An open letter to Lindsay Perigo

Myquest's picture
Submitted by Myquest on Wed, 2009-03-11 07:37

Hi Lindsay,

I am not overly familiar with your work, though based on what I have seen of the Free Radical, your opinion on the nanny state and the regard in which you hold the teachings of Ayn Rand, i'm impressed. Thank you for your objectivity, so to speak.  

I write to ascertain how open you are regarding the idea of a Resource-Based Economy, and wish to know if you have seen the film Zeitgeist: Addendum (free to watch at www.zeitgeistmovie.com). It is the sequel to possibly the most viewed feature length documentary on the internet of all time (50 million+). A man of your stature and intellect should have no problem jumping straight to the recently released orientation slideshow, viewable here

http://video.google.com/videop...

I urge you to watch it, in fact if I knew how to find you i'd walk in to your office holding a cigarette with a dollar sign and hand you a copy in person :)  The system the film talks about is unlike any other system that has ever been tried. Of course in accordance with our individual frames of reference, many would automatically by process of elimination conclude that the system is socialism, or communism. It's a common reaction, particularly given the use of the words "the common good"..any good objectivist would typically run a mile (and I nearly did!). However, however, however, I perservered, learned, studied and derived understanding. I stand proud and ask that you give this document the same consideration. The two following factors I believe you'll enjoy

1) There is no state

2) in this system the individual will flourish beyond any other system that has ever been before  

Please watch it with an open mind. Imagine the buildings Howard Roark could design in this system. Imagine the Mag Lev train systems Dagny Taggert would implement. This system is based on logic. It is based on reason. It is based on the application of the scientific method for human and planetary concern. There is no tax, and there is no government. If you like it, or if you at least consider it worthy of debate, I urge to please forward it to potentially interested parties. It's a hell of a lot better than global communism.

All the very best, 

Michael West

mike.j.west@gmail.com

 


( categories: )

Roark, Rearden and profit motive

Leonid's picture

Hi, LuckyPenne, glad to see you back.

1. Roark, Rearden and profit motive.

Your comparison between Roark and Rearden gave to me further, more broader understanding of the role of profit motive in the progress of modern technological civilization. Here is a simple question: why Rearden had to spend 10 years of excruciated agony ( in Ayn Rand's words) in order to invent his metal and why Dagny had to take tremendous business and personal risks in order to use his invention? Why Rearden couldn't simply produce steel and sell it for profit on the free market as many other steel producers do? Did they do it for common good? Hardly. If they just wanted to benefit society, the production of good steel and reasonable transportation would be sufficient. So what were their motives? The answer lies in the field of economy of the free market; this is the Law of Diminished Returns. (LDR).The law states: "When increasing amounts of one factor of production are employed in production along with a fixed amount of some other production factor, after some point, the resulting increases in output of product become smaller and smaller." Or " as equal quantities of one variable factor are increased, while other factor inputs remain constant, ceteris paribus, a point is reached beyond which the addition of one more unit of the variable factor will result in a diminishing rate of return and the marginal physical product will fall."
http://www.economyprofessor.co...

Here is a simple illustration of this law: “similar example of diminishing returns in an industrial setting might be a widget factory that features a certain number of square feet of work space and a certain number of machines inside it. Neither the space available nor the number of machines can be added to without a long delay for construction or installation, but it is possible to adjust the amount of labor on short notice by working more shifts and/or taking on some extra workers per shift. Adding extra man-hours of labor will increase the number of widgets produced, but only within limits. After a certain point, such things as worker fatigue, increasing difficulties in supervising the large work force, more frequent breakdowns by over-utilized machinery or just plain inefficiency due to overcrowding of the work space begin to take their toll. The marginal returns to each successive increment of labor input get smaller and smaller and ultimately turn negative. "
http://www.auburn.edu/~johnspm...

I'd add that even if increase of space and number of machines was available it wouldn't prevent LDR to take its course, it only will delay the final outcome-the factory will work at loss. The only possible way to continue production and to make profits is to introduce new, more valuable product to the market. That how LDR and profit motive facilitate innovation and progress.

Now, what all this has to do with Roark? Everything! In spite the fact that he's no steel producer but free artist, he is essentially in the same situation. He understands if not explicitly, then implicitly, that if he turns to be another Keating, LDR eventually will put him out of market. (It would be as to put another old machine in the factory). His integrity prevents him to compete with Keating on his (Keating's) terms. For him the only way to survive as creator and to make any profit is to look for innovations.
"Your Greeks"-he said-" took marble and they made copies of their wooden structures out of it, because others had done it that way. Then your masters of Renaissance came along and made copies in plaster of copies in marble of copies in wood. Nowhere are we, making copies in steel and concrete of copies in plaster of copies in marble of copies in wood. Why?"

Roark rebels against old tradition on esthetic and personal grounds, against Dean's maxim that “The voice of the past is the voice of the people". He proclaims " I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me"
(The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand, Signet 1993 pg 23-24).
He could also add that this is the only possible way to do any productive work and to compete on the free market with other creators.
He's implicitly driven by profit motive, understanding that without innovative approach he wouldn't be able to offer for exchange anything of value.

2. Artificial intelligence.

"Wow, this really hits home, as Jacque prides himself on the use of artificial intelligence... I can't help but envision a world full of Data's, constantly striving to improve their emotion chips to be more human. And, sooner or later, we're right back where we started again. Either that, or the Borg have assimilated everyone”

That reminds me beautiful movie "Bicentennial Man" with Robin Williams as a robot who gradually becomes human being. In spite major philosophical flaw in the movie's concept ( the robot is not autonomic but determined being, it's driven by three laws of Robotics, which are integrated inseparable features of his brain and therefore cannot have Free Will), I enjoyed the movie a lot.
In regard to AI, there is huge, never-ending discussion on this topic among philosophers of mind, which is far beyond my capabilities to understand, mainly because the professional jargon they use. However my simple layman's commonsense tell me that this is red herring. Consciousness on any level is a tool of survival. Only living beings face the alternative of life and death. Computers don't die and don't need such a tool. If we want to create AI, we have to create living organism. But this is not a problem. Everybody above age 10 already knows how to do that.

3. Looters.

"I see your point, but I was thinking of looting the plans for Rearden Metal and allowing others to profit on its manufacture, without commission to Rearden as compensation for using his idea (with or without consent.)"

And what they will do after it? LDR doesn't allow them to produce Rearden metal for ever. They unable to innovate (otherwise they wouldn't loot). So soon or later they’ll have to find another victim and so far and so on until they will run out of victims or victims will run from them. Consider great brain drain in socialist Britannia.

No apologies necessary,

LuckyPenne's picture

No apologies necessary, Leonid! I'm relieved to know that my last post came across as intended, and not sounding like some sort of sarcastic cop-out. I was reading through Galt's speech again and came across a passage which pretty much sums up Ayn's perspective on a concept such as the Venus Project:

"“The problem of production, they tell you, has been solved and deserves no study or concern; the only problem left for your ‘reflexes’ to solve is now the problem of distribution. Who solved the problem of production? Humanity, they answer. What was the solution ? The goods are here. How did they get here? Somehow. What caused it? Nothing has causes.

“They proclaim that every man born is entitled to exist without labor and, the laws of reality to the contrary notwithstanding, is entitled to receive his ‘minimum sustenance’.—his food, his clothes, his shelter—with no effort on his part, as his due and his birthright. To receive it—from whom? Blank-out. Every man, they announce, owns an equal share of the technological benefits created in the world. Created—by whom? Blank-out. Frantic cowards who posture as defenders of industrialists now define the purpose of economics as ‘an adjustment between the unlimited desires of men and the goods supplied in limited quantity.’ Supplied—by whom? Blank-out. ...”", [RAND, AYN, Atlas Shrugged]

You wrote: "Observe that they don't say a word about the love of their work or usefulness of their products because the profit motive includes both."

This is a very interesting observation, and I'll have to mull it over in my mind in order to understand its full implication. At the back of AS, Ayn also wrote, "“To all the readers who discovered The Fountainhead and asked me many questions about the wider application of its ideas, I want to say that I am answering these questions in the present novel and that The Fountainhead was only an overture to ATLAS SHRUGGED."

This further explains the difference in the explicit comments made by Rearden and Dagny on working exclusively for profits, clarifying what may have been a source of some confusion (as it was with me) regarding the statements & actions of Howard Roark in "The Fountainhead." And, although Roark's principles and motivation seem to be slightly different than the characters in AS, I see that it isn't a matter of taking a superior idea and implementing it by rational consent of those involved in a project (funded privately or publicly,) but if Jacque Fresco's designs are indeed superior and we were working with a true free market, he would eventually find someone with the financial means, able and willing to invest in his project (as Roark did.) Slow, but sure -- by George, I think she's got it!

