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Global communism or Technocracy

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  • Mattias Johansson
    Happy New Millennium of the Mind, everyone! I also wish to congratulate the theory of quantum physics, which is a 100 years old today! Anyway, I have had some
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 1, 2001
      Happy New Millennium of the Mind, everyone! I also wish to congratulate the
      theory of quantum physics, which is a 100 years old today!

      Anyway, I have had some thoughts on global order, and what it will look
      like, now with the new millennium and all. How will the world be governed?
      As technology advances, the companies need for work force decreases. Robots
      and AI:s can do all of the boring work, and very few people is needed. From
      here, I can see 2 possible outcomes, global communism OR Technocracy. This
      is of course an oversimplification, there will of course be variations of
      these two, but for the sake of argument, I'll stick to them.

      1. Global communism.
      As there is nobody that needs or can work, since there is none available,
      nobody makes money, and therefore there can bee no consumption. It seems
      logical enough. Thus, corporations are doomed to fail. Government control is
      increased heavily increased, and everything is free for all. Since there is
      no economical interests (since nobody can make money), we can finally focus
      our energy to take care of the environment. Genetics enhancements can be
      applied to everyone. If you want a coke, just go to the coke machine, and
      you get your coke - for free. Coke is no longer addictive, and taste better,
      since there is less water in it. There will most likely be no homeless
      people, since the government has all the resources available, and can
      provide everyone with food and living quarters.

      2. Technocracy
      There is the possibility for the society to turn the other way around. As no
      workers are needed, they are eliminated out of the equation. Business doing
      business with other business, and thus only administrators/owners within
      corporations actually get decent living standards. This is also where the
      genetic upper class gets enacted. Since only the rich individuals will be
      allowed to social services, they are the only ones with children that has
      the benefit of genetic 'upgrades'. Thus, creating a genetically superior
      race. Homo Sapiens Genetically Enhanced or something. The world would still
      be lead by humans, but the current "working class" will be replaced with
      robots. In the aver further future as technology advances, AI:s could
      theoretically replace both the administrators AND the leaders. This, the
      humans have evolved into a techno-race, consisting of computers and
      machines. The machines could be either mechanical, as today, or biological.
      It really does not matter. As a race, it would make us stronger - let's face
      it, even though the human brain is superior to computers in many ways, it's
      most likely only a matter of (long) time before they can match us.

      The two outcomes should not be seen as good or bad, they are simply two
      outcomes. Both of them are good in different ways. What do all you think?
      What outcome is the most likely one? Are there more possible outcomes than
      the two I presented? (Probably, but I cannot think of any more) Just my
      thoughts.

      /Mattias
    • Jordan, Trent
      Mattias, your possible two paths for the future immediately conjured up the big screen for me... Movies - our window to the future perhaps?? I could be wrong,
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 1, 2001
        Mattias, your possible two paths for the future immediately conjured up the big screen for me... Movies - our window
        to the future perhaps??

        I could be wrong, but it seems to me that most sci fi flicks follow the technocracy path.

        This could be because most movies follow an 'introduction', 'problem', 'resolution' type formula and there don't
        appear to be too many problems in the 'global communism' scenario described (save boredom?).

        A world of global communism equality just seems unlikely to me. The power of governments in the this scenario
        particularly problematic. Who was it that said "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?" (This is
        actually a serious question - from memory it was some Lord in the British upper house?? - someone asked me this the
        other day and neither of us have been able to find out). My point being it would be hard to create a classless
        communistic society with increased power vested in governments.

        So while I find global communism unlikely, technocracy seems unpalatable on social equality grounds. However all
        those countless futuristic Swartenegger (sp?) and Stalone movies - and they do all seem to blend into one - seem to
        suggest that technocracy is likley to be the favoured the side on the continuum.

        But hasn't the silver screen taught us that technology (robots in particular!!) are rarely anymore perfect (or less
        prone to psychotic episodes) than our mortal selves? Should we really look to a society that relies on technology to
        the degree of the global communism or technocracy described? Could we consciously force to evolve in a different
        direction and what would that direction be?

        Sorry no answers here just more questions...

        Trent



        Mattias Johansson wrote:

        > Happy New Millennium of the Mind, everyone! I also wish to congratulate the
        > theory of quantum physics, which is a 100 years old today!
        >
        > Anyway, I have had some thoughts on global order, and what it will look
        > like, now with the new millennium and all. How will the world be governed?
        > As technology advances, the companies need for work force decreases. Robots
        > and AI:s can do all of the boring work, and very few people is needed. From
        > here, I can see 2 possible outcomes, global communism OR Technocracy. This
        > is of course an oversimplification, there will of course be variations of
        > these two, but for the sake of argument, I'll stick to them.
        >
        > 1. Global communism.
        > As there is nobody that needs or can work, since there is none available,
        > nobody makes money, and therefore there can bee no consumption. It seems
        > logical enough. Thus, corporations are doomed to fail. Government control is
        > increased heavily increased, and everything is free for all. Since there is
        > no economical interests (since nobody can make money), we can finally focus
        > our energy to take care of the environment. Genetics enhancements can be
        > applied to everyone. If you want a coke, just go to the coke machine, and
        > you get your coke - for free. Coke is no longer addictive, and taste better,
        > since there is less water in it. There will most likely be no homeless
        > people, since the government has all the resources available, and can
        > provide everyone with food and living quarters.
        >
        > 2. Technocracy
        > There is the possibility for the society to turn the other way around. As no
        > workers are needed, they are eliminated out of the equation. Business doing
        > business with other business, and thus only administrators/owners within
        > corporations actually get decent living standards. This is also where the
        > genetic upper class gets enacted. Since only the rich individuals will be
        > allowed to social services, they are the only ones with children that has
        > the benefit of genetic 'upgrades'. Thus, creating a genetically superior
        > race. Homo Sapiens Genetically Enhanced or something. The world would still
        > be lead by humans, but the current "working class" will be replaced with
        > robots. In the aver further future as technology advances, AI:s could
        > theoretically replace both the administrators AND the leaders. This, the
        > humans have evolved into a techno-race, consisting of computers and
        > machines. The machines could be either mechanical, as today, or biological.
        > It really does not matter. As a race, it would make us stronger - let's face
        > it, even though the human brain is superior to computers in many ways, it's
        > most likely only a matter of (long) time before they can match us.
        >
        > The two outcomes should not be seen as good or bad, they are simply two
        > outcomes. Both of them are good in different ways. What do all you think?
        > What outcome is the most likely one? Are there more possible outcomes than
        > the two I presented? (Probably, but I cannot think of any more) Just my
        > thoughts.
        >
        > /Mattias
        >
        > The WW Brain Club web site is now back in operation. Check out http://www.brain-club.com Apologies for the outage!

