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HatesHighElves wrote:
I just finished The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan about the relationship of humans to plants. His discussion of Monsanto's genetic engineering of potatoes terrifies me. Moral statements aside, I don't think we'll be wise enough to proceed with the technology without the necessary first step of identifying and reconciling all the consequences of the technology. We just aren't as clever as we think we are and we're greedier than we think we are by factors of ten. Also, the thugs, villians, etc. will get their hands on it and use if for their own nefarious purposes. Think I'm wrong? TNT and nuclear fission, the machine gun, etc. were all thought to make war obsolete or not worth the cost. It didn't work.


I'm not sure if you caught the gist of my point. First off, Im not suggesting the genetic re-engineering of the human population. Second, as I said, human nature itself would likely prevent the implementation of genetic re-engineering of the human populace. However, genetic engineering is the only technology that exists that can change the underlying problem that is at the root of human conflict: human nature. I say this not based on empty speclation, but based on demonstrable examples of this being accomplished with other species.

Nuclear bombs, TNT, machine guns, and every other invention under the sun never altered human nature, and consequently, it was stupid to imagine they would change much of anything (although, to be fair, probably the only thing that prevented world war 3 was nuclear weapons, even if we came damn close a couple times). In short, while other people made such predictions, their predictions were based on one axiom that has been offered up many a times, but remains just as stupid as ever. Namely, that by creating a new, even more devestating weapon, somehow people would decide to stop killing each other.

Genetic engineering isn't really analogous to a machine gun or a nuclear bomb. The only thing it is really analogous to is the use of psychiatry (i.e. trying to alter our psychology through the use of chemicals), and perhaps artificial selection. In each case, we are talking about fundamentally altering that which makes us human, namely, our genes or, in the case of biochemistry, our chemistry. In each case we are talking about using applied sciences to alter human behavior in a fashion that is demonstrable, and which we have managed in other species. We have simply chosen not to apply it to humans, beyond the use of pharmaceuticals on a case by case basis. Now, Im not saying that is bad. I doubt we could trust any government agency to do a good job of genetically reengineering the human population or of dumping pharmaceuticals into our water, nor would I ever trust any agency with such a thing. But, if you re-read what I posted, you would see that that wasn't really my point.

My point was simply that, for the first time in history, we have a concrete technology, genetic engineering, that is, factually, capable of altering the behavior and nature of species irrevocably. Humans, being just another species, are just as subject to the phenomena that have allowed us to reengineer other species. Granted we would need to study how this works in humans specifically before we could do it, but that is something that is known to be doable at this point. I never claimed such a thing will happen to humanity as a whole. As I said, I doub it ever will. My point was simply that, amazingly, it could, which is an entirely different proposition.

So no, I don't think you are wrong, in so far as corruption and ill-intent and malfeasance would all be barriers to this ever happening. I do think maybe you misunderstood me though, since I never meant to suggest it would. Just that we have the technology such that we could, which is, to me, remarkable in and of itself.



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About entropy. I don't think it takes so long. The entropy of American democracy, for example, took place in only a few generations. In fewer than 250 years government "of, by and for the people" degenerated into fascism, cronyism and military/industrialism. Not a very cheering legacy, if you ask me.


That's not entropy as a scientific principle (i.e. there is nothing inherently entropic about political systems that has been scientifically or mathematically proven as of yet). American democracy hasn't followed any principles regarding the interaction of two equilibrium states. That things change is not the same as entropy. To quote from a random description of entropy I just dragged up:

"But it should be remembered that entropy, an idea born from classical thermodynamics, is a quantitative entity, and not a qualitative one. That means that entropy is not something that is fundamentally intuitive, but something that is fundamentally defined via an equation, via mathematics applied to physics. Remember in your various travails, that entropy is what the equations define it to be. There is no such thing as an "entropy", without an equation that defines it."

