Re: Money vs. capitalism

From: Randall Randall (
Date: Mon Jan 05 2004 - 00:24:27 MST

On Monday, January 5, 2004, at 01:35 AM, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:

> Randall Randall wrote:
>> 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 conditions.

I'm not at all disagreeing that complex barter would work better,
at least for most things. However, to make the system manageable,
I'd expect there to be a need for a unit which all the others are
measured in, and you might as well call that unit "money". Money
could be ounces of gold, or "US Dollars", or pinto beans. These
have different characteristics, of course, and some may have better
long term usefulness than others...

I say this as someone who writes barter software for a living,
among other things. :)

Randall Randall

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