Basic?

<[Bill Leach 940901.21:57 EST(EDT)]

Rick

Seems to me that my thoughts on some of these matters are more basic and
are simpler than I have been expressing them so far.

I don't consider "survival of the fittest" as even worthy of discussion.
By definition, those that survive ARE the fittest.

However, how about tackling this "free enterprise" term? Fundamentally,
"free enterprise" is a systems idea where I am free to choose an activity
where I voluntarily produce some product with my labor that I may then
exchange (again voluntarily) with another person for some product of
their labor.

I get what I want, the other person gets what they want and ideally we
both get to do what we want to do while still obtaining the "necessities"
of life. This basic system has (in my mind anyway) proven itself to be
rather effecient at producing excess product so that there is "more" of
everything to go around.

Competition is only a part of such a system because more than one person
or group of persons would decide to produce the same product. This
competition has shown itself to have both the ability to be benifical and
destructive. Though there are a number of ways in which competition can
be a "bad" thing I don't think that trying to produce a better product or
better service to gain a greater market share is in itself the problem.
The real problems come up when one's goal is "negative", such a "bury the
competition" or one is willing to be "just a little" dishonest.

Now while "barter" may be again a common buzz word, it is still not
exactly a convenient means of exchange so money was created as a "medium
for exchange". The "value" of money however was intended to be based
only upon the value of labor.

It seems that there are, were and no doubt always will be, those that
take a bit of a short term view of life and in such a state of mind, they
conclude that application of either a bit of force or knavery will allow
them to acquire the products of the labor of others without any exchange
or labor of their own. Whether this realization comes first or later is
of little consequence but the result was that people that had a systems
concept that included some measure of "natural right to some portion of
the fruits of one's own labor" decided that they would each benefit as
individuals if they would share not only fruits of their individual labor
with like minded people but also share a common labor and risk associated
with mutual protection... both from outside the "community" and from
"betrayal of trust" within the community.

We all know that there is a pretty bloody history associated with these
"compacts" over the recorded history of mankind. We also pretty well
know that about every abuse of one by another has been a part of that
history. Some of us (this we in particular) have come to the conclusion
that history teaches that people in general that are reasonably secure in
their persons, free to conduct their own affairs as they see fit for
themselves, with minimum restrictions and limitations will, while
controlling perceptions for whatever they believe is best for themselves,
produce excess goods to the benefit of others.

Before someone accuses me of being "another Rand", realize that I do
believe that a significant portion of the population of (at least) this
society, come up with creative techniques for stealing or otherwise
forcing the wealth of others to "flow their way" without their own
contribution to the general community.

Ancedote again... While I was part of a family of five, I found myself
quite annoyed many times doing such a simple task as grocery shopping
with my wife. We often found ourselves in a checkout line with our cart
primarilly filled with such things as pasta (noodles and the like) and
precious little chicken and hamburger behind a well dressed couple busy
sorting the beer and wine out from the steaks, ham and roasts so that
they could "pay" for their groceries with food stamps. We followed these
well dressed people into the parking lot and watched them get into their
late model car while we loaded our groceries into our delapidated Ford
Maverick. My "sense of fair play" tells me that there is something wrong
with a system that takes the fruit of my labor from me by force and gives
it to someone else so that this someone else can "live better" than I do.

It is in this frame of mind that I find myself in full agreement with the
sentiments expressed by Ben Franklin. I don't have the quotes handly but
basically he indicated that we could and should ensure that no one
starves to death (and I do take that to mean that we as a society can and
should attend to the necessities of life for everyone) but we should not
make charity a matter of comfort. Now I don't remember if he said
anything about the elderly, functionally handicapped or not, but I also
believe that there is also no reason why we can not provide for those
that can not "do for themselves" and provide at some reasonable level of
comfort. But creating a situation where not only can one that should be
productive be relatively comfortable but set up a system where such an
individual would have to be almost crazy to get a job is itself insane.

We have created a system where we are making people dependent upon the
dole. We do this by propagandizing them with the idea that their
situation is the fault of those that pay the very taxes that support
them. We do this by convincing them that they have not been "given
enough". We do this by convincing them that there is "no way out" except
that if the "rich" will pay their "fair share". We spend fortunes on so
called "programs" that generally make a few people rich but seldom cause
anything useful to happen around those "for whom the money was spent".
And then we set up "entitlement programs" that are carefully crafted so
that when this "disadvantaged" individual does manage to find some kind
of a paying job, we strip the lion's share of the benefits in a
universally negative incentive program.

Almost every person that I have know well that was on a government
"entitlement" program (particularly if they had children) COULD NOT
AFFORD to work. If they dared to go out and get a job then they lost
such things as medical care for themselves and their children. The food
stamps were scaled down much faster than their ability to buy food
increased. While I don't have the numbers directly available to me now,
these are matters that I personally have gone over with such people and
had to admit that they would be foolish to "accept more hours" or a "new
assignment" or sometimes even allow themselves to be hired. Do I blame
them? HELL NO! That they were "in the pit" might or might not have been
their own fault but that someone was keeping the walls slimey sure as
hell was not their fault.

Ethics and moral opinions are always basic to any such discussions.
Thus, in my case, I must admit to placing a VERY high priority upon
concepts such as "fair play". That it is necessary for all of us to
contribute to the general effort to create or sustain a system of society
that is fair and humane is, I think, an obvious responsibility. When
fully half of the efforts of my labor however are taken from me and used
largely in a fashion that I perceive is often not in my own interest
(short or long term), then something is wrong.

