[FoRK] Chart of the Day...

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Thu Jun 10 14:38:00 PDT 2010

On Jun 10, 2010, at 1:08 PM, Stephen Williams wrote:

> "In the long term, we're all dead."  Don't borrow problems you can't have.  For some value of "forever", yes.

I was mostly razzing you, but --- in all seriousness --- I tend to think that you tend to want to solve what you think are the extrapolations of today's problems with the extrapolations of today's potential solutions.  I think the real problem is anticipating the novel problems and attempting to come up with their solutions.  Or, if you want to be pragmatic, then at least solving today's problems with today's potential solutions.  Neither of those approaches seems to be in vogue around here lately.  We waffle from immediate pressing problems to assumptions of things which are not imminent, such as massive increases in per capita energy budgets, massive social changes for which there is no linear path from here, etc.  It's rather silly, and my statement about "long-term" thinking was merely an attempt to illustrate the absurdity by example.

> What resources are really finite, given unlimited time and energy?  

Well, you can't really make that argument given your previous admonishment, can you?

So first, let's start with how to increase available time and energy beyond today's limits.

> True, people will always create scarcity in their minds.  However, it's pretty clear what a baseline should consist of on the low end and reasonably clear we should strive for (certain levels of education, comfort, medical care).

Nope, doesn't work --- those are relatives, not absolutes.  Who's to say what "comfort" means in a few decades?  Our grandparents surely think we're all spoiled brats today...

>> My point in this is straightforward: focus on equalizing outcomes is a losing proposition, and always will be. Any notion of "social justice" built on that assumption is pollyanna and flawed.
> Who said anything about "equalizing outcomes" or "social justice"??  Not me.  

No, I did --- that was the point I was edging towards.

All attempts at social engineering --- even the thought experiment kind that is apparently a favorite of yours and some others here on the list, mea culpa --- anticipate outcomes.  IMHO, while amusing and perhaps enlightening, the results are rarely actionable.  When actionable, they are rarely effective.

BTW, have I mentioned how much your anti-downer utopia --- like all utopias --- in fact begs the worst kind of tyranny possible?

But we'll leave that for another time.


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