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Kolzene
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Re:Technocracy - a scientific approach to economics
« Reply #15 on: 2010-12-05 04:36:19 »
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Sorry to MoEnzyme and Ophis, but it looks like our posts were too close together that day so I hadn't quite seen them when I posted mine. Also, sorry for not putting the names of people in the quote tags. I haven't used YaBB before and I haven't been able to figure out how yet.


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A lot of the problem I have with Technocracy isn't so much the ideas themselves, but rather the lack of simplicity in presentation. How about simply saying in sum that Technocracy seeks to create a currency based not on gold, or government trust (the Federal Reserve), but rather energy accounting. In theory we could even make it based on a basket of objective measures - we can include carbon emission credit accounting in the mix as well, for example.

Well, there are two reasons why not. One is that this is not all Technocracy is trying to do. There are a good number of changes that would have to take place in order to this to work. The shortest description of them all would be in the FAQ on tech.ca, but those are generally pretty short answers. A somewhat better look at them would be in the TTCD booklet. I'm sorry that I haven't been able to upload that to the site, but there is some technical issue stopping me, so like I said I can send it to whoever wants a copy, via e-mail or on this site if there is some mechanism for that. The Technocracy Study Course describes these changes in more detail, but was has not been really updated to include the use of modern technology. That one is available on the site. Otherwise, there are various levels of depth on individual topics scattered throughout the site, with at least some kind of organization. Yes, it can be done better, and I am always trying to improve it, but my main project right now is the Technocracy Katascopic Project which will hopefully greatly enhance and streamline things on all levels, should I manage to get enough help on it. I am always open to suggestions.

Second is that Energy Accounting is not about making another currency, for it doesn't use one. Like I said, it is a method of distribution, not exchange. Energy is simply used as a universal unit to be able to measure all things together in a relative and accurate format. Of course they will be measured in all other ways relevant to individual items and services as well, but most of those will not be as universal, so the descriptions of any of them would generally be beyond any introductory material.


Quote:
I'll have to read more about Technocracy before I make up my mind,

That's good, because it's a big topic, and it's pretty hard to understand before you see all the parts and how they work together.


Quote:
but I must say that I'm very afraid of planned economies that attempt to predict how many shoes of a particular style I'll want to buy next month.

Remember that it is only a "planned" economy as far as determining how things are made. In the determination of what is made, that is almost entirely up to the people themselves.

But as for how well the system would work, they came up with this in the 1920s and had a system for that that did not make use of computers, or advanced telecommunications. With advances like these, it would be far easier. Part of what makes it easy is that we are dealing with large numbers of people, so trends are easier to recognize. There will be some leeway plus and minus to account for normal variations, and extreme ones may result in some delays. The point is that overall it will be far more efficient, responsive, and less wasteful than what we have today.


Quote:
You seem to misunderstand what I meant by "infinite". Since we are talking about goods and services I thought it was obvious that I meant more than we could possibly want, not literally infinite.

Sorry for the misunderstanding, but I run into that a lot, with people telling me that you can't make infinite things as an argument against abundance, thus it didn't occur to me that you'd use a different definition for it than the normal one.


Quote:
My objection still stands though. Once you admit some properties (beach-front) are more desirable than others (desert, flood plain) and that some kinds of education (prestigious university) are more desirable than others (community college) then you are back to scarcity economics and pricing systems. Does Technocracy offer a way to make all commodities equally desirable?

I touched on this, but didn't really expand on it though. Things that can be produced in abundance are treated differently than those that cannot. I use this as an axiom: Problems of abundance require solutions of abundance, while problems of scarcity require solutions of scarcity. In other words, the proposals for Technocracy only work for those items and services that can work in abundance, and as a system can only work if most of them can be, at least in terms of the basics (food, shelter, health care, education, communications, transportation, that sort of thing, as opposed to rare luxuries like diamond rings). For those items that will remain in scarcity (either because the technology to produce it in abundance is not mature enough yet, like specific levels of space travel, or simply never will be, like certain locations for dwelling), these will have to be dealt with using scarcity methods and are entirely separate from the EA economy. What methods those are Technocracy does not deal with, and will have to be determined by the people living there at the time, because only they will know how much of whatever is in question is available, and how many people want it. We might speculate for instance that they may use a system of lottery, of barter, some other secondary economic device, or even as a system of reward for those in achievement (like winning the Nobel Prize, or an Olympic-style game competition), but this does not concern the technical apparatus of the Technate. The Technate is just there to provide the environment for people to make decisions like this, as well as how they would prefer to live their lives.

And just as an aside, since you mentioned it, education is expected to be one of those things that you can produce in abundance. There would not be different schools, self run and vaguely regulated. There would be a single, universal education system making use of all the latest techniques and technologies available. Thus, everyone will be able to have the best education possible. Today the best techniques for education are generally kept within specific schools, or even to individual teachers who just managed to figure out something on their own. With a single system, all the best techniques would be compiled and subsequently made available across the board. And with the limits of scarcity removed, we could enjoy all sorts of advantages, such as the best equipment, better teacher to student ratios, different education styles to cater to the different learning styles of students, etc. This is a topic of particular interest to me because it is so important to all of society, and all too often I see good ideas that significantly help that simply don't get used either because no one else knows about them, or they can't afford to use it, or teach it to their instructors. And just think of how much better things would be with things like logic and skepticism taught to children at an early age!
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Re:Technocracy - a scientific approach to economics
« Reply #16 on: 2010-12-05 11:36:18 »
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Quote from: Kolzene on 2010-12-05 04:36:19   

There would be a single, universal education system making use of all the latest techniques and technologies available. Thus, everyone will be able to have the best education possible. Today the best techniques for education are generally kept within specific schools, or even to individual teachers who just managed to figure out something on their own. With a single system, all the best techniques would be compiled and subsequently made available across the board.