        --
        |----------------------------------------
        | Trent Jordan - Environmental Engineer
        | Sinclair Knight Merz
        | 369 Ann Street
        | Brisbane QLD 4000
        | Australia
        | Tel: 07 3244 7145
        | Fax: 07 3244 7307
        | tjordan@...
        |----------------------------------------
        NOTICE: This message contains privileged and confidential information
        intended only for the use of the addressee named above. If you are not
        the intended recipient of this message you are hereby notified that you
        must not disseminate, copy or take any action in reliance on it. If you
        have received this message in error please notify Sinclair Knight Merz
        Pty Ltd immediately. Any views expressed in this message are those of
        the individual sender, except where the sender has the authority to
        issue and specifically states them to be the views of Sinclair Knight
        Merz.
      • karen hand
        Who was it that said power corrupts and ... I think that was Machiavelli. I would look it up for you, but the book is in a box which is in a truck ready to
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 1, 2001
          Who was it that said "power corrupts and
          > absolute power corrupts absolutely?" (This is
          > actually a serious question - from memory it was some Lord in the
          > British upper house?? -

          I think that was Machiavelli. I would look it up for you, but the book is
          in a box which is in a truck ready to be moved tomorrow. Sorry.

          > Sorry no answers here just more questions...

          Me, too, Trent. Mattias, what about that "indomitable spirit of humans."
          For years I've rather humourously noted that work is a construct of rich
          people to keep us poor folks out of their way especially when they're
          shopping @ Lord & Taylors, Neiman's, Harrods, etc. But it is not an
          entirely humourous observation. My point is we are not a complacent
          species. Like it or not, we're addicted to change, doing things,
          competing, and learning and growing. Your website is a perfect example.

          What would you do if someone gave you the rest of your life off?

          karen

          >
          > Trent
          >
          >
          >
          > Mattias Johansson wrote:
          >
          > > Happy New Millennium of the Mind, everyone! I also wish to
          > congratulate the
          > > theory of quantum physics, which is a 100 years old today!
          > >
          > > Anyway, I have had some thoughts on global order, and what it will
          > look
          > > like, now with the new millennium and all. How will the world be
          > governed?
          > > As technology advances, the companies need for work force
          > decreases. Robots
          > > and AI:s can do all of the boring work, and very few people is
          > needed. From
          > > here, I can see 2 possible outcomes, global communism OR
          > Technocracy. This
          > > is of course an oversimplification, there will of course be
          > variations of
          > > these two, but for the sake of argument, I'll stick to them.
          > >
          > > 1. Global communism.
          > > As there is nobody that needs or can work, since there is none
          > available,
          > > nobody makes money, and therefore there can bee no consumption. It
          > seems
          > > logical enough. Thus, corporations are doomed to fail. Government
          > control is
          > > increased heavily increased, and everything is free for all. Since
          > there is
          > > no economical interests (since nobody can make money), we can
          > finally focus
          > > our energy to take care of the environment. Genetics enhancements
          > can be
          > > applied to everyone. If you want a coke, just go to the coke
          > machine, and
          > > you get your coke - for free. Coke is no longer addictive, and
          > taste better,
          > > since there is less water in it. There will most likely be no
          > homeless
          > > people, since the government has all the resources available, and
          > can
          > > provide everyone with food and living quarters.
          > >
          > > 2. Technocracy
          > > There is the possibility for the society to turn the other way
          > around. As no
          > > workers are needed, they are eliminated out of the equation.
          > Business doing
          > > business with other business, and thus only administrators/owners
          > within
          > > corporations actually get decent living standards. This is also
          > where the
          > > genetic upper class gets enacted. Since only the rich individuals
          > will be
          > > allowed to social services, they are the only ones with children
          > that has
          > > the benefit of genetic 'upgrades'. Thus, creating a genetically
          > superior
          > > race. Homo Sapiens Genetically Enhanced or something. The world
          > would still
          > > be lead by humans, but the current "working class" will be
          > replaced with
          > > robots. In the aver further future as technology advances, AI:s
          > could
          > > theoretically replace both the administrators AND the leaders.
          > This, the
          > > humans have evolved into a techno-race, consisting of computers
          > and
          > > machines. The machines could be either mechanical, as today, or
          > biological.
          > > It really does not matter. As a race, it would make us stronger -
          > let's face
          > > it, even though the human brain is superior to computers in many
          > ways, it's
          > > most likely only a matter of (long) time before they can match us.
          > >
          > > The two outcomes should not be seen as good or bad, they are
          > simply two
          > > outcomes. Both of them are good in different ways. What do all you
          > think?
          > > What outcome is the most likely one? Are there more possible
          > outcomes than
          > > the two I presented? (Probably, but I cannot think of any more)
          > Just my
          > > thoughts.
          > >
          > > /Mattias
          > >
          > > The WW Brain Club web site is now back in operation. Check out
          > http://www.brain-club.com Apologies for the outage!
          >
          > --
          > |----------------------------------------
          > | Trent Jordan - Environmental Engineer
          > | Sinclair Knight Merz
          > | 369 Ann Street
          > | Brisbane QLD 4000
          > | Australia
          > | Tel: 07 3244 7145
          > | Fax: 07 3244 7307
          > | tjordan@...
          > |----------------------------------------
          > NOTICE: This message contains privileged and confidential
          > information
          > intended only for the use of the addressee named above. If you are
          > not
          > the intended recipient of this message you are hereby notified that
          > you
          > must not disseminate, copy or take any action in reliance on it. If
          > you
          > have received this message in error please notify Sinclair Knight
          > Merz
          > Pty Ltd immediately. Any views expressed in this message are those
          > of
          > the individual sender, except where the sender has the authority to
          > issue and specifically states them to be the views of Sinclair
          > Knight
          > Merz.
          >
          >
          >
          > eGroups Sponsor
          > The WW Brain Club web site is now back in operation. Check out
          > http://www.brain-club.com Apologies for the outage!
          >
          >
        • Trent Jordan
          Hi all, Thought I d add a few more points... The future directions for societies and the way we re governed topic has some relevance to Australia right now (I
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 2, 2001
            Hi all,

            Thought I'd add a few more points...

