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Is Capitalism the Ideal or the State of the Art?

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  • Shlomi Fish
    I am wondering (and pondering) about whether Capitalism is the Ideal way of running an economy which will accompany us for the rest of history or it is simply
    Message 1 of 12 , Mar 28, 2001
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      I am wondering (and pondering) about whether Capitalism is the Ideal way
      of running an economy which will accompany us for the rest of history or
      it is simply the best way to run things at the moment, a fact that could
      change sooner or later.

      At the moment we witness the Open Source revolution which is an innovative
      twist on intellectual property. It has now expanded to Open Content, but
      it will probably take some time before other forms of intellectual
      property besides source code catch up with Open Source. (if at all).

      However, think of what the future will hold. Imagine it is possible to
      exactly and affordably duplicate most material goods. Naturally, car
      manufacturers, for example, may require the buyer to sign a contract that
      he will not duplicate the car. But, then there will be an open-product
      initiative that will eventually generate free as in free speech cars,
      Electronic devices, computers, and so forth.

      Such a development will make matter as efficiently to duplicate as
      information is today, so reproducible material property may face a
      similar turnpoint as intellectual property faces now. So, the question is
      what will become of selling goods?

      My theory is that money (which will become un-compulsary for living) will
      be used to pay for labour (like localizing, configuring or installing a
      component somewhere), or for such things that cannot be duplicated,
      whatever they may be. Some people may still be greedy and may wish to be
      considered rich, (naturally, Gold and other valuables will become
      worthless, so money will exist only on "paper"), but most people will not
      find a point in being rich on "paper".

      So, I suppose we will turn into a society in which people will create,
      discover and develop new things for the joy of it, without expecting to be
      financially rewarded for that. I suppose fame will become more important
      at such times, and more people will strive to be famous.

      In any case, what do you think about Capitalism vs. the progress of
      technology?

      Regards,

      Shlomi Fish




      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
      Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
      Home E-mail: shlomif@...

      The prefix "God Said" has the extraordinary logical property of
      converting any statement that follows it into a true one.
    • Omer Zak
      ... I believe that there will always be the equivalent of closed source code. People need some sort of intellectual property rights as long as there are
      Message 2 of 12 , Mar 28, 2001
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        On Thu, 29 Mar 2001, Shlomi Fish wrote:

        > I am wondering (and pondering) about whether Capitalism is the Ideal way
        > of running an economy which will accompany us for the rest of history or
        > it is simply the best way to run things at the moment, a fact that could
        > change sooner or later.
        >
        > At the moment we witness the Open Source revolution which is an innovative
        > twist on intellectual property. It has now expanded to Open Content, but
        > it will probably take some time before other forms of intellectual
        > property besides source code catch up with Open Source. (if at all).
        >
        > However, think of what the future will hold. Imagine it is possible to
        > exactly and affordably duplicate most material goods. Naturally, car
        > manufacturers, for example, may require the buyer to sign a contract that
        > he will not duplicate the car. But, then there will be an open-product
        > initiative that will eventually generate free as in free speech cars,
        > Electronic devices, computers, and so forth.

        I believe that there will always be the equivalent of closed source code.
        People need some sort of intellectual property rights as long as there are
        projects, which need a lot of effort from one person (or from one group of
        people - referred to below as workers/investors) and which would benefit a
        larger group of people (referred to below as freeloaders).

        While some projects can benefit the workers/investors even if freeloaders
        do not pay them, other projects are viable only if the freeloaders pay
        too. To be able to do the project without going bankrupt, financial
        participation from the freeloaders is needed. To get the freeloaders to
        pay, a legal framework is needed, and it's why we have the concept of
        intellectual property rights. This is not to say that we need exactly the
        present form of intellectual property rights (trademarks, copyrights,
        patents, trade secrets). But something is needed.

        (I am not discussing here material/real estate property rights.)

        > Such a development will make matter as efficiently to duplicate as
        > information is today, so reproducible material property may face a
        > similar turnpoint as intellectual property faces now. So, the question is
        > what will become of selling goods?