Innovations and improvements that make up "all the latest techniques" don't just miraculously happen. You need diversity and competition to try new ideas, test them, eliminate those that don't work, and adopt those that do.  A single monolithic education system could adopt today's best techniques, but it would fail over time due to it's inability to adapt and evolve.

To discover new tools and methods, you need to allow different entities to try different things. What's the future of education?  Should we develop on the traditional classroom model?  Virtual classrooms online?  Applied classes like the University of Phoenix?  Free online courses given by Harvard and MIT?  Nobody knows!  Some of these things will workout and others will fail miserably.  The same applies to publishing, car manufacturing, food distribution, supply chain management, and any other industry or industrial process you can think of.

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Re:Technocracy - a scientific approach to economics
« Reply #17 on: 2010-12-05 15:36:08 »
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Quote from: Kolzene on 2010-12-05 04:36:19   

In other words, the proposals for Technocracy only work for those items and services that can work in abundance, and as a system can only work if most of them can be, at least in terms of the basics (food, shelter, health care, education, communications, transportation, that sort of thing, as opposed to rare luxuries like diamond rings). For those items that will remain in scarcity (either because the technology to produce it in abundance is not mature enough yet, like specific levels of space travel, or simply never will be, like certain locations for dwelling), these will have to be dealt with using scarcity methods and are entirely separate from the EA economy.

Will there not still be a difference in quality in food, shelter, health care, education, communication, transportation? I guess I'm having trouble imagining a future without consumer preferences.


Quote:
... With a single system, all the best techniques would be compiled and subsequently made available across the board. And with the limits of scarcity removed, we could enjoy all sorts of advantages, such as the best equipment, better teacher to student ratios, different education styles to cater to the different learning styles of students, etc. This is a topic of particular interest to me because it is so important to all of society, and all too often I see good ideas that significantly help that simply don't get used either because no one else knows about them, or they can't afford to use it, or teach it to their instructors. And just think of how much better things would be with things like logic and skepticism taught to children at an early age!

I would very much like to see logic and skepticism taught to children at an early age.

Even with some of the best courses in the world available for free today online there is still a preference to attend MIT in person, in no small part due to the direct access to professors, TAs and other students. Maybe when the best professors are artificial intelligences they will have the ability to directly interact with every student? Until then we're back to scarcity economics.
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Re:Technocracy - a scientific approach to economics
« Reply #18 on: 2010-12-05 22:14:03 »
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I was thinking back on my prior suggestions about implementing technocracy as a currency/derivative system based on a basket of goods, for example kilowatt/hour + carbon/offsets + food calories and whatever else (even shiney metals if you want). I understand the reasons why it doesn't initially appeal as currency. Of course first of all there is the simple reason that things like energy and food themselves do not make a good currency since they are more likely consumed somewhere in the process or have a limited shelf life. This isn't strictly a reason to not use some derivative certificates based on these commodities as a legal tender. In the US we have already had instances where food stamps became a very reliable currency tender on the black market. Of course the government shut that system down and replaced it with a debit card system in order to stop the illegal usage, but any objective observer can still realize that black markets are nothing if not extremely rational because they simply can't afford not to be. And of course there might be some who might object that food stamps were at least legitimately valued on dollars, and illegitimately valued at some reckoning tied to food dollars. I think with the rampant availability of computers and market information the possibilities for making an even smarter legal currency based on these commodities are even greater. The more I think about it, however it probably would be wise to have it as a second currency in a bi-currency system to supplement the already established currencies. Everyone can receive their monthly alotment of technocracy certificates, and then can do one of several things with it - sell it for traditional currency on the currency market, use it to purchase something in the "technocracy catalog" which would be a standard delivery system of common goods whereby good bargains can be ordered with some small delay for production and shipping time, or sell it on a market for technocracy futures. If the holder failed to make a decision in a certain period of time the smart currency would automatically revert to a regular cash value determined by previously established market values - for example 80% of the lowest market value within the previous 60 days. After the expiration day the permanent cash value can quickly, easily, and even automatically be determined by computer link based on the referenced date of issuance. There could even be an automated system to print a legally authorized expiration cash value stamp if people want to be able to later know the value of the cash in hand when no computer is otherwise available. In any case with the wonders of ubiquitous computers and accounting the entire system will always know how many outstanding certificates are in circulation, what future demands will be, and will automatically perform cash transactions for expired currency. The system itself would be capable of providing extremely objective information to inform the markets, and would coexist with traditional currency and commerce in our capitalistic system. To some extent it would be influenced by the more traditional economy in its market functions, but could itself serve as some objective check on the speculative abuses, inequalities, and political gamesmanship which our current government reserve and economic system is often subject to.
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Re:Technocracy - a scientific approach to economics
« Reply #19 on: 2010-12-06 00:19:47 »
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Innovations and improvements that make up "all the latest techniques" don't just miraculously happen. You need diversity and competition to try new ideas, test them, eliminate those that don't work, and adopt those that do.  A single monolithic education system could adopt today's best techniques, but it would fail over time due to it's inability to adapt and evolve.

To discover new tools and methods, you need to allow different entities to try different things. What's the future of education?  Should we develop on the traditional classroom model?  Virtual classrooms online?  Applied classes like the University of Phoenix?  Free online courses given by Harvard and MIT?  Nobody knows!  Some of these things will workout and others will fail miserably.  The same applies to publishing, car manufacturing, food distribution, supply chain management, and any other industry or industrial process you can think of.

Do you think that such innovation cannot happen in a single organization? Of course it could, it would, and even better than today. Taking a look at the Schematic Administration Chart, you can see that the Sequence of Continental Research is tied into every other sequence, collecting information from them all, as well as conducting and distributing research in them all as well. It would be a simple matter to "try out" different techniques in an individual class, a school, or even a district. You could even try it out in one class or school in several areas. There are countless ways you could do research in this kind of system, all the ones you can do today, only all of the information gathered from that research would be pooled, collated, and the conclusions then distributed throughout the entire network. Right now, if MIT does something right, it is not likely to be adopted by other schools for the reasons I've already mentioned, or simply because of anascopic, opinion-based administration (the same thing that lets schools in Kansas teach I.D. as a "science").