            The future directions for societies and the way we're governed topic
            has some relevance to Australia right now (I may be drawing a long
            bow but it was an association I made and I'm sharing it with you
            anyway)

            Here in Oz the new year has seen a double celebration. Not only is
            it the beginning of a new millenium (but whose counting?) it's also
            100 years since Federation, when Australia became a nation in its own
            right under its own constitution.

            This has led to the usual type of celebrations - fireworks, retelling
            of history etc... The official ceremonies also saw our Governor
            General (kinda like a President but that's another story), Prime
            Minister, and other figures talk about what makes Australia special,
            it's identity if you like, but perhaps more importantly what the
            future might hold. Not suprisingly I guess global communism or
            technocracy didn't get a guernsy (sp?)...

            One of the talking points (tho I'm sure half the population is pretty
            apathetic about the whole thing) was the different perspective
            between our GG and PM. The PM was almost totally positive about
            our "fair go for all" philosophy of life and pretty much suggested
            Australia had a "classless society"?!?!

            On the other hand the GG spoke about righting past wrongs
            particularly with respect to Indigenous Australians and correcting
            the gap between the have and have nots.

            A commentator I heard tonight suggested that they didn't believe
            Australians would accept a gap between the haves and have nots and
            that this would slowly be correctly over the coming years.

            The suggestion has also been that our philosphy / approach / outlook
            on life is unique or at least something that sets Australians apart
            (for good or bad?)

            One of the things this lead me to, and I guess it's pretty obvious,
            is that different parts of the globe are likely to have very
            different approaches to the future and technology and the way we let
            it influence our society and lives.

            The approach adopted in Australia, is likely to be different to China
            and may well be different to England??... or perhaps globalisation
            will get everyone in the end.

            Trent
          • Dougie Rankine
            Dear Mattius, Just a few thoughts on your posting. There are 6 billion people on the planet, (give or take a few) according to World Health Organisation
            Message 5 of 10 , Jan 2, 2001
              Dear Mattius,
              Just a few thoughts on your posting.
              There are 6 billion people on the planet, (give or take a few) according to
              World Health Organisation figures. 5 and a half billion of them don't have
              access to computers, 5 and three quarter billion of them don't have access
              to the telephone. About 20 million of them have access to the Internet.
              About a billion of them have access to electricity; when there isn't a power
              cut, even less have access to a home with electricity, telephone, sky
              television, plumbing, gas etc. Nor do they have washing machines, toasters,
              spin dryers, television sets, and all the other "white goods" neither do
              they have the individual means of conveyance, such as cars, which we take so
              much for granted in our "global world". They haven't got air transport of
              any measure, or sufficient public trains or even a reliable bus service or
              an infrastructure of main roads from the countryside to the main towns and
              cities. When one travels around the world in an aeroplane at night, I am
              surprised just how few places are lit up in the developing world compared
              with the USA and Western Europe and North East Asia. The cities stick out
              like constellations of stars in the sky, in the modern world, but over most
              of the rest of the world, the land is almost completely in the dark. So,
              industrialisation is a long way off for them. They will be ploughing the
              soil by farm animal and washing in the river by hand for a long time to
              come. They will be producing and manufacturing the means of production and
              consumer goods in the traditional ways for the foreseeable future before
              they catch up with us, in terms of per capita income or gain the ability to
              purchase consumer goods of their choice. Money, as such only came into
              existence a few hundred years ago as a major, efficient and fast way of
              exchanging goods and promoting trade both at home and abroad. I think it
              will be around for a while yet, even if it becomes an electronic symbol in
              the memory of a computer, rather than the traditional bit of brass, copper,
              or piece of paper, that we are used to. Accumulation of capital is
              necessary for the prosecution of large projects, such as bridge or tunnel
              building, for industrial development, for housing for mass communication and
              transport systems, for looking after people's health and giving them an
              education, for developing the infrastructures necessary for the promotion of
              industrialisation in those countries, so I can't see Capitalism disappearing
              or being replaced by Communism or Technocracy. I must say though, I don't
              really know if such social systems really exist, ever existed or can exist!
              That is the trouble with labels, they simplify. The main capital that most
              developing countries have is employed in using people to do the labour,
              robots will be the last thing they will use, as long as it is cheaper to do
              so. Human labour itself is an important way of creating capital in those
              countries, much as we can use our thinking to create intellectual capital in
              our society. Where are they to get the capital from to build all that is
              needed? The Western world has found it difficult enough to supply the
              capital to close down Chernobyl. When labour is cheap, then robots don't
              get employed. If you have a society whose industrial production is
              accomplished by using robots, how do people get money to buy the goods that
              the robots produce? Issues such as supply and demand, the disequilibria of
              the market place, have a bearing on these factors. Is it possible to
              control supply and demand with any certainty? Can we really get to a stage
              where we issue people with a ticket for life, when they are born, a sort of
              "right to life issue" which will allow them to gain access to anything that
              society can provide and all for free? Every country, every nation state
              has its own way of organising itself, what is democracy in one country might
              not be considered as democracy to another. Questions of whether the
              presidents of countries are elected by popular vote or by Electoral College
              don't exist for most countries. They have different cultural values and
              traditions. I think that computers and robots are becoming an essential
              part in the liberation of humankind from the more boring and repetitive
              parts of human labour. Their use allows more people to get access to
              information, to an education and to thinking time, allowing us to use the
              planet's resources more efficiently, with less waste and pollution and with
              more efficient use of energy. Mass communication too is going through a
              revolution, with people developing the ability to share ideas cheaply and
              very quickly over the world wide web and such things as newsgroups. The
              spread of human knowledge is the key, in my opinion. With modern forms of
              communication, with modern forms of production, I can only see an
              improvement in the well-being of the people of the world. It comes down to
              how, where and when we apply these new scientific forms and whether we use
              them for the benefit of humankind or to its detriment. The age old dilemma
              pops up here, the planet's resources are finite, and human wants are
              infinite, can we ever balance the two? Alduous Huxley wrote quite a good
              book, I thought, in "Brave New World" It is well worth a read. Lots of
              stuff in there about "genetic bottling" in a factory, producing the right
              types of human for the future needs of society.
              All the best,
              Dougie.

