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Old September 7 2012, 02:33 AM   #71
Location: Kentucky
Re: Why isn't Internet free for everyone yet?

Deks wrote: View Post
scotthm wrote: View Post
Anyone who is willing to see can clearly see that money (or whatever rewards you'd like to substitute) offers an incentive to get people to do jobs that might otherwise go unfilled. It can help prevent shortages in some career areas and gluts in others. It can help insure that trained workers are available when needed to do the job. Your idea that someone competent will always be willing to step in when needed is just wishful thinking.

Money is a good incentive for repetitive jobs. When it comes to critical or creative thinking, let alone problem solving, it inhibits people.

Then why do creative people demand, and get, much higher salaries, sometimes into the millions of dollars? A whole lot of the ingenious patents are objects dreamed up, designed, and perfected to make lots of money by solving an existing problem in a much better way. Thomas Edison was in it for the money (and fame), as was Tesla, Marconi, and even Andy Warhol.

Money didn't seem to inhibit their thinking, it focused it on ideas that would be useful to people, if not indespensible, or just extremely desirable.

Its wishful thinking that someone will always be willing to step in when needed?

Millions of volunteers worldwide would disagree with that notion.
Out of a population of billions. Can society live on the generosity of a fraction of a percent of the population, when that fraction is largely volunteering the output produced by other people? Take the people who volunteer to serve food or collect canned goods for the needy. They're not the ones growing the food, canning it, or shipping it. They are volunteering their time largely to redistribute, because nobody really volunteers to work in a cannery or a grain silo. Those jobs are unpleasant and you almost never get to see the beneficiaries of your generosity. In short, people who work in production jobs will contribute and donate to causes, but very, very few people who contribute and donate do so by taking production jobs. Remove the production, and the "redistributors" don't have anything to redistribute. Remove the financial incentives for production, and production slows dramatically.

Example: A comrade in Leningrad stood in line at the market for hours before finally getting up to the counter, where he asked the clerk for some fish. The clerk looked at him like he was crazy and said, "You've stood in line for hours to ask for fish?!!! Sir, this is a bakery! We don't have any bread. The store without any fish is across the street."

Deks wrote: View Post
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.
Charities? Seriously?
How much of the donated money to charities actually goes to the said 'cause'?
At best, one would have to say 10%, maybe 20%.
And there's a good benchmark for your system of voluntary giving and redistribution. It's not very efficient, and in many cases it can do more harm than good by wiping out local markets. Some charities, especially foreign aid, are trying to figure out how to ameliorate some of the bad secondary effects of giving away free stuff, and especially giving it away through existing power structures where the government keeping people down is in charge of distribution and takes a large cut of the donated aid.

The other problem with depending on giving is that giving is based on emotions, ones that evolved fairly early and are contingent of fairly specific situations. It's rare that people give to someone who is better off than they are (which pretty much puts a ceiling on the top per-capita wealth), or who don't work as hard as they do through laziness, or who commit almost any transgression. They also tend to quit giving when they feel they've given enough. "Whew! I helped. Now I'm going back to my book." That's why beggars know to look sad and down on their luck and only ask for pocket change or a few bills and not ask for a check for $8,500.

'Having more things' is an idiotic pursuit that's coming from a consumer mindset of 'use and discard'.
Have you noticed just how much waste is produced like that, not to mention that we are talking about 'infinite growth' on a finite planet which is fundamentally demented and impossible (something even the 'economists' are coming to terms with)?
Compared to countries where they have less, the West is more efficient at processing things like food, much more efficient. Whole industries have been built around finding uses for what would've been discarded waste products. Proctor and Gamble and many other companies were built when we started processing so many cattle that they looked at mountains of discarded hooves and other cow parts that butchers throw away, and tried to figure out what could be done with them. In "less wasteful" countries all those byproducts are just wasted. For example, Mexicans waste a higher percentage of their food than Americans because processing is still done on very small scales, usually in the home. All the little trimmings and peelings go into the garbage can.

One man's junk is another man's treasure, and the free-market system is very good at redirecting the junk to people who will turn it into treasure.

