The God of the Machine - Tranche 36

Posted by mshupe 9 months, 2 weeks ago to Economics
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Chapter XVII, Excerpt 3 of 3
The Fiction of Public Ownership

In the free economy, there can be no fixed number of jobs. Nothing increases the number of jobs so rapidly as labor-saving machinery. It releases wants theretofore unknown by permitting leisure. Free economy enables men to want things unimaginable in a state of nature. At the level of well-being his wants increase progressively he is capable of creating devices to augment his energy. His circuit is intrinsically different from circuits composed of inanimate material.

The free enterprise system starts corresponding to reality, of a three-dimensional man in a three-dimensional world. Having free will, the moral capacity for contract, it predicates individual private property. The collectivist theory states with a no-dimensional man in a no-dimensional collective and a two-dimensional world, yet it assumes three-dimensional production. The government can certainly “make jobs,” but there is no connection of supply and demand. No induction on the flow of energy.

Under collectivism, every workingman has lost his natural rights and gained nothing in return. They must ask for everything, day by day, hour by hour. The officials will get theirs first and best. This is true of all administrations seeking to perpetuate their tenure. Robert Owen, told by a veteran diplomat in 1817, the governing powers were aware “if the masses became well-off and independent, how were the governing classes to control them? We will tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect.”


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  • Posted by j_IR1776wg 9 months, 2 weeks ago
    "...The officials will get theirs first and best. This is true of all administrations seeking to perpetuate their tenure..."

    Name one government in history regardless of its origins, including ours, which has not, sooner or later, arrived at the point IP describes in this sentence!

    Are we humans so vulnerable to distraction and propaganda, so fearful of physical pain and death, that we, century in and century out, play sheep to the officials' wolves as if this order was ordained by Nature itself?
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    • Posted by 9 months, 2 weeks ago
      This is so universally true of feeble governing structures that I didn't bother highlighting it. In the awesome movie, Mr. Jones, take a look at the facial expression of the KGB agent in charge of custody of Jones, on the train to Ukraine, when he realized Jones had escaped. His gravy train had wrecked in the most brutal way.
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  • Posted by nonconformist 9 months, 2 weeks ago
    'Under collectivism, every workingman has lost his natural rights and gained nothing in return. They must ask for everything, day by day, hour by hour. The officials will get theirs first and best. This is true of all administrations seeking to perpetuate their tenure. Robert Owen, told by a veteran diplomat in 1817, the governing powers were aware “if the masses became well-off and independent, how were the governing classes to control them? We will tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect.” '

    This sounds like statism and not collectivism. (as per my hypothesis that you guys mix up those things)
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    • Posted by 9 months, 2 weeks ago
      Are you serious? Who is "you guys?" It is a fact that statism is the political expression of collectivism. They are not mutually exclusive, they are corollaries. More specifically, in the hierarchy of concepts, 'statism' is a species of the genus 'collectivism'. What is this hypothesis?
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      • Posted by nonconformist 9 months, 2 weeks ago
        You guys: Ayn Rand fans as well as other individualists with a lack understanding of the root cause of your problems.

        I attempted to explain my hypothesis here a while back:
        https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/post...

        Basically, looters use collectivism as cover. They don't actually have to be collectivists. It is just one strategy to loot. They have other strategies that can be employed in a free market environment. The state is just a very big looter. So, I would disagree with you that 'statism' is a species of the genus 'collectivism'.
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        • Posted by 9 months, 2 weeks ago
          The "root cause of your problems?" What the hell does that mean? Sure, government looters use collectivism as cover, and anyone can perpetrate fraud in a free market environment. So what? That you disagree with me on the definition of statism is irrelevant. What seems relevant is your propensity, as any other collectivist, and described by Paterson as degrading language to primitive levels.
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          • Posted by nonconformist 9 months, 2 weeks ago
            The point is that collectivists are not the looters. It is the looters that may be collectivists.

            You guys should stop wasting your energy on the wrong thing. It isn't the collectivism that you don't want, it is the forced imposition of collectivism by the state on you against your will that you need to target. Also, while you are at it, target the state institution itself. That is sure way to stop not only involuntary collectivism but all other state predation.

            By the way, I am an individualist.
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            • Posted by VetteGuy 9 months, 1 week ago
              Sounds like A=A. Or conversely, A=A.

              For someone who claims to be an "individualist" you spend a lot of time arguing for collectivism.

              You think there is such a thing as voluntary collectivism? Humans from about the age of two develop a very strong sense of "MINE". Just ask my granddaughter.