              P.S. How does one define work? Is it based on the Protestant work ethic, or
              on value added, or objects created, or is it based on a much wider
              definition? In my view our bodies "work" all the time, even when we are
              sleeping!

              -----Original Message-----
              From: Mattias Johansson [mailto:smart@...]
              Sent: 01 January 2001 16:14
              To: wwbc@egroups.com
              Subject: [wwbc] Global communism or Technocracy

              Happy New Millennium of the Mind, everyone! I also wish to congratulate the
              theory of quantum physics, which is a 100 years old today!

              Anyway, I have had some thoughts on global order, and what it will look
              like, now with the new millennium and all. How will the world be governed?
              As technology advances, the companies need for work force decreases. Robots
              and AI:s can do all of the boring work, and very few people is needed. From
              here, I can see 2 possible outcomes, global communism OR Technocracy. This
              is of course an oversimplification, there will of course be variations of
              these two, but for the sake of argument, I'll stick to them.

              1. Global communism.
              As there is nobody that needs or can work, since there is none available,
              nobody makes money, and therefore there can bee no consumption. It seems
              logical enough. Thus, corporations are doomed to fail. Government control is
              increased heavily increased, and everything is free for all. Since there is
              no economical interests (since nobody can make money), we can finally focus
              our energy to take care of the environment. Genetics enhancements can be
              applied to everyone. If you want a coke, just go to the coke machine, and
              you get your coke - for free. Coke is no longer addictive, and taste better,
              since there is less water in it. There will most likely be no homeless
              people, since the government has all the resources available, and can
              provide everyone with food and living quarters.

              2. Technocracy
              There is the possibility for the society to turn the other way around. As no
              workers are needed, they are eliminated out of the equation. Business doing
              business with other business, and thus only administrators/owners within
              corporations actually get decent living standards. This is also where the
              genetic upper class gets enacted. Since only the rich individuals will be
              allowed to social services, they are the only ones with children that has
              the benefit of genetic 'upgrades'. Thus, creating a genetically superior
              race. Homo Sapiens Genetically Enhanced or something. The world would still
              be lead by humans, but the current "working class" will be replaced with
              robots. In the aver further future as technology advances, AI:s could
              theoretically replace both the administrators AND the leaders. This, the
              humans have evolved into a techno-race, consisting of computers and
              machines. The machines could be either mechanical, as today, or biological.
              It really does not matter. As a race, it would make us stronger - let's face
              it, even though the human brain is superior to computers in many ways, it's
              most likely only a matter of (long) time before they can match us.

              The two outcomes should not be seen as good or bad, they are simply two
              outcomes. Both of them are good in different ways. What do all you think?
              What outcome is the most likely one? Are there more possible outcomes than
              the two I presented? (Probably, but I cannot think of any more) Just my
              thoughts.

              /Mattias
            • Dougie Rankine
              Dear Karen, Lord Acton All the best, Dougie. ... From: karen hand [mailto:ellaquincia@earthlink.net] Sent: 02 January 2001 01:22 To: wwbc@egroups.com Subject:
              Message 6 of 10 , Jan 2, 2001
                Dear Karen,
                Lord Acton
                All the best,
                Dougie.

                -----Original Message-----
                From: karen hand [mailto:ellaquincia@...]
                Sent: 02 January 2001 01:22
                To: wwbc@egroups.com
                Subject: Re: [wwbc] Global communism or Technocracy

                Who was it that said "power corrupts and
                > absolute power corrupts absolutely?" (This is
                > actually a serious question - from memory it was some Lord in the
                > British upper house?? -
              • Mattias Johansson
                Not to be picky, but are you sure your info isn t accurate and/or outdated? You claim only 20 million people have Internet access, but AOL has 27 million users
                Message 7 of 10 , Jan 2, 2001
                  Not to be picky, but are you sure your info isn't accurate and/or outdated?
                  You claim only 20 million people have Internet access, but AOL has 27
                  million users alone.

                  /Mattias

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Dougie Rankine [mailto:rankine@...]
                  Sent: Tuesday, January 02, 2001 1:13 PM
                  To: wwbc@egroups.com
                  Subject: RE: [wwbc] Global communism or Technocracy
                  Importance: Low

