Economics Is Counter-Intuitive

People have a hard time accepting free-market economics for the same reason they have a hard time accepting evolution: it is counter-intuitive  Life looks intelligently designed, so our natural inclination is to infer that there must be an intelligent designer—a God. Similarly, the economy looks designed, so our natural inclination is to infer that we need a designer—a government.
— Michael Shermer
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Piracy and IP

I’ve been listening to the first five episodes of Decline to State so far and I’m impressed at everyone’s handling of hard questions and enthusiasm. Their discussion on IP or No IP (IP as in Intellectual Property) has set a light off in my mind about the issue triggered by this definition of reputation by comparing it to prices:

Just like a price is the aggregate monetary value judgment of a thing by market actors, reputation is the aggregate nonmonetary value judgment of a person by market actors. Of course, the amount of (resp.) money / reputation that a single individual is willing to pay for / ascribe a thing / person, varies from person to person. When one isn’t willing to pay the market price for a thing, he says “it’s too expensive” (for me). When one isn’t willing to believe the average reputation of a person, he says “he is overrated” (in my judgment).

Reputation should also be extended beyond just belief, for if you value the reputation of a person, you should desire to provide evidence of your aggregate monetary value judgments (a really obtuse way of saying “BUY THEIR STUFF”) with the hope that the money gets to the correct person. If you’re spending $10 for a digital download of an artist’s latest album, you’re doing so either because it’s convenient to you or you wish that artist to receive some benefit for their work and reputation.  

Piracy wrt Known and Unknown Reputations

Is piracy an aggression upon reputation and a violation of the non-aggression principle?
It depends.

There’s If you’re giving away someone’s work because of their reputation, you’re either hurting them if they’re relatively known or helping them if they’re relatively unknown.  There is no defined boundary between the two states, except for the action of the owner of the reputation: if the reputation’s owner indicates that they are happy with the amount of reputation they have earned from the market, the market should stop piracy and honor their request. [I know, fat-chance from the poor starving student, but you highly successful an-caps who pirate should be feeling  guilty and open up your wallets…]  If the owner accepts affordable prices and makes their works available where the market desires, based on their reputation, they’ll collect significant monetary value and the market is happy—remember the Summer Steam Sale?

Should Intellectual Property Exist?

Before this I hadn’t really thought of my view of whether or not IP should exist and have decided this:

IP doesn’t exist because it was an invention of the State and “improved” upon by corporations like Disney who persistently lobby the State for ever longer extensions of copyright duration.  These corporations of course then attempt to use the State to collect on this fiction.

But there is a market of reputation and an implicit contract to support reputation monetarily whenever and wherever you benefit from it.  If you downloaded a song and never enjoyed it to begin with and deleted it, you’re happier that you didn’t monetarily lose. If you’ve listened to it 30 times a year, perhaps you better brace yourself for the next paragraph…

Sort your pirated music library by “times played”, group by artist, and spend some of your hard earned money.

Dealing With Your Personal Guilt

If you benefited from piracy, you incurred an anonymous debt to the performer and the performer had better opened a digital tip-jar (BitCoin, LiteCoin, PayPal, doesn’t matter how…) to collect your debts, no questions asked.  Maybe you only have $100 to spend a year, so proportionally allocate it based on your benefits. If Artist-A received 20% of your attention and Artist-B received 80% of your attention, send $20 to Artist-A and $80 to Artist-B.  Each artist at least receives something for your reputation of them.

For those performers who don’t have any methods of receiving “tips,” well, you’re missing out on a lot of lost income driven by piracy, a real SUATMM failure when someone just wants to play your music on the devices they prefer. If you benefited from piracy and can’t increase the artist’s monetary income, you should by all means at least try to increase their reputation: write recommendations, reviews, and so on—but not by more P I R A C Y. That would be silly.

John Robb explains Cognitive Slavery The companies that have created the most new value in the last decade, are Internet companies like Facebook, Google, etc.  They’ve created hundreds of billions in market value, driven by billions in financial profits.  Good for them, but bad for us.  ( Read the rest of John Robb’s defintion of cognitive slavery: http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2010/09/cognitive-slaves.html )

The Multi-edged Sword of Anonymity

Recently I’ve found that there are attitudes about how social groups interact with each other that conflate anonymity with selfishness or trollisms with what people do to each other in polite company.  What you’ll do to someone’s face is much different than what you would do behind a nym. What you’ll do inside the borders of a nation-state is also, much different in real life than would you would do behind a nym. I write behind a nym not because of what I would do in front of another person, but because of what the nation-state or corporations would attempt to do to me. What do I do?  I write about destroying them not by sabotage or boycott but by conceiving new structures for humanity to try and adopt as alternatives to them.

Someone has to know though, the differences between the nyms.

What is a nym?

A nym is a common abbreviation for a pseudonymous name, that is a persistent name not connected to a real name to provide protection to the speaker from retribution from other people or the state.  What are some famous nyms? Think of Bansky, a graffiti artist, political activist, film director and painter who’s latest exploit was this:

That's not a CGI, he actually painted the statue from helicopter.

Deepthroat was unknown for over 30 years after supplying information that escalated into the Watergate scandal that resulted in this usual artifact:

(this almost never happens)

This should be the wet dream of all journalists everywhere.

Some nyms like George Eliot (who was actually Mary Ann Evans) aka were conceived to conceal gender in the 19th Century when women were stereotyped as writers only of lighthearted romances.

Perhaps it is for our protection but Google+ and Facebook both have anti-nym policies because they’re corporations in symbiosis with the nation-states—they cannot take the risk of bad publicity for outing a popular nym.