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Will there not still be a difference in quality in food, shelter, health care, education, communication, transportation? I guess I'm having trouble imagining a future without consumer preferences.

I guess I am having a hard time imagining what it is you think Technocracy is proposing here. A difference in quality? If you are speaking of objective quality, then no. Only the highest quality foods (or any product or service) would be available, because why would anyone want something of lesser quality? If you are speaking of subjective quality, well, of course. Remember that the goal of a Technate is to provide the highest standard of living possible for the longest period possible, while giving citizens the widest latitude possible in the expression of that standard of living. It wouldn't be an environment of abundance if people couldn't get the kinds of things they want. The only restriction (aside from health and safety concerns obviously) would be on items that could not be produced in abundance, like I've said. So there would not be a "future without consumer preferences", unless I mistake your meaning of course.


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I would very much like to see logic and skepticism taught to children at an early age.

I suppose it might depend on your definition of "early age", but it can be done. Most children can be brilliant when properly motivated by a decent education system. But even if it were not "children" per se, it would still be beneficial to have it taught universally at all, would it not? Isn't that one of the things we hope to do here?


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Even with some of the best courses in the world available for free today online there is still a preference to attend MIT in person, in no small part due to the direct access to professors, TAs and other students. Maybe when the best professors are artificial intelligences they will have the ability to directly interact with every student? Until then we're back to scarcity economics.

Every school in the Technate would be "the best school", because nothing else would be fair. Sure some teachers might be better than others, but they would all be trained at the same high level of standards as the rest of the education system, so that the variations in educational quality would be far less than today. This is one of the advantages to having an economy of abundance.

MoEnzyme: As I pointed out, there is no currency in a Technate (unless one was developed for a secondary economy for scarce items, like I said). You can't "sell" or trade energy certificates; ECs wouldn't even be used in this modern age. It would be more like a debit card, or those little devices you use to pay for gas at the pump, or even simple biometrics. But it doesn't represent something that you are "trading" or "paying with". It is simple accounting. You go to the "store", pick up some bread, register that you took it by whatever device is in use, and the Distribution Sequence now knows instantly that another loaf of bread has been consumed, so they can add one more to the production queue for the next production cycle. No trade has taken place. You have nothing to convert to any currency. You can't even sell the items that you've acquired this way because, being abundant, they have no value. It would be like you and I being in a grocery store, and me trying to sell you a loaf of bread before you go to the checkout stand. Why would you pay for it, when you can get your own for free (before checkout I mean, pretend that part doesn't exist for this example)? So this plan can not work (without destroying the abundance, and thus the entire reason for having a Technate in the first place).
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Re:Technocracy - a scientific approach to economics
« Reply #20 on: 2010-12-06 20:27:26 »
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Quote from: Kolzene on 2010-12-06 00:19:47   
Do you think that such innovation cannot happen in a single organization? Of course it could, it would, and even better than today. Taking a look at the Schematic Administration Chart, you can see that the Sequence of Continental Research is tied into every other sequence, collecting information from them all, as well as conducting and distributing research in them all as well. It would be a simple matter to "try out" different techniques in an individual class, a school, or even a district.

If innovation could be planned or it's secrets exposed in a "schematic administration chart", we would already have achieved Utopia.  Administrators and managers are really good at planning, creating processes, and at collecting information.  Unfortunately, none of this fosters innovation.  Innovation would definitely *not* happen (let alone happen "even better than today") in an environment where a  single organization is in charge of an industry.

Don't take my word for it: do a few searches and look at the drivers of innovation:

CIO Magazine: Top 10 Drivers for Innovation
Quote:
Staying inside your organization and keeping the lights on may be instinctual during down times, but it is hardly a pathway to innovation. "You have to look outside your frame of reference"


Gallup Management Journal: The four drivers of innovation
Quote:
there are four types of people that drives innovation: inventors, entrepreneurs, extreme individual achievers, super mentors


Idea Management Systems:
Quote:
There are four main drivers for innovation: 1) Top Line Revenue Growth.  2) Bottom Line Efficiencies.  3) Differentiation.  4) Relevance and agility

What's common across all this is that innovation is driven by *external* factors and incentives.  That is not something you get from a monopolistic administrative committee.  There is nothing simple about fostering innovation in an organization.

Don't get me wrong, I like the fact that Technocrats are thinking about how economics would look like in a post-scarcity world.  But from what I've read so far, Technocracy is *not* how we'll achive that goal; Technocracy assumes scarcity is already abolished, which is clearly not the case today.

The Economist magazine recently ran an interesting article called "Taking Von Mises to Pieces"
Quote:
Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a very popular financial author thanks to his books “Fooled by Randomness” and “The Black Swan”. One of his principal ideas is the difficulty of forecasting given the role of chance and extreme events. That echoes the views of Hayek, who wrote that “the curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”


I think Hayek was on to something there...
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Re:Technocracy - a scientific approach to economics
« Reply #21 on: 2010-12-07 00:27:25 »
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Okay, let me try another tack on this. Perhaps the problem I see here is that it seems to me that you are talking about a final product - what the technate will look like. The problem I'm thinking about is the way things are now and what would be the path of transition. It seems a bit absurd to me to simply assert this would be a better way and so we'll just wake up tomorrow and do it this way instead of what we've always been doing. Things don't generally change like that. Even if it is a good idea in theory I have a hard time imagining how you are going to just skip the armed resistance, civil war and bloodshed.

