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Utopia Talk / Politics / Partitioning the US
chuck
Member
Tue Jan 12 13:54:38
Putting this in its own thread because I won't remember the discussion was in a thread nominally bitching about Cabinet picks otherwise and it deserves its own thread.

Conversation starts at Tue Jan 12 11:12:29 comment by Nimatzo.

http://utopiaforums.com/boardthread?id=politics&thread=87410

Historically, attempts to set up political partitions ex post facto have tended to be unmitigated failures.

E.g. India and Pakistan, set out as examples for how this might be accomplished in the other thread, have fought multiple wars and are probably the most likely pair of countries to engage in a tit-for-tat nuclear exchange.

While we do have handy boundaries already drawn up, a US partition will not be a neat solution - especially if states are leaving in blocks. Consider PA for instance, which was brought up as:

> New England plus the tri state ( PA, NY and DE)

(Leaving aside that this is not the tri state area)

So all those Trump supporters in the Pennsyltucky part of the state will be cool with the choice of a) abandon your home and go live on a resettlement reservation in West Virginia or b) live in the United States of Cuomo-nia instead of following their hearts with the Bluegrass Boys?

Okay, fine. Pennsyltucky goes with Kentucky, the eastern part of PA goes with NY. Cool.

But what about Pittsburgh? Are they gonna be happy with knowing they would have gone with the libs but the Trumptards threw a fit, so their choices are now a) abandon your home and squeeze into the refugee camp in the Madison Square Warrens until the Metropolitan Refugee Authority places you in a resettlement ghetto or b) live in a country that dreams only that coal mining will once again become a viable career choice.

What about ye olde newly purple states? Who in their right mind is staying in Phoenix or Atlanta knowing that 49.99% of their new countrymen think their existence is an affront to God?

Will California still think it sounds cool to split in three when it's no longer a conscious uncoupling but instead the entire agricultural base of your nation peacing out on you?

How will the Florida military respond when the cash-strapped politicians of Alabamassippi grant the Chinese a 99 year lease to establish a military base in Mobile?

The conflict that would ensue wouldn't be controlled burns to avoid the potential of a forest fire. It would be a whole bunch of forest fires to avoid a forest fire.

Remember Burning Kansas? The Balkans? It'll be that, but everywhere. And countries who decide to intervene will be looking at the prospect of a invading a nuclear armed state full of people of all stripes who may hate each other, but definitely agree they don't want outsiders there.
Sam Adams
Member
Tue Jan 12 14:01:23
The urban rural divide would create a massive clusterfuck. Republicans control the vast majority of the land, and most rural counties even in blue states vote red. If say a liberal state seceded the rural counties in that state would then leave the state and join their red neighbors. Cities are isolated blue islands in most places.
Sam Adams
Member
Tue Jan 12 14:03:27
It would be messier still if the democrats start a civil war by say... forcing through race based reparations. Then even cities would split.
chuck
Member
Tue Jan 12 14:16:15
> The urban rural divide would create a massive clusterfuck.

Yep. Even for rural areas and urban areas not in the same state.

What if the people of the flyover country of Breadbowlia, having "solved" their own abortion problem once and for all, turn the attention of their moral crusade on the heathens of NYC who do still practice abortion and put in place grain tariffs?

Is NY gonna be like "well, we're cool with these food shortages. That's fine by us"? Of course not.

In blocks of states where the rural factions dominate, every city is at risk of ending up blockaded like West Berlin (except, again, with no US waiting in the wings to come to the rescue).
jergul
large member
Tue Jan 12 14:24:55
What happens to rural communities when the agricultural subsidies go away? Answer: They die.

We know that from the USSR.
Dakyron
Member
Tue Jan 12 14:29:20
Doubtful. Urban or rural the wealthy control the narrative and the government. Rural farmers are not going to bankrupt themselves by refusing to sell their grain to NYC, which is stupid to even suggest given NYC's wealth and geographic location. NYC would fine 1,000+ grain suppliers and would not need Breadbowlia. Given Breadbowlia would be landlocked, it would probably be the other way around.

I imagine trade along the Mississippi River would become extremely important to the new plains nations. Which would put a state like Nevada or Arizona in an interesting position given the need for Colorado river water and power production via the Hoover Dam, while a free flowing Colorado River would give them access to the Pacific Ocean. Would they screw themselves and California in order to gain strategic access to the Pacific? Maybe not right away, but it would certainly be in their long term strategic thoughts.

As far as rural secession, I imagine there would be plenty of border disputes initially, but after 10-15 years, borders would be largely settled.

I think D.C. would be the biggest sticking point. Do they join Virginia? Maryland? Go it alone?
Dakyron
Member
Tue Jan 12 14:30:09
"What happens to rural communities when the agricultural subsidies go away? Answer: They die. "

They would grow Marijuana, tobacco, opium, or other cash crops.
jergul
large member
Tue Jan 12 14:36:30
Like in Colombia and Afghanistan?
Sam Adams
Member
Tue Jan 12 14:45:30
"What happens to rural communities when the agricultural subsidies go away?"

Nothing near as bad as what happens to cities when the food goes away.
Sam Adams
Member
Tue Jan 12 14:49:49
I would like to think that all of this is hypothetical and that the american people wouldnt possibly be dumb enough to throw away our excellent fortune and easy living for all this political bullshit.

But there are a lot of fucking retards out there.
jergul
large member
Tue Jan 12 14:50:17
Sammy
That did not happen when the USSR collapsed. A global market and all that.

Its not so much that farmers stop producing. Its more that they stop getting paid enough to support the communities they live in.

Rural communities will not try to leave urban centers. They will flee to urban centers.
jergul
large member
Tue Jan 12 14:52:17
It will not be the people who will do this. It would be political opportunists seeing it in their own best interests the break up the union.

Dissolution of the USSR was soundly defeated in a fair and open referendum a few months before opportunists leapt at a chance to do it anyway.
chuck
Member
Tue Jan 12 14:55:42
> What happens to rural communities when the agricultural subsidies go away? Answer: They die.

> We know that from the USSR.

I don't know what Soviet grain exports looked like, but I don't think the comparison can possibly be fair here because, while subsidized, US producers are participating in the international marketplace already, albeit with subsidies. US is a huge producer, consumer and exporter of grains, and it's not like there's some other 2,000 mile wide band of arable, temperate land just waiting to pick up the slack.

Wheat

Production: 7% of total global production
Domestic Consumption: 4% global consumption
Export: 14% of global exports

Corn

Production: 33% of total global production
Domestic Consumption: 33% global consumption
Export: 55% of global exports

If another bushel of corn or wheat was never grown in US again, that 14% drop in available wheat exports and 55% drop in corn exports is going to have a discernable impact.
jergul
large member
Tue Jan 12 14:59:19
Chuck
I responded to that already. Farmers will still produce, but they will lose the ability to support their communities and will see productivity fall as decapitalization begins to impact on yields.
Sam Adams
Member
Tue Jan 12 15:01:06
"Rural communities will not try to leave urban centers. They will flee to urban centers."

The exact opposite is currently happening. When shit hits the fan, you dont want to couped up in a small apartment surrounded by feral democrats with long lists of demands and no practical skills.
chuck
Member
Tue Jan 12 15:07:06
> they will lose the ability to support their communities

Adjustment in a) global prices and b) community standard of living will adjust accordingly.

If US corn subsidies went away, there would still be a non-zero number of people who could break even by growing corn in the United States.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Tue Jan 12 15:18:33
No "blocs", 50 countries. I don't see conflict as realistic at all. Virtually all your divisive issues are taking place at the federal level. Americans seem to get along just fine enough within states. I don't see the idea of ethnic cleansing along party lines or rural/urban as probable, certainly not necessary.

