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Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Fwd: [issues] Ockham's Razor

> Perfect description. But one thing the great philosopher Vin
> Diesel said at the Agora (aka Leno's place) was "invest in your
> dreams". And *that* appears to be the antidote to overspending.
> (Actually, he said "invest in yourself". But I've followed that
> advice for years. Unfortunately, it lets you pamper yourself to
> death, indulging any interest that comes along -- but "invest in
> your dreams" implies a focus on a goal, so that all expenditures
> dovetail to help you get where you want to go, and be who you want
> to be.)
> :_)    (01)

I feel 'invest in communication or relationship' works.
I believe in the theory that human being has two fundamental needs
to survive;
 *physiological needs; foods, house, various materials, etc.
 *communication needs
When we were poor and not enough food for the family, physiological
satisfaction (food for the dinner) brings family together and enhances
communication. Human being has so long not have enough things for basic
living, I think it is imbedded in our mind as a tacit knowledge that
material satisfaction brings better communication. Very recently,
it is not the case any more in the economically leading countries.    (02)

If there is only one TV in a family, communication is forced among the
family member to settle on the TV channels, but if everybody has a TV
in their room, you do not have to communicate anymore. The point is that 
at a certain threshold beyond, physiologica satisfaction does not
necessarily enhance communication but rather it effectively results in
cutting the communication. Still our body(because of the tacit knowledge)
seeks material satisfaction which destroys communication which results 
in seeking more materials.    (03)

I think now is the time to restructure the society based not on 
physiological needs but on communication(mental needs), for which we will 
need more conscious efforts. I think Doug's ABC, NIC and collective IQ 
model addresses this.    (04)

Hirohide Yamada       (05)

On Mon, 16 Sep 2002 17:47:40 -0700
Eric Armstrong <eric.armstrong@sun.com> wrote:    (06)