Thus, unless the formula of entropy can be applied equally to political systems, like it can to the transfer of information as bits, or the transfer of heat between two interacting equilibrium states, political systems are not entropic. That is a misapplication of the term. So, on a physical level, entropy does apply to a human being, in so far as we are a giant collection of atoms, and more fundamentally, quantum bits, containing information that follows the rules of entropy, eventually settling to a point of state-wide equilibrium, and indeed this phenomena affects the universe as a whole, meaning billions of years from now, stuff will seemingly stop interacting and reach a universe wide equilibrium, but life is funny in that it is good in taking stuff from outside a given system (say food from the world around me), to keep the information inside a given system from reaching a state of equilibrium (in this case, keeping the information in my body amazingly intact, despite changes in the specific parts and atoms and so forth storing that information).

Many people bandy about the term entropy without realizing that it is actually a concrete mathematical description of a statistical phenomena that applies to a variety of physical phenomena, such as thermodyanmics and information theory. Now, I suppose there is some possibility that if one found a way to measure a poltical system in terms of Bits or something, one might find that it follows the same mathematical formulas of entropy. But since we can't really isolate a political system (political systems being an abstract concept after all, not a readily describable concrete phenomena), its hard to imagine how we would go about doing it. So, I would be wary of describing political systems as entropic, since we really dont have any basis for applying the term to political systems. Basically, without the equation, it's not really entropy.

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Tue Aug 28, 2007 8:26 pm
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HatesHighElves wrote:
About entropy. I don't think it takes so long. The entropy of American democracy, for example, took place in only a few generations. In fewer than 250 years government "of, by and for the people" degenerated into fascism, cronyism and military/industrialism. Not a very cheering legacy, if you ask me.


I would hardly call the US government fascism, honestly that's silly. Cronyism yes, especially by Unions and companies looking to try and end the free market. And if you think the military-industrial complex is huge (whatever that is) you should see how big the social programs-industrial complex is. There's an example of what Archdukechocula is saying about how the government really cannot do much right no matter which country you're in. Best to let people make their own choices.

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Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:42 pm
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HatesHighElves
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I really don't like the world we live in today--run by thugs, villians, liars and faceless corporations--all bent on securing wealth and power.
I agree wholeheartedly - it is a depressing and unfortunate lot that control Humanity. Unless of course you consider all of the other possibilities that nearly assumed or threatened to assume control in the modern era. In contrast to them, the "thugs villains, liars and faceless corporations" seem to have inadvertantly provided the vast majority of humanity with the opportunity to live in a society that is far closer to Agifem's Utopia than anything that the Imperial Japanese, Nazi's, Communists or the current threats to modern civilization could possibly provide. My opinion is that it is human nature that always causes the people with the most advantages to continue to desire more advantages still. I'm just happy as can be that the current people that run this world have the most to gain by making the lives of the masses as good as they have and by providing the opportunity to improve upon the existance if the desire to do so is great enough. Because the other possibilities that I've mentioned above all feed off the rest of us and it doesn't matter about our lot in life. We would have no freedoms, no opportunities, and no ability to freely discuss silly ideas like this in public. Not more than once in our lives, anyway.

I guess we can't talk about that much more without agreeing to tip-toe through the political situation that exists on Earth today. Sounds like the majority of the Mods feel that's okay though, so let's just try to stay civil about it please?


Archdukechocula
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...We could, in essence, engineer humanity to be selfless caring loving cooperative and peaceful...
I hesitate to point this out because it is likely to get completely twisted out of context, but here goes:

While you are clearly describing the means to change humanity into something that on the surface appears to be desirable, it is a horrifying proposition, I think, if you really consider the long term effects of doing such a thing. First, if you did not succeed in completely eliminating any and all traces of aggression, even recessive ones that could surface in future generations, then the entire experiment fails miserably, because as soon as aggressive humans are reintroduced into the gene pool, they will immediately (probably within a generation or two - but I don't have any knowledge of genetics to back up this time estimate) wipe out and/or subjugate the defenseless peaceful versions of humanity. And the second alarming problem with this is that if you are successful in completely eliminating the trait, something else in nature will immediately begin to replace us at the top of the food chain. Because while you might be able to successfully change human nature, you cannot within any reasonable realm of possibility change all of nature. So the laws that nature uses to keep the most efficient at the top, will replace us with something just as heartless and ruthless as human beings get when they are hungry or horny.

