How are energy credits different from asset-backed money? - Page 2 - Politics | PoFo

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The solving of mankind’s problems and abolition of government via technological solutions alone.

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Kolzene wrote:You're forgetting about economies of scale. Distributing production like this is most often inefficient both energy and other resource-wise, which creates waste, which lowers the overall standard of living. Besides, the technology to be able to produce everything that we can today in the home is pretty far off anyway. Why wait when we can have it all today? "Cheaper" is of no consequence since it will all be "free" (in the monetary sense) anyway, and distance won't matter if things can be easily delivered to you (you'd need to get raw materials one way or the other anyway).

So all this talk about home 3D printing of things, while interesting, really has little if anything to do with Technocracy since it provides so little benefit.

Not entirely true, Kolzene. There are 3-D printers on the commercial market, but they're expensive. Of course, they're first generation (commercially), and still have economies of scale working against their production; still, you don't need to produce everything from one capital city. You can use economies of scale to produce the equipment for local production, and for the basic resources used for production, and then produce everything from a local center using local energy (microgeneration). I expect this would actually be cheaper, since you'd have to collect resources to one center, produce massive amounts of energy there, and then ship the items across the continent, v. the independent source of the resources acting as a distribution center for local production, which would be the central distribution center for the produced goods. Diseconomies of scale also exist, Kolzene.
I do believe, Kolzene, that effeciency is being shifted towards diversification of production. Yes, we'll still need transport and economies of scale, but let's look at several things-

Local produce v none local
Compost toiletry (good soil for next season's crop)
Greywater irrigation
Internet access (couchsurf, software sharing, etc.)
3-D printing/Automation

I think it's fair to say there can be a good deal of local autonomy in production within a technocracy. Mining, Space exploration, etc. would still have to be somewhat centralized, but there's no particular reason, for instance, than a city's carshare shop couldn't manufacture as well as fix the vehicles, or that technology distribution centers couldn't manufacture chips in house. This same autonomy would also provide tenacity against complications with a central production center.
Kolzene wrote:Not at all. You make it sound like a tribunal would have to be convened for every transaction or something. The same system that records the transactions would have access to the statistical database of previous transactions, and based on that data a threshold could be easily determined. Then, each transaction is checked while it is done. It would be trivial for a computer to do so. I'm far less than a professional programmer and I could do it. In fact, you wouldn't even need computers, it would have been possible in the 1930s now that I think of it. The people in the Sequence of Distribution would check over all the statistics of previous periods, and determine what would be an anomalous threshold. They then simply tell the Distribution Centers what that number is for this period, and the tellers would have checked it themselves. The only difference today is that we could totally automate it with computers and have that threshold updated far more often, also automatically.

No, I understand it would be easy for a computer to detect anomalous transactions, but the follow-up investigation has to be done by humans and that's the part that's inefficient when you have many millions of such cases every year. It would be a bureaucratic nightmare and the worst part is that if the combined end result of all these subjective investigations is off by even the tiniest amount all hell breaks lose because there is no such thing as fiat energy (when you've used up all the energy you can't just print more of it, the lights just go out). Why not just give everyone a budget and set a fixed national budget for health care so you won't need a commission to tell every individual cancer patient how much they can consume?

Kolzene wrote:Ah, I see. Yes, some of the older material like the Energy Certificate pamphlet was confusing on this point. It did talk of dividing the total energy production of the nation equally among people and that they could receive no more, but that was for accounting purposes, not for rationing like we know it where once you've spent it, that's it, no more for you. Go ahead and starve.

The idea is that your ration is more than enough not to starve, if you are stupid enough to blow it all on something other than food that's your own responsibility, it has to be, otherwise other people would have to pay for your mistakes. But since "the" movement is apparently updating its narrative it starts to lose its claim to the sole voice of technocracy, at this point I really don't see why other movements (such as that one from Europe) don't get a say in how the movement should change its narrative. This is kind of what I meant by "flavors of technocracy", since different groups now offer different visions based on the same source material we can call them different flavors and a supporter of one group is not any less of a technocrat than a supporter of another group.
Last edited by Poelmo on 15 Nov 2012 14:30, edited 1 time in total.
Kolzene wrote:Smertios: The reason why we say that it is not a political system is because no one has a position of political "power" to use their authority over others using subjective, opinion-based decisions. In the Technocracy system, there are only positions of responsibility, where people make objective decisions that anyone with the right expertise can check. That is why I keep mentioning the importance of separating objective from subjective issues, because Technocracy deals only in one and not the other. Political systems, while their decisions may sometimes or even often include objective facts, are still based on subjective authority and political power. Why do you think we keep getting people with such widely varying opinions on what should essentially be scientific issues best left to the experts?