-=- Trader principle presupposes that both participants in the process of exchange are consumers and creators at the same time. Only with creators one can proudly exchange the product of his/her work. The profit means that the market value of the product is higher than its objective value to the other creators and that why it is a source of creator's pride. Profit is a difference between collected payments and expences. Therefore profit represents in monetary form the net value of one's own effort and its appreciation by other traders. -=-

Now this gives me an even greater understanding of what you meant by the following statement in a previous response:

-=- The abundance of resources doesn't really change it, since each and every resource is man-made; it's a product of man's effort and should be exchanged to the exact equivalent of another man's effort. The value of such an effort is defined by the free market in the form of price. -=-

-=- The question is-if computers are capable to do so, what they need us for? That would mean that computers have their own mind, creativity and free will; in other words they are intelligent beings. If this is a case, I doubt they will abandon trader principle and monetary system as basis of distribution and the profit motive as basis of their pride. -=-

Wow, this really hits home, as Jacque prides himself on the use of artificial intelligence -- yet insists that there would only need to be a few people to make sure the equipment is functioning correctly (which I take to mean a token government would be replaced by programmers and a few I&C techs working on the basis of rational needs for the common good.) I can't help but envision a world full of Data's, constantly striving to improve their emotion chips to be more human. And, sooner or later, we're right back where we started again. Either that, or the Borg have assimilated everyone Sticking out tongue If we allow it to get to that point, resistance will be futile, indeed.

-=- "Doesn't loot represent the potential of creating profit/new wealth for the looters?"
No, it doesn't. If looters could have created wealth, they wouldn't be looters, but creators. Looters can only loot and consume until they run out of victims. -=-

I see your point, but I was thinking of looting the plans for Rearden Metal and allowing others to profit on its manufacture, without commission to Rearden as compensation for using his idea (with or without consent.)

Thanks so much for hanging in there with me till I grasped this concept more fully, Leonid. I have thoroughly enjoyed this exchange, and it's a genuine pleasure to know you! Enjoy the weekend, Amigo ~

Hi! First, I'd like to apologize

Leonid's picture

Hi!
First, I'd like to apologize for the delay. I was very busy for the last few days. In regard to your comment "Their primary focus was on pride in their work and usefulness of the product,"-that's true. However, for Rearden the pride is a tangible recognition of his work in the form of profit.
During his trail Rearden says:" Yes, of course, I am working for nothing but my own profit. I make it by selling a product to the people who are willing and able to buy it-and I proud of every penny I’ve earned." When Dagny asked by reporter: “What is your motive for building this Line?” her response was “The profit which I expect to make." (AS). Observe that they don't say a word about the love of their work or usefulness of their products because the profit motive includes both.
Trader principle presupposes that both participants in the process of exchange are consumers and creators at the same time. Only with creators one can proudly exchange the product of his/her work. The profit means that the market value of the product is higher than its objective value to the other creators and that why it is a source of creator's pride. Profit is a difference between collected payments and expences. Therefore profit represents in monetary form the net value of one's own effort and its appreciation by other traders.

“In a cybernated society with sophisticated technology, we will ultimately surpass the need for human participation in government, manufacturing, and distribution of goods and services.”
This is very old argument- at least I hear it for the last 40 years. Simply put it means that manufacturing and distribution is possible without participation of human mind. Galt vividly descibed such a non-profit world of abundance in his speech:"... the mystics of muscle curse profit. They...wish men to inherit the earth by renouncing all profit. Their... non-profit worlds are realms where rivers run with milk and coffee, where wine spurts from rocks at their command, where pastry drops on them from clouds at the price of opening their mouth." (AS). New breakthrough technologies and products allegedly would be invented by computers. The question is-if computers are capable to do so, what they need us for? That would mean that computers have their own mind, creativity and free will; in other words they are intelligent beings. If this is a case, I doubt they will abandon trader principle and monetary system as basis of distribution and the profit motive as basis of their pride.

"Doesn't loot represent the potential of creating profit/new wealth for the looters?"
No, it doesn't. If looters could have created wealth, they wouldn't be looters, but creators. Looters can only loot and consume until they run out of victims.

Difference between RBE and Welfare State

LuckyPenne's picture

"Where does the idea that "human desires are always and will be always above capacity of the current available supply" originate?”
Current available supply has inherent physical limitations. Human desires are inherently unlimited. Limitations on desires could be imposed by objective reality of free market monetary economy, or arbitrary, by the will of others. Abundance is simply a wealth without quantitative identity, like infinite number. It's potential, not actual concept. It's always finite amount of goods and services available for consumption.

Thanks for explaining this further, Leonid. Very nicely stated.

"Demand still has an influence on supply in a creative, resource-based economy, only money becomes irrelevant as a tool for exchange"
What then, will be the tool of exchange? You mentioned before that people’s livelihood depends on the property rights. That’s right and just. That means livelihood depends on the people's own effort, that it has to be EARNED, not granted.

Actually, my original thought was that the "only reason [Galt and Rearden] wanted to retain ownership and keep their inventions private was that they were dependent on it for their livelihood in a monetary-based economy." Their primary focus was on pride in their work and usefulness of the product, and they were more than happy to share these innovations as long as it wasn't being abused for immoral gain.

As for the need for a tool of exchange performing as a regulator of economy, Jacque writes:

-=- Today, automated systems can launch and guide the flight path of spaceships to distant planets. In a cybernated society with sophisticated technology, we will ultimately surpass the need for human participation in government, manufacturing, and distribution of goods and services. Through cybernated systems, a balanced-load economy can easily be maintained. This will free human beings from the boring and monotonous tasks of the work-day world. Yes, most jobs will eventually be phased out. -=-

Jacque goes on to explain exactly how this system evolves in the Venus Project FAQ, but I won't copy/paste it here, lest I create an overload of information once again Eye The passages from previous messages were included in response to your comments/questions, partly because I thought that you were wanting further explanation to understand the concept better.

The most important lesson I've learned from this exchange, which also explains the answer to the question of why so many members seemed hyper-critical or completely apathetic to this topic when it was first introduced, is that this would be of much greater interest coming from someone who has already EARNED respect and admiration in this community. I do appreciate your patience and willingness to help me out as a newbie trying to get a handle on these two philosophies.

Personally, I wasn't inclined to pick up "Atlas Shrugged" until my husband recommended it, and he didn't get the nudge until he read John Stossel's blog about it. I'm sure I heard about "Zeitgeist Addendum" from a good friend with similar values to mine, or I wouldn't have bothered to watch the first vid. I truly believe it opened my eyes and mind to Ayn Rand's writings, even though it mentions the Venus Project as a possible solution to the corruption of the current economic system.

How is a resource-based economy different from the welfare state, you ask? I think that goes back to the educational model most familiar to us, and the fact that most adults have never seen the difference between a governmentally-indoctrinated child raised on gold stars as a reward for compliance and a self-directed, self-motivated, school-free child. Their values don't change drastically when they grow up to be adults, although they will be dealing with looters in our society, and acting according to their highest standards.

Freeschoolers know exactly what Howard Roark was talking about when he stated, unequivocally, that the incentive and reward is in the doing, not necessarily the having. He was adamant about the fact that he didn't care who benefited from it, whether needy or otherwise, as long as it was done his way. Anything else was a bonus (money included, which brought this home when he gave up credit and payment from the housing project.)

These two responses are confusing to me:
"but this [desire to keep ideas private] also came about as a result of his objection to the looters gaining profit from his invention, correct?"
I don't think so. The loot is not a profit. Profit represents the amount of created new wealth. A loot represents redistribution of existed wealth.

"I can't imagine who would bother to steal an idea (especially one that involved work which they did not love) if there weren't something to be gained from it that otherwise would be withheld by the powers that be."
That exactly the reason why crime doesn't pay and communism doesn't work. At the end of the day one cannot turn loot to profit.

Doesn't loot represent the potential of creating profit/new wealth for the looters?

Cheers ~

LuckyPenne - What's the difference?

Leonid's picture

"Where does the idea that "human desires are always and will be always above capacity of the current available supply" originate?”
Current available supply has inherent physical limitations. Human desires are inherently unlimited. Limitations on desires could be imposed by objective reality of free market monetary economy, or arbitrary, by the will of others. Abundance is simply a wealth without quantitative identity, like infinite number. It's potential, not actual concept. It's always finite amount of goods and services available for consumption.

