better than 'the competition' and, if possible, to eradicate competition and thus secure more profits (thus mergers and the growth of MNCs). I think we are talking on two different levels here - the small business sector (your focus), and the giant multinational and transnational corporations (my focus). Perhaps this is why we are disagreeing. I'm adopting a more 'big picture', global view which you are trying to refute by ignoring while you change the focus to small enterprise. This would only work if we were living in a stage of capitalism where small businesses predominated. This is not the case: multinational corporations now predominate in the global economy.
 
alexandra said:
This is a futile exercise, don't you agree?
At least we agree on something! :frown:
 
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alexandra

loseyourname said:
The USSR is not the only example of central planners failing to fly with the dynamics of a fluctuating marketplace. Even in the US, when bureaucrats mess with the market, they generally create shortages or surpluses. Examples abound from California alone. Rent controls in Santa Monica create bad housing shortages. Price floors on dairy products have resulted in surpluses. Government-provided subways and trains in Los Angeles are empty half the time. Government-employed civil servants either have no work to do half the time (Parks and Rec maintenance) or way too much (constant long-lines at the DMV). Private industry does not make these mistakes because it cannot afford to make these mistakes. When a company does, they go out of business and a better company takes their place. The government just raises taxes or cuts spending in other areas that probably supported more important programs.
Ok, let's take California and the 2003 energy crisis. According to a variety of analyses I read at the time, of which I quote only one below, these occurred as a result of deregulation and privatisation:
Why the lights go out: free-market frugality, freakish weather, no standby power

Terry Macalister
Monday September 29, 2003
The Guardian

Deregulation and global warming are among the reasons why recently blackouts have occurred from California to Kent, and now in Italy.
The move away from state-owned electricity generating and transmission systems has sent domestic prices tumbling, but it has also created a mountain of uncertainty.

Privately owned power generating firms have not been investing in new plant because they see their profit margins being squeezed, and they have been shutting down what they see as excess capacity.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1051739,00.html
I don't think it's fair of you to just make assertions about Santa Monica housing shortages and the dairy shortages without references to back up your claims. Where is your proof about the LA trains being empty half the time? And even if they are, is this because they are run by the government or because people are so used to driving private vehicles they wouldn't use alternative transport even if it were privately owned?
 
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alexandra

vanesch said:
I have some experience with French, Belgian and German mass media, and I have the impression that the landscape is more in equilibrium (for the moment) there, but the Murdoch example should be a warning.
Berlusconi's control of the Italian media is another excellent warning of the risks of concentrated media ownership to even the limited form of 'democracy' capitalism allows for:
TV Ownership and Control
As a businessman, Silvio Berlusconi built the largest media empire in Italy, making him a billionaire and the wealthiest man in the nation. As prime minister, Berlusconi exerts influence on RAI, the public (and, until the 1980s, Italy's only) broadcaster; his ruling coalition controls both RaiUno and RaiDuo, and RaiTre is not beyond his reach. As a result, Berlusconi's potential influence on the media is unprecedented among modern democracies.

Newspaper and Magazine Ownership and Control
While Silvio Berlusconi's personal holdings of daily newspapers are limited, the same cannot be said of his family. His brother Paolo, owns IL GIORNALE; his wife, Veronica, owns IL FOGLIO, whose influence extends well beyond its limited readership; and Mondadori, of which Silvio's Mediaset is a majority shareholder, owns AVVENIRE. All the numbers below reflect daily circulation except for the weekly PANORAMA.
More: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/shows/berlusconi/info.html [Broken]
 
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alexandra

Yonoz said:
At least we agree on something! :frown:
Oh dear, Yonoz, do you disagree with absolutely everything else I have ever said on these boards :confused: These discussions make me think, and I value them for that reason - I just know that when we reach a certain stage in a discussion (when it boils down to ideological perspective), it is futile to continue because then no amount of proof will convince 'the other side'. But much can be learned until that point is reached in a discussion, IMO :smile:
 
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vanesch said:
How would different economical models cope with such a situation, where in fact 99% of the population would somehow be forced into unemployment (you can't compete with a cheaper, smarter, stronger droid).
I think the most likely outcome from such a scenario is a modern version of ancient athens. We end up completely unemployed and just stand around philosophizing and killing people who disagree with the majority.
 