                  Dear Mattius,
                  Just a few thoughts on your posting.
                  There are 6 billion people on the planet, (give or take a few) according to
                  World Health Organisation figures. 5 and a half billion of them don't have
                  access to computers, 5 and three quarter billion of them don't have access
                  to the telephone. About 20 million of them have access to the Internet.
                  About a billion of them have access to electricity; when there isn't a power
                  cut, even less have access to a home with electricity, telephone, sky
                  television, plumbing, gas etc. Nor do they have washing machines, toasters,
                  spin dryers, television sets, and all the other "white goods" neither do
                  they have the individual means of conveyance, such as cars, which we take so
                  much for granted in our "global world". They haven't got air transport of
                  any measure, or sufficient public trains or even a reliable bus service or
                  an infrastructure of main roads from the countryside to the main towns and
                  cities. When one travels around the world in an aeroplane at night, I am
                  surprised just how few places are lit up in the developing world compared
                  with the USA and Western Europe and North East Asia. The cities stick out
                  like constellations of stars in the sky, in the modern world, but over most
                  of the rest of the world, the land is almost completely in the dark. So,
                  industrialisation is a long way off for them. They will be ploughing the
                  soil by farm animal and washing in the river by hand for a long time to
                  come. They will be producing and manufacturing the means of production and
                  consumer goods in the traditional ways for the foreseeable future before
                  they catch up with us, in terms of per capita income or gain the ability to
                  purchase consumer goods of their choice. Money, as such only came into
                  existence a few hundred years ago as a major, efficient and fast way of
                  exchanging goods and promoting trade both at home and abroad. I think it
                  will be around for a while yet, even if it becomes an electronic symbol in
                  the memory of a computer, rather than the traditional bit of brass, copper,
                  or piece of paper, that we are used to. Accumulation of capital is
                  necessary for the prosecution of large projects, such as bridge or tunnel
                  building, for industrial development, for housing for mass communication and
                  transport systems, for looking after people's health and giving them an
                  education, for developing the infrastructures necessary for the promotion of
                  industrialisation in those countries, so I can't see Capitalism disappearing
                  or being replaced by Communism or Technocracy. I must say though, I don't
                  really know if such social systems really exist, ever existed or can exist!
                  That is the trouble with labels, they simplify. The main capital that most
                  developing countries have is employed in using people to do the labour,
                  robots will be the last thing they will use, as long as it is cheaper to do
                  so. Human labour itself is an important way of creating capital in those
                  countries, much as we can use our thinking to create intellectual capital in
                  our society. Where are they to get the capital from to build all that is
                  needed? The Western world has found it difficult enough to supply the
                  capital to close down Chernobyl. When labour is cheap, then robots don't
                  get employed. If you have a society whose industrial production is
                  accomplished by using robots, how do people get money to buy the goods that
                  the robots produce? Issues such as supply and demand, the disequilibria of
                  the market place, have a bearing on these factors. Is it possible to
                  control supply and demand with any certainty? Can we really get to a stage
                  where we issue people with a ticket for life, when they are born, a sort of
                  "right to life issue" which will allow them to gain access to anything that
                  society can provide and all for free? Every country, every nation state
                  has its own way of organising itself, what is democracy in one country might
                  not be considered as democracy to another. Questions of whether the
                  presidents of countries are elected by popular vote or by Electoral College
                  don't exist for most countries. They have different cultural values and
                  traditions. I think that computers and robots are becoming an essential
                  part in the liberation of humankind from the more boring and repetitive
                  parts of human labour. Their use allows more people to get access to
                  information, to an education and to thinking time, allowing us to use the
                  planet's resources more efficiently, with less waste and pollution and with
                  more efficient use of energy. Mass communication too is going through a
                  revolution, with people developing the ability to share ideas cheaply and
                  very quickly over the world wide web and such things as newsgroups. The
                  spread of human knowledge is the key, in my opinion. With modern forms of
                  communication, with modern forms of production, I can only see an
                  improvement in the well-being of the people of the world. It comes down to
                  how, where and when we apply these new scientific forms and whether we use
                  them for the benefit of humankind or to its detriment. The age old dilemma
                  pops up here, the planet's resources are finite, and human wants are
                  infinite, can we ever balance the two? Alduous Huxley wrote quite a good
                  book, I thought, in "Brave New World" It is well worth a read. Lots of
                  stuff in there about "genetic bottling" in a factory, producing the right
                  types of human for the future needs of society.
                  All the best,
                  Dougie.

                  P.S. How does one define work? Is it based on the Protestant work ethic, or
                  on value added, or objects created, or is it based on a much wider
                  definition? In my view our bodies "work" all the time, even when we are
                  sleeping!

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Mattias Johansson [mailto:smart@...]
                  Sent: 01 January 2001 16:14
                  To: wwbc@egroups.com
                  Subject: [wwbc] Global communism or Technocracy

                  Happy New Millennium of the Mind, everyone! I also wish to congratulate the
                  theory of quantum physics, which is a 100 years old today!

                  Anyway, I have had some thoughts on global order, and what it will look
                  like, now with the new millennium and all. How will the world be governed?
                  As technology advances, the companies need for work force decreases. Robots
                  and AI:s can do all of the boring work, and very few people is needed. From
                  here, I can see 2 possible outcomes, global communism OR Technocracy. This
                  is of course an oversimplification, there will of course be variations of
                  these two, but for the sake of argument, I'll stick to them.

                  1. Global communism.
                  As there is nobody that needs or can work, since there is none available,
                  nobody makes money, and therefore there can bee no consumption. It seems
                  logical enough. Thus, corporations are doomed to fail. Government control is
                  increased heavily increased, and everything is free for all. Since there is
                  no economical interests (since nobody can make money), we can finally focus
                  our energy to take care of the environment. Genetics enhancements can be
                  applied to everyone. If you want a coke, just go to the coke machine, and
                  you get your coke - for free. Coke is no longer addictive, and taste better,
                  since there is less water in it. There will most likely be no homeless
                  people, since the government has all the resources available, and can
                  provide everyone with food and living quarters.

                  2. Technocracy
                  There is the possibility for the society to turn the other way around. As no
                  workers are needed, they are eliminated out of the equation. Business doing
                  business with other business, and thus only administrators/owners within
                  corporations actually get decent living standards. This is also where the
                  genetic upper class gets enacted. Since only the rich individuals will be
                  allowed to social services, they are the only ones with children that has
                  the benefit of genetic 'upgrades'. Thus, creating a genetically superior
                  race. Homo Sapiens Genetically Enhanced or something. The world would still
                  be lead by humans, but the current "working class" will be replaced with
                  robots. In the aver further future as technology advances, AI:s could
                  theoretically replace both the administrators AND the leaders. This, the
                  humans have evolved into a techno-race, consisting of computers and
                  machines. The machines could be either mechanical, as today, or biological.
                  It really does not matter. As a race, it would make us stronger - let's face
                  it, even though the human brain is superior to computers in many ways, it's
                  most likely only a matter of (long) time before they can match us.