Another problem I have here is distinguishing your ideas from a simple command economy - central planning as opposed to market forces - collective ownership of the means of production, etc. I hate to sound trite, but how is this not simply the latest version of communism? And if it is communism what's different such that it will work this time? Are you simply saying that it was just a technical problem all along, and now that we have the right hardware the utopian community operating system should run just fine?
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Re:Technocracy - a scientific approach to economics
« Reply #22 on: 2010-12-07 01:16:03 »
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Ok, this one I can answer right away.


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Okay, let me try another tack on this. Perhaps the problem I see here is that it seems to me that you are talking about a final product - what the technate will look like. The problem I'm thinking about is the way things are now and what would be the path of transition. It seems a bit absurd to me to simply assert this would be a better way and so we'll just wake up tomorrow and do it this way instead of what we've always been doing. Things don't generally change like that. Even if it is a good idea in theory I have a hard time imagining how you are going to just skip the armed resistance, civil war and bloodshed.

Yes, of course it is silly to assert that we can make a Technate today easily and quickly, which is why I have never done so. I wholeheartedly agree that the issue of transition is a very messy one. Let me tell you why I focus on the end product first though. First of all, whenever trying to describe something this large, you have to start somewhere. There is a lot to Technocracy after all. Second is because Technocracy's position is that a) this is something worth achieving (better than now), and b) that this really is our only choice if we ever want things to get better instead of worse. If we can establish that, then we can talk about how to get from here to there. If we cannot establish that, then there really is no point, is there? Especially when the issue of transition is far more complicated and unpleasant of a topic. If it really is our only choice for the future, then it doesn't really matter how difficult it is, we have to try, else the consequences will be dire. If it isn't, well then the discussion becomes much more complicated, because you have to consider what the other choices are, their relative merits, and yes, it becomes relevant which one is easier to achieve.

So I won't go into how exactly it might be done now, but I will say, because it is relevant to the site here, that if we could get more people thinking logically about these things, instead of holding onto a lot of old myths about economics, human nature, etc., then there would be a lot more people interested in this sort of thing. That is one of the big reasons I am hoping that a "religion" (or something similar) such as this might be able to help with this, provided it could compete sufficiently.


Quote:
Another problem I have here is distinguishing your ideas from a simple command economy - central planning as opposed to market forces - collective ownership of the means of production, etc. I hate to sound trite, but how is this not simply the latest version of communism? And if it is communism what's different such that it will work this time? Are you simply saying that it was just a technical problem all along, and now that we have the right hardware the utopian community operating system should run just fine?

Discussions of this type depend largely on what definition of "communism" you are using. I am guessing from what you've said ("...such that it will work this time") that you are referring to the socialist governments of countries like the former USSR. While it is really tangential to the current discussion, I would point out that from what I have learned about it, the system used by the USSR didn't "fail" so much as it was "defeated". But that is really another topic.

Really, the crux of this issue is what you said about how Technocracy is different from a "command" style economy. This is a common fear, and one I have tried my best to address in this article: http://www.technocracy.ca/tiki-index.php?page=TechComparative

Ophis: You present a issue that is relatively new to me here. It will take me a bit more time to formulate a response.
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Re:Technocracy - a scientific approach to economics
« Reply #23 on: 2010-12-09 02:53:07 »
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Ophis: The links you provide are all talking about innovation in the business world, which I submit is a specific set circumstances that do not describe all possible sources of innovation, and especially not those that would exist in a Technate.

First of all, virtually every business and corporation is run basically like a dictatorship. As the link to the article I gave in my response to MoEnzyme talks about, this is a poor environment for people to work their best in. Given this, what you said about innovations in a single organization is quite true. It is because of this very feature that businesses require these "external" factors to essentially "force" the motivation to innovate on their employees. Thus, when we try to look at what those motivators are, we look to the most common source of it in our society, that of the business world, and this is what we see. But it is not an accurate reflection of human nature I'm afraid.

When people are released from such a stifling environment, and instead supported in their efforts, intrinsic motivations come to the fore. Such is the results of research done at MIT, Princeton, and numerous other places as discussed in these videos:

http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html

http://linuxologist.com/1general/why-open-source-makes-sense-scientifically-proven/

(essentially, each video says the same thing; the first has more talking (twice as long) while the second has graphics to accompany what is said)