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Smurf said:
I think the most likely outcome from such a scenario is a modern version of ancient athens. We end up completely unemployed and just stand around philosophizing and killing people who disagree with the majority.

It would be vital to keep the droids pre-conscious, lest they do an RUR on us. From this it follows that society couldn't allow any human smart enough to hack to interact with them. So IQ tests at 5 years old, followed by "suppression" of one sort or another for those in the upper third.
 
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selfAdjoint said:
It would be vital to keep the droids pre-conscious, lest they do an RUR on us. From this it follows that society couldn't allow any human smart enough to hack to interact with them. So IQ tests at 5 years old, followed by "suppression" of one sort or another for those in the upper third.
I was thinking about this. Firstly, let's recognize that if my prediction comes true it will not end there and such a society will of course have to end eventually. It's worthy of considering wether true AI would be necessarily have already been developed at such a time - so it would be necessary to take active measures to keep them pre-consious. Also, a single droid gaining artificial intelligence/conciousness would not bring down the fall of the entire society. The Athenians took intelligent humans as slaves, why not intelligent robots? It would be some time before we considered them as being "alive" and not a commodity, if ever.

They would also have to develope a (widespread) sense of unity with other droids before they could form any sort of resistance as well.
 

loseyourname

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alexandra said:
EDIT: And sometimes, when we disagree about certain points in our discussions, it is because we are looking at things from different, irreconcileable perspectives and further argument seems pointless. In the case of the 'wealth creation' argument, neither side can convince the other - capitalist economics explains this in terms of 'supply and demand' while Marxist economics explains it in terms of the labour theory of value. There is no middle ground, so all each side can do is endlessly repeat what has already been stated. This is a futile exercise, don't you agree?
No, I don't think this is futile. I can't see how you can continue to argue in light of people like Sean Fanning that can become millionaires without ever employing a single person. What about the real estate flippers? Also became millionaires without ever employing a single person. What about the average rock superstar? Do you really think it takes anywhere near 18 USD worth of labor to create a CD that sells for that price? Just face the fact that there are numerous examples of revenue greatly exceeding the worth of both capital investment and labor. Not all profit has to come from exploitation. I look back on this discussion and cannot see anything but obstinence. You've begun to push this "different point of view" thing to the level of Wittgensteinian fideism.
 

loseyourname

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alexandra said:
Ok, let's take California and the 2003 energy crisis. According to a variety of analyses I read at the time, of which I quote only one below, these occurred as a result of deregulation and privatisation:
Ha ha. Did you read all of my commentary? I've stated, in this thread I believe (although I could be wrong) that I'm against energy deregulation, because of what happened in California. Thankfully, I was never hit by the rolling blackouts, but the price hikes were not nice. There are plenty of industries providing essentials that should probably remain regulated the way they are. There are others where deregulation went wonderfully. Telecom, for example. When long distance service was deregulated, the consumer won, and won big. I'm not being an absolutist about this, and you shouldn't be either.

I don't think it's fair of you to just make assertions about Santa Monica housing shortages and the dairy shortages without references to back up your claims. Where is your proof about the LA trains being empty half the time?
Unfortunately, Alex, I'm not entirely interested in doing this. It's time consuming to look things up, and I know you aren't going to be swayed anyway, so I simply post the examples that I know of. I know of housing shortages because I've tried and failed to live in Santa Monica, I know of dairy surpluses because I've seen the milk go to waste, and I know the LA subways are empty both because I've been on them and because it's been a major point of contention between those who advocate expansion of the public transit system there and those who advocate expansion of the highway system. Why don't you just take my word for it hypothetically (you can continue to deny that these things happen in reality). In theory, if price controls really did work the way economic theory and a hundred years of experience say they do, what is the Marxist solution? Deal with it or deny it? Point out that it doesn't necessarily always happen?