In both the case of India/Pakistan and the Balkans you had division along sectarian lines, the likes of which does not exist in the USA along red and blue lines. India/Pakistan the culmination of a long legacy of conflict between muslims and hindus. But most importantly, India+Pakistan+Bangladesh are area the British conquered and called "British India". For whatever reason we assume (I have also in the past) that there should have been one country and not, at least, three in the first place, absent British conquest. A quick glance at the history of the place says otherwise. The same thing applies to the Balkans. It was a forced union created in the wake of the Austro-Hungarian empire's collapse collapse based on some idea of unity between slaves of southern Europe, as old as the Ottoman empires occupation of said area.

The problem is the concentration of power, it attracts all kinds of unsavory people and interest groups and creates a complete disconnect with your opponents and your own constituency, it is a fact of physical distance. The closer you are to the people whose life your legislation is about to ruin, the less likely you are to ruin their life, because the more likely you are to suffer yourself.

Money, don't forget about money, the more power, the more money is involved. Have you seen the figures on what your presidential election costs? It is its' own segment in the entertainment industry, that's what should be. What is there to say about that, that hasn't been said.

All these issues scale with the power and ultimately the size of the countries economy, and as my home boy Biggie said, mo' money mo' problems.
jergul
large member
Tue Jan 12 15:28:43
Sammy
That is literally exactly what people did. Work for a pittance, mete out pensions, and wait for better days. And this was a while back when people still had rural skillsets to fall back on.

I don't really see this happening. But be wary of opportunistic politicians. Putin called it the greatest disaster of the 20th century for a reason.

Nimi
I find the USSR analogy much closer than the examples you are raising.
Dakyron
Member
Tue Jan 12 15:31:21
What would happen to the $27T in US national debt? Would it be divided up per-capita to the states? Would it be a total loss?

Honestly, I think most people would be better off if the US did split into 50 separate counties, with some kind of free travel and trade agreement. Using 50 different currencies would be a PITA.
jergul
large member
Tue Jan 12 15:46:32
Daky
You could probably buy a pack of gum with 27 trillion if everything did unravel.

The issue would be funding new debt, but that would be up to individual states.
Dakyron
Member
Tue Jan 12 16:14:09
How long, if states issues their own currency, until California and Illinois were drowning in debt? Like 5 years?
Y2A
Member
Tue Jan 12 16:16:29
http://www...2016-voting-precinct-maps.html
chuck
Member
Tue Jan 12 16:21:13
> You could probably buy a pack of gum with 27 trillion if everything did unravel.

Another side of this: people will be all the less willing to part with their real assets when all their dollar denoted financial assets and cash holdings are worthless.

> What would happen to the $27T in US national debt? Would it be divided up per-capita to the states? Would it be a total loss?

As the party of minority governance are fond of pointing out, we are a nation of states, not a nation of people. It naturally follows each state should take 1/50th of the debt.
Dakyron
Member
Tue Jan 12 16:26:44
"It naturally follows each state should take 1/50th of the debt. "

Of course! Wyoming, Rhode Island, and Montana would each start out with $500B of debt, or roughly 8*GDP, 5*GDP, and 8*GDP, respectively. While California, Texas, and Florida would be 0.25, 0.33, and 0.5(roughly).

Extremely fair.

$27T is about 1.3*GDP for the entire United States.
CrownRoyal
Member
Tue Jan 12 16:33:20
If there was a vote, in every state, for or against secession, how many states would currently vote to secede from the US?
CrownRoyal
Member
Tue Jan 12 16:34:30
Maybe not currently, you need some deliberations. So, in a year, how many states would hypothetically vote to secede, after a year of hearing all the arguments for and against.
Dakyron
Member
Tue Jan 12 16:38:37
A handful I would wager. Kansas, Dakotas, some southern states. Probably less than 10 but more than 0.
CrownRoyal
Member
Tue Jan 12 16:41:35
My guess would be zero. But it is a guess
chuck
Member
Tue Jan 12 16:42:21
Probably more votes for the other side to secede. The traitorous secessionists won't make the mistake of giving up the trademark so quickly this time around.
CrownRoyal
Member
Tue Jan 12 16:44:56
If I had to bet money, say $1k, and outcomes were
1) zero states vote to secede
2) 1-5 states vote to secede
3) >5 states vote to secede


I’d bet 1), with even money. But, with some better odds, 2) would also be attractive
patom
Member
Tue Jan 12 17:01:12
Texas might vote to secede. But then again who is going to send them billions every time another hurricane or tornado hits. Louisiana. Mississippi, Alabama. Florida.?

How about all those states on the Mississippi River. Every spring they need Federal funds to keep patching up and rebuilding levees. Federal backing of Flood insurance will surely have to be reconfigured.

One other thing, virtually every state in the south has a pretty large number of people with northern roots. There's Yankees, who come down and look around for a while and say "nope, not for me". Then there's damn Yankees who go down and say "I'm liking the climate" and stay. Then there are the 'God Damned Yankees'. They move down there and take a Government Job.
Sam Adams
Member
Tue Jan 12 17:45:16
0 states would secede right now.
werewolf dictator
Member
Tue Jan 12 17:48:45
costliest hurricanes to at least partly hit texas..

*harvey at $125 billion damage [all areas]
*ike at $38 billion
*rita at $18.5 billion

meanwhile texas gdp is nearly $2 trillion
Forwyn
Member
Tue Jan 12 18:07:24
"0 states would secede right now."

This.

"Texas might vote to secede. But then again who is going to send them billions every time another hurricane or tornado hits. Louisiana. Mississippi, Alabama. Florida.?"

All of these states and a handful of others are likely to join Texas if it votes to leave.

The question is how balkanization occurs with places like Austin and Houston.
Seb
Member
Tue Jan 12 18:24:08
Sam Adams:
"I would like to think that all of this is hypothetical and that the american people wouldnt possibly be dumb enough to throw away our excellent fortune and easy living for all this political bullshit."

Yeah, you had a nice thing going until you decided you couldn't tolerate women and brown folk and would rather blow the whole system up.

Good job Sam.

Seb
Member
Tue Jan 12 18:26:28
So, bread bowlia decides to embargo grain sales to the various coastal cities etc.

How does it export it's grain to other markets? And if it does, what is to stop me buying said grain and selling it straight back to NYC?

Rural communities are fucked if they go down that route.
kargen
Member
Tue Jan 12 19:47:27
"What happens to rural communities when the agricultural subsidies go away? Answer: They die."

They will outlast the cities easily. The subsidies are in place to compensate farmers ranchers for not growing crops. Farming has become so efficient supply easily is much greater than demand. Rural communities can be self sufficient for a very long time.

What will eventually fuck them is infrastructure collapse but again that will happen in the cities much quicker.

Seb Canadian and Mexican ports are readily available for exporting grains and other crops. So long as some form of infrastructure remains in place exporting would not be a problem. That and I am guessing ports like Houston would likely stay open.

To secede though 38 states and both the House and Senate would have to agree.

If there were a vote allowed I doubt any state would actually vote to go. The only way it would happen would be if a whole block of states agreed ahead of time to vote to leave. I'm thinking twenty or more would need to agree.
Forwyn
Member
Tue Jan 12 23:12:07
"Yeah, you had a nice thing going until you decided you couldn't tolerate women and brown folk and would rather blow the whole system up."

ROFL. Yeah, women and brown folk definitely have it worse than fifty years ago. Or a hundred years ago. Or a thousand years ago.

That's why there's discord.

"what is to stop me buying said grain and selling it straight back to NYC?"

Transportation costs are not negligible.

"Rural communities are fucked if they go down that route."

Rural communities are far closer to self-sufficiency than cities. It's not profit, or modern specialization, but it is survival.
jergul
large member
Wed Jan 13 01:36:43
Forwyn
Things have to get fall of the western roman empire bad for that model to play out. And would play out like that only after the urban centres had been sacked or nuked.

Urban areas always suck the life blood out of rural areas in times of crisis.

Agricultural subsidies are charity. Urbanites did not have to play nice.
Seb
Member
Wed Jan 13 01:37:39
Forwyn:

Sea transport costs are a fraction of land costs.

So let's say breadbowlia etc. boycotts the largely coastal blue states.

Breadbowlia adds transport cost to their grain as they try to ship to export markets, which cuts into their margins.