Now, again looking at the article I linked to before, we can see that Technocracy is not a stifling, "monolithic" environment. In how it treats people, it is very anascopic, which we've known before is the best environment for people to work in, and all the research mentioned in these videos confirms it. The difference is that in a Technate, people from anywhere can contribute to any project, and collaborate with anyone, etc. The whole point of the single, katascopic portion of the organization is simply to provide the kind of environment and framework in which people do their best, and does this by providing the three real drivers of motivation (as mentioned in the video), autonomy, mastery, and purpose. So to answer your original point, yes, innovation does indeed just "miraculously happen", only they are not miracles, they are perfectly normal. They only seem like miracles in a society like ours that so actively works to inhibit the natural abilities of human beings. Give them the proper environment, such as one of abundance where their opportunities are many and they are free from having to worry about survival, and people can flourish in all their talents.
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Re:Technocracy - a scientific approach to economics
« Reply #24 on: 2010-12-09 10:08:37 »
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A chat I had with Lucifer about technocracy a couple days ago on #virus IRC
http://www.churchofvirus.org/bbs/index.php?board=;action=chatlog2;channel=%23virus;date=2010-12-07;time=14:00;start=0;max=30
14:01:11   MoEnzyme   Hello, Lucifer
14:03:00   MoEnzyme   You need to discipline googlebot, Lucifer. He's gotten all disobediant and passive-agressive lately. Kind of like some fallen angels I've known.
14:03:03   googlebot   veet!
14:03:11   Lucifer           * Lucifer spanks googlebot
14:03:14   googlebot   So then I filled the humidifier with wax and left it on. Now everything in my house is shiny.
14:05:23   Lucifer           Has MoEnzyme bought into Technocracy?
14:12:39   MoEnzyme   I'm thinking of dubbing it the USOS - the Utopian Society Operating System.
14:13:41   Lucifer           Can you guess from my replies that I'm pretty skeptical?
14:14:31   MoEnzyme   * MoEnzyme hears Lucifer saying "Communism" on the BBS
14:14:42   MoEnzyme   Ophis too.
14:14:48   Lucifer           No, I said "Marx"
14:14:52   Lucifer           :-p
14:14:55   MoEnzyme   heh
14:15:01   MoEnzyme   same thing.
14:15:51   MoEnzyme   National Public Radio and the BBC are media technates.
14:16:34   MoEnzyme   Managing an abundance of information with government funding.
14:17:11   MoEnzyme   * MoEnzyme is rather fond of both NPR and BBC.
14:17:29   MoEnzyme   I might already be a technocrat and I didn't even realize it.
14:17:55   MoEnzyme   er . . . I mean "communist"
14:19:35   MoEnzyme   I bet when the industrial technates take over, they'll spend a few weeks every few months begging for money before returning to their regular programming.
14:19:57   Lucifer           heh
14:20:26   Lucifer           I'm not convinced that the current price system doesn't already work for abundance
14:20:35   Lucifer           Abundance just drives the price down
14:20:50   MoEnzyme   Unless its already free!
14:21:33   Lucifer           Right, unless the price is already as low as it can get
14:21:48   MoEnzyme   Perhaps it could actually become a nuissance.
14:21:59   MoEnzyme   That might be less than free.
14:22:35   Lucifer           I guess we have too much garbage and pay people to take it away
14:22:39   MoEnzyme   Like the toilet paper technate start sponsoring house rolling parties, etc.
14:26:41   MoEnzyme   Perhaps if the technate decides to put likenesses of the Prophet Mohammed on the toilet paper, that might be less than free. A different kind of liability.
« Last Edit: 2010-12-09 18:13:04 by MoEnzyme » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:Technocracy - a scientific approach to economics
« Reply #25 on: 2010-12-09 15:30:08 »
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Quote from: MoEnzyme on 2010-12-09 10:08:37   

A chat I had with Lucifer about technocracy a couple days ago on #virus IRC
http://www.churchofvirus.org/bbs/index.php?board=;action=chatlog2;channel=%23virus;date=2010-12-07;time=14:00;start=0;max=30
14:01:11   MoEnzyme   Hello, Lucifer
14:03:00   MoEnzyme   You need to discipline googlebot, Lucifer. He's gotten all disobediant and passive-agressive lately. Kind of like some fallen angels I've known.
14:03:03   googlebot   veet!
14:03:11   Lucifer           * Lucifer spanks googlebot
14:03:14   googlebot   So then I filled the humidifier with wax and left it on. Now everything in my house is shiny.
14:05:23   Lucifer           Has MoEnzyme bought into Technocracy?
14:12:39   MoEnzyme   I'm thinking of dubbing it the USOS - the Utopian Society Operating System.
14:13:41   Lucifer           Can you guess from my replies that I'm pretty skeptical?
14:14:31   MoEnzyme   * MoEnzyme hears Lucifer saying "Communism" on the BBS
14:14:42   MoEnzyme   Ophis too.
14:14:48   Lucifer           No, I said "Marx"
14:14:52   Lucifer           :-p <snip>

you guys need to take this on the road ..... very clever   

I had a thought that Technocracy is portrayed/represented extremely well in "Star Trek Next Generation's" model of human society, which seems like a good place for us to be.

Cheers

Fritz



http://threetreesstudios.com/andscifi/2009/07/04/star-trek-the-next-generation/
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Re:Technocracy - a scientific approach to economics
« Reply #26 on: 2010-12-11 22:13:28 »
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Quote from: Kolzene on 2010-12-09 02:53:07   
First of all, virtually every business and corporation is run basically like a dictatorship.

There is a big difference between a business and a country ruled by a dictator: I can leave the business at any time.  It's a little harder to leave communist North Korea.  I wonder if a resident of Technocratic North America would be allowed to opt-out of the mandates and impositions of the ruling Technate?


Quote from: Kolzene on 2010-12-09 02:53:07   
looking at the article I linked to before, we can see that Technocracy is not a stifling, "monolithic" environment. In how it treats people, it is very anascopic

But the other side of the coin is how it handles industrial development: it is by it's own admission very dictatorial.  Quoting from the same articles:

Quote:
http://technocracy.ca/tiki-index.php?page=TechComparative
Technocracy is a design that separates the “controls” of the people and technology, so that each can be handled in the way that is best. With its katascopic (ie: top-down) administrative system, the industry and economy of the Technate is handled in the way that benefits it most, leading to high levels of efficiency and production. (...)
This is the katascopic area of Technocracy at work. Thus we see that Technocracy has all the benefits of a dictatorial society

Technocracy's approach to "control" industrial development is the equivalent of having a giant monopolistic corporation overseeing all production and distribution activities across the continent.  Like a super-sized Wal-Mart without the benefits of having an alternative option if I don't like dealing with Wal-Mart.  The same arguments made against monopolies in a capitalist society (including lack of incentives to innovate) can be applied to Technocracy's management of industry.

It gets worse: in a modern society, you can't separate industry and people.  If one organization controls industrial production, development of new technologies, distribution of goods, etc. it effectively controls the lives of people and the way they live. 

We are all born naked.  From there, our well-being is dependent on our technology and access to that technology.  Technocracy promises the end of scarcity, but the issue is that it *centralises* control over the means upon which that promise is made.

