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Utopia is a path to doom

Re: Utopia is a path to doom
March 18, 2010, 06:09:39 PM
And even shortly before 200 years ago, not a whole lot of people did 'just fine.'

I think this is a mistake, to make this argument. 90% of humanity have always lived in self-imposed misery.

Ancient Greece did just fine.

Ancient Northern Europe did just fine, as did North China.

What defined these places? High intelligence people with a sense of moral discipline.

That more than technology is what will define human futures.

To Ginnungafap: you had a post about economics somewhere that was insightful and interesting, but now I can't find it. Do you remember what I'm talking about?

Re: Utopia is a path to doom
March 18, 2010, 09:10:33 PM
The question is not 'can you live without this?' but 'how well can you live without this?' And no, the question does not assume that living without, e.g., cell phones, is hell on Earth, or even remotely close to it.

200 years ago, 1 person would pick a little cotton. Granny would spin it and knit some socks. The odds are that more than a few people, and quite a few diesel engines, several databases, and a couple of power plants are involved in making a pair of socks happen for us now.

Virtually anyone with an IQ over 120 should be able to scrounge together the parts for a few days to make a cell phone happen. The necessity of low IQ drones is blown way out of proportion. I believe it false on its face simply because, other than getting things wrong less frequently, someone gifted or higher can accomplish at least as much as a drone, in half the time, and cheaply.
”The Revolution ends by devouring its own children” – Jacques Mallet du Pan, 1793

Re: Utopia is a path to doom
March 20, 2010, 11:20:02 AM
The question is not 'can you live without this?' but 'how well can you live without this?' And no, the question does not assume that living without, e.g., cell phones, is hell on Earth, or even remotely close to it.

200 years ago, 1 person would pick a little cotton. Granny would spin it and knit some socks. The odds are that more than a few people, and quite a few diesel engines, several databases, and a couple of power plants are involved in making a pair of socks happen for us now.

Nonsense. Rather, the odds are that more than a few people, and quite a few diesel engines, several databases, and a couple of power plants are involved in making a whole bunch of pairs of socks happen for us now. If you mean to suggest that the 'granny' method of producing socks is either equally or more efficient than the other way you described, then you are engaging in sophistry. If one were to deploy such reasoning generally, then the fact that industrialized nations have materially higher standards of living than they did 200 years ago would be totally inexplicable.

And anyway, this wasn't even the original intent of my 'knitting socks' example. I don't know why we've gone off on this tangent.

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Virtually anyone with an IQ over 120 should be able to scrounge together the parts for a few days to make a cell phone happen. The necessity of low IQ drones is blown way out of proportion. I believe it false on its face simply because, other than getting things wrong less frequently, someone gifted or higher can accomplish at least as much as a drone, in half the time, and cheaply.

What? How in the world does one's scrounging together the parts for a cell phone accomplish the production of a cell phone more quickly and cheaper than mass production?

Re: Utopia is a path to doom
March 20, 2010, 06:37:42 PM

What? How in the world does one's scrounging together the parts for a cell phone accomplish the production of a cell phone more quickly and cheaper than mass production?

lolwut?  Mass production does not automatically mean efficient, & mass production itself caters to people of lesser intelligence & ability under the illusion that they are part of something greater & that their incompetence should be tolerated, rationalized & encouraged with more of their offspring.  Desktop publishing could eventually eliminate the need for mass production of cell-phones when you can have all the materials to make one yourself.  

Redundant jobs involving mass production inevitably become obsolete.  

Do you miss bellhops at all?  Will you most newspapers as they go digital?  I'm not sure if many people are going to miss retail as a "burgeoning career of opportunity" as online stores prove to be more efficient, & then eventually de-centralized means of production by prosumers with better technology. 