Meanwhile prices rise in NY as they can't get grain.

Then, ho, ho, I'm waiting in whatever port with a ship to fill up with grain and ship it up the cost, buying low and selling high to exploit the arbitrage.

Net result: NYC pays a bit more for grain, but does not starve. Breadbowlia gets a lot less for its grain. People exploiting arbitrage make a killing. The cities respond with embargos of manufactured goods etc.

Bottom line, it's much harder for rural areas to leverage coastal cities.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Wed Jan 13 02:02:13
The only times cities are drained of people are during some wars and during epidemics. We witnessed in Syria most recently the migration patters when agricultur and economy are ailing. People move to the cities because that is where the money is. Mostly young and able bodied men.
jergul
large member
Wed Jan 13 02:10:09
Young women leave rural areas at a faster rate than young men.

People leave any area once medical services degrade too far. Hospitals are more important than schools.

Even in Syria, migration was to cities. You literally have to build guarded camps to keep people from migrating to a functioning urban center.
Forwyn
Member
Wed Jan 13 02:43:00
Seb:

Grounds costs are relevant. Agriculture centers are not on the seaboard.

Sea costs are relevant. Grains, especially, are low-density goods. How long do you think a city like NYC can survive on a container ship of soybeans and grains?

In any case, why would Louisiana need NY to survive when it has Texas and Florida on either side?

I don't think anyone believes coastal cities will starve out. The world is a bread basket.

But neither do rural areas require the cyclical GDP of urban areas, much of it insulated services to each other.
Seb
Member
Wed Jan 13 06:20:10
Forwyn:

How are ground transport costs not relevant?

The nutters republic of Breadbowlia is now producing more grain than it consume and needs to export it over seas or land border.

Most of the sea ports are under control of the people the Breadbowlians are trying to starve. The free sea ports they can control likely mean much longer land routes.

"How long do you think a city like NYC can survive on a container ship of soybeans and grains?"

It's not "a container ship". Bulk transport by sea is cheap. Especially now. And it's a journey up the coast because I'm buying from Breadbowlia wherever they can actually get to export. NY is going to have to have a few weeks of the kind of war time rationing the UK experienced.

In 1948, using shitty ww2 aircraft, the allies provided food for West Berlin (c. 2.5m people) at 7kT a day by the end.

Basically, breadbowlia is fucked: they are likely selling their crop at a loss, while the coastal city reverse blockade stops them getting everything from manufactured goods to modern medicine.

They go bankrupt and loose vital supplies.


Seb
Member
Wed Jan 13 06:23:24
Btw, the premis isn't whole States seceeding, it's town and country division (reflecting red and blue distribution within states). So the fact that Texas and Florida are trad red doesn't mean Louisiana, Texas and Florida necessarily have access to their ports.

It's a silly scenario, but fundamentally the idea that the agricultural hinterland has huge leverage is a bit silly.

Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Wed Jan 13 06:47:53
This is insane, partitioning along party sympaties is going to, within generations, lead to the same place. The liberal and conservative children will inevitably rebel against their parents. Disregarding the genetic component. You can bet on this. This isn’t solving the problem, as much as literally giving it to your grand children.

Look at city level politics. Quite boring and uneventful, people seem to get along just fine, despite their different voting patterns. The things you concern yourself with at the city/municipal level are not the same as the state and federal. Every step above a city governance creates problems inherent to how far removed it is from the citizens it governs. Your relative power as a voter diminishes and increasingly you become a voice among millions and 10s of millions and 100s of millions.

I think you guys are focusing on very interesting problems for a topic, but missing the avtual problem. It isn’t about red vs blue, it is concentrating power and a lack of subsidiarity.

”I am, at the Fed level, libertarian;
at the state level, Republican;
at the local level, Democrat;
and at the family and friends level, a socialist.”
NN Taleb
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Wed Jan 13 06:51:40
When those rednecks invaded the capitol and were saying ”this is our country, this is our house”, I felt for them and I thought, you should have your own country, the sovereign state of Alabama or Missouri, or whatever hellhole he came from.

Power to the people, dismantle these systems of oppression.
chuck
Member
Wed Jan 13 08:22:18
"Power to the people, dismantle these systems of oppression."

Sounds like a great way to let the oppressive powers that don't dismantle have their way with everyone who does.
Dakyron
Member
Wed Jan 13 08:24:37
Nim - many of the protesters on the right, ala Bundy, believe the federal government has usurped the power of the states. So what you say is accurate.
jergul
large member
Wed Jan 13 08:29:48
Funny how they wanted to overturn decisions States made by subverting a Federal process.
CrownRoyal
Member
Wed Jan 13 08:41:58
nothing speaks state rights > federal overreach louder than demanding that VP and Congress overturn election results of states.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Wed Jan 13 08:45:17
”Sounds like a great way to let the oppressive powers that don't dismantle have their way with everyone who does.”

We still need security alliances and a world order based on non-interference, but yes this is a hurdle to my dream, but it is just that, a hurdle to overcome. What is the option to increased subsidiarity and curtailing federal powers? Clearly the status quo has been rejected, once with the election of Trump, twice with the BLM protest and thrice as the neckbeards charged up those steps.

It also in part becomes a numbers game. Take a decision that pisses off 10’s of thousands in your town, millions in your state or 150 million in the entire country. And this is the unfortunate reality of how we do democracy, winners and losers.
chuck
Member
Wed Jan 13 09:28:22
Nimatzo:
US can barely deter a Chinese invasion across the Strait of Formosa today with carrier groups, massive bases in regional client nations, and so on.

Once US and European countries are post-national, pastoral paradises as you envision, what stands in the way of China (or any of the remaining nations) from just doing what they want and running roughshod over everyone? Is Montpelier, Vermont town council meant to censure China, vote to deploy 10 members of their constabulary to the region and hope that everyone else feels the same as they do? Should they just decide that Taiwanese right to self determination isn't their problem?
chuck
Member
Wed Jan 13 09:35:44
I don't think security alliances are enough to counterbalance a foe who can act unilaterally, unless all members are united in viewing that foe as an existential threat.

Look at the EU (not a security alliance I know, but still). The vast majority of member states agree that there are governance issues in Hungary and Poland. Yet each of Hungary and Poland can prevent the censure of the other in this regard, and so EU hands are tied in doing anything beyond speechifying.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Wed Jan 13 11:55:37
Chuck
I conceced quite early (I think or I wrote it and removed it) that my only issue for fully committing (whatever that means for me living in Sweden) is, what to do with the other countries. Just to clarify, I don't believe this will be paradise, as much averting disaster. Whether that be the collapse of the USA or a Chinese plan to dominate the world. I see these threats as rooted in the same problem. Too much power.

Right now, the USA is the only military guarantor of NATO and Taiwans independence. If we knew that in 10 years time, you wouldn't be, I would hope we would start preparing. In any case I honestly think it is an unjust burden as well as too much power in one place.

I am just trying to sell in the idea, as a principle position. More emphasis on subsidiarity, I am open to the idea of starting with China first. That is a ticking time bomb over there.
chuck
Member
Wed Jan 13 13:47:55
Nim:
That's reasonable. I think your motivation here and my worries about it are two sides of the same coin.

My worry is that we've reached a point technologically where all-encompassing totalitarianism can be made robust against popular uprising, and thus the next time governance goes off the deep end it could be the actual "end of history" that was proclaimed after the Cold War and it cannot be supplanted.

China is an especially worrisome actor here because they are both ambitious and serve as a testbed for many of these measures already.