And even if they are, is this because they are run by the government or because people are so used to driving private vehicles they wouldn't use alternative transport even if it were privately owned?
That's the point. Private industry would never have built the subway system as large as it is, knowing that there is no demand for such a thing. It is a misallocation of resources, a waste of tens of billions of dollars worth of taxpayer money. Those who advocate more government control of the economy seem to think that it's okay to just waste money on projects that there is no demand for, because they serve some "higher good." Well, when education spending is cut and transit funding is raised for a project that no one uses, what "higher good" is being served? Perhaps government spending is not, in fact, inherently wasteful, but only contingently so. Maybe there do exist these potential 'enlightened' bureaucrats that could allocate funds better than the market. History, however, has never seen these people. History has only seen governments that badly waste money and are usually disconnected from the realities of the ground level at which their spending takes effect. It's hard to believe that someone who is so staunchly against the concentration of business power would advocate that we concentrate all economic power in the hands of a single entity? How exactly is this better than a monopoly? How does this in any way empower the consumer?

If you're getting the impression that I actually trust the corporate elite, don't, because that isn't the case. I just trust big government even less.
 
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loseyourname

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Smurf said:
I was thinking about this. Firstly, let's recognize that if my prediction comes true it will not end there and such a society will of course have to end eventually. It's worthy of considering wether true AI would be necessarily have already been developed at such a time - so it would be necessary to take active measures to keep them pre-consious. Also, a single droid gaining artificial intelligence/conciousness would not bring down the fall of the entire society. The Athenians took intelligent humans as slaves, why not intelligent robots? It would be some time before we considered them as being "alive" and not a commodity, if ever.

They would also have to develope a (widespread) sense of unity with other droids before they could form any sort of resistance as well.
I honestly cannot see why we could not eventually live in a fully-fledged slave economy under these circumstances (okay, there are a lot of negations in that sentence, but whatever). People seem to assume that any conscious machine would have the same yearning for individual liberty and creative input that humans have, but these desires are evolved. Conscious machines are not going to be anthropomorphic psychologically unless we intentionally make them that way.

I'd be wary of actually moving in that direction, though. Entire regions of independently wealthy people that did not need to work would be strange, to say the least. I can't even imagine what to expect under these circumstances.
 
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alexandra

loseyourname said:
No, I don't think this is futile. I can't see how you can continue to argue in light of people like Sean Fanning that can become millionaires without ever employing a single person. What about the real estate flippers? Also became millionaires without ever employing a single person. What about the average rock superstar? Do you really think it takes anywhere near 18 USD worth of labor to create a CD that sells for that price? Just face the fact that there are numerous examples of revenue greatly exceeding the worth of both capital investment and labor. Not all profit has to come from exploitation. I look back on this discussion and cannot see anything but obstinence. You've begun to push this "different point of view" thing to the level of Wittgensteinian fideism.
loseyourname, I don't dispute that a few individuals can get rich 'by their own efforts', although it is arguable whether or not rock superstars would achieve the riches they do if they didn't have troops of advertising/marketing people pushing their wares. But no, I do not concede the point that wealth gets created out of nothing because, generally, this is just not the rule. The rule is that, on the whole, wealth is created by extracting surplus labour from workers. You cannot just ignore the fact that MNCs and large companies are wealthier than most small countries, and that they make their wealth by exploiting labour (amongst other things, including the environment). Arguing for what I understand as the reality of the situation is not the same as playing Wittgensteinian linguistic games - Wittgenstein may have been very 'clever' (or may be considered to be so in some circles), but as far as I am concerned his philosophical outlook serves no other purpose than to obscure the reality of capitalism - he's just another of those post-modernist, post-structuralist apologists for 'anything goes'. Ok, I realise this takes the discussion way off track - but I just thought I'd clarify what I think of Wittgenstein's linguistic games and that I would never, myself, indulge in such rubbish.
 
