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Old September 6 2012, 05:14 PM   #67
Location: Kentucky
Re: Why isn't Internet free for everyone yet?

Deks wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post

I can't say that anyone I know has ever actually believed this. The closest I've ever heard is "money is the only motivation for mercenaries," which isn't really the same thing.
I've also predominantly met people in my life who don't ascribe to this rule necessarily... but, that doesn't change the premise that the system we live in operates on it.
Most people for that matter within the current system have barely enough to live, let alone help anyone else.
Then who is giving the charities all the billions of dollars they collect every year, in most cases from small donors? Who is giving money to all the churches? Who is buying all the $200 purses and shoes? Yes, there are people who are poor, and a great many people have been poor and then climbed out because having more things is an incentive to keep trying new options and new jobs.

How many people lost their homes and ended up on the streets due to insane debts that they could never pay off?

Or how many people in USA today are in debt to the banks or some other institution in some capacity?
And those are strong disincentives to bad decision making. If we could run up huge debts without any downside, everyone would do it - all the time.

The worlds economy is based on debt... which is how money is generated.
How does the USA plan to pay off its trillions large debt? Or any other country/nation for that matter?
Simple answer is... they can't - because they are blinded by the notion of 'money' and 'cost' so much that they can't see anything else besides it and think that more money is the answer (and we've seen how that turned out).
No, the world's economy is based on making goods and services that people want. I think you might need a simple explaination of capitalism.

People needed stuff to survive (spears, clay pots, berries, game, clothes, huts). We came to really like having stuff, and learned to make stuff ourselves. The way to have more stuff is to make more stuff, and the more stuff you make the more stuff you have. If you're not good at making stuff you want, make stuff somebody else wants and then trade it with them to get the stuff you want. If you notice two people with lots of stuff they don't want, who want different stuff, arrange a trade for them and haul their stuff to customers, keeping a small part of the traded stuff for yourself. If you just sit on your butt and demand stuff from other people, they might give you junk, but they won't give you good stuff, so you'd better figure out a better angle or get motivated to start making something they want.

It's so simple that we don't have to teach people to do this, we just teach them how to make particular kinds of stuff. Immigrants can show up from anywhere and they'll start making stuff, and trading, and buying and selling stuff, even if they come from communist countries where trade was illegal.

When Marx and Engels would send communist agitators to the US, they'd always disappear. America became known to them as "the graveyard of communists." Then they sent more communists to track down the missing ones, and invariably found that the missing ones had realized they could open a store or a shop in America (which was very difficult in most of Europe at the time), and had immediately done so, abandoning communism completely.

90% of the things ANYONE does are free. Take you, right now, reading this message. Are you getting paid to read forum posts or respond to them? Are you making any money typing your response? Did I make any money raising my son for the past three and a half years, and if I turn out to be a better father than my own, do I get a bonus in the end?

Of course not. But then... if I offered you a choice between posting on trekbbs for $3 an hour or mopping floors at WalMart for $20 an hour, and you can only pick one of the two, which one would you pick?
If I live in a socio-economic system where I have to have money in order to survive (let alone do anything else), I'd probably pick the higher paying option so I can ensure I have enough to live and maybe secure some kind of savings in the long run for other things.

That choice is a mere byproduct of a system I live in and doesn't demonstrate anything besides the premise that a person goes for the higher paid option simply because it offers more access than a lower paid option so they can ensure they don't have to worry about those things in the first place.

But... financially situated people... or even those who have their needs met already would probably pick the low paid option (posting on TrekBBS) or even do it for free - myself included (plus I've already done that).
That choice is part of the market for labor. To lure a worker from posting on a Trek board, Walmart has to offer more money. To lure a worker from the NFL or NBA, they'd have to offer a lot more money.

If you eliminate money from the equation though completely and base an economy around access abundance and user-ship, if there's a need to mop a floor of a Wal-Mart for an hour or two, fine, I'd do it (and with high enough rotation of people, you'd only need to do it for a fraction of the time, which would take say an hour depending on the size needed to be cleaned) - even though it would be unnecessary since that can also be automated.
And there's the problem. Not everyone should be mopping floors at Walmart. The labor market lets those willing to do it at a certain price self-select for the job, and keeps Walmart from accidentally hiring doctors and astronauts to mop floors.

And as has been asked of you MANY times, what exactly do you propose we do with the laborers?

