Subject: Re: crux of the essence
From: "tony stanco" <>
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 07:07:35 -0400

>>tony stanco wrote:
>> What is ultimately important here is to realize that what is paramount is
>> maximize societal benefit. In other words, society allows people to act
>> personal self-interest if and when it works to increase societal wealth
>> the same time. Society therefore created a system of private property
>> rights, contract rights, etc.. because that system worked for physical
>> things.

> Ben Laurie wrote:
>This is ridiculous! Society allows people to act in personal
>self-interest so long as it doesn't damage the rest of society too much,
>not "if and when it works to increase societal wealth".

Your formulation is slightly better. Society is more reactive than proactive
as you suggest. But the result is the same -- a system is ultimately created
that balances private and public rights within a broad band of acceptable
solutions. Systems that produce unacceptable societal results outside that
band are re-worked, which is what is happening now. The legal rules,
organizational structures, myths and explanations that worked for physical
things don't work for intellectual ones. Since intellectual things are the
important ones now, society will re-write its major organizing principles to
create a system that is inside the acceptable band of possibilities.

Intellectual activities are important enough and different enough that I
would expect huge changes for the world over the next hundred years. I
wouldn't expect commercial production around the world to be organized
through the ridiculously anti-democratic, de-humanizing,
people-as-replaceable-parts, corporate structure. Nor would I expect
inanimate property rights to be seen as important as they are now. Both of
these were arguably necessary irritants while the world was working its way
through an age based on physical things that had the qualities of exclusion
and scarcity.

Of course, you are free to disagree and probably do.