> Mighty post. Thanks.
> I began reading with a predisposition to accept his thesis.
> In particular, I find his condemnation of market economies
> as causing environmental degradation and loss of quality of
> life (in some respects, at least) rather apt. 
> However, when he argues that most of the goods go the rich
> and _as a result_ people in poor countries are starving, I
> think he may be confusomg correlation with causation. There is 
> definitely a correlation. I'm not sure about the causation,
> but I remain open to demonstration -- which he seems to 
> point to when he talks about use of 3rd world lands -- but
> whether they are better off with a market for goods, or worse
> off because of it, I'm not yet totally convinced.
> (That is the only small issue in an otherwise fine post, though.
> Of course, I eagerly anticipated some concrete alternative, 
> which I failed to find. But his analysis and his allusion to 
> information sources gives me hope...)
> As for banks and businesses sweeping away all obstacles, he is
> dead on correct. The new keiretsu are, in effect, nation states
> that are making geopgraphical boundaries obsolete. But is this
> a good thing?
> In the 60's, I was sure that it was. At that time, I saw
> *nationalism* as the fundamental enemy to human welfare.
> Religious fantacism is a terrible thing, to be sure, but it
> is only when it is combined with nationalism and governmental
> power that it becomes demonizing. I saw then, and still see
> now, that "nationalism" is the most likely cause of war and
> catastrophe".
> Global corporations, because they cross boundaries, serve as
> an effective antidote to war. But is the cure worse than the
> disease? That is an open question. Having seen for myself the
> misery that corporations are capable of inflicting in the name
> of profit -- unless and until restrained by an act of government,
> I am certainly not enthralled with government by corporate
> entities.
> All of which brings me back to the separation of business and
> state which is such a fundamental necessity. But it is perhaps
> interesting that if it is business which makes war obsolete, it
> may well be business which provides the motivation for the U.N.
> to turn into something useful. Of course, that will take 50
> years or so, but the end result may well be a global magna carta
> that takes power out of the hands of the wealthy aristocracy,
> and returns it to the people once and for all.
> His point about market and its destructive effect on community
> is equally well taken. Here, I resport to equilibrium theory as
> the "right" way to think about the social contract. In fact, it
> was with just this idea in mind that I eagerly read this message.
> Again, he is dead on when it comes to the commitment to growth,
> which eats up resources -- not to mention that deading effect on
> people who are financially enslaved to corporations, for lack of
> any means of subsistence without them. (For this, I see 3-D
> farming as a possible remedy.)
> Pollution, too, is a major concern. Granted, it is fueled by a
> market economy. And like rats who overrun a ship, we may well
> eat find ourselves with no usable environmental resources of any
> kind.
> Hey! He references "a substantial and growing literature on the
> basic form a sustainable society must take", and "small market
> gardens (located) throughout cities". Now he's talking my
> language! (Everytime I see a bare lot, I think about how a
> great forest farm could be growing there.)
> And this, I love: "we could easily organise a much higher 
> quality of life at a much more relaxed pace than most of us have
> now, with no reduction in the availability of modern medical or
> other important technologies..."
> It sounds like quite a few people are thinking in the right
> directions. Now if we can only get some concrete proposals and
> take steps to get there...
> When I get the exercise equipment company off the ground, I 
> expect to have the wherewithal to focus on 3-D farming, music
> instruction, and community building. In fact, it was during my
> last start-up attempt that I reflected how beneficial it would
> have been to have no rent to pay, and few groceries to buy. At
> the moment, though, I'm as trapped as anyone else. 
> If only I didn't have so many interests! (There was a great line
> on one of the Law & Order shows last night -- "You're an 
> intelligent person and you have a lot of interests -- that you
> spend a lot of money on -- so you don't have any.")
> Perfect description. But one thing the great philosopher Vin
> Diesel said at the Agora (aka Leno's place) was "invest in your
> dreams". And *that* appears to be the antidote to overspending.
> (Actually, he said "invest in yourself". But I've followed that
> advice for years. Unfortunately, it lets you pamper yourself to
> death, indulging any interest that comes along -- but "invest in
> your dreams" implies a focus on a goal, so that all expenditures
> dovetail to help you get where you want to go, and be who you want
> to be.)
> :_)
> Jack Park wrote:
> > 
> > >From: Thommandel@aol.com
> > ><< Relayed by Doug Everingham from an attachment to a message
> > >From: "Alan Kerns" <akerns@tpg.com.au>
> > >To: <ERANet@yahoogroups.com>    [Economic Reform Australia list]
> > >Subject: Re: [ERANet] Ockham's Razor - Uncertainty and Demonising - Eva Cox
> > >Date: Wed, 28 Aug 2002 4:12 AM
> > >----------
> > > >From Eva Cox's radio program
> > >Ockham's Razor -- transcript at
> > >http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/stories/s658492.htm
> > ><http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/stories/s658492.htm>  or listening
> > >to it (in RealAudio format) from
> > >http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/audio/ockham_25082002_2856.ram
> > ><http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/audio/ockham_25082002_2856.ram> [15
> > >minutes]
> > >
> > >
> > >Ockham's Razor - 16/02/1997
> > >
> > >Let's Scrap The Economy
> > >
> > >Summary:
> > >
> > >Ted Trainer explains why the most important item on our agenda should be
> > >almost completely scrapping our economy, along with the theory it's based
> > >on.
> > >
> > >Transcript:
> > >
> > >Robyn Williams: The economy is on everybody's mind, as usual, sometimes to
> > >the exclusion of most other affairs. So you'll be diverted, perhaps, to
> > >learn that the title of this week's Ockham's Razor talk is "Let's Scrap the
> > >Economy." No prisoners taken today.
> > >
> > >Well Dr Ted Trainer lectures in Social Work at the University of New South
> > >Wales, and here's his case for abolition.
> > >
> > >Ted Trainer: I want to explain why the most important item on our agenda
> > >should be almost completely scrapping our economy, along with the theory
> > >it's based on.
> > >
