From: Steve Kinney <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>> First, I should point out that to the extent that this may seem to
>> be a problem, part of the problem is that behind the scenes,
>>governments actually may be _promoting_ income inequality, rather
>> than reducing it.
>My own view is that the sole function of the State it to convert money
>into power, then back into money. Partial reinvestment of State
>partons' capital gains produces an accelerating feedback cycle,
>concentrating more money (=power) into fewer hands over time. I don't
>anticipate this changing as corporations become more sovereign and
>States less so.
Maybe the solution is to make States less able to restrict competition,
particularly in hidden ways. The fight between Uber and Lyft and the
'traditional' taxi service is a classic example. Historically, the monopolized
"right" to operate a taxi in New York (a "medallion") has been bought and sold
nearly a million dollars. That's the 'value' of a government-promoted monopoly,
at least to the participants.
> But the
>billionaires, "statistically insignificant" in terms of head count,
>continue to dominate political activity due to the massive extent of
>income and assets inequality that appears at the very top of the scale.
Reduce the tax rate of "billionaires", and they will be much less motivated to
get involved with government. And while that happens, states will not have the power
to benefit the people who BECOME billionaires, assisted by such government power.
>A couple of graphs based on U.S. statistics:
(a real classic)
For some reason I can't seem to "operate" the graph. The picture zooms, but all
I see is a straight red line going from the left side of the box to the right side. Maybe
there is intended to be a curve, but it doesn't appear that way to me.
(less extreme-looking aggregate numbers)
One of the reasons there are terms, "lying with statistics", is that people can
carefully select the facts they choose to present, and exclude other relevant facts.
I would like to see, on these graphs, a representation of the size of government at
the times involved: Put simply, I think of government as much more the CAUSE
of these problems, rather than the solution.
Another problem is that this data represents periods with a dramatic difference in America's
industrial power: From 1945-1970+, America was a manufacturer to the world: Europe had
been bombed out, and nations such as Europe, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Mexico, China, and
India weren't competeing with America. That effect was so extreme that in the 50's and 60's,
many or most families got away with only one breadwinner, usually the husband. How much
does this change, to today, affect the numbers presented?
>> turning on. But I believe that in a smoothly-functioning
>> 'post-AP-transition' world, people simply don't need to complain.
>This raises the issue of implementation. In the case at hand,
>counter-anonymity is a question of money: How much money do you have,
>how badly do you want to prevent anonymous transactions? Remailers,
>onion and garlic routing, etc. are at present only somewhat resistant
>to an adversary who can observe much of the network, most of the time.
>I envision a briefing where a select group of U.S. billionaires and
>telco CEOs learn about AP and are told, "We must spend x trillion
>dollars over the next decade to keep this from happening." Rinse and
>repeat in other national and corporate jurisdictions. Ouch.
That seems to assume that merely by spending money that outcome can
be avoided. Can it? If people are very dissatisfied, and they can by spending
$10 dollars per person, help shut down a hegemonic system, how can this
be resisted successfully?
>> AP would effectively shut down governments...
>I think that should be preceded with, "If successful." Funding a
>global, directly democratic freelance mercenary force targeting
>"abusers of" power would not produce a post-AP world overnight.
So far, it's taken over 21 years. I am not disappointed, however.
Pay attention to Ethereum and Augur.
>Exhausting the defensive and counter-offensive resources of today's
>ruling class would take time. Assuring that assets pass intact from
>deceased owners to their heirs and assignees is already a core
>function of the State, so killing individual billionaires might
>introduce turbulence but would not remove the problem of "minority
>rule by violent means." I think it would be likely to lead to wide
>scale ultra-violent responses.
I don't think nearly anybody anticipated the rapid fall of the "Iron
Curtain" in 1989. Yet it happened. Very quickly.
> Over time, I believe that the "ethical" organizations would have
> advantages, so they could do the equivalent of offering lower
> prices: The amount of their awards could be lower. The "unethical"
> organizations would "do" anybody, but it would cost much more.
I have my doubts. The cost of overcoming the defences of a President
would be astronomically higher than the costs and risks of overcoming
the defences of, for instance, an independent journalist. This would
mandate a much higher bounty on the former.
It's the old, "Just put a big enough defense on the top guy, and nobody
can get to him" objection to AP.
