Do Economists Understand the Economy?

Discussion in 'IntroSpectrum' started by Mcg-, Apr 5, 2009.

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  1. Volaticus

    Volaticus Anarcho-Capitalist

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    He has. I'm unconvinced. I went to high school with Ghet, so I've been hearing this stuff from him since like 1996.
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  2. Radium

    Radium f k

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    I am also unconvinced

    but I believe that the technologies are possible though I can't rule them out as being just a dream at the end of the day. it would seem though that science progresses and therefore if allowed to continue science would conceivably reach a day when it can do such things

    anyway

    suppose that the technology existed which could 1. think and 2. manipulate reality at the molecular or atom level

    would a labor-less society be feasible under this pretense
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  3. Volaticus

    Volaticus Anarcho-Capitalist

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    I'd need to know more about this hypothetical technology before I can predict the economic implications of its widespread use.

    1.) Can a machine actually be made to think? Complex programming that instructs a machine to respond in a certain way under very specific (if diverse) conditions is not thinking, its programming. Sure, a program can be made to automate the process of making other programs, but the original program cannot create new information out of thin air. It can only respond to conditions as it was programmed to respond. I am unconvinced that a machine can be in any sense sentient.

    1.a.) Assuming it were even possible to make a machine sentient (and for me thats a gigantic fucking IF,) the machine then (presumably) has a will of its own, with its own wants and subjective values, using the various available means to achieve those ends. The potential implications of this are rather self-evident, and have been explored over and over again. If the machines have sentience and will, why would they choose to be our slaves?

    2.) This is a rather vague and arcane statement. What precisely does it mean to "manipulate reality at the molecular or atomic level"?
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  4. Radium

    Radium f k

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    1. well when we look at the brain we can see a sort of thinking machine, cant we? That is, equipment that is the sum of parts that can interpret/translate reality into perceptions/thoughts. Just because its parts are organic doesnt mean that by this thinking its not also a machine of sorts. If nature could create such a product, it shows that such things are not an impossibility to produce in this universe. Anyway, we know that a thinking machine can be made (by looking at nature) we only need to find out how she did it and we could potentially have millennia to find out

    1a. I'm not sure I can speak on the nature of a machine's sentience especially machines capable of creative thought in a way that is something like human thought. It could yield negative results or completely benign results: I'm not sure. Again, we would potentially have millennia to figure it out though

    2. nano-tech.

    this is really key because everything that exists at the macro level is dependent on the structures of molecules and atoms. find a way to restructure those structures = find a way to control everything at the macro level. you would be able to create food, heal wounds, oversee maintenance of other machines and structures, and generally build anything conceivable and allowable in nature from scratch
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  5. Tequila Jong-il

    Tequila Jong-il SALAD TOSSER

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    Nah. Engels supported him financially but it was charity, not pay. He kept upping dough for marx long after he stopped writing anything and just spent all his time partying up.
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  6. Tequila Jong-il

    Tequila Jong-il SALAD TOSSER

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    Marx was a pure scrub. Even as an adult his father supported him, many years marx spent more of his father's money on himself than his father spent on the rest of the family combined.
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  7. Tequila Jong-il

    Tequila Jong-il SALAD TOSSER

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    A labour free society would not be a scarcity free society although it would greatly diminish the implications of scarcity. The only way you could eliminate scarcity is if you achieved some interdimensional state where you could do everything simultaneously.
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  8. Radium

    Radium f k

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    yeah I dont think its necessary to eliminate scarcity 100% to achieve a labor-less society. I was trying to lead Volaticus into that eventually.

    to achieve a labor-less society you would only need to remove the need for labor en masse so that the labor that people do now is largely no longer needed to run and maintain society.
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  9. Volaticus

    Volaticus Anarcho-Capitalist

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    Absent labor, how does one acquire resources?
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  10. Radium

    Radium f k

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    did you read my entry on nano-tech
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  11. Volaticus

    Volaticus Anarcho-Capitalist

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    Of course. I still don't see how nanotechnology will make labor obsolete.
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  12. Mcg-

    Mcg- New Member

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    that is an interesting view. That is pretty much what I subscribe to, but have never really but a great amount of thought into it.

