Why Chris Anderson has it wrong about scarcity and abundance

Posted on July 7th, 2009 by bile
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Rules Everything is forbidden unless it is permitted. Everything is permitted unless it is forbidden.
Social model Paternalism (“We know what’s best”) Egalitarianism (“You know what’s best”)
Profit plan Business model We’ll figure it out
Decision process Top-down Bottom-up
Organizational structure Command and control Out of control
  1. A reduction of scarcity in electrical energy would be far far more significant then storage capacity or computing power. Increased computing power may help lead to new inventions, new ways to grow crops, etc. but it does not provide the means to do those things. Even with a major reduction in the cost of electrical energy there would still be lots of other components in life which would be scarce. All things being equal… even if my energy costs were zero you’d still have the costs of labor, rent, etc. and those are of greater cost.
  2. Egalitarianism is “You know what’s best”? Since when? Every egalitarian philosophy and political theory is paternalistic in practice and often in theory. Egalitarianism is almost always collectivist and tends to remove responsibility from individuals for the supposed betterment of society.
  3. Ultimately, humans act because of scarcity. When combined with libertarian property rights you do have a “Everything is forbidden unless it is permitted” system, more or less. But that’s a good thing. History and analysis of human behavior shows that such a system leads to less conflict. Communistic, “Everything is permitted” as in “everything is everyones”,  systems almost always fail due to conflict of interest and asymmetric desires which ultimately lower productivity and therefore per capita wealth.
  4. Private property theory and the free market, which exist due to scarcity, is bottom-up. There can never be a post scarcity scenario as described… only greatly reduced scarcity in particular areas of the economy. So if you have a free market the decision process will always be bottom-up and ordered chaos. Only statism is “top-down” and “command and control”in any significant manner.
  5. Craigslist and Wikipedia are not gift economies any more then this blog is or any other not for profit. Craigslist and Wikipedia actively request donations which is contrary to the fundamentals of a gift economy. Besides… they aren’t closed loops and therefore not an isolated economy but part of the greater world economy which is fascistic.
  6. Mr. Anderson makes several references to “waste.” That nature is wasteful. It isn’t. That YouTube is filled with “waste.” It isn’t. Waste is a subjective evaluation. Animals of simpler structure and lesser ability to protect offspring naturally play the statistics game. Those fit enough, ie those who produced more offspring thereby providing a greater chance of survival, have survived. There is no waste… just a different yet equally sufficient method of continuing the species. It is completely different for YouTube. There is no waste because it is what the customers desire. Only from another’s perspective can one’s property be considered ill used. He even makes mention of this fact yet still calls them ‘crap” and “waste.” It seems to me that he’s just being contradictive in his language and not intent but it’s frustrating none the less.
  7. He makes reference to the prime-time broadcast schedule being a scarce resource. That’s only because of government intervention. The FCC has held back radio technology since it’s inception. Rather then allowing the industry to run it’s natural course, much like the digital tech industry he likes to use in comparison, the FCC has regulated the life out of the industries using the radio spectrum. The cost of running a transmitter and even getting the basic equipment to film a TV or radio show isn’t that expensive. (And it would have been less so if it wasn’t regulated.) If individuals were free to transmit content as they saw fit and the government just enforced property rights regarding the homesteading of the radio frequencies there would have been more content and far lower “real costs.”

Seems to me Chris Anderson needs a lesson in economic theory. Appears his book is available for free. Perhaps when I’m done with a few other audiobooks I’ll check out his.

Paul Krugman calls those against Waxman-Markey climate change bill treasonous against the planet

Posted on June 29th, 2009 by bile
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So the House passed the Waxman-Markey climate-change bill. In political terms, it was a remarkable achievement.

But 212 representatives voted no. A handful of these no votes came from representatives who considered the bill too weak, but most rejected the bill because they rejected the whole notion that we have to do something about greenhouse gases.

And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason — treason against the planet.

To fully appreciate the irresponsibility and immorality of climate-change denial, you need to know about the grim turn taken by the latest climate research.

I keep fairly up to date on the latest information regarding climate change and I’m still not convinced of the extent to which humans have influenced the climate. The lists of scientists which oppose the politically correct version of anthropogenic global warming climate change grows larger and larger all the time. Regardless of whether or not global climate change is man made the solution is more freedom and property rights protection rather then less. It is fascism and collectivism which has lead to the increase in pollution and use of oil. The government is the largest polluter, excuses other polluters and subsidizes organizations which the free market likely wouldn’t had invested in.

Anthony Gregory: James W. Von Brunn and the Poison of Racist Collectivism

Posted on June 11th, 2009 by bile
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On Wednesday, according to news reports, James W. Von Brunn, a longtime belligerent racist and anti-Semite, walked into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and opened fire, murdering a security guard before he himself was shot and neutralized. Good people everywhere recognize the vicious criminality of his attack, and the particular insidiousness of his motivation to lash out where he did.

Read more…

Another excellent article by Mr. Gregory.

Anarchy In Your Head: Crashing the Crashers

Posted on June 4th, 2009 by bile
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Bureaucrash has been a bold voice for liberty for years, steadily growing in popularity, but it’s taken on a not-so-bold new direction toward partisan politics as usual. Lee Doren was chosen as the new Crasher in Chief by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

It seems to me that Lee might best be described as a moderate Republican. That’s arguably not the worst thing a person can be, certainly, but his personal principles seem not at all in line with the stated goals of Bureaucrash. Lee’s referred to certain blogs as conservative (slash) libertarian, as if these are interchangeable terms, and some new entries on the B.C. blogroll since he arrived include Michelle Malkin’s and Rush Limbaugh’s. He also demonstrates a failure to grasp the fallacies of collectivism. In short, his failure to even understand the principles of liberty himself means that he will inevitably use the powerful voice of Bureaucrash to distort the meaning for thousands of others.

If you are disturbed by this new direction of the organization, I encourage you to join a new group on the Bureacrash Social website called Countering the Crasher-in-Chief. In the span of just a few days, it’s accumulated over 80 members.

Sadly, the organization is not likely to simply fade away. Instead, by embracing the mainstream, it will probably grow, but it will have lost the edge that made it a special place for principled lovers of liberty. For now, it has chosen a quantity over quality approach when it comes to members, which I feel is very short-sighted, but then that depends on the goals of the owners. If their only goal is to grow membership, then perhaps they have chosen well. I just hope they have more meaningful goals than that.

If this new direction is not quickly changed, Bureaucrash will lose quite a few supporters, including Ian Freeman, host of Free Talk Live, and myself. I do not want Mr. Doren wielding the voice of Bureaucrash to distort the already diluted meaning of the word “libertarian”. If this mistake isn’t nipped in the bud, it is my opinion that Bureaucrash goes far beyond becoming unworthy of your support. They become an enemy.

Penn Jillette on telling the masses what to think

Posted on April 13th, 2009 by bile
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Neat Little Homesteading Article

Posted on November 14th, 2008 by bosco
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While browsing through the ole’ google reader I came across this nifty little story on self-reliance and homesteading.  I am particularly fond of the parts about the sense of community derived from living in a coop and the shopping list at the end.  Enjoy!