[FoRK] The future of politics (cont'd)

Aaron Burt aaron at bavariati.org
Thu Feb 11 23:01:45 PST 2010

On Thu, Feb 11, 2010 at 09:52:36PM -0600, Jeff Bone wrote:
> Aaron says:
> > Yes [internet] I [space race] remember [railroads] how [computers] the
> > [industrial chemistry] government [modern agriculture] has [nuclear tech]
> > consistently [scientific research] worked [UAVs] to [patents] defer [R&D
> > funding] and [protective tariffs] suppress ["green tech" incentives] newer
> > [DARPA etc.] technologies.
> Well, gosh, Aaron, thank you for setting the record straight! <snip>

I'm afraid I didn't make my point.  But if you don't like having a
government, move to Somalia.  If you merely want a government that serves
your particular set of whims, I'm sure there's some country that needs a
new tyrant.  Sorry, but I'm having a hard time telling your position apart
from a confused sort of Aynarchism.

> Can government have a positive impact on technological innovation?  Of
> course, though [caveat] usually in basic research and funding thereof.  

...And in regulatory choices that make new technologies necessary or
cost-effective, subsidized/guaranteed loans to businesspeople, buying early
production (that's a big one), import tariffs and other protectionist
measures (that was big before the revival of the Church of Free Trade), et
cetera and ad nauseam.  You already know all this stuff.

> Listing all the things that government provided the seed for is easy.
> Figuring out all the chilling effects it has had and must have is harder,
> and requires some degree of [un, apparently] common sense and analytical
> determination.

Religious fervor often substitutes for the latter.

<snip a flattering amount of considered yet snide response and rebuttal>

> Seriously, the point I was attempting to make is that disruptive
> innovation threatens monopolistic and oligarchical interests, always,
> definitionally.

Your point being:
0. Innovation is always good.
1. Entities don't like innovations that seem to interfere with their power
and/or functioning, and try to suppress them.
2. Governments are entities.
3. Therefore governments will try to suppress some innovations, which is bad.

It's good of you to identify one of the many sorts of entity that might
suppress innovation.  Even given its power and monopoly position in some
areas, it's not an entity I would worry so much about, compared to the many
other entities that have little to no transparency, accountability or legal
restraints, and who are dedicated to short-term profitibility and CEO
aggrandizement rather than the public good.

As long as we're recognizably human, we're stuck with governments.  You and
I happen to live in a country that has pretty good ones, all things
considered.  Bitch about them all you like, or bitch about the tyranny of
backward-compatibility or the speed of light.  It's just as effective.

Better to work toward the greatest good with what we got,

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