Yes, I want to help the poor. I want to help them to be not only not
poor but to be creative, contributing individuals that are an additional
part of the solutions. The answer is not to give them "everything that
they want". The answer is not to make them so comfortable that they
don't want to do anything to improve their own lives and the answer sure
as hell is not to make sure that they would have to be crazy to even try.

I am quite sure that it is "error not equal to zero" that makes
everything worthwile come to be. Of course it is only when "discomfort"
with things as they are is combined with some measure of knowledge and
some measure of belief that a solution is possible that anything happens.
All three are necessary ingredients and they are likely necessary for
"small" as well as "big" accomplishments. (and yes, I admit that all the
"bad" things that happen have the same requirements)

While I (now) think that it is probably impossible to justify any moral
or ethical codes using any sort of logically imperative method, and I
know that most of what I believe is strongly conditioned by education and
experience, I still can't rid myself of the idea that we do have some
sort of sense of right and wrong that is more or less intrinsic. This
"sense" can be distorted, bent, warped or oughtright broken by experience
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of being human. It might
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it really can not... Again, I don't know.
.utcc.utoronto.ca:owner-csg-l@VMD.CSO.UIUC.EDU Fri Sep 2 04:31:07 1994
ep 2 04:31:07 1994
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ery Andrews <andaling@FAC.ANU.EDU.AU>
Andrews <andaling@FAC.ANU.EDU.AU>
: csg-l@vmd.cso.uiuc.edu
CSG-L <CSG-L@UIUCVMD.BITNET>
2.1451]
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act anything else for which there is good evidence. But also,
xists' as a paraphrase for 'plays a role in a practically useful
in a practically useful
atory theory'. E.g. saying that there is a frog
things about what might happen if I
the stone, or sat on it.
.utcc.utoronto.ca:owner-csg-l@VMD.CSO.UIUC.EDU Fri Sep 2 10:06:23 1994
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ms Group Network (CSGnet)" <CSG-L@UIUCVMD.BITNET>
Systems Group Network (CSGnet)" <CSG-L@UIUCVMD.BITNET>
cziko@UIUC.EDU>
  "Control Systems Group Network (CSGnet)" <CSG-L@vmd.cso.uiuc.edu>
ontrol Systems Group Network (CSGnet)" <CSG-L@vmd.cso.uiuc.edu>
ipients of list CSG-L <CSG-L@UIUCVMD.BITNET>
ry Cziko 940902.0336 GMT]
tensions/cdev desktopstrip1.0b4
                           util/comm anarchie1.31
                                     macweather2.04
                                     maven2.0a18
                      util/developer scriptserver1.0a3
                                     zoneranger1.1 util/diskfile petiticon1.1
                                     scriptrunner1.05
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                                     macweather2.04
                                     maven2.0a18
                      util/developer scriptserver1.0a3
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in the seTom Bourbon [940901.1052] writes:
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                      util/developer scriptserver1.0a3
                                     zoneranger1.1 util/diskfile petiticon1.1
                                     scriptrunner1.05
                        util/network mactcpwatcher1.en exactly
in the seTom Bourbon [940901.1052] writes:
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in the seTom Bourbon [940901.1052] writes:
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                      util/developer scriptserver1.0a3
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in the seTom Bourbon [940901.1052] writes:
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ng a procedure very much like the PCT "E. coli
the "evolution" of real live E. coli. See the
tem from _Science_: Faye Flam, "Co-opting the
_, _265_, 1032-1033. 19 August 1994.
m summarizes some current work in biochemistry: "In search of useful new
mmarizes some current work in biochemistry: "In search of useful new

molecules, they (TB: biochemists) are putting the basic principles of
Darwinian evolution -- chance variations followed by selection -- to work in

chance variations followed by selection -- to work in
ce variations followed by selection -- to work in
. . . evolving molecules in a test tube liberates
imits of nature, and from the limits of their own
ll."
lant breeders
rate by
or chemicals and then
chemicals and then
s and then
d then
y-soon-to-be-published) book has a chapter on this called "The
ficial Selection of Organisms and Molecules." A number of drug
s are using something called "directed molecular evolution" to find
olecular evolution" to find
ic algorithms and genetic programming use the same
mputer programs.
ut of Control: The Rise of Neo-Biological
rovides an account of some of these and
lopments.
r that our brains evolved via blind variation
using blind variation and selection (as in
), and we are now using computers and test
harness the power of blind variation and selection to evolve
ation and selection to evolve
ms, and products. It looks like blind variation
n "all the way down" (and up) to me.
ay down" (and up) to me.
own" (and up) to me.
--Gary
ry
DU Fri Sep 2 10:40:51 1994
ri Sep 2 10:40:51 1994
2 10:40:51 1994
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the medical community, was also about setting government-imposed limits on
how many medical students can enter training in which specialties, and about
the "correctness" of the represenation of various groups in the population
of students, and on countless other details - thousands of pages worth -
that had nothing to do with paying for medical care. In the name of
reforming the mechanisms of paying for medical care, the care providers in
this country were destined to become unwilling players in thinly-veiled
social agendas of those who drafted the original packages, much the same way
educators in the public schools were thrust into the middle of raging social
controversies in the 1960s and 70s. The schools have never recovered.

Are there better ways to pay? For sure. Were any of the plans discussed
here in the USA better? I don't think so.

Sorry to clutter the net. This is not PCT.

Later,

Tom

ยทยทยท

Date: Fri, 2 Sep 1994 08:31:55 -0600
a:owner-csg-l@VMD.CSO.UIUC.EDU Fri Sep 2 10:40:51 1994