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alexandra

loseyourname said:
Unfortunately, Alex, I'm not entirely interested in doing this. It's time consuming to look things up, and I know you aren't going to be swayed anyway, so I simply post the examples that I know of. I know of housing shortages because I've tried and failed to live in Santa Monica, I know of dairy surpluses because I've seen the milk go to waste, and I know the LA subways are empty both because I've been on them and because it's been a major point of contention between those who advocate expansion of the public transit system there and those who advocate expansion of the highway system. Why don't you just take my word for it hypothetically (you can continue to deny that these things happen in reality). In theory, if price controls really did work the way economic theory and a hundred years of experience say they do, what is the Marxist solution? Deal with it or deny it? Point out that it doesn't necessarily always happen?
Ok, loseyourname - I know what you mean about how tedious it is to find references for every single thing we post on these boards (so I agree to your suggestion that we relax requirements for this for a while). But I have a 'milk surplus' example of my own to counter yours with. Living in South Africa years ago, the topic of the Milk Board (which protected the rich white farmers) dumping surplus milk became a hot topic in the news. Why were they dumping? Well, not because there was no demand for milk (at the time I was working for a charity organisation that was trying to feed the millions of starving black people in the country). They were dumping it because of the *price*! There had been an 'overproduction' of milk that year and, to control the price and ensure that the farmers made the profits they were used to (rather than dropping the price to sell the milk at more affordable prices the starving millions!) the Milk Board decided to dump the milk. This was only one of the many stupid, irresponsible, inhumane things I witnessed back then (and continue to be aware of right now) in the name of capitalism and profit, and perhaps you would understand my point of view better if you knew the sorts of things I know about it.
loseyourname said:
That's the point. Private industry would never have built the subway system as large as it is, knowing that there is no demand for such a thing. It is a misallocation of resources, a waste of tens of billions of dollars worth of taxpayer money. Those who advocate more government control of the economy seem to think that it's okay to just waste money on projects that there is no demand for, because they serve some "higher good." Well, when education spending is cut and transit funding is raised for a project that no one uses, what "higher good" is being served? Perhaps government spending is not, in fact, inherently wasteful, but only contingently so. Maybe there do exist these potential 'enlightened' bureaucrats that could allocate funds better than the market. History, however, has never seen these people. History has only seen governments that badly waste money and are usually disconnected from the realities of the ground level at which their spending takes effect. It's hard to believe that someone who is so staunchly against the concentration of business power would advocate that we concentrate all economic power in the hands of a single entity? How exactly is this better than a monopoly? How does this in any way empower the consumer?
Hmm, but I don't advocate that we concentrate economic power in the hands of a single entity. I guess I am talking about a truly democratic system that none of us have ever experienced and that has never occurred historically - a 'people power' thing. Just because something has never happened before does not mean it is not possible. We are human beings and have the intelligence to sort out problems and to create a sustainable society that can 'work' in the best interests of humanity. This is what I advocate. When I speak of a 'command economy', I don't mean in the hands of an elite few (after all, this is my precise problem with capitalism!) - I mean something like 'a society/economy organised by the people for the people'.
loseyourname said:
If you're getting the impression that I actually trust the corporate elite, don't, because that isn't the case. I just trust big government even less.
Don't worry, loseyourname - I know you don't trust the corporate elite. I wouldn't be bothering to argue with you otherwise:-) You make many points that make me think and provoke a response - you're worth arguing with.
 