> > >Firstly, this economy is obviously not solving our problems. In the last
> > >four decades, real income per person in rich countries like Australia has
> > >more or less trebled. Even in the recessed 1980s, Australia's GDP increased
> > >by one-third in real terms. Now one would have thought that such large
> > >increases would have enabled us to totally eliminate problems, such as debt,
> > >insufficient casualty wards and especially poverty. But in fact it's
> > >difficult to nominate one social or economic problem that's not become much
> > >more serious. Unemployment, inequality and poverty increased, and we now
> > >have perhaps 40,000 homeless people in Australia. In the 1980s Australia's
> > >rural debt and our foreign debt both multiplied by about ten. In addition,
> > >just about all indices of social breakdown and the experienced quality of
> > >life deteriorated.
> > >
> > >It's not just that a system with that record is not likely to suddenly start
> > >providing well for all. This economy causes the problems now literally
> > >threatening the destruction of our ecosystems and our social cohesion in
> > >coming decades.
> > >
> > >Consider firstly the market system. Markets do some things well and there
> > >might be an important role for them in a satisfactory economy. But at
> > >present, market forces are given far too much power to determine production,
> > >distribution and development. It's no exaggeration to say that most of the
> > >human misery and environmental damage in the world is directly due to the
> > >operation of market forces.
> > >
> > >Access to the world's resources is grossly unjust. One fifth of the world's
> > >people are taking and using up about 80% of all the resources produced and
> > >two to three billion people are seriously deprived. While we squander
> > >resources on affluent consumer lifestyles, between one and two billion
> > >people have insufficient food and unsafe drinking water. As a result, more
> > >than 30,000 people die every day.
> > >
> > >The main reason for this extreme deprivation and injustice is that the
> > >global economy is a market system, and in a market most of the available
> > >resources go to those who can pay most for them. That's why Australia has an
> > >average energy consumption that is 18 times the average for the poorest half
> > >of the world's people. And it's why more than 500-million tonnes of grain -
> > >about one-third of the world's total production - is fed to animals in rich
> > >countries every year to produce meat, while millions in the Third World are
> > >hungry.
> > >
> > >Even more important, is the fact that market forces draw Third World
> > >productive capacity into producing things to export to rich countries, when
> > >anyone can see that those resources should be used by Third World people to
> > >produce for themselves the basic goods they need. The most disturbing
> > >example of this is the vast area of the best Third World land growing crops
> > >to export to our supermarkets.
> > >
> > >Hence, we see the essential characteristic of conventional growth and
> > >trickle-down development. That is, the fact that it results in development
> > >which is almost entirely inappropriate to the needs of most Third World
> > >people. When what's developed is determined by market forces, by what will
> > >be most profitable to those with money to invest and money to buy products,
> > >then the inevitable result will be development of the wrong
> > >things; development mostly of what will benefit the rich. In the last decade
> > >we have entered an era in which these impoverishing effects of the market
> > >will rapidly accelerate, because we're now seeing the "globalisation" of the
> > >world economy. Since the 1970s it has become
> > >increasingly difficult for corporations and banks to find enough profitable
> > >investment outlets. Now they're solving this problem by a huge effort to
> > >sweep away all the tariffs and protection and arrangements which previously
> > >enabled large numbers of people and regions to produce and sell things. The
> > >freedom of trade has been made into the supreme sacred value and anything
> > >which restricts the access of the big corporations and banks to resources
> > >and markets is being eliminated.
> > >
> > >Why are the economic and political leaders of all countries eagerly going
> > >along with this push for globalisation and absolute freedom of trade, fully
> > >opening their societies to the predations of the transnational corporations
> > >and banks? The answer is, because they have studied conventional economics
> > >and the only way they know to try to solve their problems is to "get the
> > >economy going", to crank up more production and consumption, and of course
> > >the best way to get more business turnover happening is to give the
> > >corporations even more freedom to buy and sell. The sane alternative is
> > >never considered: that is, to make sure that Australia's abundant land,
> > >labour and capital is fully applied to producing what we need for a very
> > >satisfactory and secure existence, sharing the work, letting in only those
> > >foreign corporations that will produce what we want, trading only a little,
> > >to earn the export income needed to import only those things we can't
> > >produce easily.
> > >
> > >The second major criticism of our economy concerns the destructive relation
> > >between the market and society. A number of economic historians, such as
> > >Polanyi, have pointed out that the more the economy prospers, the more that
> > >desirable social bonds and cohesion are undermined.
> > >
> > >A society is made up of many intangible social bonds, ties, commitments and
> > >relations - for example, bonds of familiarity, friendship, trust,
> > >obligation, morality and tradition. These social values are contradicted by
> > >the values and attitudes that the market requires. In a market situation
> > >your attention is focused on maximising your individual gain and guarding
> > >against exploitation. The market situation does not encourage you to think
> > >about what is good for the other person or for society. The more we turn to
> > >market relations, the less emphasis we're putting on relations that build
> > >social concern and cohesion. As Polanyi and others have explained, in all
> > >pre-capitalist societies, markets and the maximisation of individual income
> > >were either of trivial significance or did not exist at all. Social factors,
> > >such as moral codes, religion and tradition were the important criteria
> > >determining production, distribution and development.
> > >
> > >This clash between the economy and society becomes obvious when we ask what
> > >would happen if we allowed production and distribution within a family to be
> > >determined by what would maximise sales or cash income. If Mum started