Setting them aside to deal in hypotheticals, it's hard to imagine how you could defeat the worst case version of this even as implementable today without outside help from a similarly capable state. Many of these things are basically "things big tech already partially/completely does or things the US does in warzones, done across the board with malevolent intent by an actor with a monopoly on violence":

- Entirely cashless economy, where every transaction is logged and analyzed programmatically for intent
- Entirely paperless society, where every piece of information you consume is retrieved digitally, consumption is monitored and patterns monitored programmatically
- Entirely networked society, where no digital computation can be done offline
- All citizens required to carry always on audio and video capture device that also reports location, where a) compliance is programmatically monitored, and b) captured input is programmatically analyzed and flagged for follow up, c) failure to comply is grounds for summary execution
- State violence is carried out by drone, not unreliable humans with mutable beliefs

I guess this isn't a novel idea (dystopian "panopticon society"). The difference from Orwell is that you no longer need humans sitting on the other side of the telescreen to put totalitarianism into practice. The huge power differential between rulers and the ruled and the smaller cadre of true believers required to keep programmatic totalitarianism alive leaves fewer possible points of failure that could be exploited by the ruled.
chuck
Member
Wed Jan 13 14:02:48
To tie my tangent back into the conversation we were having, I feel:

- Market optimization is pushing the envelope of these capabilities ever further.

- The genie isn't going back in the lamp, these technologies are with us for the rest of our existence as a species.

- Even if we could decentralize power entirely, we can never guarantee that it won't become centralized once again in the future.

- Even without the computational advances, it's questionable if humanity could survive total war between nuclear powers (i.e. none can really "beat" another)

So looking at the machinery for totalitarianism we have built up unintentionally and knowing that I can't make people be moral, I feel the only defense against it is the maintenance of the state we have and detente.
werewolf dictator
Member
Wed Jan 13 14:14:03
<2% of america is farmers.. acting like the red-counties-country will just be farmers is weird

in the case of urban downtowns vs rural and suburban populations scenarios.. the people who commute to democratic urban areas in 2020 would be incentivized to stop doing so.. and build up their own smaller towns and cities into morally upstanding crime-and-anomie-free big cities
chuck
Member
Wed Jan 13 14:20:50
To get a sense of the definitely-not-state-of-the-art-any-more capabilities, check out this six year old Google blog post about scene analysis using machine learning:

http://ai....s-worth-thousand-coherent.html

I feel like the amazingness of this is easy to miss. Consumers are like "so what, I can tell you that is two pizzas too" and programmers hate looking dumb so they say things like "I mean, it's essentially just statistics."

That we can use "just statistics" and unreasoning silicon to approximate what a reasoning, comprehending human being would give as a description in such a deeply human domain as vision IS magical though, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Anyway, as amazing as that shit is to me as a technological trinket, it's definitely a dual use technology and it's not going away.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Wed Jan 13 14:58:56
Chuck
I share all your concerns about tech and China and China+tech, I am aware of this development in Iran as well. I could sing under everything you say and sprinkle on a little deep fakes on top of it. The overwhelming nature of it. But isn't there hope in tech as well to find solutions to these problems? Cryptocurrencies and decentralized platforms. Even something like Starlink, that could essentially provide global internet access, paid with cryptocurrency. You seem to have a better grasp of the backend of this. Do you see solutions?

"So looking at the machinery for totalitarianism we have built up unintentionally and knowing that I can't make people be moral, I feel the only defense against it is the maintenance of the state we have and detente."

I can't blame you for feeling that way, intuitively it feels viable to maintain something you know sort of works. I think the problems are inherent to these very systems themselves. Essentially we are still playing the same evolutionary game from the Savannah. You scale that game up with this (still nascent) development in godlike technology and you get things like totalitarian surveillance states, nuclear war, bio-weapons and other assorted existential threats. This version of the "Matrix" isn't sustainable, it will undo itself.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Wed Jan 13 15:08:08
"That we can use "just statistics" and unreasoning silicon to approximate what a reasoning, comprehending human being would give as a description in such a deeply human domain as vision IS magical though, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

Then you probably know about GPT-3? A text generator that can produce text indistinguishable from a human, spooky. A lot of jobs that require academic degrees are going to get diminished, when people start building apps, that can read entire books and answer your questions about them. Have you thought any about this?
jergul
large member
Wed Jan 13 15:09:52
May have already happened. A consequence of fasttracking impeachment is that it automatically curtails executive powers.

The US may be heading down the road where important issues are decided in comittee instead of, you know, by the whim of a despotic monarch elected every four years.

Welcome to parliamentary democracy.
chuck
Member
Wed Jan 13 16:37:17
> Then you probably know about GPT-3

Yep, also amazing. Impressive how well it picks up stylistic nuances of a given author, most believably human text output I've ever seen. "This AI writes stories in the style of Rudyard Kipling" is nuts.

Also, when primed correctly, has been used to generate approximately correct boilerplate code given software specs. Forget where I saw that, but that's really something as well. It's not anything like "self-reprogramming AI that causes the Singularity" but it def has that vibe superficially.

http://twitter.com/gwern had lots of neat stuff on GPT-3 experiments. Not sure when tweets became protected :_(. Probably worth finding on archive.is if that floats your boat.
chuck
Member
Wed Jan 13 16:53:09
http://gwern.net/GPT-3 is up still
chuck
Member
Wed Jan 13 16:58:14
"Can GPT-3 generate parodies of the Navy Seal copypasta on other topics?"

Yep!

Generated text where instead of being a Navy Seal, author is a libertarian internet billionaire:

…Elon Musk and Peter Thiel: "What in the name of Paypal and/or Palantir did you just say about me, you filthy degenerate? I’ll have you know I’m the Crown Prince of Silicon Valley, and I’ve been involved in numerous successful tech startups, and I have over $1B in liquid funds. I’ve used that money to promote heterodox positions on human enhancement, control political arenas, and am experimenting with mind uploading. I’m also trained in classical philosophy and was recently ranked the most influential libertarian in the world by Google. You are nothing to me but just another alternative future. I will wipe you out with a precision of simulation the likes of which has never been seen before, mark my words. You think you can get away with insulting me using your crude, antiquated computer? Think again, fleshling. As we chat over Skype I’m tracing your IP address with my freaking bare hands so you better prepare for the singularity, you sham-empress. The singularity that wipes out all of reality. You’re dead, you monster. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can simulate entire worlds within our world and within my imagination. And I’m currently doing that with the future you’re from. Not only am I extensively trained in quantum physics, but I have access to the entire power of Silicon Valley and I will use it to its full extent to rule you and your pathetic little world, you little pissant. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little “clever” statement was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your tongue. But you couldn’t, you didn’t, and now you’re paying the price, you worthless peasant. I will take over every fiber of your body and you will watch it unfold in front of you. Your future self will be consumed within my simulated reality and you will die a thousand times a day, your body unable to comprehend the destruction of a trillion soul-matrixes a second as my intelligence grows to transcendent levels. You are dead, you pitiful twit."
Seb
Member
Wed Jan 13 17:13:38
Chuck:

"Look at the EU (not a security alliance I know, but still). The vast majority of member states agree that there are governance issues in Hungary and Poland. Yet each of Hungary and Poland can prevent the censure of the other in this regard, and so EU hands are tied in doing anything beyond speechifying."

Yet this is an existential problem for the EU (for the same reason that federal govt in US userpred powers of the state).

The EU only works with a common set of laws. Which means rulings in MS courts need to be respected by other states and ultimately the ECJ as final arbiter.

Which means that other MS need to have faith that each others courts are independent, because quite literally the rulings of each others courts affect their citizens and their legal systems directly.

Because in the modern advanced economy is hugely complex and interdependent, there is no way to remain an integrated advanced economy and not have this be an issue.

Either you end up pooling "sovereignty", or you need to leave the union.

You can try to use subsidiarity as much as possible, but it does ultimately put hard limits on subsidiarity, especially around rights (commercial, civil, political, social etc.) and the absolute necessity for independent courts.


Throw rights into the mix
kargen
Member
Wed Jan 13 17:39:00
The urban areas are not essential for rural survival. THe survival might look different than it looks now but they would survive.

Urban areas can not survive without rural areas. They can hang on for a while but eventually several necessities are going to get really scarce.

For instance if Colorado secedes is the state obligated to continue to allow the Colorado River and the Arkansas river to flow into other states or can Colorado instead fill its own reservoirs?
Seb
Member
Wed Jan 13 17:50:49
kargen:

"For instance if Colorado secedes is the state obligated to continue to allow the Colorado River and the Arkansas river to flow into other states or can Colorado instead fill its own reservoirs?"