                  The two outcomes should not be seen as good or bad, they are simply two
                  outcomes. Both of them are good in different ways. What do all you think?
                  What outcome is the most likely one? Are there more possible outcomes than
                  the two I presented? (Probably, but I cannot think of any more) Just my
                  thoughts.

                  /Mattias





                  The WW Brain Club web site is now back in operation. Check out
                  http://www.brain-club.com Apologies for the outage!
                • Dougie Rankine
                  Dear Mattius, I stand corrected! Still, what s a few million here or there when one is working with figures of 6 billion or more? No more than pouring a
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jan 3, 2001
                    Dear Mattius,
                    I stand corrected! Still, what's a few million here or there when one is
                    working with figures of 6 billion or more? No more than pouring a kettle of
                    boiling water in the ocean and saying it will cause global warming, I
                    suppose!
                    All the best,
                    Dougie.

                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Mattias Johansson [mailto:smart@...]
                    Sent: 03 January 2001 00:34
                    To: wwbc@egroups.com
                    Subject: RE: [wwbc] Global communism or Technocracy

                    Not to be picky, but are you sure your info isn't accurate and/or outdated?
                    You claim only 20 million people have Internet access, but AOL has 27
                    million users alone.

                    /Mattias
                  • Elliott C Bignell
                    Howdy, folks. I should have guessed this sort of futurologist speculation would rear its head about now! Here s my kettle-full: There is a reasonably long
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jan 3, 2001
                      Howdy, folks.

                      I should have guessed this sort of futurologist speculation would rear its head
                      about now! Here's my kettle-full: There is a reasonably long tradition - at
                      least since the industrial revolution - of predicting forthcoming plenty for all
                      and the end of manual labour. So far, the future has always confounded our
                      attempts at prediction - history remains a slippery thing, even if it is
                      supposed to have ended with the French and American revolutions according to
                      Fukuyama.

                      Explanations for this abound in social science, but I'm not sure any of them are
                      convincing. Here's my shot:

                      Firstly, technocrats have consistently overestimated the power and flexibility
                      of technical progress while at the same time underestimating people's sheer
                      greed and parochialism. Computer systems and robots still aren't at parity with
                      humans in their capacity to solve problems at work. This may change during my
                      lifetime - computer agents in combat simulation now routinely defeat human
                      pilots, and I suspect that another generation or two of aerospace development
                      will see the human pilot quit the cockpit. Presumably the research invested in
                      this kind of system will at some stage filter out into civilian applications,
                      eliminating drivers, machinists and so on as the technology matures.

                      The idea that this will lead to "leisure" for the affected generation of
                      drivers, etc., would appear naive. The historical pattern of social change in my
                      own country has a been a rolling series of disenfranchisements of the current
                      generation of skilled workers. Technologies are introduced, the wealthier
                      portions of society move to monopolise control of the new idiom, and the
                      generation of workers responsible for the current level of affluence are
                      discarded to remove any obstruction to the growth of the new technology. Typical
                      examples of this are the enclosure and alienation of common land in Britain to
                      make way for a generation of entrepreneurial farmers exploiting the technologies
                      of the agricultural and industrial revolutions, and the assassination of the
                      (then still viable) coal and steel industries to make way for a new economy
                      based on "flexible labour markets", telecommunications and financial services.
                      The benefits typically accrue to subsequent generations, until they are, in
                      their turn, stiffed.

                      The know-how has long existed to feed and clothe everybody to a reasonable
                      standard, and yet people are still hungry, and teenagers still freeze to death
                      on the streets in the UK - currently the World's 4th largest economy, so the
                      problems of Africa, for example, appear totally demoralising. The sad fact is,
                      that while motorised transport, desalination technology, nuclear and solar power
                      and modern crop varieties provide the POSSIBILITY of filling and heating every
                      rice bowl, and indeed already provide more than enough food and power were it to
                      be delivered, the attention of those in control of the bulk of the food and
                      electricity is focussed on acquiring PlayStation 2. Filling the rice-bowls of
                      others is not a priority - a dishwasher for one's own rice-bowl certainly is.

                      Alternative social arrangements have certainly been thought up - the background
                      music for the whole previous century was scored by social theorists like Marx.
                      Marxism, it is easy to forget at the moment, was in fact an optimistic
                      construction. It promised an end to exploitation, justice for workers and plenty
                      for all in a society based on science and rationalism. It appears to have been a
                      disaster. The Soviet Union had a constitution as sparkling and noble as that of
                      the US, yet it almost instantly collapsed into repression and, for a period, a
                      brutal collectivisation of peasant farmers that made the parliamentary
                      enclosures look like a weekend at Butlins. The whole project finally foundered,
                      choking on its own technocracy as the economy was strangled by an arms race that
                      it couldn't afford. The whole strength of the "egalitarian" system was focussed,
                      not on feeding and clothing its own children, but on fighting to overcome an
                      external enemy.

                      The key here, I believe, is "external". I wish to propose an evolutionary
                      analogy : that societies' failings do not necessarily lie in their inherent
                      weaknesses as a way to live for their members. Marxism, had it had time alone to
                      mature and develop, might very well have proven the panacea for the problems
                      identified in this and previous mails. However, it existed not in isolation, but
                      in a world of predators - or at least, superior competitors for finite
                      resources. Capitalism has inherent brutalities that make pure free-market
                      systems such nasty places to live that they are almost never implemented in
                      their purest form, and even existing ones have a fair complement of losers, but
                      their capacity for sheer output and technological change means they outcompete
                      other, in principle more equitable systems.