> > >making the toast and then selling it to the highest bidder, the economic
> > >efficiency of the domestic scene would be greatly improved, but the kids
> > >wouldn't get much toast because Dad can bid much more than they can. In no
> > >time, the desirable social relations which ensure that Grandpa can have some
> > >toast, even though he is economically useless, would be replaced by
> > >calculations about individual cash advantage. In other words, merely
> > >economic calculations of individual advantage would drive out the social
> > >relations and concerns whereby in a good society we do many things because
> > >they are right, or nice, or just, without regard to whether or not they're
> > >profitable or economically efficient. Hence we can understand why Polanyi
> > >emphasised that the self-interest which market relations are about will
> > >literally destroy society and its ecosystems if they're not kept under close
> > >control.
> > >
> > >I come now to the most serious of all the faults built into this economy.
> > >This is simply the mindless commitment to growth in a world of limited
> > >resources. You cannot go on and on forever increasing output on a planet
> > >with limited energy, mineral, biological and environmental resources. But
> > >conventional economists on the Left and the Right refuse to think about
> > >this.
> > >
> > >It's recently been estimated that each person in Sydney requires 4.5
> > >hectares of productive land. If all the world's people were to live as
> > >people in Sydney do, we would need three times all the productive land on
> > >the planet and for the expected world population of 11-billion by about
> > >2070, we'd need six times that area. Clearly it's impossible for all to live
> > >as we do.
> > >
> > >The greenhouse problem provides another powerful argument. The
> > >Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that we must cut global
> > >carbon emissions by 60% to 80%. If we cut it by 60% and share the remaining
> > >energy among the 11-billion people expected after 2060, each of us would
> > >have to get by on only one-eighteenth of the energy we now average in
> > >Australia. Most people have no idea that we must face up to such huge
> > >reductions in consumption if we are to solve the big problems.
> > >
> > >But we have an economy which cannot tolerate any reduction in the volume of
> > >production or sales. In fact unless output grows at more than 3% per annum,
> > >there are serious problems, especially of unemployment. It is obviously not
> > >an economy that could enable us to just produce sufficient to provide us all
> > >with good lifestyles, or a stable minimum amount of resource use and work.
> > >
> > >If you examine potentially recoverable resource estimates for minerals and
> > >fuels, you will find that if all people were to live as we in rich countries
> > >do, then most resources would be totally exhausted in something like four
> > >decades. These have been some of the lines of argument which I think show
> > >that there is no possibility of all people rising to anything like the
> > >living standards people in Australia take for granted today.
> > >
> > >During the 1980s Australia had about 3.2% per annum growth, but this was far
> > >from sufficient because all our problems became more serious. Let's assume
> > >4% would be sufficient for a healthy economy, and let's assume we keep that
> > >up to 2060, and that by then all the world's people will have risen to the
> > >living standards we would then have. Do you realise that world economic
> > >output would then be 220 times what it is today? Even if the world as a
> > >whole were only to average 3% growth from here on, then by 2060 total world
> > >output would be eight times what it is now. I have just explained that there
> > >are convincing reasons for concluding that the present amount of world
> > >output is totally unsustainable, let alone any multiple of it.
> > >
> > >There is now a substantial and growing literature on the basic form a
> > >sustainable society must take, given the limits to growth analysis of our
> > >situation. An almost completely new economy must be eventually developed, a
> > >Third Way, quite different from the capitalist and the big-state socialist
> > >ways. It must be made up of many small scale, highly self-sufficient local
> > >economies, involving much simpler and less affluent lifestyles than we have
> > >now, and much more co-operative arrangements. There could be a role for
> > >market forces and free enterprise in the form of mostly small businesses,
> > >but these would have to be under strict social control. Above all, it would
> > >have to be a zero growth or steady state economy, in which we can just
> > >produce enough for a high quality of life for all without constantly
> > >increasing production or consumption.
> > >
> > >Among the ideas being discussed and implemented are locating small market
> > >gardens throughout cities, planting our suburbs with edible landscapes that
> > >will provide free food and materials, decentralising much production to
> > >small local firms, many of which might operate in craft ways, having our own
> > >town and suburban banks with elected boards ensuring that our savings can be
> > >invested in enriching our own suburbs, moving much economic activity out of
> > >the cash sector and into the realm of gifts, surplus swapping and
> > >contributions to working bees, having suburban market days and running many
> > >things via local voluntary committees.0
> > >
> > >I have no doubt we could easily organise a much higher quality of life at a
> > >much more relaxed pace than most of us have now, with no reduction in the
> > >availability of modern medical or other important technologies, if most
> > >people saw the desirability of restructuring towns and neighbourhoods along
> > >the lines now being pioneered by the global Ecovillage and Permaculture
> > >movements.
> > >
> > >It is astounding that although the limits to growth argument has been around
> > >for about 25 years, there is almost no public discussion of it in Australia
> > >today. The historian Toynbee analysed the rise and fall of civilisations in
> > >terms of their capacity to respond to challenge. What can we say about our
> > >prospects when we show almost no ability to even recognise that an economy
> > >committed to affluence and growth is totally incompatible with ecological or
> > >social sustainability.
> > >
> > >Robyn Williams: Ted Trainer lectures in the Department of Social Work at the
> > >University of New South Wales. If you'd like to read more about the details
> > >of a sustainable society according to him, you can get hold of his two
> > >recent books: one is "The Conserver Society" published by Zed Books; and the
> > >other is Towards a Sustainable Economy, by Envirobooks.    (07)