Nyms Classified: Renowned vs. Infamous vs. Sockpuppets

A renowned nym is favored+famous. Think Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) who authored much criticism of mankind.  This may not always happen within the nym’s lifetime and more often that not, only happens posthumously.

An infamous nym is unfavored+famous. Think Son of Sam (David Richard Berkowitz) who terrorized New York City from July 1976 to August 1977.

The sockpuppet nym is unfavored+unfamous and mulitplies like cancer finding only a common relationship in behavior.  Since it is only behavior that provides the evidence of a sockpuppet, copy-cats can (and do) spread the behavior far and wide, most often for “the lulz”—that is, the fun of causing emotional distress.

Nyms of The Fourth Kind: Astroturf, Activist, Seeker, Misleaders

The unfamous+favored nym can be divided into three sub-classes: astroturfing nyms created for favorable publicity and ordinary run-of-the-mill nyms created by individuals who just don’t want their real identity associated with potentially embarrassing information such as how to manage their premature ejaculation problems or hemorrhoids, they are the “seekers” for information and understanding. Misleader nyms routinely publish information to damage people’s perceptions of reality. Think of stock market pump n’dumpers.  On Internet forums like Reddit, nyms often are all of these kinds and can build up and tear communities apart in hours.

Activist nyms are like mine, Aleph Acrylicist, which I use to publish about these monetary trust systems or like George Washington, who writes an amazing blog about the world’s deteriorating political, financial and environmental situations.  We couldn’t do what we do without the nyms, because almost certainly we’d both be attacked for what we write.

You Cannot Have Anonymity On The Internet Without the Shit Associated With It.

Some people want to rid the Internet of nyms because of the bullying or the annoyances. Many nation-states also toy with the idea because they would also like to rid the Internet of their critics and activists. It cannot be done without destroying the Internet and not even then, because people who need to speak without retribution will always find a way to get their message out with whatever technology is available.  Accept that there will always be sockpuppets or astroturfers or misleaders, but know that some nyms are positive nyms, and you’ll know them by their name by how long they work at what they do and know that in the Real World, people act much differently in their person than by their nym.

Food for Thought: C. H. Douglas’ Social Credit

Always search for prior art–because you always learn that some ideas have been done before, and sometimes, they can be improved upon.

Social Credit originated from the writings of C. H. Douglas, a British engineer and originator of the Social Credit movement, (1879–1952), who wrote a book by that name in 1924. Social Credit is described by Douglas as “the policy of a philosophy”; he called his philosophy “practical Christianity”. This philosophy is interdisciplinary in nature, encompassing the fields of economics, political science, history, accounting, and physics. Assuming the only safe place for power is in many hands, Social Credit is a distributive philosophy, and its policy is to disperse power to individuals. Social Credit philosophy is best summed by Douglas when he said, “Systems were made for men, and not men for systems, and the interest of man which is self-development, is above all systems, whether theological, political or economic.” [Introduction from WikiPedia]

However, Douglas’s “Social Credit” is more directed at consumers and their consumption directing production than the servicing of public goods and services as with social ξ credit. Social ξ credit is derived from individuals stating a residency within a region.  If you have multiple-residencies, the amount of influence you have is proportionally measured and earned over time.  That is to say, you cannot change your residences over and over again to get new social credit, which isn’t of much use anyway unless you actually live in those communities.  What you spend social credit on is only on public goods and services within that community–for example, park maintenance, police, fire/rescue or other infrastructure.  Social credit is also hierarchical–smaller communities spend only on their local needs, but are nested like Russian dolls into larger and larger concerns up until you reach the “global” level.   The only way for social credit to be created is via the cooperation of the residents–if there is no cooperation, there is no money.

Individual ξ credit from each individual could in theory direct production through consumption should the individual totally avoid using it for purchasing private equity–but that’s for another blog post.

Sometimes, its shocking just how much some older movies resonate with reality.

But then, we never allow ourselves to really pay attention to it when we’re all too busy trying to survive it.

Bartholomew: Corporate society takes care of everything. And all it asks of anyone, all it’s ever asked of anyone ever, is not to interfere with management decisions.

[Rollerball, 1975]

Arthur Jensen: [bellowing] You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won’t have it! Is that clear? You think you’ve merely stopped a business deal. That is not the case! The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity! It is ecological balance! You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and YOU… WILL… ATONE!
Arthur Jensen: [calmly] Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those *are* the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state, Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that… perfect world… in which there’s no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.
Howard Beale: Why me?
Arthur Jensen: Because you’re on television, dummy. Sixty million people watch you every night of the week, Monday through Friday.
Howard Beale: I have seen the face of God.
Arthur Jensen: You just might be right, Mr. Beale.

[Network, 1976]

Money itself isn’t lost or made, it’s simply transferred from one perception to another. Like magic. That painting cost $60,000 10 years ago. I could sell it today for $600,000. The illusion has become real. And the more real it becomes, the more desperately they want it. Capitalism at its finest.

The richest one percent of this country owns half the country’s wealth: 5 trillion dollars. One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds of it comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulation to widows and idiot sons and what I do — stock and real estate speculation. It’s bullshit. Ninety percent of the American people have little or no net worth. I create nothing; I own. We make the rules, Buddy, the news, war, peace, famine, upheaval; the cost of a paper clip.

We pull the rabbit out of the hat while everybody else sits around their whole life wondering how we did it.

–Gordan Gekko

[Wall Street, 1987]