"Demand still has an influence on supply in a creative, resource-based economy, only money becomes irrelevant as a tool for exchange"
What then, will be the tool of exchange? You mentioned before that people’s livelihood depends on the property rights. That’s right and just. That means livelihood depends on the people's own effort, that it has to be EARNED, not granted. Without a standard of exchange the whole concept which connects the effort with reward becomes meaningless. In your model everybody could get everything without any effort. One can work if he feels like to work, but one also can choose only to consume by the grace of those who are working. How it's different from the current state of affairs when the hordes of parasites are living from the taxpayer's efforts? The absence of coercion as means of redistribution and its substitution by illusory abundance in the proposed model doesn't change a thing. Not only such a situation is incomprehensible and completely unrealistic; in my opinion it's also immoral.

"but this also came about as a result of his objection to the looters gaining profit from his invention, correct?"
I don't think so. The loot is not a profit. Profit represents the amount of created new wealth. A loot represents redistribution of existed wealth.

"I can't imagine who would bother to steal an idea (especially one that involved work which they did not love) if there weren't something to be gained from it that otherwise would be withheld by the powers that be."

That exactly the reason why crime doesn't pay and communism doesn't work. At the end of the day one cannot turn loot to profit.

Appreciate the constructive feedback, Leonid!

LuckyPenne's picture

The lengthy passages included were intended to address your comments (cited in italics) regarding incentive, scarcity, supply and need vs. demand in a resource-based economy. My regrets for providing more information than desired (no lack of supply there! Eye )

Thank you for the reminder of Hank's statement regarding his property ("Because it's mine") and I see your point, but this also came about as a result of his objection to the looters gaining profit from his invention, correct? I can't imagine who would bother to steal an idea (especially one that involved work which they did not love) if there weren't something to be gained from it that otherwise would be withheld by the powers that be.

Outside of free market monetary based economy there is no objective way to decide what is the genuine need/scarcity except maybe a piece of bread and a loincloth. I may decide that I have genuine need to drive a brand-new car every day or a space yacht.

As I mentioned before, human desires are always and will be always above capacity of the current available supply. Abundance is a relative concept.

Jacque defines abundance in relation to a "high standard of living," based on Western society. Where does the idea that "human desires are always and will be always above capacity of the current available supply" originate? Without that belief and that of the necessity for regulation (based on past or present experience, if that's the case,) there wouldn't seem to be a problem with anyone who wanted to "drive a new car every day or a space yacht," either for business or pleasure. Perhaps that's a pipe dream... or not.

Of course, if there was an adequate supply of products available for sale or loan, as in a library, no one would need approval or "permission" to be, do, or have what they like. If something's checked out, then a request would be submitted for a new one or a hold placed on the next one returned. Demand still has an influence on supply in a creative, resource-based economy, only money becomes irrelevant as a tool for exchange, as I understand it. In fact, in a technologically-rich economy, space yachts might be in high demand in the outer realm communities. We might even figure out how to rev up the Stargate to get to Atlantis! Eye

I've learned a lot from these exchanges, and thank you once & again for helping me understand, if not integrate, these concepts. I found a great little blog article on Ayn's work, including commentary referencing the passage on the "professional" mom with the bakeshop in Galt's Gulch. It's entitled, "Mythbusting: Ayn Rand, Mommies, and Children," and answers some of my questions on the subject of motherhood and career as it relates to Objectivism:
http://stanford.wellsphere.com...

Learning all the time ~ I AM! Smiling

LuckyPenne : " Because it's mine."

Leonid's picture

Hi, again

You posted so large and complicated a message, that I have a difficulty to decide where to begin my response. Let me start from the main idea which is a dichotomy between a joy of creative work and its reward. In my opinion there is no such a dichotomy. The purpose of any creative work is its end-product, be it a gadget, a book, new material or symphony. In the economy based on the division of labor all products are created for exchange. Trader principle of voluntary exchange defines the market value of the product in the form of price. This is true that the market value isn't always immediately correlates with its objective value. It could take some time for the people to realize the objective value of the product, especially when the product is completely new. But eventually they do. That why a work of genius some times receives recognition in its monetary equivalent long after his death. But this is rather an exception than a rule. Proud creator anticipates recognition of his work and proper reward for it. This is also very significant part of his joy-an affirmation of his rights as creator and owner in the form of payment. The story of unrecognized genius is after all very sad story. Therefore your statement "The only reason they wanted to retain ownership and keep their inventions private was that they were dependent on it for their livelihood in a monetary-based economy." is not correct. Rearden refused to sale the patent of his metal in spite very tempting offer from the state's official. When the bureaucrat asked him “But why you want to squeeze the profit dollar by dollar over years and decades, when you could have all the money right now?"-Rearden responded: “Because it's mine." The meaning of his answer is that free market and monetary-based economy ensures property rights. This is the only system which allows you to own property by right, as result of free and voluntary exchange. In any other economical system people own property by permission. That why capitalism is the only moral political and economical system. And this is also relates to your remarks about distinction of "demand" and "need".
You see, if I defines my needs, then they are my demands (in economical, not trade-unionist sense). I can satisfy them by exchange of my products which I created for this purpose and which I don't need for my personal consumption to the products which I do need. Both products I own by right. If somebody else defines my needs, then there are not mine, and I have no right to satisfy them. I can do it only by permission. Outside of free market monetary based economy there is no objective way to decide what is the genuine need/scarcity except maybe a piece of bread and a loincloth. I may decide that I have genuine need to drive a brand-new car every day or a space yacht.
As I mentioned before, human desires are always and will be always above capacity of the current available supply. Abundance is a relative concept. Therefore a correlation between demand and supply is a necessity which pertains to objective reality. Only free market and monetary-based economy can regulate demand and supply without violation of basic property rights. All other forms of regulations mean the violation of these rights by arbitrary will of others. As Francisco formulated it “Your money or your guns. Make your choice."
I hope I addressed most of the problems you mentioned in your post. If I missed out something, please let me know.
Leonid.

Leonid writes: I'm not

LuckyPenne's picture

Leonid writes: I'm not familiar with Jacque Fresco's ideas, but from your description I understand that his model is similar to the Utopian post-state communism. What such a model eliminates is property rights. In such a society people actually don't possess anything as their own.

Thanks very much, Leonid. Our profs didn't elaborate on these philosophies during the Cold War (perhaps they took precautions lest we recognize them when our own country began to aggressively adopt the same ideas in our adult years Sticking out tongue ) I do know that Jacque Fresco was in his teens during the Depression era, and talks about everyone (including himself) exploring Socialism, Communism, Fascism, etc., as alternate forms of government. He ended up rejecting each one, in turn, based on one fundamental question: How do you prevent corruption from setting in?

No one had a solution to that one, which is why JF developed the idea of a resource-based economy, which "would provide art centers, music centers, theater projects, and opportunities for people to return to an educational environment, allowing them to pursue their interests. Although people would be economically secure, they would still find real challenges that would maintain incentives and enhance creativity."

The obvious question is why anybody should spend years on education and than more years on excruciating work to create a new product (like Rearden in AS) only in order to hand it over for free to everybody whose only effort is to take it. In the prehistoric tribalistic societies as in your story, nothing new had been created for centuries for this very reason.

From the Venus Project FAQ:
71.Would people lose their incentive?
The free-enterprise system does create incentive to achieve, however it also breeds the
incentive for corruption, theft, and greed. ...

I worry about people whose main motivation is money. For instance, if this is the motivation of
a doctor instead of the desire to solve problems in the field of medicine and health and
enhance people's lives, to many others, and me the services are not very trustworthy. It is a
tremendous myth perpetrated on people in a monetary system that people are mostly
motivated by money to achieve and produce. I could give you endless examples of people who
fought, studied, created, and excelled without the allure of money as a reward, there are much
more meaningful rewards than that. It depends on the value system that one is given and the
culture that one is raised in that reinforces what is meant by a reward.

In essence all of the people we have admired in the past, [Michelangelo,] da Vinci, Bell, the
Wright Brothers, Darwin, and many others worked because they were interested in problem
solving, not financial gain. This, in some cases, was a by-product. [Speaking of which, what did you think of Fresco's concept designs in the video I posted? In his interview with Larry King back in the 70's, Jacque presents a practical solution for putting nuclear waste to use in heating hydroponic greenhouses.]... On islands in the South Pacific, people had more than enough resources. Although banana, coconuts, fish and breadfruit were abundant, the natives worked continuously building navigation equipment, canoes, huts, and weaved cloth. Although no money was used, their incentive improved their standard of living.

