Re: An essay I just wrote on the Singularity.

From: Perry E. Metzger (
Date: Sun Jan 04 2004 - 21:41:55 MST

Lawrence Foard <> writes:
> On Sun, 4 Jan 2004, Perry E. Metzger wrote:
>> Randall Randall <> writes:
>> > Right, but if no one ever considers their own needs,
>> > others have to guess at what those needs are, and
>> > they will often guess wrong.
>> Luckily, of course, parasitism takes over and very rapidly the
>> altruists die, sucked to death by the others.
> Such parasites would not be operating in there own self interest since
> destroying the altruists would destroy themselves as well (or atleast
> end there career as parasites).

On the contrary -- parasitism is not just reasonable under such
circumstances but is what is actually observed in the wild. I'll point
out that it is frequently a very successful strategy -- genetic tests
seem to indicate that a large fraction of the population of Eurasia
directly descends from the family of Genghis Khan.

>> However, it would be amusing to see two true altruists sitting in a
>> desert together with only enough food to keep one of them alive. Both
>> will starve, but unlike the donkey starving to death between two bales
>> of hay because of metastability, the result is not just predictable
>> but necessary. (Solutions like drawing straws will not work, btw --
>> the true altruist will refuse any solution that gives him a chance of
>> surviving when others might do so instead.)
> Going to the same degree of absurdity you could make the same claim
> for capitalists, if you assume perfect symmetry. They would both likely
> fatally injure each other fighting over the food.

Or perhaps just one would win. :)

>> Rand satirizes this sort of stupidity very effectively, but it is
>> amazing how people who don't grok the economic way of thinking
>> continue proposing it through the ages even though the problems with
>> it are so utterly manifest.
> I understand it, and I also see its limits.
>> Anyway, Communism has been tried. It doesn't work.
> The so called communist countries where hardly a reasonable attempt.
> Thats not to say it would work with humans as presently wired,

There is a reason we're wired that way. Wire people another way and
you'll get even worse disasters.

Perry E. Metzger

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