              Didja ever stop to think that instead of all of us "you guys" being wrong, it might just be you?

              Something to ponder ...
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              • Posted by nonconformist 9 months, 1 week ago
                "You think there is such a thing as voluntary collectivism?"

                Sure, there are plenty of examples of it: ecovillages, cohousing communities, communes, consumer cooperatives, worker cooperatives, housing cooperatives, time banks, tool libraries, community-based disaster relief efforts, open source software, Wikipedia, community gardens, etc.

                "Sounds like A=A. Or conversely, A=A."

                No, it is a venn diagram actually. Some looters are collectivists, or are pretending to be. Some looters are not. Some collectivists are not looters.

                "you spend a lot of time arguing for collectivism"

                As an individualist, I don't really care if somebody wants to do collectivism. It wouldn't affect me if I decided not to participate. In fact, me stopping it would violate their right to do it.

                What you guys are doing by arguing against collectivism in that way is implying the right of the 'state' to force people into something (such as collectivism). You are basically trying to persuade the 'people' not to force collectivism on you. As if they have the right to do that. See, you've got it all wrong. I don't know how to explain this to you any more clearly so that you would understand. I regret that I may have failed in that regard.

                And no, it is not just me being wrong. I analyzed this position of mine for years and I am extremely confident that it is of superior logical standing than yours. I have yet to find an argument that would disprove my view on this.
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  • Posted by nonconformist 9 months, 2 weeks ago
    It sounds like this is saying that increase in productivity provided by labor-saving devices creates demand.

    Allow me to disagree with the above.

    It is not that productivity increases demand for things which were not in demand before. Rather, increasing productivity makes people more wealthy and at the same time makes things which were already in demand cheaper. This allows people to begin to be able to afford them. I would argue that the demand was always there.

    I'll give you an example. Some people are interested in going to space and visiting other planets. That means there is a demand for things that make this possible (such as rockets). However, the cost of providing this service is so high that no one can afford it. But as productivity increases, AI replaces human labor, etc, eventually, the cost would come done and people's wealth would increase to a point where they would be able to afford it.

    Another example. A few hundred years ago only the very rich and kings could afford music (because they had to hire musicians to perform live). Now, everyone can have musicians perform for them directly from their pocket computing device. The demand didn't just appear. It was always there.
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    • Posted by 9 months, 2 weeks ago
      You can disagree all you like, but it helps to make a cogent case. In the context of economic science, it is a fact that increases in productivity increase demand. The wealth of the producers themselves, who are also consumers, and the wealth of the consumers who benefit will increase saving and investment or the purchase of durables, non-durables, and services. The going to space analogy as demand is absurd because it ignores the price mechanism. To say that demand "is always there" is not much different than the collectivist belief (as detailed in this chapter): "economic growth just happens."
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      • Posted by nonconformist 9 months, 2 weeks ago
        "The going to space analogy as demand is absurd because it ignores the price mechanism."

        I guess it depends on how you define demand. Maybe a better term to use would be 'need/want'. My point was that people want/need things regardless of whether they can get them or not, increase in productivity allows them to eventually satisfy that want/need.

        "It releases wants theretofore unknown by permitting leisure."

        I doubt leisure has anything to do with it. I know pretty clearly what I want/need. It is a very large list. I don't need leisure to tell me what it is.
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  • Posted by 9 months, 2 weeks ago
    The implied message of the first paragraph is that machinery manufactures time - time for the pursuit of happiness, which may include the creation of a new machine. Machinery is frozen intelligence.

    The second paragraph alludes to three dimensions of production. I think those are production, property rights, and trade. The flow of energy requires a three-dimensional structure to access the fourth dimension of time and space.
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    • Posted by nonconformist 9 months, 2 weeks ago
      "Machinery is frozen intelligence"

      Not frozen if the machinery is AI.
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      • Posted by 9 months, 2 weeks ago
        This book was written in 1943 and the context was mechanical machinery. The first digital computer was ENIAC, and its development began in 1943. It wasn't until 54 years later that Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov 3 1/2 to 2 1/2, and only after losing twice beforehand. Even then, IBM engineers assisted by a team of grandmasters had to reprogram Deep Blue between games, and sometimes intragame. Regardless, all so-called AI devices are built and programmed by teams of engineers, and no one claims they have volitional consciousness. It only seems that way to postmodern conformists.
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        • Posted by nonconformist 9 months, 2 weeks ago
          Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine as a general purpose computer was conceptualized in 1837. Ada Lovelace wrote programs for it. It wasn't built but it could have been if there was funding for it. It was mechanical.