Second, our "limited planet" has enough material in just the top one meter of continental crust to provide every man, woman, and child on the planet with over a hundred billion dollars worth of stuff, including their own nuclear powered aircraft carrier (complete with air wing), a Soviet Alfa class attack submarine, 600 Boeing 747's, a couple pounds of gold and platinum, a hundred or so pounds of silver, tons of bismuth (no idea who would want tons of bismuth in the yard, but there it is), zinc, copper, tin, etc. And we could dig down ten meters, or a hundred. Currently, all of humankind uses less than the top millimeter of the crust.

And you just want to stop where we are, and freeze us at this level.

Fractional reserve banking (fiat-based monetary system) or should one say 'credit-based monetary system'.
The same one that took place when money stopped representing resources in 1929 when the first great depression hit the world (which was due to automation/mechanization).

I think you should get acquainted with our history and the socio-economic system we live under.
Hrm... Another set of misconceptions, if not just plain conspiracy theories based on ignorance. What gives money its value? (Hint: It's not anything tied to resources) What "resources" did money represent in 1929, and why did people think those resources had value? Why does anything have value, and where does value come from? In short, why can't Marx explain the enormous value of a Babe Ruth rookie baseball card (which was spat out of a cheap printing press), and why can't we all just print a thousand of them on our color-jet printer and get rich? Why can't we just print our own fiat currency?

Communism used banks and money - it was also imposed on people forcefully, not to mention it had a government that perceived resources as infinite (exactly like Capitalism), social stratification, etc.

It was a monetary based system.
But it wasn't supposed to be a monetary based system except in the short term as they transitioned to true socialism. As one Eastern European joke went, the little girl asks her mother "Mommy, we will have money when we achieve true socialism?" "No honey, we won't have any of that, either."

There is a difference between human needs and human wants.
And human needs often include a part or a tool that's required to complete the task at hand. Your car may be a want, but when your battery is dead you really need a jump. So are jumper cables a need or a want? When you sale something to someone, does it matter whether they want it or need it? If so, how come jumper cables aren't free?

The far-left revolutionary thinkers pointed to the difference in wants and needs, and the governments they created spent much of their time explaining to the people why their wants were unfulfilled, and then kept redefining needs to be wants. Unsurprisingly, it turned out that toilet paper is a want, not a need. Equally unsurprisingly, the party rag that explained the difference between wants and needs was a need, and made a handy substitute for toilet paper.

What is the premise behind stealing something if you can just have it whenever you need/want it?
And how does everyone get a genuine Babe Ruth rookie card or an original Picasso? How does everyone get Marilyn Monroe's wedding dress? How is it that everyone can have the same one-of-a-kind item? If lock-washers are free, people won't steal lock-washers. But they weren't stealing those anyway. People still things that have value, and if nothing has value, then nobody has anything worth owning. We call that poverty. You'd wonder why Elbonian mud farmers don't rejoice in their abundance of mud.

Early communist thinkers had the same deluded conceptions of value and use. Try reading Edward Bellamy's "Looking Backward" written in 1888 and you'll see many of the same arguments you're presenting. In his future, people didn't need personal possessions because everything was provided. They didn't even need umbrellas because the sidewalks had automatic awnings. Instead of going to concerts, music halls had brass pipes that ran to everyone's houses, so you could hear the volunteer musicians. It's amazing how limited his thinking was, even when he was trying to describe a utopia.

Our ability to automate production eliminates need for human labor.
No, it doesn't. We've been automating production for centuries. We've used water wheels to run trip-hammers to make plate armor for knights, and we can produce everything from beer bottles, to beer, to steel, to frozen pizzas with very little operator supervision. And yet everyone is still working, because everything we automate just adds to the stock of goods, improving production capacity, efficiency, and lowering costs. That means people can have more of certain kinds of stuff, and stores like Walmart are filled with a bewildering variety of such things.

You're suffering under the illusion of Marx's labor theory of value, which is so incorrect it's not even wrong (as the phrase goes). Add robots to the mix, where labor becomes free, and all products become free too! It doesn't work that way, which is why apples aren't free even though apple trees produce them for free, like woody green robots.

Who decides what the consumers will want to buy in your world? Nobody.

Who makes sure that the factories don't produce things that nobody wants? Nobody.

Who designs the products that are actually produced in your world, and who double-checks the designs? Nobody.

Who designs the packaging in your world? Nobody.

Who designs and builds the automation equipment for the factory in your world? Nobody.

Who decides what land will be used for the factory? Nobody.