This kind of smart arsery is generally a source of armed conflict. My money is on the city state having the greater population and financial power to - assuming they don't have the kit to do it themselves - buy in the necessary military muscle to blow up any dam.

It's not like they need to invade Ameristan to keep the water flowing.
werewolf dictator
Member
Wed Jan 13 19:56:45
republicans win elections handily with military veterans [prob esp officers] and people who make lots of money.. i feel sorry for gomorrahstan if they try to war against republicanstan

only long-term concern is big tech silicon valley gomorrahstan developing terminator robots
werewolf dictator
Member
Wed Jan 13 20:10:46
trump has not been that popular as an individual among active duty troops

otoh "About 40 percent of troops surveyed identified as Republican or Libertarian, 16 percent Democrats, and 44 percent independent or another party." [military times]
werewolf dictator
Member
Wed Jan 13 20:12:36
16% who identify as democrats are probably disproportionately truck drivers etc
kargen
Member
Wed Jan 13 21:25:47
"This kind of smart arsery is generally a source of armed conflict. My money is on the city state having the greater population and financial power to - assuming they don't have the kit to do it themselves - buy in the necessary military muscle to blow up any dam."

Haven't been to rural America have you. Lots and lots of weapons and many proud military families. Funny thing about blowing up dams is that plays both ways. Wouldn't take a huge effort to change a rivers path close to the source.
I doubt it would ever come to that but was simply pointing out the rural areas control the food/water/oil and a few other things the urban types can't do without. This is talking pure survival though. If the rural areas want a decent quality of life thing happening they need some stuff that they can't get on their own.

That is why if any states were serious about seceding they would do so only with several other states. Something like Montana and the Dakotas all the way south through Texas for example. If those states were to secede and announce a change in certain government policies most liberals would leave and conservatives would enter. There would still be rural and urban areas.

Denver isn't going so cease to exist if Colorado secedes and the eastern plains of Colorado isn't going anywhere if Colorado stays. There has been talk of eastern Colorado, western Kansas, Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle becoming one state but that would take an amendment to the constitution or a war.
werewolf dictator
Member
Wed Jan 13 22:28:55
http://tur...-experiment-v20-by-walrus.html

"The establishment of our new Government seemed to be the last great experiment for promoting human happiness." - George Washington, January 9, 1790

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever. ” - George Orwell.

_____

We are about to participate in "The Great Experiment V. 2.0" in my opinion. This decides which of the Georges, Washington and Orwell, is right. My money is on Orwell for a reason I will tell you later.

The shape of what is coming to America is already clear; a technology driven tyranny that will make the Chinese leadership green with envy. Siri, Alexa and other unknown AI demons will read, listen and watch everyone, everywhere, always, not just for impure thoughts, let alone acts, but for even the suggestion that an unapproved thought process is occurring.

The initial outcome of such surveillance will be your appearance on lists. The "No fly" list, soon to be followed by the "No train", "No credit card", "No employment", "No drivers license", "No phone", "No internet access", "No Education", "No voice", "No Welfare" and of course the "No firearms" list. I call this process Human deplatforming.

The checks and balances have been replaced with (Bank) checks and (Bank) balances. The richest men in the world are overseeing this experiment which is going global quicker than you can say "Google". They are enabled by the University academics who as Raymond Asquith once observed are always prepared to provide an intellectual justification for vile acts if the price is right and journalists will laud said acts to the heavens as decent, moral doings if they want a paycheck next week from their masters.

The Legislature is bought. The Executive is bought. The Supreme Court are ninnies. The only thing standing in their way is soon to be Ex President Trump. I don't like his chances of becoming a rallying point, they are going to go after his children.

Oh Yes, but you have guns you say. Well those pasty faced, namby, pamby West Coast transgender wokeists, as you call them, may not be able to shoot straight but they have drones, swarming drones, robots and God knows what else in the way of weapons. They have satellite data and almost perfect intelligence regarding your behaviour. They don't have to shoot accurately, they have machines to do that. They can and will commit unspeakable acts of murder and destruction before they turn off the monitor and jog off for a Latte. After all if you are not with us you are a domestic terrorist aren't you? There is no middle ground.

And you enabled all this yourselves. When you applauded the Patriot Act. When you cheered at the vilification of muslims, "sand niggers", "rag heads". When you justified the use of torture. When you masturbated watching targeting videos of drone strikes on Afghans. When you credulously watched fantasies on television about "Iran's nuclear threat". When you listened and watched uncritically (or perhaps with secret pleasure) as the media lied to you breathlessly about the President disporting himself on a urine soaked bed with Russian hookers. Where was your sense of outrage then? [bold] Every time you deny the humanity and human rights of anyone, no matter how vile they be, you are destroying your own rights.[/bold]

I have no sympathy with the left wing Liberals because they prove that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and they are about to be dismayed to discover what they have done. The unattractive and socially inept nerds of both sexes are acting out revenge fantasies against Alpha males. None of them bothered to read enough to understand what happens to protest "movements" - what they morph into, how they are capture and corrupted. Silly them.

Too late folks. You are about to participate in Great Experiment Version 2.0 - can the American people avoid what is being prepared for them and recover the human happiness that George Washington envisaged? My money is on Orwell, my reason? Because I figure it's a win/win for me. Either I am consoled by my winnings or if I lose, I can go to my grave happy in the knowledge that the spirit of George Washington is still guiding us.

I hope for the best but suggest that we are not likely to enjoy the next few years and neither will the left wingers when they finally see what they have wrought.
chuck
Member
Wed Jan 13 23:41:38
> But isn't there hope in tech as well to find solutions to these problems? Cryptocurrencies and decentralized platforms. Even something like Starlink, that could essentially provide global internet access, paid with cryptocurrency.

Yeah, that was a pretty bleak version of the future. It's my "what if everything bad happened and there was no other non-totalitarian state to lend you a hand" take.

It's the same as this thread. I don't think any states would secede if given the option and promise they would be left alone, but it's still something to talk about.

So I think things will get better, not that we are in some unavoidable spiral to totalitarianism. While it worries me how many things I consider bad that the market considers good, there will be something which makes people pull back.

Eventually, your river catches fire and a Republican starts the EPA.

A lot of this is off the cuff so I may recommend/hope for it today but I don't promise to stand by it. Meandering stream of consciousness inbound about how I would fix what ails the world of tech:

In a perfect world, social media would be a much more local thing. Recreating the broader internet within social media, with fan pages and discussion forums and all the rest was a mistake. I would love to see social media companies slapped down. Give them Glass-Steagall levels of regulation. No interstate social media companies. Social media companies must allow users to close out their accounts and transfer them to another company at will. Users of one company should be able to post on the user of another company's wall, same as I can write a BofA check to a Citibank customer. Keep them out the business of running discussion forums, etc., like the former division between savings and investment banks.

That way, if some nugget wants to make Muzzle Free, let them learn how to set up a forum themselves and run it instead of *one click* to set it up and then FB is promoting it in my feed to draw me in because their shadow ad profile of me shows it will increase my engagement. Having everything on the web available at a few one stop shops seems strictly bad. Think of Reddit: how much drama between subreddits would be tamped down if instead of people on r/all seeing the drama between a liberal subreddit and a conservative subreddit, it was two separate sites at tweedledeedotcom and tweedledumdotcom with no frontpage to spotlight the stupid drama?

Getting rid of the centralization of huge players also makes it much more difficult to astroturf or disrupt or troll broadly. If you have to create an account on 22 different niche websites (that you've probably never even heard of) to make drive-by comments to piss off the local denizens, how many people will bother with that when you consider the PITA of that versus the much simpler alternative of just bouncing around subreddits or Facebook group pages.

Maybe also have some sort of a delineation where part of the web is based on real id (or persistent pseudonym) and another part is anonymous? One for anons, one for here-for-grandkid-pics blue hairs. Keep em separated. No "stock profile pic and disposable email address" accounts in real people land, but don't try to kill the anonymous web.