Re: Utopia is a path to doom
March 21, 2010, 12:44:02 AM

What? How in the world does one's scrounging together the parts for a cell phone accomplish the production of a cell phone more quickly and cheaper than mass production?

lolwut?  Mass production does not automatically mean efficient

But I never made that claim, so what the heck are you on about? I never said that for any x, if x is brought about through mass production, then x is produced more efficiently than any other alternative method. I questioned the notion that in the particular case under consideration the method of scrounging for parts of a cell phone is equally or more efficient than mass production. I never even claimed that it was inevitable that this particular claim would always be questionable. Clearly, though, there are gains in efficiency to be made via mass production in many cases.

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Redundant jobs involving mass production inevitably become obsolete.

I wouldn't necessarily disagree here, but there is a difference between this claim and the claim that the mass production of a given item becomes obsolete.  

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Do you miss bellhops at all?

Not at all. I don't even see what your point is though. 

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Will you most newspapers as they go digital? 

Not at all. But so what? I never claimed that it would, e.g., be more efficient to mass produce newspapers than to simply get one's news via a digital medium. In this case we're comparing the efficiency of the production and distribution of two different items, i.e., a digitally instantiated piece of news versus a newspaper. What we're not doing here is comparing the efficiency of mass production and distribution versus some other method for a given item, so your example is irrelevant.

Re: Utopia is a path to doom
March 21, 2010, 01:14:18 AM
I questioned the notion that in the particular case under consideration the method of scrounging for parts of a cell phone is equally or more efficient than mass production.

It is not more efficient to have a chain of hundreds of people and billions of tons of infrastructure and gigawatts of power consumed to make an instance of a cellphone happen for you. The only thing saved is your own time. We're left with a question of how much. We're also left with questions about how extreme our conveniencing individuals at the expense of the whole while simultaneously infantilizing the vast majority of them saves us time in things like damage mitigation and perhaps evolution generations later.

I wouldn't necessarily disagree here, but there is a difference between this claim and the claim that the mass production of a given item becomes obsolete.

strawman
”The Revolution ends by devouring its own children” – Jacques Mallet du Pan, 1793

Re: Utopia is a path to doom
March 21, 2010, 05:40:49 PM
Mass production does not automatically mean efficient, & mass production itself caters to people of lesser intelligence & ability under the illusion that they are part of something greater & that their incompetence should be tolerated, rationalized & encouraged with more of their offspring.

Agreed. The problem is that we're making junk for morons, and as a result, our society is less efficient.

We should be working thirty minutes a day, since we've gotten so much more efficient... but we don't.

Why? Because every productive person is support two dozen parasites who can work at restaurants or do other very basic tasks, but contribute nothing on their own -- and with their preferences, destroy many things.

Re: Utopia is a path to doom
December 29, 2010, 12:50:58 AM
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Here's something to think about. Back in the early 1970s, the average American expended roughly 70 million British thermal units per year to heat, cool, and power his or her home. Since then, of course, we have made great strides in energy efficiency. As the Washington Post recently reported, dishwashers now use 45 percent less power than they did two decades ago, and refrigerators 51 percent less. So how much energy do Americans use in their homes today? On a per capita basis, the figure is roughly what it was 40 years ago: 70 million BTUs.

http://www.enn.com/energy/article/42144

There is a mad scramble on to secure rare minerals and metals. A lot of this is for better energy efficiency. Platinum is a better conductor than copper for example, but it is much rarer. We may know how to progress in a few areas, but where we can, we are tethered to a finite resources elastic band that snaps us back when we reach too far. But that's only one facet of the story above.

We have replaced all the gains in efficiency with twice as many power hungry gadgets than we used to use. The best we are able to do is make a trade off, but we are expected to believe this exchange equilibrium represents progress. That is a falsehood, but it does keep all the cattle grazing and their farmers fat.
”The Revolution ends by devouring its own children” – Jacques Mallet du Pan, 1793

Re: Utopia is a path to doom
December 29, 2010, 02:24:20 PM
"Why? Because every productive person is support two dozen parasites who can work at restaurants or..."

Gee, thanks.