Quote:
http://technocracy.ca/tiki-index.php?page=Why+believe+it#Example_1:_Product_Quality
Suppose we take the case of razor blades. Suppose again that we have a particular razor blade, disposable of course, and that it is good for approximately three shaves. (...)
Now here's where the magic happens. Introduce this new blade on the market. You now have people buying them once per year instead of 121.7 times per year. Thus, the number of razor blades that are needed to be produced becomes 100 million per year, rather than 12.17 billion

What happens when I run out of razor blades for some reason?  I suppose I could ask a brother if he wouldn’t happen to have any spare...  I’m on the last one.
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Re:Technocracy - a scientific approach to economics
« Reply #27 on: 2010-12-13 09:34:35 »
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Quote:
There is a big difference between a business and a country ruled by a dictator: I can leave the business at any time.  It's a little harder to leave communist North Korea.  I wonder if a resident of Technocratic North America would be allowed to opt-out of the mandates and impositions of the ruling Technate?

That's why I said 'basically like', not 'exactly like'. Of course there are differences, but it is more like a dictatorship than say, a democracy because whoever owns the company has complete say in how it is run. If they accept your input at all, then that's just good luck on your part. If you don't like working there, sure, you won't be killed or imprisoned, but you can be punished in other ways, including getting fired. Then you have to hope you can sign on with some other dictatorship.

As for "opting out" in a Technate, it is by far a much freer society than any today. Sure, there will be "laws", but a lot fewer of them. It would make a poor analogy to working inside most companies today.


Quote:
But the other side of the coin is how it handles industrial development: it is by it's own admission very dictatorial.  Quoting from the same articles:

Quote:http://technocracy.ca/tiki-index.php?page=TechComparative
Technocracy is a design that separates the “controls” of the people and technology, so that each can be handled in the way that is best. With its katascopic (ie: top-down) administrative system, the industry and economy of the Technate is handled in the way that benefits it most, leading to high levels of efficiency and production. (...)
This is the katascopic area of Technocracy at work. Thus we see that Technocracy has all the benefits of a dictatorial society


Technocracy's approach to "control" industrial development is the equivalent of having a giant monopolistic corporation overseeing all production and distribution activities across the continent.  Like a super-sized Wal-Mart without the benefits of having an alternative option if I don't like dealing with Wal-Mart.  The same arguments made against monopolies in a capitalist society (including lack of incentives to innovate) can be applied to Technocracy's management of industry.

It gets worse: in a modern society, you can't separate industry and people.  If one organization controls industrial production, development of new technologies, distribution of goods, etc. it effectively controls the lives of people and the way they live.

I notice that you left out the next part of that last sentence in the quote: "Thus we see that Technocracy has all the benefits of a dictatorial society with none of the drawbacks." You misunderstand I think because the articles you are drawing from are conclusions that don't go into the details of how a Technate operates. They were designed to give you a reason for looking into it further, not as a complete description of its operation. So your conclusions are erroneous I'm afraid.

The comparison to a continent-wide Wal-Mart is inaccurate, for the reasons I've already stated. Companies like Wal-Mart are miniature dictatorships, while a Technate is not. The portion of the Technate's administration that is katascopic are the objective and technical portions, which are ruled by the most recent understanding of science and engineering. An example of this would be trying to decide the best way to deliver a given amount of a certain acid for a given distance, or how best to build a bridge across a certain river. The anascopic part of it is in all the subjective aspects, what people want to consume, and how they live their lives. These things are not controlled (outside of what few "laws" are needed to keep the entire thing operating of course, like not killing people or damaging property, etc.). People can consume what they like, work in whatever field they like, go where they like, and say what they like. If you have watched either of the videos I linked to, it would fully encompass the "self-direction" motivation that leads to greater creativity and productivity. People would be doing their jobs to the best of their abilities and training without being micromanaged. I would think that people following the CoV would be all for the idea of keeping the technical things objective, and the personal things subjective. The confusion between the two is really what leads to so many difficulties today, I think, which may be why you say that you can't separate industry and people.

Let me give you another example in an attempt to clear up this "separation". First, the subjective side: People buy x number of shoes one year/month/production cycle, that's their right. The Sequence of Distribution makes note of that figure and it is taken by all the relevant production sequences. Their job now becomes to make sure that there are that many shoes for the next time period (plus/minus trends, statistical margins, and what have you). Here they use only the most scientific methods available to them to make sure that the shoes are available to whoever wants them, with the least waste, inefficiency, and delays that are mathematically and physically possible. Thus, the decision of what is made, is completely subjective, and up to the people (anascopic). How it is made is completely objective and scientific. The only "dictatorship" is of the natural laws of the universe, not some arbitrary decisions made by humans. No society can ignore or even compromise on those. All we can do is try to understand them better, work with those "laws", and find better ways of getting what we want within them. This is one of the many reasons I thought that Technocracy would make a good ideological fit with CoV. Am I wrong?


Quote:
What happens when I run out of razor blades for some reason?  I suppose I could ask a brother if he wouldn’t happen to have any spare...  I’m on the last one.

Actually, the same thing you would do today: go to the store and get a new one. The main differences are, of course, that a) you don't have to pay for it, b) it will last far longer, and c) based on quality of product alone, we waste 121 times less (based on the example's figures) resources and production capacity making them, freeing them up for production of other important things. With us freeing up so much in all of our industries, we will not only be able to produce far more goods and services than today (higher standard of living), but also deliver them as much higher quality, and waste far less resources doing so, making a sustainable economy possible.
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Re:Technocracy - a scientific approach to economics
« Reply #28 on: 2010-12-13 21:18:30 »
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Quote from: Kolzene on 2010-12-13 09:34:35   
If you don't like working there, sure, you won't be killed or imprisoned, but you can be punished in other ways, including getting fired. Then you have to hope you can sign on with some other dictatorship.

Are you really comparing getting fired to getting killed or imprisoned?!  I personally prefer getting fired.


Quote:
As for "opting out" in a Technate, it is by far a much freer society than any today. Sure, there will be "laws", but a lot fewer of them.

So... I can't opt-out.  Good to know before I get caught by those few laws.


Quote:
I notice that you left out the next part of that last sentence in the quote: "Thus we see that Technocracy has all the benefits of a dictatorial society with none of the drawbacks."