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Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:17 am
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Icon Hack wrote:
While you are clearly describing the means to change humanity into something that on the surface appears to be desirable, it is a horrifying proposition, I think, if you really consider the long term effects of doing such a thing. First, if you did not succeed in completely eliminating any and all traces of aggression, even recessive ones that could surface in future generations, then the entire experiment fails miserably, because as soon as aggressive humans are reintroduced into the gene pool, they will immediately (probably within a generation or two - but I don't have any knowledge of genetics to back up this time estimate) wipe out and/or subjugate the defenseless peaceful versions of humanity.


Well right. Like I said, or at least implied, it would need to be done perfectly. An unlikely proposition. Again, my point remains, it is within the immediate realm of possibility based on what we know and have now. This is not the same as me thinking it will ever happen, or indeed that if it did, there aren't a slew of potential problems. Still, the point is, I am talking about what the technology is capable of, not what is likely to transpire.

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And the second alarming problem with this is that if you are successful in completely eliminating the trait, something else in nature will immediately begin to replace us at the top of the food chain. Because while you might be able to successfully change human nature, you cannot within any reasonable realm of possibility change all of nature. So the laws that nature uses to keep the most efficient at the top, will replace us with something just as heartless and ruthless as human beings get when they are hungry or horny.[/color]


Now that, I think, reflects a certain ignorance of the nature of evolution in general, and my suggesting specifically. First off, it assumes that violence is somehow a necessity to success of a given species. That simply is not so. One of the most succesful species is E. coli, and it isn't succesful by virtue of being violent or dangerous. It's succesful because it lives in the colons of so many species in vast quantities and has a symbiotic relationship with said species'.

Second, it assumes that being the "top of the food chain" is really a meaningful analysis of a species' success. It's not. That's an arbitrary definition of success, and I'm not even sure why it matters. I mean, so what if, say, tigers become the top predators. As long as they aren't a major threat to us specifically, that shouldnt matter. And given that we have developed our civilization to such an extent that we basically shape the entire world's environment at this point, suggesting that there is a great tiger menace (or whatever predator you care to name) on the horizon is pretty ridiculous. For any macrobiotic species to even dream of challenging humanity at this point would require millions of years of evolution, and the assumption that we wont continue to outcompete them (and there is nothing implicit in being peacable that would suggest we would stop outcompeting other macrobiotic animals). Evolution just doesn't work that way.

Again, being succesful is pretty much a product of reproductive output (specifically, Differential Reproductive Success, i.e. how many viable offspring I produce vs. the next guy), not how murderous you are. That's kind of an antiquated notion of Survival of the Fittest, and isnt even really an accurate reflection of what Survival of the Fittest actually means. After all, plants, fungi and most bacteria are hardly renowned for their violence, but thats hardly kept their kingdoms from being succesful. In short, we are not really in any danger of being replaced as top predators just because we stop killing one another. Indeed, intra-species violence is only really all that useful from the perspective of the individual, because it has a small chance of increasing reproductive output. However, modern warfare and modern legal systems have already made that benefit largely meaningless, since the size of armies are so vast, and legal systems so efficient, and the opportunities for getting any reproductive benefit so small, that at this point, war and killing can be counted as a greater reproductive risk than a benefit. Its simply that, we evolved in a hunter gatherer setting, not in modern socieites, and our psychology hasnt caught up, and since we arent evolving at this point due to the lack of constant selective pressures in the modern world, it probably never will.