Yesterday's abundance is today's scarcity. Human demands are always bigger than supply. That what makes economy run.

Is it true that "human demands are always bigger than supply," or that supply is often limited in order to create artificial scarcity to boost a monetary-based economy?

66.Will people who do more work, such as doctors, demand more resources [than] someone like an artist?
When resources are available to everyone without a price tag and not rationed, human values
undergo considerable change. Most of us have been indoctrinated in civilization immersed in
scarcity – artificially generated with planned obsolescence. I am highly suspicious of those
whose incentive is motivated by money [Jacque presents the medical industry for an example (see above.)] I also believe in the incentive system but not the shallow, self-centered incentives perpetuated by our monetary-based institutions.

There would be no need for any high stressed jobs; there could be a large enough rotation of
personnel to practically eliminate any high stress jobs until they can be phased out by
innovative technology.

This also relates to your previous observation:
Since men's abilities differ, free, moneyless arbitrary exchange will result in the situation in which some men will work for other men for free as slaves. Only money as a standard of objective value can prevent this.

In a resource-based economy, the advancement of technology would prove a non-threat to those who rely on minimum wage, menial tasks as a source of employment, providing individuals the freedom to move onward & upward to more fulfilling, creative endeavors. As Howard Roark said, it's not money or charity that serves as the reward, but the work itself!

If you love what you do, then developing your product for private or public use is a joy. I got the same feeling from Rearden and Galt, when they were creating and perfecting their innovative ideas. The only reason they wanted to retain ownership and keep their inventions private was that they were dependent on it for their livelihood in a monetary-based economy. Can you imagine if patents & profits weren't an issue, how many more creative minds could have assisted in the development phase?

54.Is this what Karl Marx advocated?
Although Marx was a brilliant man for his time, he did not foresee the methods and advantages
of a high-tech resource-based economy. Communism used money and labor, had social
stratification, and elected officials to maintain the communists’ traditions. Most importantly,
Communism did not eliminate SCARCITY nor did they have a blueprint or the methods for the
production of abundance. Machine production rather than labor will dominate the future.
Perhaps through no fault of their own, they also had to maintain huge military expenditures to
protect themselves from invasion of fascistic and capitalistic institutions. [I know this last bit may not sit well with Rand fans, but there's more to it than meets the eye. Of course, I could be missing something, which is why I'm here.]

This brings to mind our previous exchange:
"I'm still wondering what the objection is to applying this principle to natural resources"
Leonid: Trader principle is applicable to the people, not to natural resources. The idea that people compete over resources brings people to the level of animals. People create resources. Without application of human mind all resources are useless and valueless. With application of mind everything on Earth and beyond becomes resources. Human mind creativity is unlimited and so resources. [Bold emphasis added.-pa]

Penne: Exactly what the Venus Project is all about -- unlimited resources and creative minds!! With an abundance mindset, there is no competition for resources. So, it appears the main concern on this discussion thread is that without a monetary-based economy, people would likely end up backbiting and competing over resources, similar to the failed collective at John's old factory. _Is that true?_
----------------------------------------------------
And back to the current discussion:
Leonid: That why I think that Marxists motto-" from everybody according to his ability, to everybody according to his demand" is description of the fools' paradise.

I recall the situation at Galt's factory, but think it's important to make the distinction between "demand" and "need" (as it reads in AS and the original manifesto, if I recall correctly.) The difference is that no one is expected or required to give up their own property in order to meet another's demands (and possession is 9/10ths of the law in the Venus Project, as long as it doesn't violate another's rights.) If there's a genuine need/scarcity, each individual is free to make a choice based on personal values.

But that brings us back to abundance vs. scarcity, as we discussed earlier:
Leonid: Free economy's basis is trade principle-that is, voluntary exchange of goods and services. Money is a tool of exchange. Without it fair and just exchange would be extremely difficult if not impossible. Therefore money represents a tool of economical justice.The abundance of resources doesn't really change it, since each and every resource is man-made; it's a product of man's effort and should be exchanged to the exact equivalent of another man's effort. [Bold emphasis added.-pa]

Penne: I actually open up my Facebook note with a link to "Francisco's Money Speech," and have no problem with money as a tool (I'm one of those "mystics" [do quantum physicists count?] who believe everything is made of energy Smiling )

LuckyPenne

Leonid's picture

"What Jacque Fresco seems to be proposing is more of a library/loan system, where products are made available to everyone on demand, and returned/exchanged at will (no limit on time or usage, or obligation to return at all.) Any non-creative task that could be automated would be taken over by machines, since there would be no concern over keeping penniless folks employed in menial positions. Every individual would be free to procure resources for employing their creative ideas, and making them available for their own and/or others' use. "

I'm not familiar with Jacque Fresco's ideas, but from your description I understand that his model is similar to the Utopian post-state communism. What such a model eliminates is property rights. In such a society people actually don't possess anything as their own. The obvious question is why anybody should spend years on education and than more years on excruciating work to create a new product (like Rearden in AS) only in order to hand it over for free to everybody whose only effort is to take it. In the prehistoric tribalistic societies as in your story, nothing new had been created for centuries for this very reason. It is true that children are creative by nature, but societies which deny the right for ownership kill self-esteem, creativity and production altogether-as the history of such societies proves. That why I think that Marxists motto-" from everybody according to his ability, to everybody according to his demand" is description of the fools' paradise. Nevertheless, millions of people had been seduced by this idea. The sad consequences are well known. Besides, the idea of abundance doesn't make any economical sense. Wealth is not absolute but relative concept. Yesterday's abundance is today's scarcity. Human demands are always bigger than supply. That what makes economy run. The moment we all satisfied is the moment we all dead. (As Spirit of Communism who was wandering across Europe only 160 years ago.)

Aloha again, Leonid! I just

LuckyPenne's picture

Aloha again, Leonid! I just wanted to say how much I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my questions and commentary. About Dagny, the explanation that she objected to using the gold reserve to pay rent for her temporary living quarters makes the most sense, even though it's true that working wives were not the norm back in the day. I get the idea that outside employment was never an issue in Ayn's modern mindset, both as primary provider in her own household, and in the fact that the homeschool mom in AS was portrayed as proprietor of the local bakeshop.

I actually open up my Facebook note with a link to "Francisco's Money Speech," and have no problem with money as a tool (I'm one of those mystics who believe everything is made of energy Smiling )

What Jacque Fresco seems to be proposing is more of a library/loan system, where products are made available to everyone on demand, and returned/exchanged at will (no limit on time or usage, or obligation to return at all.) Any non-creative task that could be automated would be taken over by machines, since there would be no concern over keeping penniless folks employed in menial positions. Every individual would be free to procure resources for employing their creative ideas, and making them available for their own and/or others' use.

I think the scarcity mentality includes the idea that anyone who isn't coerced or urged on by competition will more than likely end up being a lazy bum, living off others' generosity. This certainly appears to be a prevalent trend in our society as it's currently set up. In the Socialist model, money and government play a dominant role, creativity is not rewarded according to its value, and standards of living are based on the lowest common denominator with no escape other than corrupting one's values. In the Venus model, money and government play no role (or minor roles in transition, until members of society have learned to think for themselves again, similar to deschooling-to-self-direction in homeschool terms,) creativity is valued beyond measure, and standards of living are based on individual preferences.

There's a tale (true or urban legend?) popular amongst freeschoolers which relates the experience of a certain tribal fella who left his homeland to pursue a college education in the States. When he returned with diploma in hand, he was welcomed with great fanfare and proceeded to rest on his laurels, so to speak. Day in and day out, his family cared for his needs, bringing his meals to him while he was content to bask in the sun and while away the time.

An outside observer wondered why this young man was being allowed to take advantage of others without reprimand or repercussions of any kind, but this tribe had always functioned well without need for coercion, everyone having been raised to believe that doing their bit in society was a natural part of life. The elders had every confidence that this lackadaisical "holier than thou" intellectual attitude would eventually melt away in the heat of the day, waking the scholar from his "civilized" notions in time to get back into the game.

According to legend, they were correct, and as the mom of a large tribe of unschoolers (ages 3-23) who've been raised in a similar non-coercive atmosphere (plus an older stepson who played the role of the "educated" tribal son come home to roost,) I can attest to the truth of this philosophy, as can their master instructors and employers. Even if we wanted to restrain their creative tendencies, which we don't, their zest for life & learning is unmatched by anything we've ever encountered in the school system or the workplace!

