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A Thought Experiment…

 
SaulOhio
 
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SaulOhio
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14 June 2007 23:44
 

[quote author=“eucaryote”][quote author=“eucaryote”]Saul was it Rieman who wrote about how “pollution is a word invented by environmentalists to prevent capitalists from improving society”. That “environmentalists are hypocrites and anti human for allowing every creature in creation to pollute but not allowing human capitalists to pollute on behalf of mankind”.

Hey Saul, I don’t mean to mis characterize Riemans position. It was him wasn’t it? I could look it up but I figure you could go right to it. Lets let readers read for themselves.

I keep getting the feeling that you LIKE mischaracterizing other people’s positions, because you do it constantly. I never heard of anyone saying any such thing, and I’ve read Reisman’s Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics. The closest thing I can think of to what you say is criticism of environmentalists misuse of the concept. Nobody I know of denies the validity of the concept, just its use in certain contexts.

And you call the Objective theory of value a strategy. It isn’t a strategy. Its a purpose, a goal. Actually, not even that. Its a moral standard by which we choose our purposes and goals. By that standard, if you could actually prove to me that global warming is a threat, then the strategy to cope with it, in my opinion, would be to build nuclear power plants so we can phase out the use of fossil fuels. But of course, I am not convinced, mostly because of the history of scientific fraud in the environmental movement.

On second thought, its not even a standard. Its a definition of value, a concept to give context to thinking about value. The standard is human life. If any of the environmentalist scare stories are true, that would eventually lead to some kind of strategy that MIGHT, maybe resemble those promoted by environmentalists. Except of course environmentalists tend to promote strategies to deal with hypothetical, low risk threats that leave us vulnerable to real, imminent threats, like avoiding a vague risk of cancer by banning DDT and letting millions of people die of malaria.

 
 
Traces Elk
 
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Traces Elk
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15 June 2007 02:19
 
[quote author=“SaulOhio”][quote author=“Salt Creek”]Plus, it seems to imply that the optimal human population of the planet is about twenty-five billion. Ahhh, who am I to say: Saul might think it’s 100 billion but he’s never said what he thinks that figure is.

I do not presume to say how many people should be allowed to live.

No, Saul, you don’t commit yourself to any specifics on parameters like this one, which is probably the most important one in your scheme. If you don’t specify this, we have no idea of the basis of your enthusiasm. A model of unlimited growth and prosperity is unrealistic, and you are not proposing “unlimited”, or indeed, any figures at all. You’re a philosopher and not an economist, but you like to read (or misread) economists as a side business.

 
 
Traces Elk
 
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Traces Elk
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15 June 2007 02:20
 
[quote author=“SaulOhio”][quote author=“Salt Creek”]Saul thinks that if everyone on the planet could just put on a jacket and tie every morning and go off to work in a greeting card shop (or whatever else his little heart desires), that simply everything will be just splendid.

Sounds better than letting them work 16 or 18 hours a day pushing a hand plow or rummaging through garbage.

Who are you, in that universe free of unchosen obligations, to presume what someone might find “better”? Someone might well consider it better to rummage through garbage rather than working at minimum wage behind the cash register in your greeting card shop, while you get rich by grossly undervaluing his labor.

In your paved-over Futureworld, there should be no fields to plow, and surely, no mounds of garbage to pick through, thus depriving that poor fellow of his choices. That’s your arrogance. Die, Capitalist Running Dog!

Of course, the choices will always be open to him. What did Anatole France, or somebody else, say? “The Law, in its majesty, forbids both rich and poor from sleeping under bridges.”

 
 
Traces Elk
 
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Traces Elk
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15 June 2007 02:23
 

[quote author=“SaulOhio”][quote author=“Salt Creek”]The problem, Saul, is that nobody seems to want to go into business building homes for poor third world people and franchising them a greeting card shop business (or its equivalent in local currency).

Thats because anybody who tries to do so will often find his business expropriated by corrupt local governments (see Zimbabwe). Or all of his profits taxed away from him, or all sorts of environmentalist regulations put in his way, or see his business ruined in some other way by corrupt government.

...Can you imagine anyone even THINKING of trying to start a business in such an environment?

