[FoRK] Where Obama should be raked over the coals...

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Sep 20 09:34:11 PDT 2010

  On 9/19/10 7:48 AM, Jeff Bone wrote:
> ...
> There's an easy answer to the first:  incorporation (absent first-class status of non-human corporate entities.)  Equity.

Yes, one way or another, participants in a society (or planet) have equity in it.

> Barnes' _Capitalism 3.0_ gives a close approximation of this idea, but, like others who generally throw out the commons problem as any kind of defense against propertarian rights, fails to provide an adequate framework for the rights he posits.
> The freedom-to-associate / -disassociate idea solves the problem intrasociety (in a manner suited to each such society) but does not solve the problem intersociety.  The solution to that problem should be obvious.  (Nudge, Stephen.)
> Another nudge for Stephen, since he seems to be stuck:  the problem isn't to define the perfect society that solves all the problems *you* hold dear.  It's to figure out a way to allow people --- *everybody* --- to operate within systems of their choice that solve the problems *they each* hold dear.

I don't feel so stuck.  For one thing, I have little interest in supporting everyone trying to solve any random "problem".  I would 
not, for instance, support groups actively trying to spread ignorance, prejudice, and other regressive memes.  I'm all for people 
experimenting with various constructive strategies, but not repeating mistakes of past (feudal, dictatorships, centrally controlled 
communism), and for choosing what part of known problems to focus on (i.e. knowledge gaps to be filled, things to be done).

> One last bit:  what is "money?"  How does that differ from "currency?"  Clearly you have artificial constraints and lack of sufficient elasticity when one assumes an arbitrary commodity money.  Just as clearly, hopefully, a purely abstract fiat currency is also difficult.  Might it be possible to use the above concept of equity-in-commons to define a more robust notion of currency?

Yes, I think so.  There's something good about fiat, something good about "fixed" value, and something good with more situation 
specific barter / trade / mutual arrangement solutions.  Many contract and informal situations include, in effect, private 
currencies with various characteristics, including complex time- (and other) based non-linear value differentials.   Much of this 
situational currency (sitcur?) is too fluid, nuanced, and evolving and often individual / group specific to even be discussed much, 
let alone standardized, measured, or quantified.  Sometimes it is mapped, directly or indirectly, to the general currency/money, and 
it is often mentioned as "additional benefits" or "other considerations".  For instance, career job choices often involve many 
variables in addition to pay.  Some of these (e.g. learning on the job / experience, connections) can be mapped to future pay while 
others may have great value but have negative pay consequences (location, aesthetics, "fun").  I don't know if most economists feel 
these don't exist because they can't be measured easily, or that they realize they have to stick to what can be measured well, or 
that it is very interesting/important and they try to factor it in or wish they could.  In any case, with anyone with good 
experience with life at all, these factors are often overriding.

In my efficient constructive society ideas, a key motivating idea is to work to prevent discontinuity and conflict between costs & 
overhead (like land/living expenses) and real value (constructiveness & happiness).  One thing that comes up repeatedly is 
engineering around internal and external forces that allow or tend to produce cost spirals.  One natural example is scarcity: If you 
make a location that is attractive, more people will want to be there, and the price will naturally rise until it is just barely 
better to be there than the alternatives.  You can engineer out scarcity to a large degree in various ways, plus you can operate on 
agreements that value different aspects in different ways with different sitcur / money.  You want to make your overall efficiency 
very competitive to the external world so that you have a trading advantage, while making the interior living environment fun, 
positive, growth- and health-oriented, but with positivist barriers to entry that prevent a stampede / overrun and breakage of the 

China has a model similar to this except that it runs on some very negative dynamics: poverty, relatively miserable conditions, 
physically and mentally unhealthy situations, fairly backward society (at the farms and rural factories, probably), clumsy 
strong-arm non-democratic government etc.  They certainly are not going to have an immigration problem to those practically slave 
factories.  They have plenty of people, land, and other resources.  Food can't be easy.  They have customers.  They practically need 
to kill people off by working them to death.  However, they do have people living, learning, and constructively working in a very 
competitive (in certain segments) way.  Clearly, they have cheap land / rent, cheap food, probably little health care, cheap 
entertainment, etc.

They need to upgrade while staying efficient and the rest of the world needs to find ways to be more efficient while having as good 
or better quality of life.  I don't think it can be done by piecemeal upgrade of rural America.  The traditional production and 
growth methods produce traditional scarcity-inflated results where overhead rises to eat nearly all potential profits.

> $0.02,
What a deal!  Here's a buck!

> jb

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