LuckyPenne

Leonid's picture

I just want to comment about idea of economy without money. Free economy's basis is trade principle-that is, voluntary exchange of goods and services. Money is a tool of exchange. Without it fair and just exchange would be extremely difficult if not impossible. Therefore money represents a tool of economical justice. The abundance of resources doesn't really change it, since each and every resource is man-made; it's a product of man's effort and should be exchanged to the exact equivalent of another man's effort. The value of such an effort is defined by the free market in the form of price. Since men's abilities differ, free, moneyless arbitrary exchange will result in the situation in which some men will work for other men for free as slaves. Only money as a standard of objective value can prevent this. Money is also a form in which unused wealth could be preserved and invested into the future development; it's a tool which ensures the further growth of economy and well being. The amount of money one possesses doesn't change its vital function, and the economy of Atlantis IS real. I could have carry on like that, but certain Francisco de Aconia already completed this job and did it much better that I possible ever could do. I strongly recommend to read his speech about money in "Atlas Shrugged".

"Amen to that! So, this scenario was really Ayn's little joke, written tongue-in-cheek... Dagne trumped John's offer to charge her a token amount for room & board by becoming his hausfrau for a tidy sum?"
It wasn't a joke, not for Dagny, anyway. For her it was deadly serious. She was penniless in Atlantis. Government fiat money wasn't legal tender over there and she didn't want to use her gold deposit-since Ragnar risked his life for it. Since she didn't want to live as a parasite, her only possible solution was to work for living, which she did. But obviously her main goal was to stay with John. She considered herself as his wife in everything but sex. Remember, in the times of AS, women's main occupation was household. Married women didn't work.

Re: Hi Penne

LuckyPenne's picture

"In what context was the 'environment' phrase used?”
Just look on the movie's logo-living, breathing Earth. Could it be more explicit symbol than that of Gaya's worshipping?

Hmm, I'd have to look back at the original film. This is the one with all the religious symbolism, which was very interesting, but I don't recall any references to worshipping Gaya. Was the phrase you quoted in the original post used in the orientation film, or somewhere else? It's been awhile since I watched the Zeitgeist films or read through the Venus Project materials in depth. Jacque Fresco is environmentally concerned, but no more dependent upon it than John Galt or any other intelligent Objectivist, from what I've seen.

"the idea of working toward a common goal for anything is blasphemous!"
Did your husband tell you that? What about Ayn Rand Institute? Don't they work toward a common goal-spreading of Objectivism in order to make the world a better place? Note that ARI is non-profit organization.

Not in so many words, but he also picked up on ideas like "sustainable," "environment," and immediately "turned it off" without a second thought. Then somehow everything I mentioned, including the idea of a "cooperative" venture, seemed to get lumped into a conspiracy toward socialism Sticking out tongue Interesting to hear that ARI is non-profit; thanks for providing that example. We're both relatively new to Rand's writings (see my profile,) but my husband has been delving into Libertarian lit for years and passing on his findings to me.

"I'm still wondering what the objection is to applying this principle to natural resources"
Trader principle is applicable to the people, not to natural resources. The idea that people compete over resources brings people to the level of animals. People create resources. Without application of human mind all resources are useless and valueless. With application of mind everything on Earth and beyond becomes resources. Human mind creativity is unlimited and so resources.

Exactly what the Venus Project is all about -- unlimited resources and creative minds!! With an abundance mindset, there is no competition for resources. So, it appears the main concern on this discussion thread is that without a monetary-based economy, people would likely end up backbiting and competing over resources, similar to the failed collective at John's old factory. Is that true?

I hadn't read this part of AS when I first linked to this discussion in my Facebook Note, and I had to return to Jacque's writings for a reminder of how his proposal handles distribution of resources. In a nutshell, any member of society is eligible to place an order for miscellaneous items (no committee to decide who's needy; there's plenty to go around!) whether it be for a bundle of steel or a load of coal, the latest electronic gadget or a custom home, and have it delivered through the wonders of advanced technology created by the people who have unlimited resources available to develop new inventions to carry out these tasks.

Impossible dream? Jacque states unequivocally that we've had the necessary technology to dramatically enhance our lifestyle (and more than enough to share with others) for years, but too much money would be lost on all the outdated products if we introduced upgrades to the marketplace as fast as they could be developed. Sound like Boyle Steel vs. Rearden Metal, General Motors vs. Audi (for lack of a better example)?

"What was curious to me in AS was the idea that Dagny's offer to take on the role of (unnecessary) servant"
She just wanted to stay with John and looked for an excuse. She loved him as you apparently love your husband. Without it no money in the world would be enough to pay you for 25 years of "cooking, cleaning and the like”

Amen to that! Eye So, this scenario was really Ayn's little joke, written tongue-in-cheek... Dagne trumped John's offer to charge her a token amount for room & board by becoming his hausfrau for a tidy sum?

"The use of money in many of the working relationships in Atlantis seemed to be token exchanges”
Can you elaborate?

I'm referring to the idea of taking apprenticeships to master craftsmen until skills can be parlayed into real business/money, and even then, values are greatly reduced in Atlantis due to low overhead, et. al., in comparison to the outside world. Most of the folks who came in to establish Atlantis have all the gold they need in this economy, thanks to Ragnar, so money is lagniappe [pronounced lahn-yahp, meaning "a little extra" in Cajun-speak.]

Alfie Kohn authored a book well-known in homeschooling circles entitled, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes. These are all based on the belief that no one would bother to educate themselves or work at something they value without a token reward, but they actually backfire more often than not (my husband & daughter can attest to that with a drawer full of meaningless trinkets, including pocket knives, fancy pens, golf shirts and company mugs!) As Howard Roark avered, the reward is the work itself! Nothing else matters!

Thanks for the thoughtful feedback, my friend, and the prompt to review the Venus Project and renew my understanding of its true nature and intention. In the FB Note mentioned in my original message, there's a reference to a 70's interview with Jacque Fresco and Larry King with some fascinating details of futuristic cities, also showcased in the new "Future by Design" movie by William Gazecki. Enjoy!

Hi, LuckyPenne

Leonid's picture

"In what context was the "environment" phrase used?”
Just look on the movie's logo-living, breathing Earth. Could it be more explicit symbol than that of Gaya's worshipping?

"the idea of working toward a common goal for anything is blasphemous!"
Did your husband tell you that? What about Ayn Rand Institute? Don't they work toward a common goal-spreading of Objectivism in order to make the world a better place? Note that ARI is non-profit organization.

"I'm still wondering what the objection is to applying this principle to natural resources"
Trader principle is applicable to the people, not to natural resources. The idea that people compete over resources brings people to the level of animals. People create resources. Without application of human mind all resources are useless and valueless. With application of mind everything on Earth and beyond becomes resources. Human mind creativity is unlimited and so resources.

"What was curious to me in AS was the idea that Dagny's offer to take on the role of (unnecessary) servant"
She just wanted to stay with John and looked for an excuse. She loved him as you apparently love your husband. Without it no money in the world would be enough to pay you for 25 years of "cooking, cleaning and the like”

"The use of money in many of the working relationships in Atlantis seemed to be token exchanges”
Can you elaborate?

Hola, Leonid! Took me a

LuckyPenne's picture

Hola, Leonid! Took me a minute to figure out why that first sentence sounded familiar (overlooked the end quotes,) and couldn't help wondering why you had turned it back on just to end up turning it off again. LOL Now I see that it was a commentary on Gregster's original statement.

Were you watching the Orientation film, and in what context was the "environment" phrase used? I didn't get far with that one myself. As Katie mentioned, "Addendum" is the one which would probably make the most sense to this crowd, and it's the first one I viewed when it debuted (having no knowledge of the original presentation.) I then backtracked to the first film (which is aimed toward debunking religious dogma.)

Semantics
Isn't it interesting how certain words are automatic triggers? I learned early on not to refer to anything even remotely biblical on the 'Net without bracing myself for the backlash to follow 0.o Seems nearly everyone automatically assumes you're a proselytizin' fundamentalist. Sad commentary, but we've been bit ourselves, so I see where that kind of fear/repulsion originates.

For years, I've been an advocate of cooperatives (organic food, educational, etc.,) and suddenly, when my husband picked up on Ayn Rand's train of thought (or so it seemed,) the idea of working toward a common goal for anything is blasphemous! Even if it's considered non-profit (and co-ops are just as often profitable enterprises) -- what if all parties are agreeably working on the trader principle (service for service, skill for skill)? Isn't that just another example of a "sustainable" (short or long-term) business relationship? Just considering all angles here -- I majored in linguistics, so the history and evolution of words fascinates me.