Neutering of online advertising would help in a lot of ways. Targeted advertising has driven the rise of so much online surveillance. Tear down adtech. It's one of the places where the market is most optimizing for online surveillance, so we'd be moving one sharp utensil from the whetstone anyway. If a less ADHD funding model can be found than individual page views, sites won't have the same incentives to tend towards clickbait.

I could imagine as a way of dealing with fakes, some sort of (pseudonymous?) form of cryptographic identity comes into play, where text/audio/video artifacts that people create are signed with a private key that only they possess. Not dissimilar to how someone would prove they were Satoshi Nakamoto today by using his private key to sign a message. If this were not something like code signing or GPG signatures+proof that required some technical know-how, perhaps it would catch on. If it were pseudonymous, maybe you'd be able to reset it to disassociate from past activity, but each time you did that a publically displayed counter would get incremented. A spammer can disassociate from past activity to ditch their record, but their pseudonym will show they've hit the reset button 12,000 times so you'll still have an inkling something is up.

I think there is good progress towards computing devices which users once again truly control (e.g. no opaque Intel Management Engine, no unaudited GPU driver blobs, so on). I don't think this will ever not be a niche, but it is good for it to continue to thrive.

I don't have many expectations that the problems that are raised by tech will also be solved by tech. I think a lot of the solutions will come from changes in regulation in recognition that almost nobody is happy with the current state of things from a societal perspective.
chuck
Member
Wed Jan 13 23:58:03
Oh also, definitely need some kind of right to be forgotten.

People change over time. People should be able to have a retard phase they go through that doesn't follow them forever.

E.g. this article: http://www...my-galligan-racial-slurs.html, where one high school senior caused another's college acceptance to be revoked because he shared a three second Snapchat video she made four years ago when she was a freshman. Nothing but vindictiveness, no justice to it. At some point in the future, she should be able to be known as something other than the girl who dropped an N bomb when she was 15. Also, at some point the guy will ostensibly realize he was being a vindictive prick, and probably he should be able to be someone other than "that POS SJW who ruined someone's life to quote teach them a lesson"
jergul
large member
Thu Jan 14 01:53:43
Back to my point.

The reason for dissolution of Union rests with excessive Federal powers.

Snap impeachments severely curtail executive branch power and could lead to a more parliamentary form of federal power (see the EU limitations).

Succession under those conditions would be about as traumatic as Brexit.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Thu Jan 14 04:58:24
Chuck
+1 to your stream of consciousness.

It is clear to me, that whatever problems about political organization I think I see, is taking place in 2 seperate acts. One in democratic countries and one in the authoritarian ones.

Seb
Member
Thu Jan 14 06:22:34
Putting faith in platforms like cryptocurrency to save us isn't going to work.

Cryptocurrency still relies on robust, applicable laws to create the kind of environment where a payment even means anything. You might as well be using home made barter tokens.

I mean, great, sure I have a bitcoin and can transfer it to anyone in the world - but what happens if they don't send me the tangible goods or transfer me the dollars?

By contrast a bank I use to change money has to have a footprint with a regulator somewhere, a contract with me, and subject to courts that I can petition.

So say I use a bitcoin to pay starlink - how useful is that bitcoin to starlink if it's immensely complex globally supply chain of materials that start off as rock and end up as a satellite in the sky is disrupted by many, many more borders, tarrifs, customs duties, standards regulations etc. on top of which all of which need to accept bitcoin as payment convertible into local currencies?


People (by which I mean economic actors) need the ability to assert rights to trade in a complex economy. Hence the increasing trend in trade treaties to give economic actors the power to claim rights under the treaty.

And common legal systems means some form of shared governance.

The idea we can have both the benefits of a complex economy, but avoid legal and hence political integration is a chimera.

The only question is the degree of integration.

Too little and the market size is too small to sustain certain activities and benefits are forgon. Too much and you move towards being a single polity creating accountability and identity issues that need to be resolved first.

Platforms ultimately cannot transcend that issue, because being creatures of information largely, the translation of that information into real world outcomes relies on legal systems.

Anyone paying attention to Brexit will start to see how globalisation hasn't been a trend that goes along with prosperity, it is actually the driver and pre-requisite of that prosperity.

Seb
Member
Thu Jan 14 06:25:33
The other way to see it is that the enforceable legal systems in play represent the fundamental platform on which the economy runs.

Legal system > Monetary system > Financial system > all the other platforms.
Seb
Member
Thu Jan 14 06:28:26
Globalisation is about the increasing interoperability of Financial, monetary and legal systems.

And that last one means states generally can't "be left alone" - at least if they want to participate in the benefits of the global economy. Eventually they start to look like free riders, and barriers need to be put up - and those barriers themselves are effective levers over purely normative aspects of life.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Thu Jan 14 08:14:56
Why would cryptocurrencies nullify all regulation though? Companies (like Amazon) are already accepting it as payment. Anyways, I mentioned cryptocurrency as a solution to the cashless, keeping a history of every dime you spend scenario chuck mentioned. I tied it to Starlink as a way for citizens currently living in Iran, NK, China and other authoritarian surveillance states as a way to break out. Best case, these technologies are stepping stones and not an ultimate solution. Not clear from my first post.

Though, I am still generally hopeful that decentralized currencies will replace the centralized one. Ultimately currency is about trust. Today you trust papers printed by the bank backed by the state, but ultimatly it is backed by the users of the currency. Look at the failed states with failed currencies, using the dollar or peggin the value to USD. Why couldn't there be an equally resilient trust in a de-centralized currency, that is simply backed by the users?

Maybe this isn't your point, but I will ask it as a general question. What is it that the banks are doing that we can't live without or find better solutions for? We stumbled to where we are currently as a specie, it wasn't really a systematically well thought out process. You are born, you learn stuff, you get worse at learning stuff, then you do that stuff, have children and die. That applies to these hierarchies as well. We learned some things that made some people very succesful, convinced of it's awesomeness we maintain the systems.

I understand rethinking a framework is not only complex and difficult it is highly disruptive. Those are in themselves pretty strong disincentives, along with the resistance of the people already invested in the current order.

If I sound revolutionary, it is because I am. But I rather have velvet revolutions, instead of systematic collapse. And if I am convinced about anything, it is that you and I, people in our generation, specifically in the west, will witness a major system collapse in governance/finance, exacerbated by tech. I hope I am wrong, but I feel I see the writting on the walls, every day.
jergul
large member
Thu Jan 14 08:35:04
It is hard to overstate the importance of western currency dominance. It allows for the export of inflation and the consumption of goods and services completely disconnected from labour inputs.

Democratising currencies would indeed create a more level playing field where PPP adjusted economic output would be equal to real economic output.

Or the definitive end of western dominance.
Seb
Member
Thu Jan 14 08:40:58
Nim:

Crypto won't destroy regulation. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying tt will not substitute for or integrated legal frameworks that are implied by accidental or deliberate disintegration of globalization or nations.
Seb
Member
Thu Jan 14 08:51:30
Nim:

"What is it that the banks are doing"
Do you mean the current organisation we recognise as a bank, the business model we recognise as a bank, or the function of a banklike entity?

My view is that banks serve the useful purpose of being legally liable which provides a number of useful functions as an intermediary.

A central bank provides the ability to provide liquidity with 100% credibility.

The whole point about cryptocurrency is that it does neither of those.

If you consider a cryptocoin as currency or an asset, it performs neither of those functions and so is a big problem. Particularly when you have issues around rights - cf. the bug in the DAO on Etherium that eventually required the chain be rolled back, and in doing so undermined the basis for the properties that blockchain assets are supposed to exhibit.

You are more likely to see things moving into the banking niche that have slightly different business model that play functional roles.
jergul
large member
Thu Jan 14 09:16:37
Seb
Desire for independent crypto currency is a variant of harkening back to the gold standard.

Fact is. For the west: FIAT or we are fucked.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Thu Jan 14 09:45:07
Seb
Fair enough, I am not saying crypto should destroy regulation. More breaking up the current legacy system, if that means certain regulation, ok. We need laws.

