Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Wed Jul 30 09:32:29 2003
Mail Oops

I was playing with my gandi registration stuff yesterday, and today I noticed that I accidentally changed the primary nameserver from dachte.org to gandi's sites. I changed it back, but at least for now, dns is slightly messed up. There is a faint chance that my email might be messed up for some sites. Oops.

Yesterday evening I was having problems sleeping, so I talked with an old friend about politics, philosophy, economics, and the future on AIM for several hours. It was a very interesting conversation, although in retrospect I wish I had tried to sleep a bit harder -- I turned what would've been mildly not enough sleep to considerably under my comfort zone. Anyhow, let's just say that he's a catastrophist, and believes that within 8 years, the U.S. government will fall apart as the economy dies. It seems unlikely to me, but I don't know enough about economics to definitively gainsay his thoughts. He does suggest there are ways to greatly increase one's chances of survival after said collapse happens, but they seem kind of iffy to me. I really don't think hoarding gold/silver would do squat in such a world, and hanging out with a gun with survivalist conservatives doesn't actually sound that safe from the masses to me. I actually had this conversation with him, roughly speaking, the last time I heard from him, a long time ago. What's new to me is that I now hold, in that situation, that some kind of a command economy, transitional or not, would likely hold a very useful role in making sure society works at a basic goods-distribution level. Hmm. More on that later..

I also think that anarchy would probably not last long -- even if the federal government were to collapse, I believe people would band together for protection, and the existing power structures provide an attractive default for how things are arranged. In most areas, I think cities could be relatively self-sufficient, and with use of the local military/police, food could be ensured until a less forceful type of motivation were reinstated. Government, Law, and rules are emergent in society. Although we might not like the new ones, I don't think we'd be in anarchy for too long before new order started to grow.

Ahh, yes, back to command economies. Is his apocalypse at all similar to the socialist revolution that some of my other friends suggest? In the end, would I prefer to see anarchocapitalism or socialism survive? Hmm. I'll go with the socialists on this one. I have plenty of reasons.. A lot of the value in society is the cooperation between people, and I just don't think that anarchocapitalism would provide much of a basis for cooperation. Our current form of capitalism provides that basis, roughly speaking, but I think anything much more anarchocapitalistic would be very difficult in that area. Use of guns, violence, and large-scale coercion always lie beneath society, providing a 'gold standard' foundation on which society flows, but as with power politics, it can't be the whole house, and like the foundation of a house, it's ugly and isn't something you can or should see very often. I guess, thirdly, capitalism is in some ways inefficient, and when it is unsure if the 'voodoo games' of capitalism can provide for people, a command economy can eliminate some of the waste and inequalities and make sure that everybody at least gets something of basic needs materials. If need be, for example, a police/militia force could either force people to work farms, or work it itself, and probably could gather sufficient food to provide some level of food to the masses. Finally, I'm not willing to accept nor stand by if large numbers of people, as he suggests, were to starve out of economic disaster. Nor, I suggest, would they be willing to accept it. I don't care how many guns he has, nor how remote or well-guarded his gated community is. If a new government isn't fast in coming, I can just imagine gangs and similar gathering together and heading right into those gated communities, fighting for their lives, and maybe a bit out of spite, to take what's being hoarded.

Here are two articles you might be amused by:

Transhumanist article in the Village Voice Telemarketers sue to stop do-not-call list on CNN