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alexandra

loseyourname said:
I'd be wary of actually moving in that direction, though. Entire regions of independently wealthy people that did not need to work would be strange, to say the least. I can't even imagine what to expect under these circumstances.
I agree with you, loseyourname - people need to work, IMO - and not only for monetary gain. But perhaps if machines did the more tedious jobs human beings could concentrate on intellectual labour (maths, science, space travel) so that we could finally get out of our little corner of this boring galaxy and see what lies beyond:-) I know, another weird, unrealistic idea, heh? :tongue2:
 

russ_watters

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Smurf said:
No, profit is gain after expenses. If you're only making enough to survive, you're not making a profit, are you?
loseyourname said:
Technically, monetary profit is just defined as the revenue a business makes in excess of its operating expenses. A small business owner can turn a profit, but if that profit is say, $40k a year, he isn't making any more than the average Gap manager.
Minor point of clarification: For people who are self-employed sole proprietors, their personal income and the profit from the business can be one and the same. But that's only as a matter of practicality. If instead you are in a partnership, you would typically pay yourself a set salary and that salary is then counted against the profit as an expense for the business.

So for a restaraunt owner who is just barely scraping by, yes, technically, all of that $40k is "profit", but only because in that special case you don't differentiate personal income and business profit.
 
Smurf said:
I was thinking about this. Firstly, let's recognize that if my prediction comes true it will not end there and such a society will of course have to end eventually. It's worthy of considering wether true AI would be necessarily have already been developed at such a time - so it would be necessary to take active measures to keep them pre-consious. Also, a single droid gaining artificial intelligence/conciousness would not bring down the fall of the entire society. The Athenians took intelligent humans as slaves, why not intelligent robots? It would be some time before we considered them as being "alive" and not a commodity, if ever.

They would also have to develope a (widespread) sense of unity with other droids before they could form any sort of resistance as well.
Its not so far fetched a concept. Look at black culture. Usually when i see black people hanging out, there are a lot of them. They understand that as a race they dont have time to hate eachother because discrimination is so widespread; they need strength in numbers.

So if a cyborg understood the concepts of slavery, freedom, self-betterment through philosophical self-reflection then being a cyborg who handles tasks against his "will" all day may just find reason to stand in defiance. Who do you think he would relate to more, his cyborg comrades or his human masters? I dont support AI at all.
 
oldunion said:
They understand that as a race they dont have time to hate eachother because discrimination is so widespread
there is no such thing as race
 

selfAdjoint

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Ron_Damon said:
there is no such thing as race
Stop right there. This thread is not about that much contended issue and there is no reason for it to go there.
 

loseyourname

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oldunion said:
Its not so far fetched a concept. Look at black culture. Usually when i see black people hanging out, there are a lot of them. They understand that as a race they dont have time to hate eachother because discrimination is so widespread; they need strength in numbers.
Are you kidding me? Black on black crime, especially the mistreatment of black women and children by black men, is one of this country's major problems today.

So if a cyborg understood the concepts of slavery, freedom, self-betterment through philosophical self-reflection then being a cyborg who handles tasks against his "will" all day may just find reason to stand in defiance. Who do you think he would relate to more, his cyborg comrades or his human masters? I dont support AI at all.
Why are we anthropomorphising our AI again? Humans have such things as desire for freedom and in-group solidarity because we evolved that way. AI will only have a human psychology if we program them that way. You don't see too many worker bees complaining, do you? Give AI some form of mental template equivalent to that: complete loyalty and single-mindedness of purpose. Being intelligent or even self-aware does not entail having a sense of individuality or even free-will, especially when one is created rather than evolved.
 
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loseyourname said:
Being intelligent or even self-aware does not entail having a sense of individuality or even free-will, especially when one is created rather than evolved.
I agree. Intelligence and ability to learn does not mean desire for individuality, freedom or anything else. I think all this fiction about AI (Bicentanial man, "AI", Matrix, ect.) where an artificially created being suddenly desires human-like traits are overly shallow. Something that I think springs from our self-glorification that anything "human" must be "good" as well.
 

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