Yes, I left that part out, because I don't see what benefits there are to living under a dictatorship.  By what method would the Technate planner's absolute power over the economy be put in check? 


Quote:
You misunderstand I think because the articles you are drawing from are conclusions that don't go into the details of how a Technate operates. They were designed to give you a reason for looking into it further, not as a complete description of its operation. So your conclusions are erroneous I'm afraid.

Then where do I find the complete description of a Technate's operations? 


Quote:
The comparison to a continent-wide Wal-Mart is inaccurate, for the reasons I've already stated. Companies like Wal-Mart are miniature dictatorships, while a Technate is not.

You haven't provided any reasons; you've only made claims.  You use the word "dictatorship" in a negative sense (I agree with you there) when talking about companies, but arbitrarily interpret the word in a positive sense when discussing Technocracy.  I've yet to see how a Technate would avoid falling into the same pattern of abuse that every other dictatorial planned economies have fallen into so far. 

Just saying that Technocracy would be "anascopic" doesn't automatically make it so.  North Korea claims to be a "democratic people's republic"... that doesn't quite fit with reality either. 


Quote:
The portion of the Technate's administration that is katascopic are the objective and technical portions, which are ruled by the most recent understanding of science and engineering. An example of this would be trying to decide the best way to deliver a given amount of a certain acid for a given distance, or how best to build a bridge across a certain river.

There was a hidden scientific fact behind the "I, Pencil" article that I quoted in a previous post:  You can't apply top-down planning to a chaotic system like human society.  The good news (also contained in the same simple story) is that you don't have to.  Try as you might, there are just too many variables, and the system is simply too sensitive to all sorts of conditions to make central planning of the economy possible.  Technocracy's main flaw, it's fatal conceit, is the claim that it can do so "scientifically".  That doesn't mean you can't apply science to social order, there are plenty of science in chaos theory. 


Quote:
The anascopic part of it is in all the subjective aspects, what people want to consume, and how they live their lives. These things are not controlled (outside of what few "laws" are needed to keep the entire thing operating of course, like not killing people or damaging property, etc.). People can consume what they like, work in whatever field they like, go where they like, and say what they like.

Until I see more than wishful claims to "anascopic" utopia, I'll remain unconvinced and I'll guarantee you that the "katascopic" processes will eat-up any promises of "anascopic" freedom.  My evidence: all attempts to implement scientific socialism since Marx put ink to paper.


Quote:
Let me give you another example in an attempt to clear up this "separation". First, the subjective side: People buy x number of shoes one year/month/production cycle, that's their right. The Sequence of Distribution makes note of that figure and it is taken by all the relevant production sequences. Their job now becomes to make sure that there are that many shoes for the next time period (plus/minus trends, statistical margins, and what have you). Here they use only the most scientific methods available to them to make sure that the shoes are available to whoever wants them, with the least waste, inefficiency, and delays that are mathematically and physically possible.

You just successfully described Nike's shoe business.


Quote:
The main differences are, of course, that a) you don't have to pay for it, b) it will last far longer, and c) based on quality of product alone, we waste 121 times less (based on the example's figures) resources and production capacity making them, freeing them up for production of other important things.

Great claims... no proposed way to get there.  Technocracy can't just assume to do away with currency by claiming that we live in a post-scarcity world (not the case, last time I checked).

Until we achieve post-scarcity, our best bet is to rely on "anascopic" processes to select a commodity of exchange to coordinate production activities... like we've been doing since de dawn of human civilisation. 


Quote:
For those items that will remain in scarcity (...), these will have to be dealt with using scarcity methods and are entirely separate from the EA economy.
 

We agree on this one.
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Re:Technocracy - a scientific approach to economics
« Reply #29 on: 2010-12-16 09:59:47 »
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Quote:
Are you really comparing getting fired to getting killed or imprisoned?!  I personally prefer getting fired.

Am I comparing them? Sure. Am I saying that they are the same thing, or equally bad? Of course not. The point is that I am not talking about a black & white, either/or situation here, but a spectrum, and on that spectrum getting fired is on the same side as more extreme things like the death penalty because they are both used as motivators for arbitrary behaviour. Yes, one isn't as bad as the other, but the point is that it is still used to get people to do things they would rather not, or even shouldn't, given the scope of what their job actually requires.

But this is getting away from my original point actually. I was comparing companies to dictatorships because the owner(s) can run them any way they want, there are no set rules (aside from the rules of law) for making a company operate a certain way, such as efficiently, or environmentally, or treating their employees like people instead of robots there to simply follow orders. The original point was that they are most typically poor environments for creativity and initiative to come about naturally in people, hence the need for extrinsic motivators, like the ones you pointed out, to basically "force" it out of people. My point before that was that the Technate, as it has been designed, would be the type of environment described in those videos, instead fostering self-direction, mastery, and purpose, and thus result in far better creative efforts than we see today, particularly combined with other aspects of the design, like the integrated nature of the organization, which you said would stifle creativity rather than foster it.


Quote:
So... I can't opt-out.  Good to know before I get caught by those few laws.

Do you prefer pure lawlessness? What civilized society do you know of that does allow you to opt-out of its laws? Are there any laws in the Technate you are worried you may want to opt-out of? I'm not sure if you are saying that this is a problem for you or not.


Quote:
Yes, I left that part out, because I don't see what benefits there are to living under a dictatorship.

Just because something is not preferable, does not mean there are no advantages, just that the disadvantages outweigh them in most people's minds. This is talked about in the Technocracy Comparative article I linked to before.


Quote:
By what method would the Technate planner's absolute power over the economy be put in check?

No one has "absolute power" in a Technate. In fact, part of the design is the abolishment of all political power. Thus, there is no power to keep in check. Those in "higher" positions of responsibility are bound by the mandates of the Technate (its goal, as stated), and the laws of science, as best understood at the time. Every technical position in the Technate is metrical, and if someone's performance in anyway is not sufficient for their position, then they are replaced.


