Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Practically in The Castro

Bucky Fuller was a nut, but his enthusiasm for 1970’s hippies is relevant to my interests:
Do away with the notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors.
Our agriculture doesn’t hunger for more workers. Manufacturing is sated. Transportation is sated. Even in today's comically inefficient US, these sectors together really run on less than 10% of the workforce...plus inspectors etc.

Bullshit Jobs is totally true, and even the world’s top political reactionary sees it.

On how to roll all this back & make a saner world, Stross’s vision is more inspiring than MM’s. And, Stross’s sole caveat is astonishingly perfect: their pursuits should not come at the cost of damaging others, either directly (e.g. through robbery) or indirectly (e.g. through damaging common goods or degrading the shared environment).

But, I bet Stross (and most everyone) takes his caveat far less seriously than I do. This caveat doesn't work if it's just an in-passing nod to today’s pathetic security structures: Let it boldly underscore how much security upgrade any of our cities would need for free-range flourishing large populations. Imagine: Most people not chained by makework, and not infringing on each other!

My stance even on noise pollution is downright draconian: installing a car alarm is a felony offense (silent poison-dart traps are a beautiful alternative, if they hit only miscreants), and in most parts of town even ambulance sirens would be ruled not worth it. Coronate me, and your right to quiet enjoyment Shall Be Restored.

Restoring real freedom of association is absolutely necessary. For all the little externalities/indignities that are hard to police but that hugely matter. 

“You want to keep your noisy doctor? Great! He lives in Noisy-by-the-Bay; you might look there.” For the 582 remaining rational people who value slightly faster urgent care over a quieter world.

Personally, I'd look into a Heinleinian high-EQ monogamous-friendly adults-only pretirement villa with a “no swimsuits” leaning and a hair-trigger “no creeps” culture. Picture a year-round apollonian Burn village (from before whenever you think BM went downhill)...but not exiled to the most undesirable land in the country. (Even the Indian reservations got better!) 

If you exude virtue in living a high-EQ outside life (cautious, inoffensive, positive), my villas could welcome you. There would be less $$-price than you might think, and more status/virtue-"price" mechanisms. Social scarcity is the big real scarcity that isn't going away. (In the US today, there are laws against actually caring what people are like. Money is the only legally permissible motivation for business, and business is the only legally permissible social activity, outside of bona fide friendship or officially sanctioned charity or other unprincipled exceptions. This is insane! It prevents mutual awesomeness, and makes money unnaturally important.)

This reminds: Hoppe is totally wrong in On Conservativism and Libertarianism about true liberty leading to a uniform conformist cultural conservativism. Puritan ethics isn’t the only sane, connected good-values path. (It's great for neo-Victorian donkeys, but dragging everyone full Puritan won't fly.) Hoppe's imagined monoculture wouldn't suit even the world's top reactionary, who lives practically in The Castro.

The West has largely mastered the physical challenges of our battle to survive-and-flourish (...though not reproduce; finitude has limits!), and hedonism deserves a real place at our celebratory table.
The Big Lebowski: Your revolution is over, Mr. Lebowski. Condolences. The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did; get a job, sir. The bums will always lose. Do you hear me, Lebowski?
[the Dude walks out and shuts the door]
The Big Lebowski: The bums will always lose!
Brandt: How was your meeting, Mr. Lebowski?
The Dude: Okay. The old man told me to take any rug in the house.


  1. [Anon response via email.]

    We've gone so long living from bubble to bubble we can't imagine life under a normal free market.

    We have not evolved beyond the need for jobs, they have simply moved to other countries with artificially low wages. You're mentally
    trapped in the China bubble, somehow assuming this insanity is just
    the way the economy works now.

    Government has created so many disconnects between supply and demand you've come to accept this low-employment/no-employment stagnation as reality.

    It's like assuming the 1970s hyperinflation would go on forever,
    unable to even imagine a Volker.

    Our current labor conditions are the result of constant, persistent
    inflation over DECADES. Central bank distortion that has ruined

    But you're blaming it all on technological progress and your view is
    hopelessly centered on the U.S. You're ignoring the distortions caused by malinvestment and ignoring the incredible demand for goods and services in the developing world.

    China is so busy fulfilling our needs they're ignoring their own. Huge
    numbers of people are still poor, still waiting to enter the consumer
    economy. Only a bare fraction of us have iPads.

    Millions don't even have refrigerators.

    In a sane world where capital was allowed to flow and property rights were protected, deflation would bring millions into the labor force
    and there would be plenty for people to do.

    I'm talking about Detroit churning out cheap cars for a new African
    middle class. It's not economics or technology keeping this from
    happening, it's politics, and there's nothing normal or inevitable
    about it.


    1. This is a great argument. It's a sane, non-post-scarcity response.

      It might be that REAL unregulated capitalism could still an amazing job for world flourishing -- that no radical rule changes are called for. I'm very sympathetic to this hope.

      And, nobody's fleshed out much of an alternative. I certainly haven't. Possibly starting to -- starting with just distant speculative visions and then working on what institutions might sustain or bring about such visions.