Who installs and wires the factory equipment in your world? Nobody.

Who loads the trucks that hauls the raw materials to the factory, and hauls the products to stores, and who drives the trucks? Nobody.

Who built the buildings where the products are stored? Nobody.

Who tells the consumers about the new product, and how it differs from the old product? Nobody.

Who sits at a desk answering calls about problems with the product? Nobody.

Who decides when to shift production to a different product, once the market for the original product is saturated? Nobody.

All those "Nobody" answers actually require some people's names, and since money is out of the equation, as is property, most of them will have to be compelled by force or brainwashed by slogans to show up and do those jobs, because all of them would rather be fishing, spending time with their kids, or hitting on college girls.

We sell bags of dirt in stores. The price on the bag won't fall to zero as soon as we figure out how to make cheap dirt, because the dirt is already as cheap as dirt.

You are also forgetting that money simply gives you access to use things. Whats the point in owning things if you can simply have them when you need/want to use them and if everyone else can do the same?
No, money also gives you control and ownership of things. Control and ownership are extremely important concepts, and if you don't understand those concepts you'll never understand human behavior or economics or society. Human's don't just use objects physically, like a tribe of monkeys, we use them mentally in very complex transactions. We have relationships with objects, and those relationships define how the objects can be used, who can use them, and strongly determine how people use them.

I'll avoid going into details about how land, mineral rights, timber rights, houses, home expansions, and everything else gets used in very sophisticated, beneficial arrangments, and just note that the only person who buys a bed, a dresser, and a lamp and puts them in a hotel room (thereby improving it) is the owner of the hotel. Why don't guests sign in and start redecorating? Why don't they buy a big screen TV, mount it on the wall, and leave it when they check out? Why, if they did this, would the hotel owner actually get pretty upset?

Why do people call the police when you "use" their car? Why do they get really angry when you "use" their girlfriend? Why do they get really angry if you and a bunch of your friends show up at their house uninvited and use all their furniture for a big bonfire and beer blast? Why do they get upset if you decide to "use" their lawn for your garden?

In your system of "use" you'll have this conversation all too often: "What are you doing in my orchard?!!! Those aren't your apples!!!" "But you weren't using them just then..." "I've just spent ten years building the d**n thing, you idiot!" "Yes, but you weren't actually using them. Just. Then."

And as I said... no amount of money can stimulate a person to take a job if they are already happy with what they have and have no need for it.

I turned down such jobs before, plus I was offered various amounts of money after doing maintenance work on people's computers and ended up refusing it because I told them I couldn't care less about money - even today when I'm strapped for cash.
And our market is built to accomodate that. It was designed by poor, working people with strong ties to the land and strong opinions about what work they would and wouldn't do - at any price. Early factories that had an important need for labor, like Springfield armory, had to lure farmers away from their farms by dangling lots of money in front of them for producing rifles - seasonally in their downtime between crops.

To you it may seem 'stupid' and maybe it is given the system we live in... but at the same time I always hated money and everything it represents (limitation, life of servitude, etc.)

I'd prefer to help people because I like doing it... not because 'money' is my motivation.
And we all do that. We also stop if we start feeling exploited, taken for granted, or if the people we're helping start demanding our help, like we're they're servant.

There are only three types of people who help a diva like Paris Hilton. Those who are trying to be photographed with her and get some fame of their own, those who are trying to become her friend so she gives them things, and those who are being paid.

How many overbearing, rich assholes have you helped, and how likely are you to help them again - for free? Suppose one of your friends comes over and says that his boss needs some simple application written so he can make a huge pile of money from online concert ticket sales. So the overbearing, pompous boss comes in and asks you to write it. You ask around and this boss has made lots and lots of money exploiting people for free software and marketing it as his own. Would you write it for free, or would you start debating a flat-rate or percentage?

Would you start acting like just about every other computer expert and programmer who spent years peforming free labor and writing free code, who later cashed in on an opportunity or jumped at a job offer that was just way too big to turn down. All those people still do free labor and write free code on the side, so it's not like you turn evil or anything.

I've been admonished by major corporate project managers on hundred-million dollar contracts to stop giving the billion-dollar customer (IBM, Dell, etc) free bells and whistles, and I said, "But I like making the customer happy!

I think Dell started out doing free PC repairs for his friends, too.
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