        What will happen to deep space projects (such as spaceships, room in space
        stations) in such an economy?

        > My theory is that money (which will become un-compulsary for living) will
        > be used to pay for labour (like localizing, configuring or installing a
        > component somewhere), or for such things that cannot be duplicated,
        > whatever they may be. Some people may still be greedy and may wish to be
        > considered rich, (naturally, Gold and other valuables will become
        > worthless, so money will exist only on "paper"), but most people will not
        > find a point in being rich on "paper".

        As long as the attention of attractive people of the opposite sex (or the
        same sex in the case of people who have this kind of preference) is a
        scarce resource, there'll always be a point in being "rich".

        > In any case, what do you think about Capitalism vs. the progress of
        > technology?

        Fundamentally - no change. There will be stronger safety net for people
        who fail the capitalist game (150 years ago you could face the death
        penalty for stealing a loaf of bread, today you'd just be pitied if you
        were caught in this criminal act). People will take more risks (this is
        happening even now, when people invest money in startups with no good
        business models).
        --- Omer
        WARNING TO SPAMMERS: see at http://www.zak.co.il/spamwarning.html
      • Oleg Goldshmidt
        ... Not really innovative. If you go back to the 70ies, to the personal computer revolution of Altair, Apple, etc, you will see amazing parallels with
        Message 3 of 12 , Mar 29, 2001
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          Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> writes:

          > At the moment we witness the Open Source revolution which is an innovative
          > twist on intellectual property.

          Not really innovative. If you go back to the 70ies, to the "personal
          computer revolution" of Altair, Apple, etc, you will see amazing
          parallels with today's Open Source.

          > However, think of what the future will hold. Imagine it is possible to
          > exactly and affordably duplicate most material goods. Naturally, car
          > manufacturers, for example, may require the buyer to sign a contract that
          > he will not duplicate the car. But, then there will be an open-product
          > initiative that will eventually generate free as in free speech cars,
          > Electronic devices, computers, and so forth.

          It happened. That's how all those IBM PC clones appeared. Actually,
          in an interesting twist, IBM open-sourced the BIOS of the PC to
          protect their intellectual property. The idea was that anybody who
          replicates the PC would have a hard time proving they didn't know
          of the BIOS code. It worked, too, until one company managed to
          reverse engineer the BIOS in a way that was provably independent.
          IGLU have had a few meetings on the premises of that company's in
          Raanana. ;-)

          > Such a development will make matter as efficiently to duplicate as
          > information is today, so reproducible material property may face a
          > similar turnpoint as intellectual property faces now. So, the question is
          > what will become of selling goods?

          Nothing much. Take the computer industry as an example again. It was
          all open in the beginning, and hackers were building their own
          computers and writing their own software. For themselves. Then - very
          quickly, too - it became commoditized.

          How many people would want to go through the trouble of building their
          own car themselves. It's a huge expense - getting the parts (or did
          you think of raw materials? Like ore?), tools, working space,
          putting them all together, testing, getting certification (you know,
          safety regulations won't go away, I hope). It will be much more
          expensive - whatever the unit of expenditure is, not necessarily USD
          or NIS - than buying a car made by professionals and letting them have
          a profit.

          You did buy your home computer, didn't you? It's my wild guess that
          you didn't make the chairs and tables in your house, nor did you build
          the house. You could though - there is nothing proprietary about that
          technology. Quite a few people don't laundry or iron their shirts and
          pants for the simple reason that paying the appropriate service a
          small fee is well worth their time. Even more people pay their
          housekeepers/maids/etc even though they are perfectly capable of
          handling a mop.

          In general, you hack because you love it. All the rest of the stuff
          you will be perfectly willing to pay for, and there will always be
          people happy to take your money. I probably need to re-read your
          posting again, but I have the impression that it is free speech that
          is the issue here, not free beer.

          > My theory is that money (which will become un-compulsary for living) will
          > be used to pay for labour (like localizing, configuring or installing a
          > component somewhere), or for such things that cannot be duplicated,
          > whatever they may be. Some people may still be greedy and may wish to be
          > considered rich, (naturally, Gold and other valuables will become
          > worthless, so money will exist only on "paper"), but most people will not
          > find a point in being rich on "paper".