Trader Principle
I'm still wondering what the objection is to applying this principle to natural resources other than precious metals. If we took the wagons out West (assuming Midas and/or the Native Americans weren't already claiming their stake) and built Atlantis from scratch, how would we decide the value of anything and who got first dibs -- assuming we were all young pioneering families trying to make our way in the new world, and gold bars weren't yet fully appreciated as the standard rate of exchange. Is that an impossible scenario? That's where huntin' (if not guns/ammo, then bows/arrows & fishin' poles,) carpentry and farmin' skills came in handy. and isn't that totally dependent on the environment?

That reminds me of a humorous network marketing film I saw years ago where the local fletcher was trading with a hunter friend till his meat locker got full. The hunter still needed arrows, but had nothing else of value to trade to the fletcher. This was supposed to be the type of scenario that led to the monetary exchange system.

What was curious to me in AS was the idea that Dagny's offer to take on the role of (unnecessary) servant for a virtual penance pittance was a satisfactory trade-off for being a paying boarder or welcome guest in John's home. For over 25 years, I've been married with children (including a stepchild, and no amount of gold could compensate for dealing with dear hubby's ex lol) -- cooking, cleaning and the like -- and can still hear my dad's retort to my mom for all her efforts (both at home & in our family pharmacy,) "You get room & board, don't you?"

The use of money in many of the working relationships in Atlantis seemed to be token exchanges (since everything was so much more economical without the gov't middlemen,) with the emphasis placed on developing the skills/work/relationship as Howard Roark testified was his primary focus. My husband pointed out the woman who chose motherhood as a career (we also homeschool,) but I noticed she also ran the bakery. My own experience in my parents' business is what first inspired the idea to get involved with cooperatives.

So, what price do you put on SAHMs, or are we as spouses simply trading service (his outside monetary-based activities) for service (my in-home resource-based activities)? Now that our kids are coming of age and gaining their independence, the idea of me getting back into the conventional marketplace is under serious consideration. Of course, motherhood isn't one of those things that ranks high on a resume in our society, so I will definitely be going back to the drawing board after all these years of "volunteer" employment.

That's all for now. Hope the headers help a bit with the segways, but if not, let me know. Cheers ~

"When I heard the guy

Leonid's picture

"When I heard the guy accentuate "sustainable" I turned it off."
When I heard "we totally depend on environment"-I did the same

Just came across a thought

LuckyPenne's picture

Just came across a thought posted by Frediano in an impossible altruistic scenario:

"To value everything/everybody equally is to value nothing/nobody at all." Is this a (paraphrased) quote from Ayn? If so, I can see where the Venus Project (VP) would appear contradictory to Objectivist values. OTOH, I get the idea that Jacque Fresco is proposing a "do-over" society such as Atlantis, without the exchange rates, where everyone starts from scratch (no pirate-aided banking ventures) and builds from there, using natural resources (gold included.)

Howard Roark's sentiment brought it home to me, and I thought of its possible influence on Jacque's philosophical ideal: "Before you can do things for people, you must be the kind of man who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing, not the people! Your own work, not any possible object of your charity. I'll be glad if men who need it find a better method of living in the house I built, but that's not the motive of my work, nor my reason, nor my reward! My reward, my purpose, my life, is the work itself - my work done my way! Nothing else matters to me!" [Emphasis mine.-pa]

It's been a while since I read up on the particulars of the radically down-sized government in the VP model, but my husband rankled at the idea of entertaining any sort of cooperative, joint venture as free enterprise. I simply said that I don't see the difference in hiring others to assist in business or trading services for services, gold, etc., as long as it's solely geared toward voluntary consent (non-coerced, non-mandated, that is.) Of course, there's every possibility that I miscommunicated these observations to my spouse, just as Mark felt confused by my original post. That's how you learn!

As I understand it, the foundation of Jacque's vision is based on the premise that all are capable of becoming responsible producers (being a self-taught, self-made man himself,) and those who prefer free capitalism are welcome to practice their craft, as well. As long as the gold were being put to good use (rational trading included,) I can't see why this wouldn't be considered a productive activity. Interesting twist to a resource-based economy, eh? Thinking all the time ~ I AM! Smiling

Hi, Mark! Just dropped you a

LuckyPenne's picture

Hi, Mark! Just dropped you a note on the Tiger thread Smiling For clarification's sake, it wasn't me that said SOLO appeared to be a socialist agenda in disguise; that was my husband's conclusion after poring over the website in response to my FB Note.

It wasn't until I read the comments to this blog post that I began to seriously question his assessment (which struck me as rather ironic in light of this discussion,) and thought I'd see if someone here might have a clue as to what would impress him so. Perhaps there are other non-/anti-Objectivist/controversial blog articles which he could have mistaken for true SOLO views?

I just came across Dr. Hudgins' post on his interview with Stossel, which should give dear hubby pause for reflection. Stossel is the one who gave him the final incentive to read Rand's work, which is a tidbit I added to my bio earlier.

As for "noninflammatory" aspirations, that falls in with the SOLO guideline for responding in "good faith, good will and good humour," as I "prefer persuasion to prejudice, intimidation, bullying or unwarranted disgust in any way, shape or form." I'm glad to see you aren't one of the posters who stooped below rational standards.

Regrets for the confusion you're experiencing with my post -- had a lot to say and rushed to get it down on virtual paper (late here on the East Coast, US.) Tweaked the bio a bit as mentioned above, which might help clear things up. I see there's a limited editing window here in the comment section. BBL!

Lucky said: After following

Mark Hubbard's picture

Lucky said:

After following my lead and giving the SOLO site the once-over, my husband concluded that not only was I "one of them," but that I'd happened upon a socialist agenda in disguise.

Huh?

There would be no way to rationally arrive at that conclusion. Although I'm having trouble understanding your post, it seems to go off in several different directions, none of which are then resolved, Lucky.

But given you say in your bio you are 'brand new' to Objectivism, and really, you've only just read Atlas Shrugged, then saying on your very first post of this site you think you've 'happened upon a socialist agenda in disguise', is not only a pretty long bow to draw, it's a pretty dishonest one, isn't it.

But then, as I said, I find your post difficult to understand.

Um, per your bio - 'discovered the SOLO site while googling for a rational, noninflammatory exchange ..."

I reckon you'd better strap in for a bit of a bumpy ride.

Lindsay's response?

LuckyPenne's picture

So, I just surfed in and read through the comments, but didn't see Lindsay's response to Mike, and wondered if he had a little more "Rational passion and passionate reason" to offer than I've seen so far.

Thought I'd keep it brief here since my profile bio ran long; my interest in this particular exchange is explained in detail there (for those who really wanna know Eye ) I linked to this blog post in a Note* on my Facebook page (before I finished "Atlas Shrugged" or perused the commentary here, FYI.) After following my lead and giving the SOLO site the once-over, my husband concluded that not only was I "one of them," but that I'd happened upon a socialist agenda in disguise.

I'm not sure whether he caught all the commentary himself (signed up before I thought to ask,) but the folks who labeled West a troll and an ignorant commie-lover (in so many words) sounded like they'd get along swell with our most avid Rand fan here at home.

* http://www.facebook.com/luckyp...

For those who opted out of reading my profile introduction -- I'm an Objectivist noob who's not afraid to voice my opinion in good faith, good will and good humour, and prefer persuasion to prejudice, intimidation, bullying or unwarranted disgust in any way, shape or form. Thanks in advance for your thoughtful consideration Smiling

Oil companies are currently

jimmybond09's picture

Oil companies are currently preparing to spend vast sums of money to inject CO2 into stable rock formations deep underground. This is for the sole purpose of getting rid of it, in order to please government bureaucrats, sundry NGO meddlers, and misinformed members of the general public. The alleged benefit of this unconscionable waste of human effort is to prevent our planet from becoming too warm, by reducing the contribution of CO2 to the greenhouse effect (Education Thesis). This, despite the fact that the degree of warming caused by a greenhouse gas is merely a logarithmic function of its concentration in ambient air (i.e. that significant percentage increases in CO2, or any other triatomic gas, will yield only diminishing returns of increased reflectance of infrared light from the upper atmosphere.
Business Thesis | Biology Thesis

Myquest

sharon's picture

 

 

The implicit implication when you speak of “purchasing power” sounds positive, (as in how sad are those who lack it) but yet you speak despairingly of the monetary system. I’m having troubling reconciling this apparent contradiction.

 

Hi Sharon, Re slavery -

Myquest's picture

Hi Sharon,

Re slavery - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...

No more to be said on this as it's likely we'll agree to disagree, I don't wish to assume but figure you're with the likes of Krugman and Norberg. 