You're right, politics is related to the power relations between individuals, but those relations can only exist as such where the law (or in some cases, force or coersion) provides that power. In Technocracy there is no such provision. People can only make decisions that objectively pertain to their function. Let me give you an example; today, we have people "voting" on whether we should use nuclear power. This is a technical issue, not a subjective one. In a Technate, it would first be decided if nuclear power can be done safely given current technology and resources, and if so, whether or not it meets other requirements for efficiency, sustainability, and power production capability, among others. It would be compared to other sources of power in terms of those same qualities, which are all objectively measurable, and thus a best choice could be made, again, objectively. The person (or persons) responsible for determining that would then be responsible for implementing it. If they did not, for whatever reason, the reason would be investigated and dealt with, with that person(s) possibly losing their position(s) (if no better solution could be found). Today, we leave such a decision in the hands of a fearful and technically ignorant population, and/or self-serving politicians (who are deciding based on ideology or what will get them elected) and corporations (which based their decisions on profitability). Do you see the difference?

I agree with your views that technical issues have to be dealt by experts, Kolzene. And I understand why you need to separate "subjective politics" to [what I will call right now] "technical politics". I'm just saying that the terminology is a bit unfortunate.

Politics and political science, as I mentioned, are a social science that studies how power relations take place in human society. That power doesn't necessarily have to come from laws, elections or coercion. As long as a power relation is established, there is politics involved. This is the case, fro example, in a classroom. When a student acknowledges that the flow of knowledge goes from the teacher to himself, a political relationship is being established there. At least for the moment, he will be in the submissive role, since it is in his best interest to learn whatever is being taught. As the teacher is the one who is able to teach him the subject, it is not a good idea for him to be above the teacher. If he already knows the subject and tries to impose his knowledge, the balance of power switches completely.

It is the same with technical knowledge. When you go to a doctor, for example, you will simply list your symptoms. Then you will listen carefully to his analysis. The ability to diagnose your illness is solely with him. If you try to argue with him, he will simply refuse to diagnose you. So, at least for the short moment you are in his office, the power is mostly in his hands. The patient will be in a submissive role. It is the same with lawyers, engineers, dentists, architects etc. Even less prestigious technical experts will have more power in their field of expertise than a layman. For example, yesterday, my parents received the mason that will work on our floor shortly. They simply tol him what they wanted, and proceeded to listening to how he would accomplish those requirements. About half an hour of mostly him speaking and explaining.

This kind of thing is not something you can get rid of, like that. Because power relations (and, by extension, politics) simply exist in our society. When it is in your best interest to maintain the submissive role, you will do it. If you don't, your life is pretty much screwed.
Kolzene wrote:Ah, I see. You are assuming that there will be "millions of such cases every year", whereas I am not. Ok, say that something like that is hard to predict, then people at the time will have to come up with a solution for that. There is only so much detail non-experts can go into on these things.

Yes, that is indeed an assumption I make, because I want to err on the side of caution. I am interested in trying to turn technocracy (or at least parts of it) into a reality within my lifetime, so I cannot afford to fantasize about some distant sci-fi utopia (limitless abundance, fundamental shift in human behavior regardig consumerism, materialism, etc...), the system just has to work in reality, be sustainable and be less worse than capitalism. If it does turn out we get limitless abundance and people appreciating it (which I think is unlikely considering I don't feel unimaginably wealthy even though I am compared to a medieval peasant, even a healthy, well-fed one) we can always tweak the system further, but in the beginning we have to work within the world as it currently exists because unrealistic assumptions and wishful thinking can lead to catastrophies (I don't want to be the next Mao Zedong).
Kolzene wrote:Behaviour is largely shaped by environment, and the "hoarding" behaviour you are describing is a classic symptom of a scarcity environment. So one must ask the question, why would someone do such a thing? In a scarcity system, the answers are easy and many: so that they don't run out, in case there is a shortage, so they can sell them to others, etc. In a Technate, what would be the point? Unless it was for some strange art project, or like ordering 1000 drinking cups for a really big party or concert, there really is no point. So I don't see why this should be very much of an issue.

This is a point of contension(sp?) for me. We know IQ and the big five are largely genetic, and a good many behaviors- such as optimal waist-to-hip ratios in women, for instance- are hardwired. That's why we over-eat today, perhaps intimately connected to an intrinsic scarcity-model in our minds, though the addictive properties of unhealthy foods should be noted as well.

It also raises the question, how do you control such behavior in an interim period? If we woke up tomorrow in a technocracy, we'd still behave as though we live in a scarcity economy. We'd continue to operate this way for a while, and probably raise our kids with such quirks and memes that would hold-over from this mindset.

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