                      The evolutionary analogy rests on that of the gene's requirement to reproduce
                      compared to the individual's requirement to eat and live in comfort. A rabbit
                      wastes massive amounts of food energy on running muscles. What do these
                      contribute to the gene's reproduction? Nothing, at least not directly. The same
                      goes for the fox's own muscles, and indeed for the USSR's rocket arsenal in
                      respect of feeding its population. However: what happens if the rabbit fails to
                      develop its muscles and restricts itself purely to doing what rabbits
                      traditionally do? It gets eaten by the fox, that's what - and the next
                      generation of rabbits is descended from those that were massively less efficient
                      at producing baby rabbits, but were nevertheless able to run away.

                      It's a jungle out there!

                      Cheers...
                      Elliott

                      P.S. Happy New Millennium.
                    • Dougie Rankine
                      Dear Elliot, A happy and prosperous new year and millenium to you! It may be a jungle out there, but it is organised! There are still billions of peasants
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jan 5, 2001
                        Dear Elliot,
                        A happy and prosperous new year and millenium to you! It may be a jungle
                        out there, but it is organised! There are still billions of peasants
                        throughout the world. The working class in England is still alive and
                        kicking, the agricultural labourer has almost disappeared, replaced by small
                        peasant farmers with small tractors and large debts. There are more big
                        farms owned by large corporations and using combine harvesters and all sorts
                        of mechanised machinery and industrial style strategies. We have 4 million
                        senior citizens with old age pensions, in the UK, who have plenty of
                        leisure, and over a million unemployed, who also have plenty of leisure,
                        (but not the money to spend on it, unless they are moonlighting of course!)
                        Many of our senior citizens do a lot of voluntary work, which they don't get
                        paid for, helping one another, and society as a whole and themselves in the
                        process. I don't know how many or our citizens are claiming disablement
                        allowances, but at least they have an entitlement to it, for the purpose of
                        survival. Housewives, who do the most valuable of job in our society,
                        bringing up the young, don't get paid at all, neither do they get the
                        training they require for such a responsible job. It is one of the ways
                        that we subsidise the social system and also perpetuates the ignorance which
                        abounds amongst us. It is very expensive to bring up children properly, and
                        large corporations see no value to be gained from it, apart from helping
                        their own staff, so big companies don't see it as a profitable investment,
                        that is to their discredit. The state and the tax payer pay for their
                        education, their health and their maintenance, where the mother or father
                        don't, and it's done in overcrowded and under resourced state schools. We
                        should have no more than 6 children to a class, and every child should have
                        access to a computer and the Internet, in my opinion. Instead we have 30
                        children and two computers to a class. But that is our society for you,
                        co-operative and competitive by nature. Capitalism wouldn't work without
                        its subsidies, its little "perks" which the government arranges for it so
                        that it can keep going. Was the Soviet Union ever really "socialist"? What
                        does socialist mean? There are other forms of social ownership, than state
                        ownership of the means of production, land and exchange. The Soviet Union or
                        the socialists and communists can't claim the definition as their own. Was
                        there a revolution in Russia in 1917? Or was it a coup? Were the people
                        equal in practice? I seem to remember that the nomenclatura had nice big
                        dachas in the country and their own walled village in Moscow with a special
                        traffic lane down the middle of the road to get them in their chauffer
                        driven limos, to their important state and parliamentary jobs on time. They
                        also had their own special supermarkets where they could buy western goods
                        at inflated prices, whilst the rest of the population suffered from
                        rationing and shortages and had to use public transport, cheap though it may
                        have been. The money in circulation seemed to increase a lot without a
                        proportionate increase in goods for sale. This was with the exception of
                        vodka of course, which was the anaesthetic of the people (and still is!).
                        Their economic strategy was based on the gross material product which in
                        effect meant bonuses at the end of the month for producing televisions that
                        didn't work and which lay in hotels waiting to set fire to them when they
                        were switched on. ? Marx wasn't a Marxist, he wrote a treatise called the
                        Grundrisse, Capital and the Manifesto of a Communist Party, (as well as a
                        few other pamphlets and leaflets in which very few people, except
                        historians, are interested) which was written over 150 years ago on a
                        society and mode of life which no longer exists. He made some valuable
                        contributions regarding the motive forces which existed in society and an
                        analysis of economic and political history and its dynamic at the time. I
                        think someone later gave it the name of historical and dialectical
                        materialism. He was also a copycat, got a lot of his stuff from Adam Smith!
                        The Soviet Union developed out of a revolution in the name of a "science"
                        its leading protagonists called dialectical materialism, but it never really
                        got off the ground as it was stopped very early on when the "party" stopped
                        the artist from painting the trees green in Red Square. It got rid of one
                        autocracy merely to replace it with another. Some of the peasants lost
                        their chains and became workers, others were enchained and destroyed by
                        Stalin and his cronies. In evolutionary terms the Soviet Revolution wasn't
                        adaptable enough, it particularly couldn't handle the freedom of information
                        aspects of the free world and the development of international
                        communications via satellites, telephone, television and radio. It couldn't
                        shift its economic base from production en masse to production for quality
                        and the choice of the consumer. Propaganda, the art at which it was best,
                        (and with which our society has now caught up) didn't satisfy the needs of
                        its people. Mr. Gorbachov and the group around him tried to bring in
                        changes to modernise the economy and the political structure through
                        perestroika and glasnost, but there were too many vested interests grouped
                        against him and it was doomed to failure. The military took over and
                        consequently their society collapsed when it couldn't supply the people with
                        what they wanted. Simple things, like bread and water. It will take it many
                        years to recover.
                        Regarding evolutionary theory, the parasite never kills off the host, if
                        the rabbit were to stop running, the fox would get fat on the proceeds and
                        be unable to run so fast, he in turn would become predated on by other meat
                        eaters. New galaxies of bacteria would move in to live off the proceeds,
                        some form of symbiotic balance would return. Species come in and out of
                        existence all the time. What is the connection with the genes? The genes
                        are selfish, someone once said. I don't know about that, but they are
                        selfless, they aren't conscious, they don't have a conscience, they just do
                        their job when the circumstances are right and do it badly when they are
                        wrong, or not at all. They don't work on the same principles as human
                        beings, they are incapable of thought, or of emotion, it seems to me. They
                        are a part of the bigger, or smaller schema of life, of survival, depending
                        on how one looks at it. Is the altruism which exists in human nature
                        sitting somewhere in the genes? Is the willingness (or not) of one human
                        being to help another, or even looking after their domestic cat, explicable
                        in evolutionary terms or in gene theory? Is there such a thing as genetic
                        consciousness or conscience, or is consciousness and conscience within the
                        realms of the individual. Is survival based on the physical strength of the
                        strong over the physically weak, or is the pen mightier than the sword?
                        Wars don't last as long as peace, but without peace there wouldn't be war.
                        Resources get used up at a faster rate during a war than the time needed to
                        create them during the peace.
                        All the best,
                        Dougie.

