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

Jacob Appelbaum jacob at
Sun May 13 15:26:20 PDT 2012

On 05/13/2012 05:27 PM, Pavol Luptak wrote:
> On Thu, May 10, 2012 at 03:31:01PM -0400, Fran Parker wrote:
>> Wow, that is the second posting from you Shava that was a wow moment
>> in this discussion.
>> So many great thoughts from so many today!
>> It really does seem that ethics are often sacrificed in the presence
>> of the influence* of power AND/OR greed regardless of the source
>> (government, corporate, religious).
>> *influence -- how many times have we seen greedy government
>> officials give over slowly but surely to corporate interests in the
>> presence of corporate lobbyists/influence whether in thought and/or
>> through their own greed.
> People are greedy, they were and they will. They care about their 
> self-interest. It's evolutional.

This is too one dimensional - people are more than their greed and while
everyone has needs and desires, it's an easy reductionist argument to
simply say greed is the sole defining attribute of a person.

Furthermore, when you discuss greed, it's unclear to me if you only
include money or property - do you also include power over other people,
even when it comes in direct conflict with wealth?

> If you put these greedy people to the decentralized free-market, they want 
> (as company owners) to gain as much as possible money. On a free-market this 
> can be achieved by selling their products/services to many customers. 
> If you want to address many people, you just need to offer high-quality 
> products/services, low prices or just better products/services than your
> competitors.
> As you can see this "entrepreneur's greediness" is transformed to real 
> benefits of all people in the society.

This only follows if they don't build up a killing squid and simply rob
you. The drug cartels in Mexico seem to be a perfect counter example to
your dream state of a free-market. The free-market in Mexico has managed
to overpower the state in most affairs where they clash. Today, the
Mexican government found over forty bodies with heads cut off. This kind
of reality is often ignored by people arguing for a completely free-market.

I wouldn't be surprised if those killed were the "competitors" who had
lower prices or higher-quality goods.

Shall everyone carry their own private armies to protect themselves?
Shall everyone pave their own roads? Shall we create a society based
entirely on free-markets and nothing else? What good will a philosophy
degree do for anyone? What good will come from studying humanities? What
is the point of art - is it it only of value in a market?

> And now imagine when you put these greedy people to the government :-)

I hear your point but your statements remind me of someone who is
reacting to living in a "communist" country, thinking the "free-market"
is the solution to *everything* - this is like the hipsters of the US
who think "communism" is the solution to our "free-market" problems. I
don't imagine that the *only* solution is actually to switch from one
extreme to the other!

Sometimes the (largely capitalist) governments of the world balance out
the capitalists in the free-market in the form of regulation.
Other-times they suppress the violence. Many times, they keep
structures, even unjust structures, in place and resist all change -
even positive change. A key problem is that sometimes, often I'd opine,
government regulation is out of hand. another key problem is that
corporations, companies or businesses that maximize for short term
profits cause serious short and long term harm - think Bhopal, India.

I'm not really sold on a solution that ignores the reality of the
starting point - if we built a colony on mars from scratch, some of what
you're saying _might_ make sense to implement as an overnight strategy.
Maybe. I agree that there are lots of good points that come from market
economies - I'm the product of one of the largest and I have seen many
of the benefits first hand. Still, I've watched many of the benefits
slip away and the regulations you criticize often stand at a stopgap
that keeps things afloat.

If we're starting from scratch, I'm not clear that the goal of society
should be to build little fiefdoms with little to no mutual aid and no
shared points of unity beyond a "free-market" as you've defined it.

Thankfully, we're not starting from scratch...

All the best,

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