Third, you seem to assume that somehow, I am suggesting that we stop eating and/or killing animals. I'm not. When I say peaceful, I mean towards other humans, and seeing as humans are capable of drawing clear psychological distinctions between animals and humans, I dont see why we couldnt reshape human psychology specifically in the realm of human-human interaction. I mean, I might advocate vegetarianism from a philosophical perspective (I am a vegetarian myself), but I see no real reason why such a thing need be genetically imbued. I think that is a choice best left to the individual.

Fourth, by 'efficiency" of a species, I assume you mean success. As I mentioned earlier, success of an individual is measured by an individuals Differential Reproductive Success, which is more or less an indicator of proportionally how much any given individuals genes are represented in a population. On a species level, definitions of success range a bit, but the simplest measure is just the quantity of the species. Right now, we are pretty far outclassed on that front by a wide variety of species. Pick just about any bacteria, ant, fungus, virus, plankton or algae, and you being to see how small we are in the world. We actually aren't as succesful as we think. We just aren't really being competed with. Regardless, unless we stop reproducing or controlling our environment through the use of tools, there is no reason at all to believe that some other species will ever present a threat to us, beyond perhaps viral threats, or some species that, say, radically alters the composition of atmospheric gases, and those threats exist independent of the hypothetical genetic re-engineering.

Finally, I gather that part of your argument is based on the assumption that, right now, we are evolving in some way, and that if the proposed genetic-engineering took place we would stop. Well, fact is, we pretty much have stopped evolving for at least the past thousand years, and arguably the past 10,000. This has happened for two reasons. First, agriculture, medicine, hosing, and a variety of other technologies have provided us with such security that death rates have dropped like a rock, and death has become almost entirely random from a selective viewpoint, meaning your death before reproduction is so unlikely that when it does happen, the factors that cause it are effectively random, and thus have no long term selective pressure, producing no changes in the gene-pool.

Second, and most importantly, the nature of any positive traits for reproduction that may exist in one time period are unlikely to be advantageous for very long, because the conditions of our environment change so rapidly at this point, that any favorable environmental selection in any given moment will be rendered obsolete in one hundred years. Your ability to sail a boat with remarkable skill is only useful genetically as long as sailing is a relevant technology. Seeing as thats only been a couple thousand years (and this is one of the longer lasting technologies), it will have no real percievable impact on the gene pool, and thus is unlikely to produce any change. Given the ever decreasing lifespan of new technologies, the reproductive payoff of any given environmental adaptation has become so low as to make it irrelevant.

Basically, the only selective pressures that are continuous on our species at this point are viral and bacterial in nature. And, again, this pressure will exist and produce changes in us regardless of whether or not we are genetically-reengineered.

But, all that aside, I think my main point is still being missed, or ignored in favor of other talking points on the issue anyway.

Right now, we have the technology to alter human nature.
IF that technology were applied across the species (perfectly I might add), human nature could be altered in such a way as to make us conform with any given ideal.
I dont think that is likely to ever happen, nor necessarily desirable. The point is simply that the technology could do this, and that this is an interesting thing to think about, both on a pragmatic level (how could we do this?), and a philosophical one (would we even want to do this?)

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Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:03 am
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No one is going to volunteer to be genetically engineered to be less agressive and more compliant unless you can do it to everyone in the whole world at the same time.

otherwise you have just created a class system where the genetically modified sheep do whatever their masters tell them.

Thats the fantasy of every autocrat throughout all of history.

If you remove reward what is the incentive to try? Why would you put a whole bunch of effort into inventing something if it did not benefit you? Much better to ly on the couch and have it all done for you by robots.

There are lots of selective pressures on the society at the moment. Money is a big one.
Rich people get better healthcare so they can afford treatments for their geneticaly damaged offspring. This allows weaker recessive and damaged genes to prosper and survive to breed, weakening the overall species.
Professional couples are delaying their decision to breed and have less children, while poor less well educated people breed like rabits. The developed world is actively breeding for stupidity.


Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:32 am
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Kargan DaemonClaw wrote:
No one is going to volunteer to be genetically engineered to be less agressive and more compliant unless you can do it to everyone in the whole world at the same time.

otherwise you have just created a class system where the genetically modified sheep do whatever their masters tell them.


I'll leave it to you to re-read the various things that I wrote so you can figure out for yourself why you just said is a complete waste of breath, or in this case, finger movement.

Quote:
There are lots of selective pressures on the society at the moment. Money is a big one.
Rich people get better healthcare so they can afford treatments for their geneticaly damaged offspring.


Except that poorer people actually have far more viable offspring, by virtue of the fact that richer people tend to plan their families, use birth control, and otherwise take deliberate measures to dminish their reproduction. So no, money really isn't a selective advantage. Plenty of studies have been done on that very thing, and there is actually an inverse relationship between wealth and reproductive output. So if anything, being poorer is favored, (although thats not really accurate either, and though I could get into that, Ill leve it to you to figure it out).

[/quote]This allows weaker recessive and damaged genes to prosper and survive to breed, weakening the overall species.
Quote:

No, it doesn't. This is actually the topic I went to school about (evolutionary anthropology), and I can assure you, this simply isnt happening. There isn't any evidence at all that poorer people have "damaged genes". That's just a nonsene assertion. I don't even know where you came up with that. First off, there isnt any genetic therapy yet in existence that really allows rich people any advantage over poor people. Second, there isnt any accumulation of deleterious genes taking place amongst the poor. The primary cause of that, small breeding populations, simply isn't an issue, and is hardly linked to poverty. I'm not really sure where you came up with this, but I can assure you, it's not true.

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Professional couples are delaying their decision to breed and have less children, while poor less well educated people breed like rabits. The developed world is actively breeding for stupidity.


Poverty is a temporal situation based on changing environmental circumstances, an environment changed constantly by humans, too fast to produce evolutionary change. It is not a permanent problem. "Stupidity" is also largely a product of wealth, not genetics (genetics is lpractically insignificant across a population in terms of intelligence). Those circumstances change over time according to, in effect, random circumstances from an evolutionary standpoint. Either of these things looked on at an evolutionary scale are, quite literally, irrelevant. Finally, actual measurable intelligence, I.Q., hasn't really changed in a statistically significant sense since its been measured, which sort of undermines the whole "we are getting stupider" assertion.

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Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:22 am
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Kargan DaemonClaw wrote:
If you remove reward what is the incentive to try? Why would you put a whole bunch of effort into inventing something if it did not benefit you? Much better to ly on the couch and have it all done for you by robots.


First off, robots cannot do everything. They lack the imagination and creativity we humans have, and probably always will. So if you want some technological progress, to invent something, to design something, count robots out. They can help, but the task is men's alone.

Now, because you invent something but do not get paid for it doesn't mean you have earned nothing. I know quite a few people who agree to consider that work is not just about earning money. It gives you plenty of social contacts, plenty of ways to think out of the box, to share experiences, to develop your personnality. I know i still would work in such a society, even though i wouldn't work as much. And i know plenty of people who would work too.
Also, once the job is done, what you have invented exists. This is a direct benefit to you. Because it is a direct benefit to the rest of the world doesn't make it less beneficial to you. In this society, you seem to compare yourself to others in terms of wealth again. It's pointless.

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Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:47 am
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i have a couple of statements...

first of, not every person is capable of doing intelectual work... actually, is the least that actually can, so putting as an example making a mathematical theorem... is not thinked through. I have a degree in maths, and is quite hard to actually achieve discoverying a theorem. As is for nuclear phisics and the rest used as an example. So, what actually would be doind the less fortunate people in your society, that in ours have to do phisical work, 'cause they aren't bright enough to do intelectual jobs? (i'm not saying that every phisical job is for no bainers... is the example...)