          The point of the money is not being "gold" or "paper", but providing a
          universally accepted scale for measuring the value of goods, services,
          labor, etc. So people will find a point in being rich...

          > So, I suppose we will turn into a society in which people will create,
          > discover and develop new things for the joy of it, without expecting to be
          > financially rewarded for that. I suppose fame will become more important
          > at such times, and more people will strive to be famous.

          Rich and famous.

          > In any case, what do you think about Capitalism vs. the progress of
          > technology?

          That a balance will be found between immediate profit and long-term
          progress. it has been happening for dozens of years now. Quite a few
          industries' leaders realized long ago that investing in fundamental
          research is cheap insurance for their leading positions. The research
          done at IBM (how many Nobel and other prizes were awarded to IBM
          research fellows?), Xerox PARC (no need to elaborate), TI (Kilby),
          Intel and their predecessors (starting with the guy named Shockley)
          etc, if we take the industry closest to our common interests, provides
          clear examples.

          As far as which 'ISM will be applicable to the ideal society of the
          future, I don't know. I also don't know what the dominant programming
          language will be, but they'll call it FORTRAN.

          --
          Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@...
          "I'd rather write programs to write programs than write programs."
        • Chen Shapira
          ... Just to remind you that while it is profitable to produce products specific to the Korean market, it is inprofitable to have a software company that
          Message 4 of 12 , Mar 29, 2001
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            > While some projects can benefit the workers/investors even if
            > freeloaders
            > do not pay them, other projects are viable only if the freeloaders pay
            > too. To be able to do the project without going bankrupt, financial
            > participation from the freeloaders is needed. To get the
            > freeloaders to
            > pay, a legal framework is needed, and it's why we have the concept of
            > intellectual property rights. This is not to say that we
            > need exactly the
            > present form of intellectual property rights (trademarks, copyrights,
            > patents, trade secrets). But something is needed.

            Just to remind you that while it is profitable to produce products specific
            to the Korean market, it is inprofitable to have a software company that
            specializes in the Israeli market. All companies that tried either started
            supporting other locales (Accent) or perished (Einstein).

            I speculate that illegal copies figure into this equation somewhere, because
            products that don't interest the general market (like Hashavshevet)
            survived.

            > What will happen to deep space projects (such as spaceships,
            > room in space
            > stations) in such an economy?

            deep space isn't a commodity yet.

            > As long as the attention of attractive people of the opposite
            > sex (or the
            > same sex in the case of people who have this kind of preference) is a
            > scarce resource, there'll always be a point in being "rich".

            Why?
            Dating a rich person is mostly desirable for material comfort (It isn't that
            good to date a rich but cheap person). If material comfort is easily
            attainable, you no longer consider it a factor in choosing mates.


            > Fundamentally - no change. There will be stronger safety net
            > for people
            > who fail the capitalist game (150 years ago you could face the death
            > penalty for stealing a loaf of bread, today you'd just be
            > pitied if you
            > were caught in this criminal act). People will take more
            > risks (this is
            > happening even now, when people invest money in startups with no good
            > business models).

            I think the best argument is that material products are becoming cheaper and
            cheaper (to product and though to buy) without a substensial economy change.
            Having everything for free is just another incremental step, not a threshold
            cross.

            thanks,
            Chen.
          • Shlomi Fish
            ... Who says anything about building a car? People will duplicate cars other people buy (or get from an open-cars manufacturers). Just like we can now
            Message 5 of 12 , Mar 29, 2001
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              On 29 Mar 2001, Oleg Goldshmidt wrote:

              >
              > Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> writes:
              >
              > > At the moment we witness the Open Source revolution which is an innovative
              > > twist on intellectual property.
              >
              > Not really innovative. If you go back to the 70ies, to the "personal
              > computer revolution" of Altair, Apple, etc, you will see amazing
              > parallels with today's Open Source.
              >
              > > However, think of what the future will hold. Imagine it is possible to
              > > exactly and affordably duplicate most material goods. Naturally, car
              > > manufacturers, for example, may require the buyer to sign a contract that
              > > he will not duplicate the car. But, then there will be an open-product
              > > initiative that will eventually generate free as in free speech cars,
              > > Electronic devices, computers, and so forth.
              >
              > It happened. That's how all those IBM PC clones appeared. Actually,
              > in an interesting twist, IBM open-sourced the BIOS of the PC to
              > protect their intellectual property. The idea was that anybody who
              > replicates the PC would have a hard time proving they didn't know
              > of the BIOS code. It worked, too, until one company managed to
              > reverse engineer the BIOS in a way that was provably independent.
              > IGLU have had a few meetings on the premises of that company's in
              > Raanana. ;-)
              >
              > > Such a development will make matter as efficiently to duplicate as
              > > information is today, so reproducible material property may face a
              > > similar turnpoint as intellectual property faces now. So, the question is
              > > what will become of selling goods?
              >
              > Nothing much. Take the computer industry as an example again. It was
              > all open in the beginning, and hackers were building their own
              > computers and writing their own software. For themselves. Then - very
              > quickly, too - it became commoditized.
              >
              > How many people would want to go through the trouble of building their
              > own car themselves. It's a huge expense - getting the parts (or did
              > you think of raw materials? Like ore?), tools, working space,
              > putting them all together, testing, getting certification (you know,
              > safety regulations won't go away, I hope). It will be much more
              > expensive - whatever the unit of expenditure is, not necessarily USD
              > or NIS - than buying a car made by professionals and letting them have
              > a profit.
              >

              Who says anything about building a car? People will duplicate cars other
              people buy (or get from an open-cars manufacturers). Just like we can now
              duplicate Linux CDs. (or properiatery software)

              Regards,

              Shlomi Fish

              ----------------------------------------------------------------------
              Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
              Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
              Home E-mail: shlomif@...

              The prefix "God Said" has the extraordinary logical property of
              converting any statement that follows it into a true one.
            • Nadav Har'El
              ... As long as there will still be unduplicatable things, people will find a point to be rich in order to get them. A few things I can think of: 1. Real Estate
              Message 6 of 12 , Apr 3 3:42 AM
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                On Thu, Mar 29, 2001, Shlomi Fish wrote about "[hackers-il] Is Capitalism the Ideal or the State of the Art?":
                > Such a development will make matter as efficiently to duplicate as
                > information is today, so reproducible material property may face a
                > similar turnpoint as intellectual property faces now. So, the question is
                > what will become of selling goods?
                >
                > My theory is that money (which will become un-compulsary for living) will
                > be used to pay for labour (like localizing, configuring or installing a
                > component somewhere), or for such things that cannot be duplicated,
                > whatever they may be. Some people may still be greedy and may wish to be
                > considered rich, (naturally, Gold and other valuables will become
                > worthless, so money will exist only on "paper"), but most people will not
                > find a point in being rich on "paper".

                As long as there will still be unduplicatable things, people will find a point
                to be rich in order to get them. A few things I can think of:

                1. Real Estate - I don't see how you can duplicate a square foot in Manhatten.
                If you live in Tokyo, filling your apartment with Electronic appliances will
                probably cost you less than the apartment itself, so you wouldn't get much
                by getting these appliances for free.
                Of course, you can live in the sahara instead of in Manhatten. but I don't
                see how the demand for an apartment in Manhatten will drop because of the
                possibility of duplicating physical objects.

                2. "Big Things" - Even if duplicating machines appear, I don't see how you
                can actually duplicate a house, not to mention a sky-scraper. These will
                still need unduplicatable work (although robot work can lower the amount
                of human work needed - but robots have been available for years, and I
                don't see them replacing the human builders, especially not in Israel).

