The emerging split in modern trustbusting: Alexander Hamilton's Fully Automated Luxury Communism vs Thomas Jefferson's Redecentralization


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/22/too-big-to-fail-2.html


#2

I am definitely in the zone of hating Facebook, but feeling like I have to use it.


#3

I’m just wondering about the missing “Step three”! :grimacing:


#4

I read a novel once about a world in which life-extention technology was really taking off, but it was available only to the rich. Soon, the world was divided into the elderly, who held all of the capital, and everybody else. Without access to capital, nobody would ever start a business again, which is fine for monopolists. Young people could never own real estate, which is fine for rentiers. I don’t recall if there was any solution at all.


#5

Without some serious explanation to back that up, I have to call bullshit. Walmart sells stuff. That’s called a market. It pays attention to what sells well on the market. And where and when. It then uses that information to allocate resources and adjust supply chains.

They also buy stuff. In the wholesale market. If they can get it cheaper elsewhere, say China, or another company, they react to the market. If customers demand organic produce, they find suppliers … in the market. They reallocate resources and adjust supply chains to react to market conditions.


#6

Third: The fundamental assumption with the Hamiltonian approach is that government has the best interest of the people at heart. This has not been true in the US for all of my entire life, and it is getting worse. (And I am not just pointing my finger at Trump, Congress, and SCOTUS…)

Corruption turns “FALC” into a dystopia always. It can be Government run, or corporate run but the outcome is always the same.


#7

It is noteworthy that both Wal-Mart and Apple are large enough to distort the market of their suppliers. When Wal-Mart says “our stockers waste too much time pulling your roll-on deodorants out of those little boxes you ship them in: stop using those,” then you obey. When Apple says, “we like what you’ve done with this cheap, simple IC… but we can’t use it unless it stays cheap and is instead the most full-featured IC on the market,” then you find a way to make it happen. It’s so much money being thrown around, that they pretty much make any decisions for their vendors that they take an interest in.


#8

Before I dive into the long and interesting looking article I’d just like to say re

the likes of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Augusto Pinochet and Brian Mulroney…

…fuck them. These and their fellow travellers are closest to the root cause of much of what the western economies are suffering right now. Unregulated (screw the little people, workers, etc. exploit the commons with no duty to preserve them) corporations and marketised (i.e. serve only to extract rents from the public purse and turn them into private incomes and assets for the 1%) public services.

So, again, fuck them! And though I have yet to read the article in detail I suspect neither solution is better than the other, they simply serve to promote meaningless debate among the well-meaning, and cause delay in any meaningful action. Just regulate corporations so there is a public interest requirement to balance the shareholders’ demands. E.g. better labour laws, fewer anti-union laws, enforce pension payments into underfunded pension schemes before allowing dividends, tax land, nationalise naturally monopolistic social goods (water, power, the railways, etc) (and this does not mean ‘to be run by govt’, it merely means ‘finds ways of public, not private, ownership’), give consumers rights over their data and meaningful recourse in case of abuse, and so on. If tech corporations had been born in an environment of proper corporate regulation more generally, we’d be discussing solutions to any problems they’d’ve caused, in very different terms now.

Yeah, I’m in bad mood and sick of this shit. “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this any more”


#9

While I appreciate the idea of hitting the big guy with a hammer as much as anyone, that approach doesn’t work for a number of reasons.

First, once you agree on how to measure something fairly (1), then agree to make all your decisions based on that metric (2), you have built a game-able system. Arguably, this is already exactly what we have when large, memory-poor corporations are driven by short-lived executives who mostly care about getting the right numbers on quarterly statement so they can get their bonus.

Any new metric gives them a new master to serve – maybe even one that trumps the quarterlies sometimes – but they still don’t have an interest in solving the problem (that is, themselves). They just have an interest in figuring out how to manipulate the numbers. (For an example, getting people to temporarily leave Facebook is trivial for Facebook: just close their account quietly, count them as gone, then welcome them back when they try to log back in.)

Playing this cat-and-mouse game is stupid. You have to define an incorruptible system, and they have to find one or two ambiguities to grind. A system of incentives and disincentives at least creates an environment of multiple metrics, penalties, breaks that together can be less easily gamed. Crazy hard to get the balance right, but less easy for large players to completely subvert.


#10

I’m holding out for Fully Automated Gay Luxury Communism.


#11

Better parties at any rate


#12

And some see it as irreparable. In fact, a not insignificant fraction of Trump votes were cast with the idea that the only way out is to burn it all down and start over.


#13

While I would rather suck the snot out of dead man’s nose than vote for Trump, I see your point. People are disenfranchised and see it all as irreparable because they feel no ownership. Hence the “Burn it all down” meme. Having bigger (Hamiltonian) institutions will only make that worse, especially if we feel we have no input into the proposed, more or less magical, control mechanisms that are supposedly going keep these mega-entities in check.

Rules always create edges. Paradoxes where clever folks figure out how to be technically in compliance, even if their intentions are totally divorced from the actual purpose of the rule. Add-in 100’s of millions of $$ to influence the rule-makers and gatekeepers and then fascism unfolds its wings…


#14

We see a similar divorce of action from intention in our representatives which I see as the root of our lack of ownership and input. How many times have we been promised something by a politician on the election trail only to see them flip once the election is over? It’s to the point now where any complaint that a politician lied to us is met with rhetoric about how all politicians lie. Dishonesty from our elected officials is the status quo so it’s no wonder apathy and dismay are both so common among the electorate.


#15

Which is why I support Fully Automated Luxury Anarchism, which is basically the same thing but with decentralisation as a goal as well. It doesn’t really fit in well with the Hamiltonian-Jeffersonian model used here though, it’s not really in between and more like it’s gone off on a tangent somewhere.


closed #16

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