Other thing, as there is nothing actually to do, humans would become more animals (than we actually are). Envy and jelousy would come more strong as, puted in the statement before, some people would be able to do things that others can't. The society, although without money to be corrupted, will decay in some sort of the intelectuals versus non intelectuals... i mean, they'll rivalizes as the intelectuals, for been so, will try and take control of the non intelectuals "for the greater good" (if you want)... the thing is that humans are ment to be diferent, and not ot be alike, as your society states...

the other thing. The way i see it, this thread is political, although based on the economic part of it, as politics is the good for the people, and this is the statement that is the backbone of the argument of erasing the concept of money.

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Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:12 am
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@ Archdukechocula ... okay let's just say that I see a couple of the points you argue, but I disagree with others. I don't want to start discussing this side-issue ad nauseum and detract from the discussion at hand, particularly since I see that you did not intend to turn this into a discussion about the mechanics of evolution theory. I would contend that the only thing that your genetic tampering continues to have in line with this thread is that I believe it would be necessary to allow this proposed marxist society to exist.

Agifem wrote:
...In this society, you seem to compare yourself to others in terms of wealth again. It's pointless.
You have yet to describe how your society eliminates wealth. You still seem to see money as the only form of wealth, butI think that several of us have brought that notion into some serious question. I'll ask again: aside from Archdukechocula's diabolical means of changing the nature of human beings, how do you propose that you would prevent some other form of wealth from replacing money in your society?

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first of, not every person is capable of doing intelectual work... actually, is the least that actually can, so putting as an example making a mathematical theorem... is not thinked through. I have a degree in maths, and is quite hard to actually achieve discoverying a theorem. As is for nuclear phisics and the rest used as an example. So, what actually would be doind the less fortunate people in your society, that in ours have to do phisical work, 'cause they aren't bright enough to do intelectual jobs? (i'm not saying that every phisical job is for no bainers... is the example...)
In Agifem's society, these people do nothing if that's what they want, because there is no need for them to contribute to society in any meaningful way. They have the birth right to get their basic needs met by the efforts of those individuals that do contribute to society, and the robots.

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The way i see it, this thread is political ...
Yes, the Mods agreed that they would allow a political discussion that focuses on the economic aspects of Marxism for as long as we all behave.

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Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:37 am
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Kargan DaemonClaw wrote:
Rich people get better healthcare so they can afford treatments for their geneticaly damaged offspring. This allows weaker recessive and damaged genes to prosper and survive to breed, weakening the overall species.
Professional couples are delaying their decision to breed and have less children, while poor less well educated people breed like rabits. The developed world is actively breeding for stupidity.
Note that it is the rich which has the smaller gene pool to draw from. As history and genetics have shown us, a deep gene pool is favourable, while a shallow one results in the "inbred nobility" situation.

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Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:27 pm
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There is one other commodity that cannot be provided in this society and that is land.

We still have a finite ammount of space to live in, how much space would each person be allocated? How would pets and livestock be assigned. Who would live where? What if everyone wanted to live on the coast? What if you had 11 children and decided that you needed a larger plot of land to live on?

What if everyone wanted to participate on the same art project, sporting event or visit a specific monument on a certain day.

In the absence of any form of money or barter, these things would need to be decided through political means. This would inevitably lead to influence peddling, envy, corruption & nepotism.

What would the point of all of this be?
To live in the right neigbourhood with the right people, not the "feeders" who just live off the droids
To receive the adulation or respect of your peers
To have influence over decision making and to have your views heard
To be able to get your leg over with the right member(s) of the opposite sex
To have people to what you tell them.

There are plenty of less tangible things that would retain their value in a money free society


Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:09 pm
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Ultimately, I think the real lesson here is that, given the amount of interest and thought this topic has generated, it would make a great topic for a Sci-fi book. So, Agifem, get writing! If nothing else, you can realize the dream that way, and explore all sorts of interesting ideas that have been brought up in this thread. That alone I think makes this whole thread worthwhile.

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Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:56 pm
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Seconded. Get cracking.

