Money vs. capitalism

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sun Jan 04 2004 - 23:35:25 MST

Randall Randall wrote:
> On Sunday, January 4, 2004, at 07:12 PM, Lawrence Foard wrote:
>> Creatures seek pleasure, if you make >>effectively<< helping to solve
>> others problems a source of pleasure, then there is no need for a
>> monetary system. There is still a 'payment' of sorts, the creatures
>> whose toilet you unplugged would acknowledge that it was highly
>> beneficial to them.
> Right, but the monetary system works for both kinds of entity, so why
> not use it? To use a non-monetary system, it seems you'd have to make
> selfishness nonexistent, but to use a monetary system, you don't have
> to make altruism nonexistent. Money is more general.

Money is an imaginary artifact of the current system that highly
complicates it, producing all sorts of illusions and emergent effects.
The conditions for emergent capitalism lie not in money but in
transferable resources persistently controlled, voluntary actions,
reciprocity, differences in entities' relative valuation of resources, and
transformative labor. Note that I do not say "transactions" because I
consider a transaction to be a special case of voluntary action and
reciprocal voluntary action where both voluntary actions are carried out
simultaneously. I certainly don't say money, because computer-controlled
complex barter with cyclic debt cancellation would IMO work better. And
needless to say it would not be possible to uncautiously generalize from
today's highly peculiar case of capitalism to capitalism under other

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:43 MDT