                3. Leasure - As someone mentioned, food is already cheap today. You can get
                a big meal at McDonalds for $7, while a more "respectable" restaurant will
                charge you at least $30. What will you actually gain if McDonalds gave out
                food for free (and I'm not talking about poor hungry people - that's another
                issue)? You would still want to go to that $30 restaurant for the more
                virtual benefits that are not the physical foods - better service, more
                physical space (see real estate above), better atmosphere, more "hype", etc.
                If you think these are not important, will you take a date to a McDonalds?
                Would you get married in a McDonalds? (I once had a discussion with a few
                people how come kids' birthdays in McDonalds is acceptable, while a wedding
                in a McDonalds will be laughed at ;) )

                4. Mass, Energy and Entropy - duplicating things is a nice "star-trek" idea,
                but people who know the principles of energy conservation and the second
                law of thermodynamics know that there are a few problems with this idea.
                First, energy has to be conserved, so to create food, or petrol, or something
                like that, you need the energy in the first place. This is not a problem,
                because as Einstein told us, we can convert mass into energy. And we also
                need mass for the mass of the object we're going to create. But where are
                we going to get that mass? Of course, we can take cheap mass like earth or
                sea-water, or something like that, but getting that mass and transporting it
                is non-duplicatable work - just like now, if you want to buy earth or water
                you have to pay someone for it. (Using air as that mass is problematic,
                because you need a lot of air for even a small mass, and this will generate
                a lot of wind in the cities ;))
                Also, you'd have to pay a tax to recycle your entropy :) This is actually
                a big theoretical problem: when you take something and turn it to something
                with lower entropy (and food has lower entropy than sea-water) you need
                to "pay" by making the entropy of something else higher. How would you do
                that? Nobody will want your extra entropy! You'll have to pay somebody to
                relieve you of that extra entropy, just like you pay now to be relieved of
                your garbage and sewage.

                BTW, most people assume that the greatest service the sun does for the
                earth is to provide energy. This is not true - the total energy on earth
                is constant (otherwise it will get hotter and hotter until it eveporates!).
                What the sun actually does is to lower the earth Entropy (the technical
                explanation: a small number of high-energy ultraviolate photons arrive
                at the earth, and a large number (hence more entropy) of low-energy
                infrared-photons are reflected by the earth). The plants are capable of
                trapping this entropy reduction and producing low-entropy food and
                fossil fuel like petrol.


                BTW, already being rich is less and less meaningful, and more and more people
                are saying explicitly "I want to make a decent living but have no desire to
                be rich". This wasn't always true - a century ago you were either rich and
                had all the food you want and all the medicine you needed (not that the
                doctors of a century ago were so successful in curing people ;)) or poor and
                every day needed to think how they'll be able to feed their children and how
                to prevent their children from dying from curable diseases. So when faced
                with the question of being rich or poor, you'd of course prefer to be rich.

                --
                Nadav Har'El | Tuesday, Apr 3 2001, 10 Nisan 5761
                nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |When everything's coming your way,
                http://nadav.harel.org.il |you're in the wrong lane.
              • Nadav Har'El
                ... I thought about this a little bit, and there s a solution to the mass problem: If the amount of mass entering the house was larger than the amount exiting
                Message 7 of 12 , Apr 3 6:32 AM
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                  On Tue, Apr 03, 2001, To hackers-il@yahoogroups.com wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] Is Capitalism the Ideal or the State of the Art?":
                  > And we also
                  > need mass for the mass of the object we're going to create. But where are
                  > we going to get that mass? Of course, we can take cheap mass like earth or
                  > sea-water, or something like that, but getting that mass and transporting it
                  > is non-duplicatable work - just like now, if you want to buy earth or water
                  > you have to pay someone for it. (Using air as that mass is problematic,
                  > because you need a lot of air for even a small mass, and this will generate
                  > a lot of wind in the cities ;))

