20 September 2010

A manifesto of sorts

I see both political parties in the US as existing primarily to protect the interests of their moneyed supporters. The two parties otherwise vary only in what special interest interest groups provide their foot soldiers.

The bottom line from where I stand is that the political class hasn't managed to increase the wealth of the majority of Americans, as opposed to the moneyed supporters that bankroll their campaigns in just over 30-35 years.

When I look at the special interests represented in either party, I see their basic demands as comprising...

  • You can twist the rest of society into a pretzel but don't you dare make me change the way I do business.
  • Make laws that either criminalise or bankrupt those who I hate or see myself threatened by.
  • Make laws to protect my interests from competition from new technologies.
  • Throw some tax money my way while you're at it.

Both parties provide this kind of protection for their special interests.

For (1) you need look no further than, inter alia, military contractors' cost-plus contracts, teachers' unions, doctors and trial lawyers.

For (2) you need only review the explosion of behaviours that have been criminalised in the past forty years. Most of the stuff I did as a kid and that my parents did and never thought twice about would get us all thrown in jail quick these days.

For (3) review as an example what's become of copyright law in the past thirty years.

For (4), I don't think I have to give any examples. They're to be seen anywhere both now and in the past.

As to negotiation and compromise, I learned in Africa that negotiations are seen by virtually anybody and everybody involved as merely a means to getting a bit closer to their ultimate goals, and never to create a stable accord. This means that negotiations are inevitably done in bad faith because whatever compromises are reached will be kept only till one side or the other gains enough of an edge to violate the compromises and go even further along the road to where they want to be.

That's not a good recipe for social harmony. In fact it's no recipe at all, yet that's what we do here and that is what has made politics a blood sport in the US, for better or worse.

My personal politics are those outlined in Simak's Ring Around the Sun, which is to say, destroying existing social structures by means of a careful introduction of disruptive technologies.

I've spent my spare hours for the past five years working with the Reprap open source 3D printer project that has brought the cost of 3D printers down by approximately two magnitudes ($50K - $500) and their feed stock down by over one {$250/lb - $8/lb}. In this project I've done a considerable body of work.

That technology was described eloquently in Cory Doctorow's Print Crime back in 2005. You need only browse through Thingiverse to get an inkling of the flood of creativity that widespread availability of 3D printing unleashes.

Reprap epitomizes the last line of Printcrime, viz,

"Lanie, I'm going to print more printers. Lots more printers. One for everyone. That's worth going to jail for. That's worth anything."

Reprap having already achieved that, I'm undertaking to make the technology that served as the basis for Alex Rivera's Sleep Dealer, vis, active telepresence.

Active telepresence, the ability to do physical labour anywhere on the planet via broadband, is the ultimate destroyer of the nation state that has caused so much grief for the past millennium.

Basically, my approach is to create disruptive technologies that get inside the OODA loop of societies at a rate that the existing social order collapses for lack of revenue in the manner conceived by Simak in Ring around the Sun.

It's past time that this happened.


Shawn Hendricks said...

Dang. Lost my train of thought. Oh, yeah.

Aim to create a disruptive technology that doesn't overthrow the ruling political class but forces it to evolve in was more favorable to society and you should see greater success.

Shawn Hendricks said...

Make that "ways" more favorable.

Forrest Higgs said...

Shawn: As you might have suspected, I am not interested in the survival of the ruling political class. They've had more than enough chances to evolve in ways more favourable to society.