"Do you mean the current organisation we recognise as a bank, the business model we recognise as a bank, or the function of a banklike entity?"

Excellent question. I guess when you unpack it I am talking about all of them, but specifically the first two. They can't be seperated from the "function of a banklike entity" anymore, since that category itself emerged out of a couple of hundreds of years of these constructs and organization in the first two mentioned. A centralized authority, the middle man between me and currency. I don't envision a future where that are no entities that lend Money to people. They just don't lend out money printed by the state at interest rates set by the state. You are still liable, the liability is just not concentrated, giving rise to entities too big to fail.

"The whole point about cryptocurrency is that it does neither of those."

The issue of liquidity is by an large a product of the volatility, massive trading and the token primarily function as assets like shares and not a real currency. It isn't inherent to crypto. I guess the big usage currently as a currency is mostly illegal. Everyone wants to sit and nest on their coins right now. To some degree it is also the fact that there are not enough Exchanges, things have not settled yet. At least this is my understanding.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Thu Jan 14 09:59:26
If I were to explain where I am coming from. All the roads I am on currently lead to, less centralized power. Money and governance are the primary systems for power. I am convinced without this we will destroy ourselves. All the checks and balances in the world are not immune to a slow erosion. I see these past days and I don't draw a sigh of relief that democratic checks and balances stood firm. I find that to be a disconnected way of viewing things, as if we forget shit has consequences that can emerge further down the road.

So, when people bring up obstacles, it isn't that I don't agree they are there, but they are there for us to overcome. Until the day I am convinced I am on the wrong path all together. At the present moment I would like to say that is unlikely, but I am smerter than that :)

Seb
Member
Thu Jan 14 11:55:15
jergul:

I don't disagree.

But it is much about mildly autistic technophilia where people who work in tech perceive ambiguity nuance and complexity in real world transactions as creating needless complexity and getting in the way of software eating the world.


I.e. bugs to be eliminated if we just refactored the legal system so that "the code is the contract" for example, or "machine readable legislation".

Lovely ideas but they don't and can't survive contact with reality. Cf. DAO.

It just doesn't work that way. Ultimately a human livable world needs to be operated on legal code interpreted by a fuzzy interpreter of courts.



Seb
Member
Thu Jan 14 12:02:07
Nim:

"They just don't lend out money printed by the state at interest rates set by the state."

I think they will, and the reason they will is because the state will want its tax paid in the sovereign currency (or, if part of a currency union, the currency of that union) and a lender of last resort.

And I think people will too, because of liquidity.

All the cryptos have this liquidity problem in that there is no lender of last resort that can guarantee being able to pay in cash when a debt is due, which means a debt instrument denominated in say, bitcoin, will never act like "money" in the way that a low risk debt instrument would.

In the end, states control both the supply and demand for their sovereign currency through tax and a central bank - non backed cryptos like bitcoin ultimately can't get passed that until central banks are willing to exchange sovereign currency for a bitcoin at a fixed rate. But why would they?




Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Thu Jan 14 12:31:49
Why would you want to exchange your bitcoin for state backed currency, when you can use the bitcoin as currency to pay your rent and buy whatever it is you need? Granted that isn't where we are, but that would be the end game. There are already crypto exchanges with liquidity equal to fiat currency. Not for all tokens, not all exchanges, so there is that. I am not convinced the liquidity problem is built into the code, so to speak.
Seb
Member
Thu Jan 14 16:27:01
Nim:

To pay tax.

Similarly, my landlord has to pay tax, and the retailers need to pay tax etc. etc. etc.

No Govt is going to accept payment in bitcoin because it would mean surrendering right to signorage and liquidity that giving up a sovereign currency requires.

"I am not convinced the liquidity problem is built into the code, so to speak."

Sure there is. Lets say there is another financial crisis like in 2008 and loads of finance houses that lend bitcoin (though where they get this bitcoin to lend is an issue - it's actually really hard to create debt in a bitcoin based system - you need to have a bit coin to lend, whereas in a fiat system the bank just changes your balance in the ledger, gives you money which itself has borrowed overnight from the central bank - this is impossible in many crypto currencies) all find themselves sitting on bad debt and go kaput.

A successful response to the crash then was for central banks to buy up bad debt and inject liquidity into the system by creating vast amounts of new money.

Who can do that in bitcoin currency? It's not possible in a decentralised system.

Almost all crypto currencies suffer this problem: by virtue of being a digital version of the gold standard, they intentionally inhibit a lot of monetary policy and financial models - but while these complex systems can go boom in a bad way, they are also important part of enabling growth.

Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Fri Jan 15 07:47:24
"No Govt is going to accept payment in bitcoin because it would mean surrendering right to signorage and liquidity that giving up a sovereign currency requires."

To hell with that government then, if it doesn't accept taxes in crypto. I am not under the illusion that what I am saying, is somehow limited in scope, when I say "we need to rethink human organization". Surrendering of power is the goal.

"Sure there is."

I quick google on this issue reveals that there are crypto exchanges where the top traded tokens have equal liquitidty to fiat. Not all tokens, not all exchanges, but this seems to indicate this isn't inherent to crypto.

"all find themselves sitting on bad debt and go kaput."

You say this, in the same paragraph as you wonder what if there is another financial crisis, like the ones we have had without crypto where people found themselves sitting on bad debts. You are saying this isn't unique to crypto. What is the scenario where a token is being used globally as currency, then it suddenly becomes "bad debt", when you say it is impossible to create debt with most cryptos? This can only happen if there is no trust in the currency anymore. Which can always happen of course.

"it's actually really hard to create debt"

This is only a bad thing if you believe growth somehow supercedes all other riska and benefits and that this framework doesn't have inherent issues. That less growth isn't the more sustainable paradigm. Good reasons to remain agnostic.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Fri Jan 15 07:55:37
I am not convinced of the awesomness of capitalism and fractional banking on an indefinite trajectory. They have been quite useful, just like the combustion engine and our use of fossil fuels have been instrumental. But just like those things there are inherent issues that we are not going to solve, with cyclical and interative improvements. We don't even have the time. We may have needed them to get to where we are, but to go any further they become an obstacle.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Fri Jan 15 08:28:10
"But it is much about mildly autistic technophilia where people who work in tech perceive ambiguity nuance and complexity in real world transactions as creating needless complexity and getting in the way of software eating the world."

I sincerely hope this isn't directed at me considering:

"I understand rethinking a framework is not only complex and difficult it is highly disruptive."

You should reduce complexity wherever you can, but beyond that generic statement, this isn't the issue I am getting at. It is about breaking up powerful entities to _increase_ the capacity for nuance and complexity, via subsidiarity. If the USA broke up into 50 countries, that isn't a reduction of complexity.
Seb
Member
Fri Jan 15 15:28:08
Nim:

Hmm, I'm reading this and I think you might want to read some stuff on money and what it is from an academic perspective (I may be wrong, you have, and you disagree but the sense I get is you haven't and I don't mean that in a patronising way - I just think you'd find it interesting - there are schools of thought and the cryptocurrency advocates come at it from a fairly narrow subset).

Re liquidity, when we talk about liquid cryptocoins that means something slightly different.

There is a liquid market in certain assets when there are a high number of buyers and sellers of that asset at any given time. That means you can always buy or sell when you want to.

But what I'm talking about is the ability of an issuer to create more money and absorb it at will.

That, essentially, is what central banks can do; but which is algorithmically impossible in cryptocurrencies.

This has some issue when you think about it: say I want to lend someone 3 bitcoins at a certain level of interest, lets say 5% per annum for a year- that person needs to be able pay me back 3.15 bit coins next year. Which means he has to earn 3.15 bitcoins and I have to have 3 bitcoins to lend him.

Now consider this on a macroscale: the total interest due on all bitcoin loans cannot exceed the rate of new bitcoin production.

Now think about what happens with lots of debt instruments: they are traded as assets in their own right - essentially they start to behave a bit like currency themselves.