                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: Elliott C Bignell [mailto:elliott_c_bignell@...-elmer.com]
                        Sent: 03 January 2001 11:11
                        To: wwbc@egroups.com
                        Subject: RE: [wwbc] Global communism or Technocracy


                        Howdy, folks.

                        I should have guessed this sort of futurologist speculation would rear its
                        head
                        about now! Here's my kettle-full: There is a reasonably long tradition - at
                        least since the industrial revolution - of predicting forthcoming plenty for
                        all
                        and the end of manual labour. So far, the future has always confounded our
                        attempts at prediction - history remains a slippery thing, even if it is
                        supposed to have ended with the French and American revolutions according to
                        Fukuyama.

                        Explanations for this abound in social science, but I'm not sure any of them
                        are
                        convincing. Here's my shot:

                        Firstly, technocrats have consistently overestimated the power and
                        flexibility
                        of technical progress while at the same time underestimating people's sheer
                        greed and parochialism. Computer systems and robots still aren't at parity
                        with
                        humans in their capacity to solve problems at work. This may change during
                        my
                        lifetime - computer agents in combat simulation now routinely defeat human
                        pilots, and I suspect that another generation or two of aerospace
                        development
                        will see the human pilot quit the cockpit. Presumably the research invested
                        in
                        this kind of system will at some stage filter out into civilian
                        applications,
                        eliminating drivers, machinists and so on as the technology matures.

                        The idea that this will lead to "leisure" for the affected generation of
                        drivers, etc., would appear naive. The historical pattern of social change
                        in my
                        own country has a been a rolling series of disenfranchisements of the
                        current
                        generation of skilled workers. Technologies are introduced, the wealthier
                        portions of society move to monopolise control of the new idiom, and the
                        generation of workers responsible for the current level of affluence are
                        discarded to remove any obstruction to the growth of the new technology.
                        Typical
                        examples of this are the enclosure and alienation of common land in Britain
                        to
                        make way for a generation of entrepreneurial farmers exploiting the
                        technologies
                        of the agricultural and industrial revolutions, and the assassination of the
                        (then still viable) coal and steel industries to make way for a new economy
                        based on "flexible labour markets", telecommunications and financial
                        services.
                        The benefits typically accrue to subsequent generations, until they are, in
                        their turn, stiffed.

                        The know-how has long existed to feed and clothe everybody to a reasonable
                        standard, and yet people are still hungry, and teenagers still freeze to
                        death
                        on the streets in the UK - currently the World's 4th largest economy, so the
                        problems of Africa, for example, appear totally demoralising. The sad fact
                        is,
                        that while motorised transport, desalination technology, nuclear and solar
                        power
                        and modern crop varieties provide the POSSIBILITY of filling and heating
                        every
                        rice bowl, and indeed already provide more than enough food and power were
                        it to
                        be delivered, the attention of those in control of the bulk of the food and
                        electricity is focussed on acquiring PlayStation 2. Filling the rice-bowls
                        of
                        others is not a priority - a dishwasher for one's own rice-bowl certainly
                        is.

                        Alternative social arrangements have certainly been thought up - the
                        background
                        music for the whole previous century was scored by social theorists like
                        Marx.
                        Marxism, it is easy to forget at the moment, was in fact an optimistic
                        construction. It promised an end to exploitation, justice for workers and
                        plenty
                        for all in a society based on science and rationalism. It appears to have
                        been a
                        disaster. The Soviet Union had a constitution as sparkling and noble as that
                        of
                        the US, yet it almost instantly collapsed into repression and, for a period,
                        a
                        brutal collectivisation of peasant farmers that made the parliamentary
                        enclosures look like a weekend at Butlins. The whole project finally
                        foundered,
                        choking on its own technocracy as the economy was strangled by an arms race
                        that
                        it couldn't afford. The whole strength of the "egalitarian" system was
                        focussed,
                        not on feeding and clothing its own children, but on fighting to overcome an
                        external enemy.

                        The key here, I believe, is "external". I wish to propose an evolutionary
                        analogy : that societies' failings do not necessarily lie in their inherent
                        weaknesses as a way to live for their members. Marxism, had it had time
                        alone to
                        mature and develop, might very well have proven the panacea for the problems
                        identified in this and previous mails. However, it existed not in isolation,
                        but
                        in a world of predators - or at least, superior competitors for finite
                        resources. Capitalism has inherent brutalities that make pure free-market
                        systems such nasty places to live that they are almost never implemented in
                        their purest form, and even existing ones have a fair complement of losers,
                        but
                        their capacity for sheer output and technological change means they
                        outcompete
                        other, in principle more equitable systems.

                        The evolutionary analogy rests on that of the gene's requirement to
                        reproduce
                        compared to the individual's requirement to eat and live in comfort. A
                        rabbit
                        wastes massive amounts of food energy on running muscles. What do these
                        contribute to the gene's reproduction? Nothing, at least not directly. The
                        same
                        goes for the fox's own muscles, and indeed for the USSR's rocket arsenal in
                        respect of feeding its population. However: what happens if the rabbit fails
                        to
                        develop its muscles and restricts itself purely to doing what rabbits
                        traditionally do? It gets eaten by the fox, that's what - and the next
                        generation of rabbits is descended from those that were massively less
                        efficient
                        at producing baby rabbits, but were nevertheless able to run away.

                        It's a jungle out there!

                        Cheers...
                        Elliott

                        P.S. Happy New Millennium.
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