                  I thought about this a little bit, and there's a solution to the mass problem:
                  If the amount of mass entering the house was larger than the amount exiting
                  the house was positive, then after some time the entire house will be filled
                  with stuff (this is a known problem even nowadays ;)) so that is _not_ what is
                  actually happening. So in a steady state you could keep the outgoing mass
                  (sewage and garbage) within the house, for "recycling" into new things. You
                  will still have some mass deficiancy (because some food mass will be lost as
                  CO2 and H2O that are harder to collect, and because you'll have a slow but
                  constant increase of the "stuff" you collect in your home), but this
                  deficiancy can probably be filled by sucking in air (at around 1.2 kg per
                  cubic meter, if I remember correctly).
                  For the sake of our atmosphere, cities will estimate the amount of air they
                  are using, and have manchines that convert sea-water (for example) to air.
                  This will probably be done high above ground so that the generated hurricanes
                  of air don't effect people (or birds, or whatever). Perhaps this air can be
                  generated with high entropy (i.e., hot) to act as the entropy-sink we also
                  need (see my previous post).

                  I once heard there's a book called something like "The Physics of Star
                  Trek", explaining how the things seen in Star Trek can be possible. Has
                  anyone read it? Does it say anything about object replication?



                  --
                  Nadav Har'El | Tuesday, Apr 3 2001, 10 Nisan 5761
                  nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                  Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |If God is watching us, the least we can
                  http://nadav.harel.org.il |do is be entertaining.
                • Oleg Goldshmidt
                  ... Aren t you running into the entropy problem here? ... Sounds like alchemy. Not really, of course, since transformations between elements are one the
                  Message 8 of 12 , Apr 3 7:35 AM
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                    "Nadav Har'El" <nyh@...> writes:

                    > So in a steady state you could keep the outgoing mass
                    > (sewage and garbage) within the house,

                    Aren't you running into the entropy problem here?

                    > have manchines that convert sea-water (for example) to air.

                    Sounds like alchemy. Not really, of course, since transformations
                    between elements are one the biggest technological achievements of
                    the past century. However, we are talking about transformations
                    between elements like oxigen and nitrogen (the latter is not present
                    in water IIRC), called "metals" by astronomers. Ask astronomers, and
                    they'll tell you that nuclear reactions involving "metals" -- the
                    so-called CNO cycle -- are exceedingly slow. The only places in the
                    universe where metals are produced are star interiors (no, the Big
                    Bang can't do it). I'll skip the details, at least until the list
                    applies a moderate peer pressure.

                    > Perhaps this air can be generated with high entropy (i.e., hot) to
                    > act as the entropy-sink we also need (see my previous post).

                    You need energy for that... A truly vicious circle.

                    Check the subject - we have wandered very far from it, haven't we?

                    --
                    Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@...
                    "I'd rather write programs to write programs than write programs."
                  • Nadav Har'El
                    ... Yes, as I said you ll need a way to relieve you of the excess entropy somehow. Entropy sewers? Releasing a small part of the air back to the atmosphere
                    Message 9 of 12 , Apr 3 8:33 AM
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                      On Tue, Apr 03, 2001, Oleg Goldshmidt wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] Is Capitalism the Ideal or the State of the Art?":
                      > "Nadav Har'El" <nyh@...> writes:
                      >
                      > > So in a steady state you could keep the outgoing mass
                      > > (sewage and garbage) within the house,
                      >
                      > Aren't you running into the entropy problem here?

                      Yes, as I said you'll need a way to "relieve" you of the excess entropy
                      somehow. Entropy sewers? Releasing a small part of the air back to the
                      atmosphere very hot? Releasing hydrogen (you can release more atoms per
                      weight, so you increase the entropy)? I don't know.

                      > > have manchines that convert sea-water (for example) to air.
                      >
                      > Sounds like alchemy. Not really, of course, since transformations
                      > between elements are one the biggest technological achievements of
                      > the past century. However, we are talking about transformations
                      > between elements like oxigen and nitrogen (the latter is not present
                      > in water IIRC), called "metals" by astronomers. Ask astronomers, and
                      > they'll tell you that nuclear reactions involving "metals" -- the
                      > so-called CNO cycle -- are exceedingly slow. The only places in the
                      > universe where metals are produced are star interiors (no, the Big
                      > Bang can't do it). I'll skip the details, at least until the list
                      > applies a moderate peer pressure.