Then I propose you briefly drop your focus on utopianist craziness like Randian Objectivism and start investigating why people are so fuçking corrupt. That, of course, after you specify just how many people you think will comprise the population of a non-corrupt world. Or maybe you think Jeebus will come first, and clean up all the corruption, and then let the Objectivists take over.

Corrupt dictators are not stealing the labor of their subjugate populations but rather, their natural wealth and selling it to industrial cartels in the First World. This would not change under Randian Objectivism.

On second thought, its not even a standard. Its a definition of value, a concept to give context to thinking about value.

In other words, it is not pragmatic at all, but a tool to allow nutcases to adopt a superior moral attitude in a way that doesn’t require talking about Jeebus.

[ Edited: 15 June 2007 02:34 by ]
 
 
Traces Elk
 
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15 June 2007 02:27
 

[quote author=“Nhoj Morley”]I’m just reading. Like you say, I not qualified to expound on it.
This was my thread once.

Sure, Nhoj, this used to be your thread. It hardly seems possible any longer to keep people focused on interesting questions such as whether life is lived, or is (more grandly) “experienced”.

Cue the Jimi Hendrix. Have you ever been experienced? Well, Nhoj has. I’ve experienced him. Nhoj passes through this forum like a breath of fresh air, amid all this industrial noise. Just a slight lessening of the stench of benzene in my nostrils, before diffusion takes over.

 
 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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15 June 2007 04:01
 

[quote author=“eucaryote”] Ouch! was that an engineer slam? Are you paranoid that engineers have it in for you?

 

Just a little one. In my various occupations as a tech, I have worked with many engineers both briefly and long term (Visteon, mostly). For the most part, they are very talented, well educated and thoughtful. It all seems to come at a price, though.
A modest sense of superiority, a frustration with “mundanes” and a dark, confined imagination.
I gladly turn to them for advice and opinions on technical issues and then get 10 to 20 minutes of how stupid I am for not already knowing the answer, how I need to accept my stupidity as non-engineer, and no answer to my inquiry. Four to six months later, my idea becomes part of the project as if it just leached through the walls.

It can’t be easy though, with unsubstantiated true claims around every corner, the rest of us floating around like hot air balloons and nobody appreciating the heavy burden of the material world they must carry around in their cortex.

Don’t get me wrong, there are worse personality disorders. But no worse drivers.

I’ll tackle the rest of your interesting post after work tonight.

Salt Creek:
Nhoj passes through this forum like a breath of fresh air, amid all this industrial noise. Just a slight lessening of the stench of benzene in my nostrils, before diffusion takes over.

Thanks, I think.

 
 
SaulOhio
 
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SaulOhio
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15 June 2007 04:02
 

[quote author=“Salt Creek”]
I do not presume to say how many people should be allowed to live.

No, Saul, you don’t commit yourself to any specifics on parameters like this one, which is probably the most important one in your scheme. If you don’t specify this, we have no idea of the basis of your enthusiasm. A model of unlimited growth and prosperity is unrealistic, and you are not proposing “unlimited”, or indeed, any figures at all. You’re a philosopher and not an economist, but you like to read (or misread) economists as a side business.

Miread them? They state quite plainly that there is no set limit to human economic growth. Sure, you can’t have so many humans on the Earth that they make up the whole mass of the planet, or even a really significant fraction of it. But where the actual limit is, no competent economist would be willing to venture a guess, not knowing the limits of future technology. Fortunately, that is not necessary, because it is estimated the human population growth will peak in the next 40 years or so at maybe 9-10 billion people.

 
 
nv
 
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nv
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15 June 2007 04:34
 

[quote author=“eucaryote”]. . .

I took this from Shermer’s Book. He in turn took it from Brandens. . . .

Eucaryote, your descriptions of Shermer’s words ring true to my memory of what I’ve read, but the biographies themselves are truly fascinating. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t read her words and those written about her. I once took a Russian literature course and her name didn’t come up. I took plenty of American literature courses, and throughout, I don’t remember her name even being mentioned. I’ve heard it’s the same with philosophy courses. Unless things have recently changed, those professors tend to ignore her, too. I find her whole life interesting and worthy of study, but then again, I collect lunatics and geniuses as a hobby. Fortunately, the “collection” lives in my head, by way of what I read and observe. By the way, Rand’s strongest work is Fountainhead, as it contains an important fictional character: Ellsworth M. Toohey. The heroes of the book are less interesting and revealing about the real world.