Mass waste
= all the crap that gets produced when products are made with inferior
materials (such as the junk Walmart sells), causing them to break down
far quicker than neccessary. Imagine having a car that didn't require
maintainance for 100 years, this technology exists. In a resource based
economy, you will have ready access to any piece of extraordinary
technology you require. Things will be built to last. There is also the
waste that gets pumped into the atmosphere (3 million tonnes in the US
per annum). More efficient means of production exist. I'm not even
going to enter the global warming debate with you because it's not a
relevent whether it's happening or not...point is that dirty air no
good for us, dirty water no good for us either. Landfills (surely no
matter what school of economics you adhere to) ain't a good thing. 

Objectivist
defination aside (don't think the word force is trademarked just yet),
if someone needs a product (not wants, needs) and has limited
purchasing power and no means to produce it or aquire it elsewhere for
less money, they are forced to buy what they can afford to.

If I was a leftist intellectual, I would probably be quite happy with the below quote. As it turns out, i'm not.

 

"Owners
of capital will stimulate the working class to buy more and more expensive
goods, and houses, pushing them to take more and more expensive credits, until
debt becomes unbearable.

The
unpaid debt will lead to the bankruptcy of banks, which will have to be
nationalized, and the State will have to take the road which will eventually
lead to Communism." *

 

 Karl
Marx, 1867
.
DAS
KAPITAL

 This is not a good option is it. 

 

As mentioned in a previous post, we on earth now have enough resources and
technological understanding to create a society of such abundance that
everything we have now could be available without a price tag and
without the need for submission through employment. Again, any true capable reason and logic utilising Objectivist would prosper in this environment. The would have free access to any resource we produce naturally or artificially in abundance with which to create with, free access to equipment and all the time in the world with which to create.

"People
would be free to pursue whatever constructive field of endeavour they
chose, without the economic pressures, restraints, and taxation that
are inherent in the monetary system. By constructive endeavour, we mean
anything that enhances the lives of individual and others. When
education and resources are available to all without a price tag, there
will be no limit to human potential. With these major alterations,
people will live longer more meaningful and healthier lives. The
measure of success would be fulfilling one’s individual pursuits,
rather than acquiring wealth, property and power. This proposal is not
Utopian or Orwellian, nor does it reflect the dreams of impractical
idealists. Instead, it offers attainable goals requiring only the
intelligent application of what we already know. The only limitations
are those which we impose on ourselves." Jacque Fresco from "The Best that Money Can’t Buy – Beyond politics, poverty and war"

 

 

 

Further...

sharon's picture

Molyneux's post shows that he clearly lacks understanding. He's both defensive and over-emotional, traits most Objectivists wouldn't identify with. If he were to watch the orientation he'd be able to derive greater understanding.

You describe me as an intelligent person, and yet you try to pull this little stunt. Shame. How am I supposed to respond to this? It is an empty assertion backed up by no given examples or counter arguments. I can’t wrestle with fog, and I can’t argue against an argument that hasn’t been made. Could you please be more specific in how Molyneux lacks understanding?

 

 

Myquest

sharon's picture

 

What is your own opinion on Walmart by the way? I'm no bleeding heart liberal, and understand only too well that raising wages will cut profits and can potentially make a business fall behind in the marketpace, but suggesting that slavery and mass waste is cool because the consumer wants it isn't really fair play, is it? I've been in an asian sweatshop, i've been to many a Walmart beaten down town, and neither are pretty. The mom and pop stores can't compete on price, sure they can compete by offering personalised and improved service, but if people in the community don't have purchasing power, they don't have choice and have to go to Walmart.  

I can’t go into any depth to your post just yet, but before doing so a few clarifications: What are you defining as “slavery” in the sentence above—and what “mass waste” are you speaking of?  In regards to mom and pop stores versus Wal-Mart, it is up to each individual in a given community to decide for themselves where they care to offer their business. If a person doesn’t have “purchasing power” (perhaps for being poor, a student, frugal or whatever) he or she isn't “forced” to do anything! You seem fairly well versed in Objectivism to know that “force” has a very specific meaning and the manner of force Objectivism object to—and that is physical force. I agree with that stand point.

On the other hand, such a person may very well decide to splurge and go to the mom and pop shop for the very reasons you stated: improved service and pleasant personalities. People do value those things. We aren’t just economic creatures.   

By your own word, Myquest, you aren’t a Leftist intellectual, as you assert, but you sure in hell take certain lines of arguments that are cookie cut-out prototypes of Leftist stances.  

Is that okay for my own (italicized own) view on the matter? 

 

Hope you aren't a troll. ;]   

 

 

 

Sophisticated troll

Brant Gaede's picture

That's all. 

--Brant

Hi Sharon, As stated in

Myquest's picture

Hi Sharon,

As stated in my last post, I agree with everything covered in Zeitgeist: Addendum, sans further research. Thanks for the Molyneux link. I must say I agree with his view on violence and the state. In NZ it's becoming more and more prevailant as more ridiculous laws are introduced and I expect an intelligent woman such as yourself can tell that it's going to get significantly worse, irrespective of the party in power. Who ever you vote for, government still gets in, right? And yes, we are staring down the barrel of global communism incase you hadn't noticed, and what this movie suggests, irrespective of your opinion, is a real viable alternative. Government will not voluntarily downsize, whatever you or I may wish. BUT, it may be rendered obsolete and become displaced when it becomes widely realised that all they can actually do is create laws, allocate budgets and declare war.

Now,

Our James Taggert lookalike friend in the video appears quite upset. His worldview is being challenged, and he doesn't like it. Hey, who does? But no matter how right any of us think we are concerning anything, fact is that we are an emergent species perpertually changing and discovering new things. As mentioned in a previous post, there is nothing wrong with updating ones perspective when new information comes to hand. What this movie presents is new information, but most will try to categorise it based on what they already know. Life is a hell of a lot easier with stereotypes. 

What is your own opinion on Walmart by the way? I'm no bleeding heart liberal, and understand only too well that raising wages will cut profits and can potentially make a business fall behind in the marketpace, but suggesting that slavery and mass waste is cool because the consumer wants it isn't really fair play, is it? I've been in an asian sweatshop, i've been to many a Walmart beaten down town, and neither are pretty. The mom and pop stores can't compete on price, sure they can compete by offering personalised and improved service, but if people in the community don't have purchasing power, they don't have choice and have to go to Walmart. The majority of people in these small towns certainly don't have access to capital in order to get ahead and compete via starting alternative businesses either. 

Are you willing to further your level of understanding? If not, I can appreciate that. One only gets a certain amount of spare time hey? Easier to see what your favourite debunker has to say, right?

Addendum doens't say automation is bad. It suggests we utilise it. Molyneux talks about barter, where there is no form of barter, no requirement for currency (difficult for many to comprehend of course, particularly for those whose identity is revolved around having made money). To those people I say, keep Howard Roark in mind. As mentioned, he would love a resource based economy. He build the best (most functional - think the resort he built) buildings, but because he didn't have mass appeal he struggled to get the capital to construct them. He loved the building and designing processes themselves, not the money and ego identification that potentially could have come with his work.

The "creepy blond Aryan black and white guy" is an Indian man called J Krishnamurti, a writer and philosopher. 

Molyneux's post shows that he clearly lacks understanding. He's both defensive and over-emotional, traits most Objectivists wouldn't identify with. If he were to watch the orientation he'd be able to derive greater understanding.

To Lindsay

Waiting patiently for your response, private message is of course fine. Would be happy to make time to discuss over a coffee also if you're based in Auckland. 

"Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises, you will find that one of them is wrong" 

Ayn Rand

 

 

 

 

 

     

Myquest's picture

 

 

 

Slam dunk Sharon

gregster's picture

"tears a new asshole into it" I like that.

(I watched 12min of your Molyneux, haven't bothered with Addendum at all)

Myquest

sharon's picture

Your question is a good one, and my answer is yes, I do agree with everything covered in Zeitgeist: Addendum.

I thought you were going to answer this question in the affirmative. I would have put money on it. ;]

 

In this Youtube presentation, philosopher Stefan Molyneux reviews the movie, and, basically, he tears a new asshole into it. Let’s just say that Molyneux and I are of one mind on this. Listen, enjoy--and keep an open mind.

Zeitgeist: Addendum.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1JcUBx2dxU

 

That's easy

Brant Gaede's picture

Go get yourself a student loan and Pell Grant and study pottery making. You can do it now! (Twit. This whole thing is twitism.)

--Brant

In short, yes the monetary

Myquest's picture

In short, yes the monetary system is a necessary and funamental aspect of capitalism. Yes money is the fiat standard. Yes, theoretically it measures the value of products. It does not in any way allow for efficient allocation of resources.