                      Of course, there are several technical issues I didn't mention because I
                      thought that everybody knows about them and they are straightforward to
                      think about (but not to actually implement), and also because I thought
                      they had no relevance to the capitalism issue. These issues is how to create
                      the atoms or simple molecules you need (will you require input of the same
                      mulecules, say "cartridges" of oxigen, hydrogen and iron, or will you
                      convert any material to the atoms you need? The latter is more flexible of
                      course), and how to actually manufacture the object in question (this is
                      a seperate issue all together - see for example the best-seller "Nano" about
                      nanotechnology).

                      > > Perhaps this air can be generated with high entropy (i.e., hot) to
                      > > act as the entropy-sink we also need (see my previous post).
                      >
                      > You need energy for that... A truly vicious circle.

                      It's not a vicious circle. Assuming we have the proper "alchemy" technology,
                      energy is equivalent to mass, and you can create both of them from any mass
                      like sea-water (if you don't like to use the E=MC^2 theory for that, just
                      think of converting water to petrol, and then using up that petrol, or convert
                      water into Uranium and do some fission :))

                      So you if you have mass you have plenty of energy - it's getting rid of all
                      that entropy which is the problem.

                      Again, think of plants: why do they go into all the trouble of using sunlight
                      (which is not available at night, in winter, under trees, etc.) when the
                      "obvious" alternative will be to use the warmth of the ground they are on?
                      After all, even a frozen ground contains a lot of heat energy (the point where
                      it does not contain any more heat energy is "absolute zero" -273 celcius).
                      Sounds a good idea? Well, it isn't. The second law of thermodynamics says
                      that you cannot move heat energy from a cold place to a warmer place (an
                      action that decreases entropy) without investing more energy in making
                      something else warmer (thereby increasing the entropy of the system back) -
                      so the plant will only waste energy. This is how refrigerators and air-
                      conditioners work. A refrigerator indeed pulls heat energy out from the
                      objects in it, but far from producing energy - it needs to waste that and more
                      energy just to run this refrigeration cycle. Touch the back of a refrigerator
                      to get a feel for that energy that goes to waste because of thermodynamics.

                      Thermodynamics is actually a very interesting subject, but quite difficult
                      to comprehend at first (I still don't think I fully understand it all).

                      > Check the subject - we have wandered very far from it, haven't we?

                      Not really! We were talking about whether replication machines will relieve
                      you of the need to depend on others (i.e., pay others money), and I was saying
                      how you still have some unsolved (or at least which I don't know the solution)
                      problems that will keep your dependence on others. The thermodynamic issue
                      was only one of the issues I raised.

                      Certainly it has nothing to do with hacking, but the original question
                      didn't either :)

                      P.S. If you consider this only as a philosphical question, not a question
                      with physical issues, it becomes a pointless question. This is because
                      your replication machine can "philosophically" create a whole new planet
                      for you, filled with copies of friendly and compliant people that will
                      serve you, and an army with a huge arsenal to fend of the attacks of
                      lawyers on your planet, so none of the financial issues are relevant any
                      more :)

                      --
                      Nadav Har'El | Tuesday, Apr 3 2001, 10 Nisan 5761
                      nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                      Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |Why do doctors call what they do
                      http://nadav.harel.org.il |practice? Think about it.
                    • Oleg Goldshmidt
                      Allow me to re-arrange your posting a bit to put the following two statements together: ... ;-) I wholeheartedly agree with both statements. Having studied
                      Message 10 of 12 , Apr 3 8:55 AM
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                        Allow me to re-arrange your posting a bit to put the following two
                        statements together:

                        "Nadav Har'El" <nyh@...> writes:

                        > Of course, there are several technical issues I didn't mention because I
                        > thought that everybody knows about them and they are straightforward to
                        > think about

                        > Thermodynamics is actually a very interesting subject, but quite difficult
                        > to comprehend at first (I still don't think I fully understand it all).

                        ;-)

                        I wholeheartedly agree with both statements. Having studied physics
                        for quite a few years, and worked in the area, 10% I tend to think that
                        everybody knows everything relevant, and 90% of the time I am baffled
                        by things I can't understand...