 
 
SaulOhio
 
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SaulOhio
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15 June 2007 04:55
 

[quote author=“Salt Creek”]
Who are you, in that universe free of unchosen obligations, to presume what someone might find “better”? Someone might well consider it better to rummage through garbage rather than working at minimum wage behind the cash register in your greeting card shop, while you get rich by grossly undervaluing his labor.

In your paved-over Futureworld, there should be no fields to plow, and surely, no mounds of garbage to pick through, thus depriving that poor fellow of his choices. That’s your arrogance. Die, Capitalist Running Dog!

Of course, the choices will always be open to him. What did Anatole France, or somebody else, say? “The Law, in its majesty, forbids both rich and poor from sleeping under bridges.”

What a mess of strawman arguments!

Just one point that I can most easily refute: “In your paved-over Futureworld, there should be no fields to plow…”

As I see it, the future will have fewer fields to plow, yes, but definitely not none. We only pave over places where we live and work, and our roads, and not all that much else. Thats not that much surface area. As I said, the outlook is for population growth to peak in the next half-century at maybe 9 billion. We definitely won’t need to pave over the whole planet (Like the capital city in the Star Wars episodes 1-3) to house that many people. Agricultural technology is improving so much we can return farmland to the wild because we can grow more food on less land. We will have more wilderness area in the future, and still be able to feed everyone, and give them a standard of living at least equal to that of Americans today. That is, as long as environmentalists don’t block our access to energy and material resources too badly.

You keep making wrong asumptions about what I believe.

 
 
Traces Elk
 
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Traces Elk
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15 June 2007 05:08
 

[quote author=“SaulOhio”]As I see it, the future will have fewer fields to plow, yes, but definitely not none.

You misunderstand me slightly, but sometimes little things make a difference.

You keep making wrong asumptions about what I believe.

I think not.

There won’t be any fields where somebody can work with a hand plow for eighteen hours a day, should he desire to do so. And that is what I think is wrong with your program. You are telling that guy he is obsolete, so that 9 billion other people can eat factory-farmed veal. I guess you would say that this particular subsistence farmer is being, uh, er, selfish.

With 9 billion people hanging around, a healthy percentage of them may want to make a living as subsistence farmers. I think you would deny them the opportunity to do so. Some commitment to avoiding unchosen obligations, I think.

I don’t think anybody else but you has missed this point. That’s why you feel like you’re alone here, Saul.

That’s also why I think the optimal human population of the planet is about half a billion, so that everyone who wants to be a subsistence farmer can do so, and everyone who wants to sell greeting cards for a living can do so as well, but cannot so doing live in a mansion on the hill.

[ Edited: 15 June 2007 05:24 by ]
 
 
M is for Malapert
 
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M is for Malapert
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15 June 2007 05:15
 

[quote author=“homunculus”][quote author=“eucaryote”]. . .

I took this from Shermer’s Book. He in turn took it from Brandens. . . .

Eucaryote, your descriptions of Shermer’s words ring true to my memory of what I’ve read,

I looked up Shermer’s piece and was surprised to find that he read everything Ayn Rand wrote, admired her greatly, agrees with almost everything she says, and was hugely influenced by her.

I always had some suspicions about Shermer but that really sent up the red flag.  I won’t be shocked if Shermer renounces skepticism to great fanfare one day.

 
 
Traces Elk
 
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15 June 2007 05:20
 

[quote author=“M is for Malapert”]I always had some suspicions about Shermer but that really sent up the red flag.  I won’t be shocked if Shermer renounces skepticism to great fanfare one day.

The first time I ever heard about Shermer, and took a brief look at some of his online utterances, I had similar doubts as well. This is just the icing on that cake.

 
 
SaulOhio
 
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SaulOhio
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15 June 2007 06:11
 

[quote author=“Salt Creek”]

You keep making wrong asumptions about what I believe.

I think not.

