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Re: Workers Paradise. /Political rant.

At 5:06 PM 9/13/96, Asgaard wrote:
>From a
>pure egotistical viewpoint I really should join the present calls
>for, as the debate goes here in Sweden, transforming the enemployed
>into 'maids and servants'. But I don't. I think it would backlash;
>the 'lower classes' would come back at us and cut our throats
>eventually (say, when 70% are serving the remaining 30%).

The 70% already _are_ cutting the throats of the other 30%. It's called a
60%+ tax rate. This is the sum of: federal income tax, state income tax,
city tax, sales tax, gas tax, energy tax, property tax, entertainment tax,
special excise taxes on alcohol, cigarettes, etc., and miscellaneous other
taxes tacked on...not to mention the "double taxation" of certain forms of
income--every dollar Intel earns is taxed first at 48% by the Feds and the
State of California, then what's left is taxed at 35-40% when it reaches
the owners of the company. (Oh, and buyers of PCs containing Intel chips
pay 8.25% for the privilege of buying the PC.)

The masses have realized, as De Tocqueville predicted 150 years ago, that
they can use the democratic process to pick the pockets of others. This is
why I have no faith in "democracy," and consider crypto anarchy to be the
best way to undermine this flawed system.

>With the present rate of increase in world population the planet
>will go to hell anyway. But suppose the population problem could
>be fixed. Then, with technology escalating towards singularity,

Cf. what sociologists call "the demographic transition." Countries that
value learning and wealth are _not_ facing a population problem. In fact,
many such countries are now at "below replacement" birth levels.

>machines doing almost all labor, there could certainly exist a
>system where the 'dumb' and 'lazy' could be fed and housed properly
>without anybody complaining. Those who want to become maids and
>servants for some extra pocket money, well, good luck to them.

One need not wait for this fanciful "singularity"--by any reasonable
standards of providing minimal food and minimal shelter, the unemployed
poor of today are receiving this. Ask a peasant of, say, 18th century
Europe if he'd consider himself sheltered and fed if he could have an
apartment in a building, a microwave oven, a television, a MacDonald's
nearby, and enough extra spending money for some beer.

I predict that "the masses fed by the nanotechnological singularity" will
be just as likely to riot and burn down their own neighborhoods as the
"masses fed by industrialization and distribution" are prone to do today.
(The point being that people want more than "basic food and shelter," but
are often unwilling to make the commitments and sacrifices in their lives
to gain the wherewithal to earn significant salaries.)

>But to force people into menial service jobs just to literally
>survive is not to my taste. No, give them minimal shelter for
>nothing and from there on let the market anarcho-capitalistic
>struggle begin, for obtaining a higher than minimum material
>standard or reputational standing.

There is a basic error here, one that I see often. Who says that the
"anarcho-capitalists" will freely give away, say, some vast fraction of
their profits so as to subsidize the overall society? Any more so than the
owners of flour mills and computer chip companies give away 99% of their

And crypto anarchy means it will not be clear who is making what, who is
generating what income, and where it is located. And the producers of
wealth will be able to move accounts, resources, and even factories around
the world. If one jurisdiction socks them with exorbitant taxes (which may
be anything more than a nearly ignorable 10% overall tax), they can move.
Regulatory arbitrage strikes again.

Ask your fellow Swedes about the drain of talent out of Sweden in the 60s
and 70s...the flight of Bergmann, actors and actresses, corporations, and
even ABBA. (Though I understand most of ABBA moved back to Sweden and is
now chummy with the Queen.)

--Tim May

We got computers, we're tapping phone lines, I know that that ain't allowed.
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
[email protected]  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1,257,787-1 | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."