A very relevant attribute of Monetary Economics is the "Theory of Value". The level of a product or service's 'value' is essentially from two factors

1) the scarcity (availability) of the materials used.

2) The amount of human labour required to produce a product/service.

Basically the notion of "economic value" as a seemingly static economic notion is now being overhauled by technological influence (incrasing ease of production/material abundance), which could, theoretically, eliminate the notion of 'value' entirely.

The pattern of constant technological improvement coupled with automated machinery can theoretically create an economic environment where the abundance of materials and production mediums are so high and efficient, most humans will have little need to 'purchase' anything, let alone 'work for a living', in the traditional sense.

Money has been a brilliant medium for exchange. However, never before have we had the ability to create such huge abundance. Imagine spending your days creating/building/learning whatever you wanted (assuming there are abundant resources of the raw materials you wish to play with) whenever you wanted. I suggest you research further if you want to know more, and please don't take my word for any of it. 

 

Hi Sharon, A

Myquest's picture

Hi Sharon,

A market-anarchist. Interesting idea. Who makes the laws? I'd envisage it being privy to corruption like other systems based on the monetary system. If the security firm makes more money when more people purchase their service, would it not encourage the security firm to be quite happy (and perhaps encourage) more crime to be commited?

Your question is a good one, and my answer is yes, I do agree with everything covered in Zeitgeist: Addendum. Not based only on content in the film, but upon further research about topics covered including but not limited to Jacque Fresco, The Venus Project, recent technological advances, etc etc etc

What corrupts the free-market? Government regulation of course, but also corporations doing the following 

As taken from the Orientation manual

"planned obsolescence, market manipulation, outsourcing, price fixing, monopolistic collusion, labour exploitation and governmental collusion"

 

 

 

Myquest

sharon's picture

 

I’m not an Objectivist, but I was at one time. I’m a market-anarchist. This being so, it puts me outside of the Objectivist framework--although I am largely with Rand in the other philosophical departments.

A simple question: is there anything about the film Zeitgeist: Addendum that you are critical about, or do you think it is pretty spot on?   

Also, you speak of the free-market being “corrupted,” I was wondering what that consists of? What corrupts the free-market? Government regulation or if left to its own devices or…?      

 

 

 

Myquest

Callum McPetrie's picture

The monetary system is a necessary and fundamental aspect of capitalism -money is the standard and measure of the value of products, and as thus allows for efficient allocation of resources.

"Crony capitalism" is a product of government intervention in the economy, not the price system itself.

"Socialism may be dead, but its corpse is still rotting up the place." -Ayn Rand

Hi Sharon, Hoping you're

Myquest's picture

Hi Sharon,

Hoping you're not tarring me with that brush when you make your first point?

What we are seeing now is what invariably happens to the free market when it is corrupted. In a monetary system corruption is rewarded therefore it will inevitably occur. One cannot afford not to in a highly competitive marketplace.

I would like to read your book. Though it was published in 1988, making it antiquated. I urge you to watch the Orientation via the link in my first post. I am not a Leftist intellectual. I would love to see a free marketplace ala Galt's Gulch in action. However, we won't, not because it's not the best system we've heard of (perhaps it is, perhaps it isn't), but because it would be like using a manual drills on a job when we have access to electric drills (and using this same anology, I would say that at the moment "crony capitalism" uses broken fingers and drill bits with no drill). Keep an open mind. Critique using logic. Show your objectivist colours Smiling

Mike

 

 

Myquest

sharon's picture

Free market capitalism, it seems to me, is too prone to corruption and collusion.

Here we have the typical "collusion argument" which is often used against the free market by Leftist intellectuals. It can’t happen: collusion among companies raises the profits of breaking that collusion---and, if I understand human nature at all, PROFIT is very appealing.

I would suggest you read 'Economics in One Lesson' by Henry Hazlitt for a full refutation against collusions. If you disagree...your bitch is against this most brilliant man and the free-market...not so much me. ;]

 

 

As you wish, and yes that

Myquest's picture

As you wish, and yes that is my name Smiling

 

Myquest's picture

 

Hi Callum, "proper

Myquest's picture

Hi Callum,

"proper capitalism" 

What do you mean by this? Do you mean an environment in which one does not have a gun held to his head forcing him to pay tax? An environment in which a man can be free to actualise his creations using his mind, his hands and any resource he may wish to use? An environment where he is recognised for his contribution? Such variables are consistant with both a resource-based economy AND unmollested capitalism. Only one of which, as far as I can see, is a future potentiality. Capitalism exists in a monetary system, a system in which corruption is rewarded. Capitalism will always be privy to corruption for this very reason (unfortunately), as we see today in the form of "crony capitalism" 

 

Oh, boy ...

Brant Gaede's picture

I'm not watching a 1 1/2 hour movement video. After a couple of minutes, it was obvious these guys think my property is their property.

--Brant

Mr. West ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... if that is indeed your name: show your face and I'll answer you.

"Free market capitalism, it

Callum McPetrie's picture

"Free market capitalism, it seems to me, is too prone to corruption and collusion."

Myquest, what do you mean by this?

Remember, if it's crony capitalism that you think of, that that is a product of government intervention in the economy than proper Capitalism.

"Socialism may be dead, but its corpse is still rotting up the place." -Ayn Rand

Hmmm, not sure about more

Myquest's picture

Hmmm, not sure about more logical, certainly the more relevant as far as providing positive direction for the future is concerned though. Happy to see someone on this site has seen it. Individualism would flourish within a resource-based economy, much moreso than in this mess we see now. Cheers

Gregster "Reason is not

Myquest's picture

Gregster

"Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquored by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone" Ayn Rand

Think i'll leave you alone Smiling

Idiot

gregster's picture

What do they say? Give 'em enough rope..

  Addendum is the more

katietigerhead's picture

 

Addendum is the more logical film out of the two btw 

 

Gregster: Frame of

Myquest's picture

Gregster:

Frame of reference case in point. It's isn't capitalism....therefore it must be communism. It used the word sustainable, therefore it must be communism. We stick to beliefs that make our lives easier or have more meaning, and objectivism certainly is a way to empower one to live a fulfilling life. That said, we are an emergent species, continually learning new things about all sorts of things. It is built into our culture that to be wrong about an issue is a bad thing. It isn't, because often (not always) one has to be wrong in order to achieve things. Many of Einstein's experiments didn't work first time. Socialism, communism, capitalism, all failed experiments. Free market capitalism, it seems to me, is too prone to corruption and collusion. Please keep an open mind if you can. The first step is understanding. Imagine automation that allowed you all the time in the world to create instead of working a mundane job...to persue creative interests as much as you like, to travel the world for free at close to 4000kmph on a train (this technology exists). Try the movie rather than the slideshow, it's more easy going.

Ross:

"Communism being similar to a resourse-based economy is an erroneous concept. Communism has money, banks, armies, police, prisons, charismatic personalities, social stratification, and is managed by appointed leaders" Jacque Fresco. Watch the movie free at www.zeitgeistmovie.com. Understanding takes time. Keep an open mind and look at this system using reason and logic, two qualities a true objectivist utilises without fail.

John:

How can a good idea be applicable at anytime in history? The knowledge enabling one to build machines than can build machines is (relatively) recent. The ability to artificially create resources is relatively recent too (think diamonds). It's time to implement existing knowledge for the betterment of all, surely you'd agree? Do you think we still need petrol to run our cars? Of course not? There is NOTHING wrong with acquiring new knowledge my man, and if you don't do it, you will fall well behind. Rigidity does nothing for us. Watch the film Smiling

 

Awaiting the comments of Mr Perigo

Yes, Commie bastards

gregster's picture

When I heard the guy accentuate "sustainable" I turned it off.

(This word was of course appropriated by the commies for its modern usage.)

"There is no tax, and there is no government." So it's only half-way there?

Move along.

Oh, it doesn't just sound like communism...

Ross Elliot's picture

...it *is* communism.

How, with the evidence of history people can still believe in this pap, is almost beyond comprehension.

Remember the hoary lie about communism: the state withering away, leaving individuals free to self-organise? This is it, in video form.

Safe to stick to Objectivism guys! :-)

John Ericson's picture

I think it's safe to stick to Objectivism guys! Smiling

To Michael:

When I quickly judge an idea such as this I generally use two rules of thumb:
- A good idea should be applicable at anytime in history.
- A good idea should be able to prove itself on a small scale.

When I quickly glimpsed the Google Video I got the impression that your political philosophy relies on modern technology and being implemented globally. Not good requirements for a political philosophy according to my book.

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