Reply to post: Re: Here we go again.


Trevor_Pott Gold badge

Re: Here we go again.

And? Do you think I find it shocking that Tim Worstall believes that a minimum wage is a good thing? Right now, today you cannot replace everyone with robots. So you need to keep the populace this this side of revolt if you want to adequately exploit them enough to massively increase the wealth of the 1%.

There are pragmatic reasons for 1%ers to keep their cattle adequately fed: otherwise there will be no cattle for them to dine upon.

But the instant that the masses are no longer needed, I fully expect him to making the case for pushing the 99% into a fucking furnace so that they can be burned for fuel to power the robots that are now the "cattle" of the 1%.

He honestly believes in trickle down economics. That makes him not only wrong, but horribly, dangerously wrong. And the fact that he has repeatedly rationalized away the suffering of billions makes him a Bad Man, at least in my books.

But then, I don't envision myself as a 1%er. Not now, not ever. Maybe if I mentally associated myself with an elite that was better than "the muck that eats itself" down there at the bottom, I would be capable of such callous pomposity too.

Sorry mate, I'll stick with social democracy. Market economics have fucking failed us, just as outright communism has. And for the exact same reasons: inability to regulate disproportionate human greed. Cronyism is inevitable in any economic system. Corruption is inevitable in any economic system. So what matters is not how to make the rich richer, but how to root out corruption and end it.

That includes the corruption of the masses. Sometimes, there are realities we don't want to accept, but absolutely need to. Climate change, for example. Ozone depletion. Thalidomide, Asbestos, etc.

You don't simply let "market forces" handle these issues. You don't let grocers continue along using led-poisoned Chinese foods. You regulate. You police. You enforce the needs of the many on the corrupt and excessively greedy few.

You realize that extremes of anything - especially greed - are bad for everyone.

Worstall appears through all his writings to view humans as just slightly less than chattel. Their value to be determined by society as a monetary figure and if producing goods returns higher revenues than the cost of murdered people, then clearly this is perfectly acceptable social policy.

Worse, he's a dramatic short termist. He seems to have zero problem with corporations offloading costs onto society as externalities, from pollution to climate change, and well far worse.

I am not claiming that right now we need Bene Gesserit levels of multi-generational planning, but we absolutely do need to take into account the fact that short trermism has caused some massive problems, and that this is continuing to occur.

What's more, he seems to believe that if you can hoodwink the majority of people - or at least, the majority of people who can find enough voter ID to vote - into something that makes it okay. Ignore the past couple hundred years of research into group dynamics, psychological manipulation coercion leverage, decision exhaustion and more. Just brush it all under the rug.

The fact that large corporations and governments have the ability to functionally render us incapable of making rational decisions at will is to be ignored, just like the externalities of corporate excess.

Maybe you worship at the alter of the philosophy that social change should only occur if it economically benefits those in power, or that we should be content with having significantly less than those who work significantly less than we do.

I honestly and truly believe individuals who hew to that philosophy are incapable of human emotions like sympathy or empathy. I consider people incapable of sympathy or empathy to be bad people.

Unfortunately, you are unlikely to understand that. If you're anything like the rest of his milled acolytes you won't understand the concept of "shades of grey". You will see a world as "equality of opportunity" or "equality of outcome" and never be able to understand that there are points in between.

Most people, I think, would be satisfied with a rough approximation of both. If we all had more or less the same opportunities and social structures existed to ensure that we more or less ended up in the same place we'd be good. If you work harder you get more. But the gap between the hardest working and those who hardly work shouldn't be nearly so egregious as it is today.

What's more, "working hard" doesn't ensure that you end up on the top of the heap today. Nor does "making the right choices" regarding education, etc. Luck plays a huge part. Who you know, being in the right place at the right time, who your parents were. Where and when you were born.

We don't have social constructs today to level these advantages. Not remotely. We have people literally slaving away and dying young with broken bodies and lungs full of fuck-knows-what living in the same city as the 18th generation of dilettante fops who've never worked a day in their lives but have more money than the deities themselves.

In Worstall's world, that's okay, so long as that's what the market demands. Because he believes in trickle down economics, that pure market capitalism can win and all the other Randian fairy tales.

Well I don't. Rand is a modern day L. Ron Hubbard; founder of a religion, not sound economic policy. Buying into Randian bullshit is economics by faith. Not evidence. It's a profound failure to learn from human history. To take human motivations and behaviors into account and to accept the influence of existing power structures and how they will distort and thwart any attempt at a free market.

Rand's bullshit is even more utopian than Marx's.

Humans are not rational actors. They're barely adults most of the time. But those in power must be, because we have reached to critical crossroads in our evolution as a species.

1) We have the ability to produce all the basic necessities of life for everyone across the globe in a highly automated fashion that requires virtually zero human input. Arguments about "machines replacing our jobs won't affect society in the long haul, because it already happened during the industrial revolution and we're still here" are bullshit.

The industrial revolution automated the basic necessities of life. Now we're automating not merely things which are not necessities, we're so far down that road that we're automating leisure. That's a fundemental change. We absolutely do run the risk of running out of things for the humans to do that will add economic value, and within our lifetime.

2) We have the capability to radically alter the planet on a global scale. We are engaged right now in the largest geoengineering experiments in human history. To my knowledge only two of about 100 different examples have ever gone well. Yet we proceed to alter the planet's basic capacity to support human life at international scale without much in the way of regulation, oversight, or international cooperation. Short termist economic models that focus on the profit of the few and ignore the needs of the many are irrational in the face of not only the power we wield as a species, but the shocking callousness with which we wield it.

So yes, I call our Randian economics as little more than the religion of true sociopaths. I call for evidence based legislation at all levels. When rationalizations for doing something can work equally well when you substitute "god" with "the market" you shouldn't be in a position to have influence over anyone.


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