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Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:59 pm
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Archdukechocula
Sounds like we are saying the same thing. I am not advocating that the rich have any kind of genetic advantage rather the reverse.
The brightest people with the best professions control their reproduction and have less children. The poor people with less education don't so have more children.

Rich people have the ability to afford medicine and or surgery that allows children with congential conditions to survive and pass on those conditions. In poor contries those children are less likely to survive and so pass on the damaging traits.

I really don't see how you will transform today's society built on enlightened self interest into the ambitionless rewardless egalitarian blandness in the original post.


Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:17 pm
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Yes, I vote for a book, too. Please, please name one of the "criminals" that fights the new system Icon Hack :D

The evolutionary stuff really needs it's own thread instead of letting it keep resurfacing here, guys. This is a discussion about currency-free Marxism.

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Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:39 pm
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as for the book idea, although sounds good, it somehow reminds me about the book "a brave new world"... but with another political system, anyway...

but go ahead, write it, and name the "criminal" Icon Hack... or let Hack be the Icon of the revolution ;)

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Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:04 am
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I don't know about the book, but i certainly have some thinking to do, thanks to all of you. :D

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Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:03 am
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Ulric Darksoul wrote:
as for the book idea, although sounds good, it somehow reminds me about the book "a brave new world"... but with another political system, anyway...

but go ahead, write it, and name the "criminal" Icon Hack... or let Hack be the Icon of the revolution ;)


Brave New World is about the comparison of two dystopian societies, and two individuals efforts to escape the respective traps they create. It is siilar only in the sense that it is one of many many books about utopian societies. That is a genre in and of itself, so I don't think it is really fair to sigmatize the idea on that account. There is a certain novelty to the idea, and it creates unique problems that weren't really present in Brave New World. For one thing, robots are an infinitely more tenable solution to the labor problem than a chemically and psychologically engineered underclass (Agifem aims for a certain social equality, whereas bracenew world is basically a Caste system). Also, the society of a Brave New World pretty much outright bans any sort of art or inividual expression. Finally, although I may be wrong about this as I haven't read the book in a long time, but I don't remember currency or the lack there of being brought up in the book, which is a central point of Agifem's system. The society in A Brave New World is sort of a caste society, vaguely marxist in function, definitely totalitarian.

Oh, and no SOMA in this case. That factored pretty heavily in the book, and was a big part of what made the world so dystopian, and what made it a unique vision of a dystopia.

Now, in broad themes there is some similarity; science and technology providing the solution to labor and ultimately being the structuring force behind society, but that is just one aspect of the idea, and that idea alone leaves lots to be explored.

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Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:45 pm
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i never said that it was exactly as, i said it reminds me as... as it is a society where you cannot choose what you are... but well, it is a good analysis of the book. I read it a long while ago, like 8 to 9 years anyway...

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"If you're going to leave anyone alive, enslave it!"

RP: Group 27
Ulric Darksoul
WS:5 S:4 T:3 D:5 I:3
Equipment:
- Short sword, dagger, bastard sword 5 throwing stars and Ritual Dagger.
- Sea Dragon Cloak (dark green with dark blue scales)
- 1 healing balm (H) 4 healing balms
120g+12g

Skills: Controlled frenzy, two-weapons fighting


Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:38 am
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Another good novel that might pique the interest of many here is "This Perfect Day" by Ira Levin. It is about a future utopian world where all of the decisions are made by a supercomputer. Similar though to this future under discussion in that there is no money, no one even considers such things as violence or disobediance to the computer unless they get "sick". They do have to work there, though. Anyway, well worth the read stricly from an enjoyment perspective, but also because it provokes some real thinking about how you can take something that looks like it's a great idea in theory, yet in reality it's actually a living hell.

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Sat Sep 01, 2007 4:12 am
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I've been reading this thread for a little while and it seems like people have done a great job with addressing the points presented in the theory. If I may, I'd like to do a little speculation on what would happen if such a system was implemented successfully. For all of the good intentions that such a system was created with, is it really a favourable outcome for society as a whole?

