[unrev-II] OHS/DKR for regulating markets

From: John \ (john.werneken@gte.net)
Date: Fri Jan 28 2000 - 20:51:38 PST

From: "John \"sb\" Werneken" <john.werneken@gte.net>

Enjoyed your post. I am with Mike T and not with Eric A. on this. In that I
tend to favor individual decision and action over Organizational or
Governmental action, as prime mover for improvements to the over-all scheme
of things, particularly the 'externalities' you cite. So I feel negative
about "OHS/DKR for regulating markets".

Evolutionary change seems to me to be characterized by individual creatures
(human or otherwise) acting in their perceived self-interest; where the
action is more in accord with the environment, the individual is more likely
to thrive and have more descendants embodying the propensity to those 'more
correct' actions. With ideas, which I have heard called "memes" as opposed
to "genes", it works similarly: if it were true that those adopting the
"memes" of modern democratic capitalism were thus able to act more in accord
with their environment, as perhaps evidenced by a higher standard of
material living or personal freedom, then probably more individuals would
adopt that "meme" and some persons would find themselves switching views or
"memes" away from a 'collectivist meme", towards a 'democratic capitalist
meme'. Perhaps even whole societies (possibly Poland as an example ?) would
find the dominant meme switching from 'collectivism' towards 'democratic
capitalism'. So the "memes" could "evolve" in a sense similar to the
evolution of genes.

This has clearly (IMHO) happened in America as regards point-source
pollution. People just are not willing to throw trash out the car window or
see soap or DDT dumped into streams as they once were. I argue that the real
change is more in the set of ideas most of us hold, and thus in the actions
we take or tolerate others to take, than in our laws. Though of course the
laws change too.

I agree with you and Eric A I think in a way though. In order for our idea
sets to shift as they have about point source pollution, we had to be
educated in at least two ways. On a pragmatic level, people like Rachel
Carson (sp?) and Ralph Nader helped bring the facts to our attention.
Education. On a more personal and important and perhaps spiritual level,
somewhere in the Sixties and in the Earth Day movement, our modern
interpretation of 'God giving man the earth and the beasts thereof' changed.
Some sense of value, ownership, protection towards the stewardship of the
environment around us began to emerge. People in general do not think of the
resources of the Earth in quite the same way today as we did 45 or 55 years
ago. A good thing.

What has this to do with OHS/DKR? Well a tool has to have a use if resources
are to be attracted towards its development. THIS I thing is Doug's point in
giving these seminars.

Therefor I think this little debate involving you and I and Eric A and Mike
T is quite on Doug's topic: what is the use of OHS/DKR? Clearly Millennium
Project is an example of a target audience, but I think it is the wrong sort
of target. I see such a broad survey, as Millennium Project is, to be quite
peripheral to the real daily concerns of most people, be they
decision-makers or working stiffs. Not a good way to bait our trap, not
likely to lead to exponential growth of investment in OHS/DKR technology.

And morally off-target too. Maybe it has to do with one's vision of the
Human Being and how she/he should best relate with fellow human beings. I
tend to think that our institutions are our SECOND best achievement. Through
institutions rules and processes for living together, for accomplishing
things together, for mediating individual perceived self-interest with
externalities, consequences, and group perceived group-interests grow and
develop. Obviously a case can be made for improving the improvement
capability of our institutions! And OHS/DKR comes to mind.

I tend to think that our Ethics or spiritual-religious value systems are our
BEST accomplishment. I have yet to hear of an articulated value system that
is NOT supremely applicable to those issues of people getting along
together. Yet the focus tends to be on the individual. How should I come to
act in a way more in accord with how the values suggest that I should act.
An even greater challenge IMHO than that of improving the capability of
institutions to improve.

I see OHS/DKR as being particularly qualified to help individuals share with
other individuals so as to better define ends, as well as to improve the
capability of improving means. I see ad-hoc or just-in-time groupings of
people - C communities comprised of folks doing B work - being enabled to
develop common goals and more effective means. Like Doug's first revolution,
the PC.

Sure Merrill, Lynch buys more PCs than I do, and they mostly do it to
automate what they have always done. B stuff, I would say. Yet look at what
else those PCs are helping happen in Merrill, Lynch's field: individuals now
own stocks in unprecedented numbers, able to trade without paying high
commissions (huge difference in entry level barrier, that). Right now the
owners of capital are predominately pension funds. But individuals owning
stocks, trading them and possessing the information to trade them, now
include double-digit millions who are not rich but merely well-off. This has
never been before in history: a broad class of owners of capital. I think we
are seeing the beginnings of a paradigm shift here, of which the internet
IPOs are an early symptom.

So I am saying that in the investment industry, a qualitative change is
beginning to occur, which may have unprecedented and largely unknowable
consequences, not only for that industry but more importantly for the whole
society, in part through the broad adoption of the PC. This is C stuff,

I see OHS/DKR making inroads through professional societies and through some
large corporate and governmental organizations, being applied to their B
work. And as the number of people possessed of evolved OHS/DKR tools
expands, I see ad hoc C communities beginning to apply these tools to C work
in unguessable ways. Spreading like the PC did.

Government has a role, sure. But remember that one source of the Internet
was DARPA building a network for military communications in a nuclear war
environment. So far, we have not seen that nuclear war. But the tools
developed towards that end are now part of the Internet paradigm shift in
how information spreads and in how persons interact (communicating,
deciding, purchasing, updating databases - all that is enabled in a
qualitatively different way by the Internet).

I forget if it was RMS or ESR who quoted the banker on why the Internet was
important. The banker said his teller-mediated per-customer-transaction cost
was $1.03 but that his internet-mediated per-customer-transaction cost was
less than $.01 - a two order of magnitude improvement.

That's how I see OHS/DKR spreading: bankers (or whoever) will fund
development and adoption of tools to lower their "per transaction" costs of
developing new things. This B activity will justify development and adoption
of the tools. As the tools develop and are widely adopted, they will be used
in ways that I suspect will be largely unforeseen until they actually occur.
But when they occur, a great C achievement will be in place!

Sorry for long rant, yur post just got me all fired up.

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