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[liberationtech] Privacy, Moglen, @ioerror, #rp12

Fran Parker lilbambi at
Wed May 9 20:50:41 PDT 2012

Carl Sagan, as the Narrator of Cosmos, describes a statue on the main 
wall of the Amsterdam Town Hall:

"Justice, with a golden sword, and golden scales. And who is it that 
justice is trampling underfoot? Why, it is avarice and envy, the gods of 
the merchants. The Dutch knew that the unrestrained pursuit of profit 
posed serious threats to the soul of the nation."

He points out that the Town Hall was built when the Middle Ages were 
falling to the Enlightenment.

This would have been in the early 1600s. Coincidentally, right around 
the time of Tulipmania, one of the most famous financial bubbles in history.


Cosmos, Traveller's Tales, 1980, via

Adapted from a very good piece called:
**not too bad: What would Carl Sagan have thought of the Great Recession?**

On 5/9/12 11:22 PM, Pavol Luptak wrote:
> On Wed, May 09, 2012 at 11:17:25AM -0700, Jacob Appelbaum wrote:
>>> True capitalism (anarchocapitalism) is not about control (it is voluntarily
>>> society). I would not call the current system "capitalistic", it is more
>>> a socialistic corporativism.
>> Anarchist theory generally suggests that so-called "anarchocapitalism"
>> is a co-option of anarchist theory. Generally speaking anarchism
>> requires mutual aid, solidarity, democracy and order enforced through
>> consent, not force. To be clear - I'm talking about anarchist theory and
>> not about some Hobbesian notion of the world as chaos without a State.
>> If we don't quibble about every point above and just look at democracy,
>> we can see that capitalism is oriented at devaluing each person in order
>> to enrich a few. There are lots of benefits and just as many downsides.
> This is not true - our society is not a "zero-sum" game as many people think
> (i.e. "rich people" means that some other people have to be "poor"), our
> society is a "positive-sum" game. If you are a (honest) rich man, usually you
> gain a lot of money because some other people give you them voluntarily in
> exchange for some "life-quality-improving" services. It means that in
> voluntary business benefits are mutual on both sides.
>> Capitalism attempts to value a person in society by their collection and
>> accumulation of wealth. This is inherently anti-democratic - one person
> Don't forget that if people give you money voluntarily, they also have benefits
> from your accumulation of wealth. You provide them something that improves
> their life (because they buy it).
>> is valued far above another as a matter of fact - in theory, capitalists
>> say this is because of merit but in practice, I find this to be rubbish.
> I think that anything that is not voluntary is not fair, including "forced
> solidarity" taxes for poor people. Solidarity simply cannot be forced (and
> that's what our governments do).
>> Corporations are the core of capitalist ideology in the modern
>> implementation. I would say that Facebook is however not a socialistic
> This not entirely true, in a real free society, you can also have
> non-profit, non-commercial organizations or voluntary "communistic" companies
> where all employees are also their shareholders.
> You can create any kind of organization on voluntary basis.
>> corporation at all - it is all a matter of so-called "voluntary"
>> "choices" - of course ignores the network effect and other lots of
>> subtle things.
>> The current system is capitalism and it's hilarious to hear cries of
>> failure about it not being "pure" enough. One hears this from communists
>> all the time in defense of communism, despite Stalin's reign of terror
>> in the 20th century. Facebook is a capitalist success - private capital,
>> free association, investment, private property, riches - in the end, it
>> is happening because of the value of surveillance and control. What will
>> become of it? What is happening now as a result
> I admit that Facebook does some privacy threatening things (datamining,
> corellations, etc) in order to improve their business impact, but do not
> forget that surveillance and control is usually _too expensive_ for normal
> business and many companies just do it because it is enforced by the
> government's regulations and anti-terroristic laws (and of course paid from
> our taxes), not because that they voluntarily want it.
> Consider censorship, data retention laws - from the business point of view
> it does not make sense - on a free market censorship is definitely not a
> competitive advantage, nobody voluntarily will pay for censored Internet,
> also data retention is usually too expensive in contrast with fact that most
> ISPs want to offer as cheap as possible services because it is another
> competitive advantage.
> So personally I think our freedom is primarily threatened by our governments,
> not corporations (they just care about their business and their customers and
> restrictions on freedom are simply not good for their business, because people
> would prefer their competitors).
>> As it turns out - notions of "voluntary" participation are not all
>> they're cracked up to be if one looks at things on a small scale. Most
>> people have little choice about joining such networks once they become
>> the defacto standard. I've chosen to opt-out, a few others will as well
>> - probably at some kind of societal cost we do not yet understand.
> But this is their decision. If you do not like these networks, you can inform
> people about their security risks, promote security awareness etc, but I think
> you have no moral right to regulate these social networks using money from
> taxes of all people. If people are not aware of the security risks of their
> behaviour and also ignore your security awareness activities, they should just
> bear the consequences of their actions.
>> Ahem. I'm sure Dmytri will have lots to say on the matter. We don't
>> always agree about the words we use; I do think we largely agree about
>> the goals a society might want overall. I look forward to his reply -
>> it's always fun to discuss these things with him!
> Anyway, we have the same goal - freedom! :-)
> Pavol
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