There won’t be any fields where somebody can work with a hand plow for eighteen hours a day, should he desire to do so. And that is what I think is wrong with your program.

If you want to buy a piece of land and work it by hand, you are free to do so. You seem to be confusing the fact that an option is so unattractive that nobody chooses it with the belief that that option is gone. The Amish still plough fields using horses. There are also people who tend gardens by hand for their own enjoyment.

With 9 billion people hanging around, a healthy percentage of them may want to make a living as subsistence farmers. I think you would deny them the opportunity to do so. Some commitment to avoiding unchosen obligations, I think.

How would I deny them that? Like I said, the Amish do it, and nobody’s stopping them.

That’s also why I think the optimal human population of the planet is about half a billion, so that everyone who wants to be a subsistence farmer can do so, and everyone who wants to sell greeting cards for a living can do so as well, but cannot so doing live in a mansion on the hill.

How many people would WANT to live as subsistence farmers? WHY????

Corporate agriculture is so much better. You have a corporation owning vast tracts of land, hiring farmers to work them. If there is a crop failure in one place due to environmental factors, the company may loose a little money, but nobody starves. As a subsistence farmer, if a storm, drought or an invasion of locusts destroys your crop, you are in BIG trouble. You may even starve to death. This is how many famines happened in the past, before indistrialization. Notice that since the industrial revolution, no famine has ever affected any of the advanced, industrialized nations.

Living in an industrial society with a division of labor is just so much BETTER an option than living as a subsistence farmer that barely anyone WANTS to take that option. Thats not the same as removing subsistence farming as an option. Like I said, you are free to go and do it if you want. There are just a lot of good objective reasons not to.

P.S: Even a lot of Amish don’t work in their fields. They get jobs making bed frames and other carpentry work to supplement their incomes. Its their choice, because its better than their other options.

 
 
SaulOhio
 
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SaulOhio
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15 June 2007 06:33
 

Oh, and by the way,
[quote author=“Salt Creek”]That’s also why I think the optimal human population of the planet is about half a billion, so that everyone who wants to be a subsistence farmer can do so, and everyone who wants to sell greeting cards for a living can do so as well, but cannot so doing live in a mansion on the hill.

I think this reveales your true motive. Not a desire to live some primative lifestyle, but envy. Whats wrong with someone living on a mansion on a hill, so long as you can live the lifestyle you choose? You hate others for having something good that you don’t have, even that you don’t even want. Ayn Rand was right. The motive for beliefs such as yours is hatred of the good for being good.

Seems to me that you are the one who seems to want to keep other people from living what they choose as the good life. You want to limit their population (you yourself said half a billion), so you can live your lifestyle, and have them live it, too, instead of the vibrant, diverse, evolving civilization that freedom would allow.

 
 
Traces Elk
 
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Traces Elk
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15 June 2007 06:44
 

[quote author=“SaulOhio”]How many people would WANT to live as subsistence farmers? WHY????

You don’t get it, do you? In your universe, it’s not about what they want, it’s about what you think they should want. That’s what you don’t understand. That’s why you feel so alone here.

Let me give you a small hint: With nine billion to feed (and needing a place to live), real estate will become so expensive that anyone who wants to be a subsistence farmer will need to be as rich as Bill Gates. Or something like that. You think everybody wants the same level of abstraction that you do. You have the mentality of a greeting card salesman. You assume that economic activity is much more efficient than it really is. You claim that this is proven, but no one has ever seen it. You are a charlatan. You don’t want to deceive people for your own gain; you only want to deceive them so you can think as you like. This is called “schizophrenia” in some circles.

[quote author=“SaulOhio”]Whats wrong with someone living on a mansion on a hill, so long as you can live the lifestyle you choose?

Seems to me that you are the one who seems to want to keep other people from living what they choose as the good life.

Now we do get to the crux of the dispute. All I am arguing is that if everyone who wants to be a subsistence farmer faces off against everyone who wants to live in a mansion on the hill, there’s going to be a war. You don’t get this, do you? But it’s only a small part of what you do not “get”. You think everything is possible. You are not only a charlatan, but an infantile charlatan.

[ Edited: 15 June 2007 06:56 by ]
 
 
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