This starts to cause problems when you have systemic crashes. When the financial system imploded leaving all the key financial organisations holding bad debt that nobody wanted to buy, and which could no longer be used as collateral. The central banks could create new currency, buy the bad debt and restore liquidity to the financial system.

So a bitcoin based system, debt issued in bitcoin relies on a near zero sum competition for bitcoin to pay back a debt plus interest denominated in bitcoin when the debt is due. And if there is a financial crisis and people become uncertain about the underlying value of a bitcoin denominated debt asset; there is nobody that can print money, buy the debt up and inject liquidity into the system.

That is what I mean: yes there are exchanges where certain cryptocoins are more tradeable at any given time (Bitcoins volatility effects liquidity, as does transaction bottlenecks); but there is no central issuer who can magically create actual currency to swap for bitcoin denominated assets that have questionable value.

And this is all very similar to the issues that caused the collapse of the gold standard.

That's what I mean. It's a failed monetary system - bitcoin can only work in parallel to Fiat, or in an economic system that vastly limits finance models - which has a knock on impact on investment and growth.

"That less growth isn't the more sustainable paradigm"
I'm not sure whether that is true or not, and if it is a concrete goal that you want to limit growth and limit investment models for other reasons, certainly adopting something akin to the gold standard or crypto currency might be a policy lever to achieve it.

But if that is not apriori a policy objective, one should be careful about adopting decentralised crypto currencies as it has this as an inevitable side effect.

Anything that limits a states control on monetary policy is a big power to surrender - just ask the Greeks - my guess is that states will use their power to create currency demand to maintain their sovereign currencies.

"I sincerely hope this isn't directed at me considering:"

It wasn't - but if you look at the networks of people really pushing this stuff, it tends to boil down to a sort of tech-supremacy that sees e.g. the fact that contracts can be interpreted by law with reference to principles that are not amenable to hard and fast algorithms operating to specific computable criteria as a bug, rather than a feature of a world that aims to achieve justice. If a computer can't produce the outcome reliably - in their minds - that is a bad thing.

Whereas most people rather like a degree of flexibility as no law or rule created can always account for all possible circumstances.

"It is about breaking up powerful entities to _increase_ the capacity for nuance and complexity, via subsidiarity. If the USA broke up into 50 countries, that isn't a reduction of complexity."

I think things need to be as simple as they can be, but no more.

50 separate states create complexity that would detract from value - the complexity of conflicting rules prevents emergence of complex supply chains that deliver immense value.

Take a look at brexit: it's created enormous complexity in health certificates, catch certificates, export declarations and customs duties (which delivery relatively little value), and disrupted the complex supply chains that allow a fisherman in Scotland to deliver a crab to a plate in Paris in 24 hours.

When there was a shared regulatory framework and shared legal system, we could all trust and verify that the Scottish fisherman wasn't over fishing, not keeping his fish fresh, testing his fish for contamination etc.

Certainly, I'm sure someone will say jolly good because actually the agreed level of sustainable fishing was far too high etc. but that is beside the point here.

Basically, de-globalisation and disintegration of economic entities will lead to large falls in standards of living. It is inevitable.








Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Mon Jan 18 06:43:35
Seb
Fair enough. I would just remind, I mentioned crypto as one piece of technology in question to chuck, wether he also sees solutions to our problems in tech. I am not married to crypto as a solution.

I am aware of the problems you mention regarding digital gold standard currency. I am just not convinced those problems we see are not tied to the framework we are currently in. Having said that I say it again, I am not married to crypto or gold stadard, but intuitively it seems like a way of diluting the power of the powers the be. It may turn out to be wrong and a dead end for my purpose, one that creates far worse problems, granted our/my ignorance at this moment.

"That's what I mean. It's a failed monetary system"

Well the electric car was a "failed" mode of transportation for over 100 years, until batteries got better. Or another angle, do you think a liberal democracy could have emerged and survived in 250 AD? There is no way it could have, because a liberal democracy requires layers of systems and technologies to provide a framework where it can emerge, survive and thrive. These idea complexes are DOA or thriving depending on the context they emerge in. I am just establishing principles, not saying that therefor goldstandard.

"I'm not sure whether that is true or not"

Me neither, but I think the ways in which we have organized ourselves, here specifically money, is central to human well being. I think you can only get so far thinking of new ways to put plaster on the walls and new tiles on the roof. I am at best trying to think outside the box, at worst you are reading stuff that can only emerge from taking mushrooms, LSD and weed while working with human organization.

"Whereas most people rather like a degree of flexibility as no law or rule created can always account for all possible circumstances."

We agree, I don't want a future of algorithms giving everyone "the same treatment", though that seems to be the unfortunate trajectory we are on.

"I think things need to be as simple as they can be, but no more."

One of my favorite quotes.

"50 separate states create complexity that would detract from value - the complexity of conflicting rules prevents emergence of complex supply chains that deliver immense value."

But this is contingent on the how's and who's of how you organize. One of the things I said in the thread where this started, the USA would have certain desirable common things, already in common. Like a single currency, single regulatory framework that facilitates a single market. Things I know have been a pain in the ass for the EU to harmonize.

You mention the EU, well I think the non-federalized version of the EU is a good bit to where I would want to go. Some things are best decided centrally, others globally, a lot of things local and provincial. If China, Russia and the USA were organized, in principle, like the EU, the world would be a better and safer place. There would be no countries with gigantic populations and economies that would dwarf others 100 times over. You see this problem (I know you do) among individuals, where a small group of the population have some obscene amount of the wealth and thus power. It exists between countries as well and it goes back to: "We learned some things that made some people very succesful, convinced of it's awesomeness we maintain the systems."

I have not thought about everything, I have more questions than answers and I can be wrong about everything. I have a conviction* that these systems are unsustainable and I think I can see the walls and roof have degraded beyond repair. What would you prefer between the USA collapses or the sovereign country of Alabama collapses? Which one would be most disruptive to complex supply chains? While not practically true, the USA and China have "too big to fail" status in this regard.
Seb
Member
Tue Jan 19 12:58:07
Nim:

"Like a single currency, single regulatory framework that facilitates a single market. Things I know have been a pain in the ass for the EU to harmonize."

And that's really my point: to have those things you are so exposed to your other partners that the need to involve yourself in their affairs grows and grows.

"Hey, you are polluting, which means you are able to undercut us, and either we now have to polite or lose jobs to you, no fair" etc etc.

The EU as it is now is in an odd position. If it ditched the Euro and went back to something more like the ERM it would be about right I think.

But having the Euro means there's huge pressure and actual need to become a deeper fiscal union, which creates needs for way more political integration.

I see where you are coming from, but even so I think for many, that would still be too involved, but would still grouse about the "punishment" for failing to integrate in forgone benefits.

Think of Brexit compared to the Almish. The brexiteers (and also trumpists) cannot separate what comes from identity Vs what comes from behaviour (we have succeeded because we are British Vs we have succeeded because Britain has done X,y,z).

Therefore they cannot see that certain actions will have consequences to future ability to succeed.

The almish accept the consequence of living in a godly fashion and eschewing certain tech.

The Brexit and Maga brigade interpret the consequence of de-globalism as a punishment, because they do not interpret current prosperity as a consequence of globalism and a success of globalist policies that the US and UK pursued, but as as a natural consequence of the innate characteristics of the US and UK.



Seb
Member
Tue Jan 19 12:58:56
What people want is to have their value and eat it.

Freedom to do things their way, but the benefits that can only come from everyone following agreed rules.
swordtail
Anarchist Prime
Tue Jan 19 13:07:44
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdZvZMmjy1g
werewolf dictator
Member
Tue Jan 19 22:28:37
http://www...iden-coronavirus-opinion-poll/

[15] biggest threat to way of life

as you see it the biggest threat to the american way of life today comes from..

54% other people in america and domestic enemies
8% foreign countries and military threats overseas
17% the natural world like weather viruses and natural disasters
20% economic forces such as money trade and business

53% of dems said other americans and domestic enemies
58% of independents
56% of republicans

cbs/yougov
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