Consider the fact that not everyone in this world WANTS to spend half a decade in college just to be able to do something useful, and not everyone is mentally or psychologically capable of doing so. Not that anyone here is inclined to celebrate mediocrity, mind you, but denouncing it altogether can be even more hazardous.
The purpose of implementing automation to its maximum potential is to free people from the notion of being required to work so they are free to pursue whatever it is they want to do in life (which today is severely limited since you have to have 'money' in order to achieve that).
But we implement automation where it makes financial sense to use it. As its cost drops and capabilities increase, we'll use it in more places.

I happen to do automation for a living. I can tell you all about robotics projects, automation, and its effects. Robots aren't actually as good as most automation, just more versatile (humans aren't as good as a specialized machine for most things, like shredding tobacco, spreading pavement, digging canals, or powering ships - all of which could be done with robots, which would be like using thousands of human slaves, but with power cords and no toilets).

Most child labor used to be employed in glass blowing (as gathers). Then what is now the world's largest glass company developed a bottle making machine that eliminated both the gathers and the glass blowers from the operation. A few dozen men could provide enough glass battles for a small country. A single ribbon machine could make enough glass light bulbs to supply the entire world. Bottles and light bulbs became very cheap, but people still worked, because staring at a Coke bottle and thinking it's a sign from the heavens isn't a very productive activity.

Re-education was just one possible alternative I mentioned - which if you would eliminate monetary based economics would be necessary because you cannot THROW people into a new system without informing them of it or how it functions, etc.
Perhaps you should try to explain your system more fully, especially the part about why someone who is making things will just give their output to lots of strangers who they don't even like, as a general pattern of behavior. How on your way to the lake you have to have to good luck to find the guy who's still out there giving away free gas, and then you have to find the guy who likes serving free food in his restaurant. He might be late, because he's trying to find a guy who makes free tires and gives them away.

.... <snip>

I'm not saying a change would be simple.
We are talking about a fundamental paradigm shift that also shouldn't be done 'over-night'.
Basically, you're describing a retirement community. We have those now. Why aren't they self-sustaining based on the economics of voluntary labor?

One option on how to get there would be to for example... increase automation over the next 5 years to the level where people would be required of working 2 to 4 hours for 5 days in a week - without decreasing wages... and in the next 5 years, you further decrease the work hours.

That way, people get acclimated to changes and they start realizing the 'need' for work is not as big as they once thought.
With more time than ever at their disposal, they would be free to devote more time to things they might perceive of more importance.
Why not just fire them, put them on unemployment and welfare, and suck up the slight drop in economic output? Why blow money on robots and welfare?

In the meantime, expose those people (and others) to relevant general education.
Encourage critical thinking and problem solving.
I'm trying really hard to encourage some criticial thinking. I'm trying...

Send soldiers back to school so they can learn how to bridge differences between nations - and not be killing machines.
And there you have a clear sign that your system is doomed to failure - because you've taken a couple of million people with diverse skills, abilities, training, and specializations, and assigned every one of them to do a diplomatic task that is already being handled by a vastly, vastly smaller group of people. Top-down "planned" command economies are full of such insanely inefficient ideas, which is why they fail.

There are tons of options to consider during the transitional period and what can be done (which would be a period that money is still used [approximately 10 years - maybe 15 to allow for sufficient social changes, even though we can transform the planet on a global basis to extremely high technological developed world in less than a decade]... just with ever decreasing emphasis until its completely phased out).
And that's another clue that you're heading for failure. Our economy doesn't consider just tons of options, it considered hundreds of millions of options every day.

The decisions on using a robot instead of a laborer is considered constantly. The only time we use a robot is when the robot makes more sense considering the development and installation cost, project schedule, benefits, support, training, retooling, and total life-cycle costs. Thousands of people are making that decision even as we speak. They are scheming to use a robot to take over the market for product X, where X is a vast range of things that perhaps could be made much more cheaply with automation.

Other methods are even much better than robots, and we use those too. For example, back in the 1950's the Air Force had a big program trying to make the construction of complex electronics easier by pre-building units out of discrete components. Having ladies soldier together thousands of resistors, capacitors and transistors to build complex electronics was a bottle-neck. Nowdays you could use robots (pick and place machines, which are amazing), but instead we developed the integrated circuit and just side-stepped the problem by putting hundreds (later tens of millions) of components on a single chip in one operation.

The electronic industry didn't just retire en masse and live a money-free existence, even though their physical output had jumped a million-fold or more. The engineers didn't just devote themselves to hobby projects, although they did go nuts on hobbies, quickly turning those hobbies into Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, and < insert vast list of multi-billion dollar corporations started in garages and bathtubs >.

Our system is always moving forward, redefining our lives in the process. Your system is a retirement home where the people finger-paint till they die. You can build a society with your system, and our workers will go there to take pictures and buy their local arts-and-crafts, just like milionaires vacationing in Kenya.
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