          Computer chess player is not really AI in the sense that I understand it. To me, a true 'general' AI is self-reprogrammable, so, it can change itself and is, therefore, not 'frozen'. A chess player program doesn't change itself.

          Any computing device, even a mechanical one, can theoretically adjust its programming. Now, there aren't any really good algorithms invented for that yet, other than the crappy impractical ones, such as artificial neural network aglos and such. However, it is looking like something better will eventually appear that would fit my criteria.

          I don't think anybody even got started properly understanding what consciousness is. All the stuff I've read doesn't say very much and isn't very impressive. Nobody can claim they have created consciousness because it is not understood. Still, I don't think it matters. Consciousness is not intelligence. My argument is that machinery can be made that has 'non-frozen' intelligence.
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          • Posted by 9 months, 2 weeks ago
            It would help to have a basic understanding of Objectivist principles and how they fit together before trying to become a critic. For example, "nobody can claim they have created consciousness because it is not understood" is not a logical sentence.
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            • Posted by nonconformist 9 months, 1 week ago
              Obviously, I would be a proponent of what objectivism is about. Seems pretty self-evident to me.

              Let me rework it:
              One cannot claim to have a thing which cannot be verified to exist. Such claims would be conjecture.
              There is no known test for consciousness. Anyone claiming of creating it, or even possessing it, can might as well be making it up. So, no wonder nobody claims it. That would be stupid at this stage.
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              • Posted by 9 months, 1 week ago
                Would be? Not self-evident. Briefly, what is Objectivism about?
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                • Posted by 9 months, 1 week ago
                  Thanks, hardly brief, but some of this is on point. As you begin, primacy of existence is the metaphysical starting point, but I don't think it's self-evident. If it were, Descartes wouldn't be considered the greatest philosopher of the Enlightenment. Yes, the absolute of reason is the epistemological starting point, but I don't think it's self-evident. If it were, religion would have been rendered impotent during the Age of Reason. However, human consciousness is much more than perception. That is the domain of sentient animals.

                  I think the best place to start is the role of philosophy: to understand existence, man's nature, and our relationship to existence. For Objectivism, reason is the absolute and our only means for survival. Consciousness, like the universe itself, is axiomatic. Unique to Objectivism is each person's life is their highest value and the basis of their moral code. In addition, man is a rational being of volitional consciousness with heroic potential. It should be noted that I am not the authority on any of this. Galt's Speech and OPAR are the source material.

                  In essence, Objectivism, like the universe itself, is a structure of knowledge to guide ideas and actions in the pursuit of happiness. Kira Argounova, Howard Roark, and John Galt are the fictional characterizations.
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                • Posted by nonconformist 9 months, 1 week ago
                  Perhaps a simplification of the main idea of objectivism is that reality is external to the mind. We can't wish or imagine something into being. It is there (or not) whether we like it or not. Correct me if I am wrong.

                  That part is self-evident.

                  Another idea is that the mind uses reason and logic to figure out what reality is.

                  That part is also self-evident.

                  I would clarify objectivism on the idea that the mind cannot affect reality. Technically speaking, the mind does that via its outputs (muscles), however, maybe the correct way to express the idea would be "the mind cannot alter reality's rules". Correct me if I am wrong.

                  Another idea is that consciousness is the ability to perceive.

                  I don't think that is the definition which I would go by. I think the widely accepted definition of consciousness is "awareness of existence" or something to that effect.

                  My main point was, nobody knows what causes "awareness of existence" or how to check if an object in reality has it, so, I would argue that nobody can claim they have created it, unless maybe if they also came up with a working test.

                  I guess there are some other ideas that Ayn Rand made part of objectivism, such as individualism being "the one true faith", which I would question and also say that it don't necessarily follow, however, those ideas are not relevant to discussion of intelligence and consciousness.

                  I would like to also add that a lot of the ideas Ayn Rand (and other philosophers) talk about are very "pie in the sky", "word gamy", "loose" and not necessarily verifiable or applicable to the real world. I am very critical of it.

                  I apologize for being critical. Critic is my middle name. :)
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    • Posted by nonconformist 9 months, 2 weeks ago
      "The second paragraph alludes to three dimensions of production. I think those are production, property rights, and trade. The flow of energy requires a three-dimensional structure to access the fourth dimension of time and space."

      Allow me to critique this as being a bunch of nonsense. There is no way to make that analogy work. These are mismatching concepts.
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