    Now that i think of it,
    A machine can have tools on it that gather data, so that its programming evolves with what it learns from whatever it is intended to study.

    This is similar to the thought process of a research scientist, who meticulously gather's data and draws inferences. These inferences are then compared logically to one another to see if greater truth can be derived in new areas, where new data was not originally gathered.

    I think this is all doable by a machine. A machine's thought can evolve to a certain extent, it can "think" at a certain level.

    What i think is not doable is:
    1) distinguishing of new variables. For instance, there may be something that "appears" according to the old filters of the machine to be one thing, but ends up being something else entirely. Basically, a new definition is required.
    2)New theory. the machine cannot draw the great inferences that aren't data driven. Basically anything that is scientifically revolutionary, a machine cannot arrive at.

    the sum of this is that I see machines as extremely powerful inference and deduction tools. Capable of helping high-level scientists much more quickly test new theories with existing data sets, and can be used also to look at the physical world faster to gather data when new theories emerge. Here i actually think computer programmers working with theoretical scientists could be a deadly 1-2 punch, or just have the theoretical scientist be a program designer, then hire some grunt programmer to create tools.
    (of course, this involves firing a great-deal of science grunts, so we have a counter-interest at play here)

    What's dangerous is when we start believing that machines have a direct connection to reality, this implies that machines no calibration by humans to account for new unforseen variables or new theory. The result is science without theory, complete empericism, except without any new variables. This presumes that data-sets using existing variables (or programs to discover varibles) ARE reality.
    Basically, we get stuck with one set of theory from whatever era, and anything unacountable by the machine's measure we see as "risk" or "outliner data" rather than trying to do what real scientists are supposed to do, explain what is really going and re-programming the machine to re-test new hypothesis. The result is that when these "outliers" become actual risks to society, this danger can manifest itself.

    in sum, machines are great thinking tools, but are incapable of distinguishing unforseable through programming categories of understanding and of restructing human understanding itself.

    so in my basic view, labour never becomes obsolete, it just changes forms from "sweat of the body" to "sweat of the brow".
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  13. Radium

    Radium f k

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    let me ask you this then

    labor (at least in capitalism) is done so that society can be 1. structurally maintained and 2. provide the highest level of luxury to people within that society as possible

    yes?

    so

    are humans destined to labor forever to accomplish both of these goals?

    my hunch here has been that humans under capitalism will seek to make the process of labor more and more efficient so that both goals can be achieved with the least amount labor required of them. the reason they seek to pare away at labor is because they fundamentally seek out the most luxury and removing labor frees them up for other leisurely/recreational pursuits.

    I just wanted to know whether or not you agree with me up to this point. because from here I am going to make some inferences that can be argued but everything thus far ought to be agreeable. but tell me if you disagree.

    alright so nano-tech

    as stated nano-tech would have the ability to control the organization of things at the building block level. That is, to make things from scratch by altering their sub structures and maintain macro structures by making sure their sub structures don't break down. so going back to my point that one of the goals of the capitalist economy is to establish structural maintenance nano-tech would be the most efficient way to accomplish this.

    this removes en-masse much of the need for physical human labor

    so what do all those human workers who lost their relevance to the economy do now? where do they go now? one can say (as McGirth has argued) that the nature of human labor becomes purely intellectual instead of physical.

    this seems like the right conclusion

    however to have an effective economy most everyone has to have some sort of relevant role/service. Because the capitalist economy seeks to become more efficient at the two goals it seeks, roles for human workers become more and more unnecessary. so that even though the bulk of the labor that remains to be done will be intellectual, there won't be enough need for this service en-masse to support an economy with billions of people

    I cant say that with certainty because I (or anyone else for that matter) cant predict the types of industries that could potentially exist millions of years from now. However it seems more likely that things will streamline to the point where a need for an economy (people working en-masse to ensure structural maintenance and a set level of luxury as a whole) will become obsolete and redundant
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  14. Radium

    Radium f k

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    McGirth I agree with your logic on the matter

    but your conclusion presupposes that you've mapped out what science and technology can and cannot do.

    you seem to be arguing that you've found a plateau that science and technology can never exceed

    and I don't think you are qualified to say that
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