                        > course), and how to actually manufacture the object in question (this is
                        > a seperate issue all together - see for example the best-seller "Nano" about
                        > nanotechnology).

                        By Ed Regis? Is it worth reading? The Amazon reviews are mixed at
                        best...

                        > if you don't like to use the E=MC^2 theory for that

                        No, I don't. I don't know how to handle antimatter that is implicitly
                        involved in this formula... ;-)

                        > So you if you have mass you have plenty of energy - it's getting rid of all
                        > that entropy which is the problem.

                        I just mentioned another one, a purre technicality, of course.

                        > > Check the subject - we have wandered very far from it, haven't we?
                        >
                        > Not really!

                        I forgot to put a smiley there.

                        > The thermodynamic issue was only one of the issues I raised.

                        Maintaining income gap as a means of keeping the world's entropy in
                        check? [NB: no smiley here]

                        > P.S. If you consider this only as a philosphical question, not a question
                        > with physical issues, it becomes a pointless question.

                        <troll> That's true about any question, isn't it? </troll>

                        --
                        Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@...
                        "I'd rather write programs to write programs than write programs."
                      • Nadav Har'El
                        ... Yes, it s by Ed Regis. It s mostly a biography of Eric Drexler (see www.foresight.org), some guy who dabbled in the issues of nanotechnology (mostly
                        Message 11 of 12 , Apr 3 9:53 AM
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                          On Tue, Apr 03, 2001, Oleg Goldshmidt wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] Is Capitalism the Ideal or the State of the Art?":
                          > > course), and how to actually manufacture the object in question (this is
                          > > a seperate issue all together - see for example the best-seller "Nano" about
                          > > nanotechnology).
                          >
                          > By Ed Regis? Is it worth reading? The Amazon reviews are mixed at
                          > best...

                          Yes, it's by Ed Regis. It's mostly a biography of Eric Drexler (see
                          www.foresight.org), some guy who dabbled in the issues of nanotechnology
                          (mostly talking, in my opinion). It isn't one of the greatest books I've
                          read, I have to admit. A lot more talk and politics than actual technical
                          details. You might say it was _slightly_ interesting, not more than that.

                          >
                          > > if you don't like to use the E=MC^2 theory for that
                          >
                          > No, I don't. I don't know how to handle antimatter that is implicitly
                          > involved in this formula... ;-)

                          Ooops... You're right... I forgot about the other laws of conservation,
                          like conservation of baryonic number (or whatever it called, you know
                          that quantatity that protons and neutrons have 1 of and electrons or
                          photons have 0) and spin (bosons like photons have whole numbers, fermions
                          like protons and neutrons have half numbers) and charge. So that I guess if
                          these laws of conservation are not overruled by the "grand unified theory",
                          whatever that will be, you'll need to either keep the same numbers and types
                          of elementary particles in your original "raw" material, or be prepared to
                          handle the extra matter (or anti-matter).

                          Sounds complicated, but seems a lot better than keeping seperate stocks
                          of chemical elements lying around. "Damn, I ran out of chloride. Now all
                          my food will taste bland." :)

                          --
                          Nadav Har'El | Tuesday, Apr 3 2001, 11 Nisan 5761
                          nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                          Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |Early bird gets the worm, but the second
                          http://nadav.harel.org.il |mouse gets the cheese.
                        • Oleg Goldshmidt
                          ... As I said earlier, keep a star around (a yellow G-type would do quite nicely, thank you), point the remote at it, and press the fast forward button... ;-)
                          Message 12 of 12 , Apr 4 1:11 AM
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                            "Nadav Har'El" <nyh@...> writes:

                            > Sounds complicated, but seems a lot better than keeping seperate stocks
                            > of chemical elements lying around.

                            As I said earlier, keep a star around (a yellow G-type would do quite
                            nicely, thank you), point the remote at it, and press the fast forward
                            button... ;-)

                            --
                            Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@...
                            "I'd rather write programs to write programs than write programs."
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