That's one reason why AP isn't limited, even in theory, to merely the
top-level people. What about second, third, fourth, and fifth level people?
Their families? Their friends? It wouldn't take much to keep virtually
anybody from wanting to work for a government. They would probably
have to pay an increasingly large amount to accept the risk, money
that it would be increasingly hard for government to collect.
The analysis for America is simple: The Feds collect $3 trillion in taxes per
year. Suppose each person who pays $1 in tax also pays 1 cent for a fund
to get rid of his oppressors, or $30 billion. If a hit cost $100,000 (probably
that estimate is very high), if you divide $30 billion by $100,000, that would
pay for 300,000 hits. Do you think that the government could function
effectively if even as few as 30,000 get killed over a 1-year period?
Let alone 300,000?
> Conversely, public demand
>for removing an unpopular President would also be proportionally
>higher - a mitigating factor. Conversely x2, that President's backers
>might consider certain journalists worth paying over-market prices to
>remove, as her efforts might eventually aim the AP process at them
Currently, "journalists" are seen as having very disproportionate power. But
we've already seen that the situation is dramatically changed from the pre-
Internet period (which I arbitrarily label as pre-1995, based on its accessibility
and influence.). With blogs, just abouteveryone is a "journalist" today.
Why do we now need "journalists" to go after government, if we have a
functioning AP system?
>It seems to me that replacing an unjust and inequitable system of
>governance enforced by the threat of murder, with a more just and fair
>system of governance enforced by murder would not produce results that
>most would consider ethical.
If they didn't understand the whole picture, sure they might believe that.
One difference is, "who makes the decisions as to who get killed?"
If a long and bloody war (for example the war between Iraq and Iran in the
early 1980s) could be stopped by purchasing the death of a few hundred
Iraqi and Iranian leaders, I think most people would view that outcome
as being highly ethical and beneficial to society. Just not beneficial to the
> Not to say that, if successfully
>implemented as envisioned, it would necessarily be worse than what we
This should have been studied and debated extensively 20 years ago. How
many INTELLIGENT such debates eventually occurred about AP. (I'm
not referring to CP list discussions, of course). I could probably count them
on one hand, or at most two hands.
>> Eventually, what amounted to "court systems" would be included, to
>> decide whether a complaint was valid. These "court systems" would,
>> of course, be "voluntary", in the sense nobody would be required to
>> appear, but the consequence of failure to appear would be that
>> 'bare AP' would operate: If enough donations appeared to motivate
>> somebody, that would happen.
>A "Court" is a forum governed by a sovereign authority, where
>petitions and arguments are heard and decisions on the application of
>sovereign authority are made.
Currently, this is true. The history of "courts", I believe, included a king
making decisions about disputes of his people. Terminology such as a "court"
("a King's Court"), "pleadings", "arguments" survived. But soon enough I
imagine that this got very boring and time-consuming for the King, so
he happily deligated this task to some trusted person, who eventually became
called a "judge".
I use the term "court" to put this decision-making function in a familiar light.
We think of a "court" as being a physical location (a room), and people, set
up to make decisions. One modern analog is "arbitration", and I could have
used that analogy. An AP-type system will ultimately replace not merely
regional defense, but also what we currently think of as "law enforcement"
functions. But these will not necessarily be monopoly-operations.
> A Court whose sole function is to
>authorize murder could dispense revenge, but never justice:
Maybe we will have to agree to disagree on this?
> Every sovereign in every war throughout history has presented its casus
belli as the defense of human life, and the fact that war is tolerated
by enough people to make it possible demonstrates that application of
a "non-aggression principle" in conjunction with decisions to hire and
direct murderers can not be entrusted to either sovereigns or a
Effectively we entrust authority to do this to people chosen by vote, or
appointed by these people, etc. Why not replace this with a different
version of "wisdom of the masses"?
>> And once I thought of that idea, I've always believed that it was
>> absolutely inevitable. SOMEBODY was going to think of this,
>> eventually. It just happened to be me.
>The seeds were everywhere. Lots of twistid visionaries saw
>assassination markets coming, though none worked out the details to
>make it (nearly) practicable - that was waiting on applicable
>- From Subvert Comix #3, by Spain Rodriguez, 1976:
Doesn't surprise me at all. I've long known that Science Fiction has been
used as a way to test out new ideas, rhetorically, without having to place
them (threateningly) in modern-day fiction.