If I understand your model correctly, you are saying that the creation of robots and automated manufacturing processes would basically be able to eliminate scarcity of any goods or services, thus removing the need for money and solving many of the problems that society faces today due to disparities of wealth and power.

Now, suppose that this were actually the case and all goods necessary for both survival and luxury could be produced on such a scale as to render money obsolete. I will assume here that robots fulfill most functions of society, including the repair and maintenance of said robots, in order to create the fewest amount of jobs possible for humans. What we have then is a lack of purpose for human beings, since robots perform nearly all of the necessary functions that a society needs to function and humans do not contribute in any way.

True, they do not have to work anymore, but this lack of purpose leads to a state of anomie, or the decline of ethics and morality in a stagnant society. Everyone is free to pursue their own interests and desires to the exclusion of all else, and eventually it escalates to the point where nothing is wrong and everything is permissible. From there, the only way to go is down and eventually society will decline into a state of chaos. At least, in theory.

If you read the fluff of Warhammer 40k, a similar thing happened to the old Eldar empire, where they basically did have robots to tend to their every need, even their conquest of the galaxy. As a result, each individual was free to explore their own interests and, to make a long story short, they created Slaanesh. While it might seem that I have taken the story of the Eldar and just translated it to real life, I only noticed the similarities when taking a course in sociology where I was introduced to Emile Durkheim and the concept of anomie, and it just gives me a greater appreciation of the fluff.

Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't really think a society run by robots would be desirable in the long run.

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Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:02 am
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Another thing to consider:

Why do some of the rich and famous find themselves developing vices? They get bored. They need something which makes them feel alive. With the money many of them make, anything they want, they can have without really working for it.

This is obviously not a blanket statement. The media focuses on these less savory practices. But for most of them who succumb, the reason is just that - they are bored.

A society without purpose could develop vices for a similar reason. As NiteRabbit stated, without a job, they have no purpose. Humanity, at this point, is in general lazy. It is the rare passionate individuals who will set aside time to do something just for the sake of doing it.

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Tue Sep 04, 2007 3:38 pm
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asikari wrote:
Another thing to consider:

Why do some of the rich and famous find themselves developing vices? They get bored. They need something which makes them feel alive. With the money many of them make, anything they want, they can have without really working for it.

This is obviously not a blanket statement. The media focuses on these less savory practices. But for most of them who succumb, the reason is just that - they are bored.

A society without purpose could develop vices for a similar reason. As NiteRabbit stated, without a job, they have no purpose. Humanity, at this point, is in general lazy. It is the rare passionate individuals who will set aside time to do something just for the sake of doing it.


Either that or a vast hierchical aristocracy would develop. A big part of aristocracy is developing a slew of difficult to decode behaviors that are, essentially, arbitrary and meaningless, as a means of distinguishing nobility from everyone else. Fashion and trends ultimately come from the top and trickle down, and are ultimately just a way to distinguish those who can comprehend them from those who cant. Ultimately, those who can understand them are those who are sufficiently intelligent, and who have a sufficient amount of leisure time to dedicate themselves to understanding them. Hence 18th century Versailles or the runways modern day Paris fashion shows. To you or I, it all just looks like bunch of nonsense, but thats why we are the plebians and they are the aristocrats, even if we don't use those terms anymore. Most of us dont care enough, dont have the time, or arent intelligent enough to make any sense of it. But there is a method in the madness, in that it is a clever sort of cryptography that allows the elites to communicate their eliteness in a way that only they can understand, which insures the authenticity and seperateness of the elite.

In a vast society with infinite leisure, I would expect to see some such hierarchy develop to dazzling complexity. Although I do think the concept of anomie is real, and is pretty much what is happening to the US right now, I think aristocracy is the one thing that functions, and perhaps flourishes in such societies.

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Tue Sep 04, 2007 9:17 pm
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