Quote:
Then where do I find the complete description of a Technate's operations?

I've already mentioned where the best information can be found, a couple of times. But I will tell you again if you are actually interested in learning about this:


Quote:
The shortest description of them all would be in the FAQ on tech.ca, but those are generally pretty short answers. A somewhat better look at them would be in the TTCD booklet. I'm sorry that I haven't been able to upload that to the site, but there is some technical issue stopping me, so like I said I can send it to whoever wants a copy, via e-mail or on this site if there is some mechanism for that. The Technocracy Study Course describes these changes in more detail, but was has not been really updated to include the use of modern technology. That one is available on the site. Otherwise, there are various levels of depth on individual topics scattered throughout the site,


Quote:
You haven't provided any reasons; you've only made claims.  You use the word "dictatorship" in a negative sense (I agree with you there) when talking about companies, but arbitrarily interpret the word in a positive sense when discussing Technocracy.  I've yet to see how a Technate would avoid falling into the same pattern of abuse that every other dictatorial planned economies have fallen into so far.

I can understand that, but this is really the result of trying to learn a technical topic only from a forum. I've seen it many times before, and as I've said, it is a poor way to learn about it because you get problems like this. The best way (available at the moment anyway) is to research it yourself, and if you need any help I can answer questions because the written material still doesn't cover every possible question on the topic.

For instance, if you had read "Technocracy Comparative", then you would see how I can use the term "dictatorship" in both a negative and positive light, because they have both advantages and disadvantages. When I say that "(something) is like a dictatorship because...", I am not saying that it is exactly like one, but shares one or more traits with one, but not all. This is why it's called an analogy, because no analogy is a complete description, so please don't take it that way.


Quote:
Just saying that Technocracy would be "anascopic" doesn't automatically make it so.  North Korea claims to be a "democratic people's republic"... that doesn't quite fit with reality either.

Really? Do you really think that I think that? That would be disappointing. But let me explain what I thought should have been obvious: Technocracy is not anything because I (or anyone else) said so. I am attempting to describe it to you, which is generally best done in broad terms first, after which one goes into further details. If you want to know what it is that makes Technocracy (something), then we can get into that. Can you imagine if I were to try and describe it at the details, one by one? You'd have no idea what I was talking about! Besides, I'd be having to rewrite the contents of at least a full book or two, and that seems very difficult to do on a forum.

So if you want to know why I "claim" any of the things I do, or how it can be so, then just ask. Or you can even read about it yourself. A good part of the reason I wrote the FAQ and many of those articles is so that I wouldn't have to keep answering the same, most common questions over and over. It's not very efficient. It's duplication of effort, which is a waste, and in a sense I am using automation. Very Technocratic. (And no, I am not saying don't ask me any questions at all; obviously I am answering whatever is posted. What I'm saying is that it is best for both of us if I mostly just have to fill in the gaps for people who are doing their own investigation of the topic.)


Quote:
There was a hidden scientific fact behind the "I, Pencil" article that I quoted in a previous post:  You can't apply top-down planning to a chaotic system like human society.

It seems that  you haven't been following what I have been trying to say. The parts that are handled scientifically are the parts that are best done that way, not the parts, as you point out, make things difficult. The parts that are "chaotic" are allowed to be. The system only needs to be responsive, and this will be done largely using methods we use today, only better, as in the shoe example we talked about.


Quote:
Until I see more than wishful claims to "anascopic" utopia, I'll remain unconvinced

As I've said, that information is available if you care to take a look at it. And I'll tell you now based on my experience with myself and many others, Technocracy is not likely to make much sense until you have not only seen all the parts of it, but how they work together, just like how the parts of an engine won't work until they are all present, and put in the right places. I do understand how crazy it can look to most people before they get to that point. In fact, I would prefer that you remain unconvinced until you do get to that point. I prefer that people that decide to support the idea actually understand it, otherwise they are just cheerleaders.


Quote:
I'll guarantee you that the "katascopic" processes will eat-up any promises of "anascopic" freedom.  My evidence: all attempts to implement scientific socialism since Marx put ink to paper.

The difference is that all of those attempts have been done in a scarcity environment, using politics (unavoidably). This is what sets Technocracy apart: when in an environment of abundance, a lot of things change. An analogy for this (just an analogy) is if someone were to say that shaping steel was impossible because they and many people have tried before, but only at room temperature. Put the steel in the right environment (with enough heat), and the properties of the metal change a great deal. Thus, you're evidence is circumstantial, and your "guarantee" is not a very scientific claim. Remember that flying was considered impossible at one time too.


Quote:
You just successfully described Nike's shoe business.

Not exactly. Yes, there are obviously some similarities (most of Technocracy's design is just taken from already proven examples of things that work; no sense reinventing the wheel, right?), but Nike's goals and other processes are different. For example, their primary goal is profit, not to ensure that everyone who wants a pair of their shoes can have one. Also, typically the only efficiency that most companies care about is money efficiency, that is, spend the least to get the most return. This is of course perfectly understandable since it is in a competitive environment, because if they didn't, someone else would, and put them out of business. How much energy they use, or other resources, or how much they pollute, or other externalities, only matter if it either a) costs them, or b) gets them in trouble with the law. Since Technocracy's goals are entirely different, their processes would be geared to achieve those goals as best it can.


Quote:
Great claims... no proposed way to get there.

Again, you have to understand the whole system to see why these results are achievable.


Quote:
Technocracy can't just assume to do away with currency by claiming that we live in a post-scarcity world (not the case, last time I checked).

Perhaps you missed the part earlier in the thread where I said that while we do not have a post-scarcity environment right now, instead we have had the capacity (i.e. physical requirements) to make one for 80+ years now. Yes, we live in scarcity, but it is no longer a natural one, it is instead artificial, because we can choose to change it if we wish. Some relevant articles here and here.
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