Jim Bell vindicated

Zenaan Harkness zen at freedbms.net
Mon May 11 21:49:37 PDT 2015

On 5/12/15, Lodewijk andré de la porte <l at odewijk.nl> wrote:
> 2015-05-12 9:23 GMT+09:00 Zenaan Harkness <zen at freedbms.net>:
> Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Very good principle.

> Current politics puts the masses in charge.

I dispute this. And I think if you read me saying that, you'd disagree
with it to ("...the superwealthy managing things to opportunistically
maximise economic efficiency...")

> They chose them that chose these laws.

To summarise - I say that such statements are overly simplistic to the
point of being false.

>> Do you actually believe there's an answer to -how- to "fix it"?
> There is. The answer changes depending on what you care about,
> but there is.

Good answer :)

I am hopeful though not optimistic that your hopeful optimism is well placed.

>> Or, are you uncomfortable with this discussion?
> The democracy discussion is an exceedingly uncomfortable one.

I meant the "Jim Bell vindicated" one.  Not that it matters ...
discussion is useful if it's useful for someone.  Not that discussion
has to be useful for anyone - entertainment appears to be enough for
all those in this rather large box I made called "most people".

> The largest problem is pragmatism.
> Reality is cruel, yet I'd like not to be.

Precise your words be not.

> A simple
> example is having longer or shorter working days. Longer working days
> (might, it's just an example) make a more productive society, yet it is not
> something I'd necessarily want.

I suggest choosing our foundations carefully.  More to the point, I
suggest we be careful to note the foundation assumptions we make, in
this case "pragmatism" (sounds very similar to my use of the word
"utility" above.  Hope I'm not being too deconstructionist for y'all.

- Pragmatism.
- Utility.
- Entertainment.
- "Principle".
- Truth.
- Transparency.
- Awareness vs education.
- Ends and means and using one to justify the other.
- Justice.
- Equitability.
- Equality, that bloody myth.
- Faith. Hope.
- Sanity.
- Individual will vs "collective will", and the tyranny of democracy.
- Scientific fact.
- "Scientific" theory, aka scientific fiction. Even a "scientific
fact" can turn out at a later time to be merely a suitably illusory
scientific fiction, in the light of future "scientific facts". What a
whirlwind eh?

Our foundations assumed (in the words we say or type) often fly by
without being noticed or acknowledged as fundamentally "chosen".
Embrace your inner chooser.  And choose wisely.  I find it hard to
restrain from expressing cynicism about "most humans", but is that
useful/ pragmatic? Is it fair? Does it contribute to awareness of
problems we collectively face? Although my cynicism has just a slim
hope of being entertaining and giving me personally the felling of
"release" to some small degree, I believe my cynical expressions do
little else - yet I rarely restrain myself in this regard.

> Reality is also intricate in it's interconnections, and amazing in it's
> diversity. It is exceedingly hard to talk about. I suspect we'll continue

Ack. And more ack.

> muddling in murky waters until we find a way to collaboratively apply
> something like First Order Formal Logic. A sort of Wikipedia, but it would
> be an encyclopedia of arguments. Enter your axiom's and get your logical
> conclusions. Unfortunately, ArgueOnlineTM is a project I'd rather watch
> than start.

Oh let's begin then and define love as "that feeling experienced in
temporal relation to personal actions founded in a healthy application
of formal first order logic to maximizing collective "benefit" with
individual human activity".  Or something.

How does that sound for a wedding vow?  Yep, first order formal logic,
putting the joy back into life...

Pretty sure the masses will gravitate to this one.  A great line for
your new book "Zen and that art of effective communication" subtitled
"How to -really- win friends and influence people".

I guess it's reasonable to presume some level of "effectiveness in the
world" as at least one foundation test for "are we just pissing in the
wind here."

>> If you believe that this discussion is counter productive to what you
>> perceive as your and or our interests I'm interested to hear about;
>> but although "fix it" it sounds superficially laudable it's cheap and,
>> well, superficial.  You'll need to pontificate a little more deeply to
>> impress folks around these parts :)
> Seems much like I just need to troll harder... I don't see much in terms of
> discussion solutions at all.
> I've been thinking frequently about map-reduce politics. I feel like a lot
> of trouble comes from a lack of involvement in politics, partly due to
> corruption and whatnot making involvement mostly a pesky annoyance. And

If only "democratic politics" -were- merely a "pesky annoyance" rather
than a life sucking collection of often corrupt crap and crappy
individuals (notwithstanding those with genuine heart for something
other than themselves).

> partly because people don't know how to be involved,

Crap.  Perhaps you mean "involved in a way which is effective"?

> can't be bothered to
> spend the time to learn,

Voting, and "voting with your dollars" are not hard to understand.
These are the foundations of a capitalist so-called democratic

> and well, because it doesn't matter anyway.

That's the cynical position "most people" take.

How do we lift ourselves out of this crap by our bootstrings,
individually and collectively?

Answers damn it! I want answers!!

> Individual opinions are irrelevant, unless you're elected, in which case it
> matters quite much quite suddenly.
> So, what we do:
> Starting with a population we convene in groups of 20. These groups elect a
> single person to represent them (not to rule them, but to represent)

Which makes it easy to be sacked on notice by some vote eg 10 in the
group (20-you-10=9 left over); or whatever - Debian seems to have
nailed a good voting procedure, yet still suffers (I say) some of the
classic 'democracy problems' - perhaps this "grouping" concept has
some really good merit. Hmm...

> They
> can do so with a 16/20 agreement, if they fail to achieve that agreement
> they will not be represented. The grouping method should be geographic by
> default, but allow people to form groups at will. A variation with
> randomized groups provides weaker convergence as geography correlates with
> cultural norms, and does not provide greater safety per se.
> This first level electorate (1 person out of every 20) will also form into
> groups of 20, and again elect a single person. This causes a tree like
> structure, leading up to a top level of less than 20 people which will not
> select an elected (there is no president of the world).

Ensuring an odd number of individuals at the top level - for voting
purposes, odd numbers are -much- better in general (no need to have a
"chairman" who has two votes). You see if one person get's elected to
be "non voting" (so there are an odd number, so there can be no ties),
then the tendency is always to let that person to vote in order to
break the tie, so then that person is in a different class, which I
think is not good at all.

Perhaps just have a "if the voting margin for this type of vote is
50/50, and there are exactly half of the votes each way, then the
status quo remains" - that might be the simplest clean approach.

> It scales decently
> ^1 20 (very small school class)
> ^2 400 (a moderate/small school)
> ^3 8,000
> ^4 160,000 (two very large football stadiums (like Real Madrid's)
> ^5 3,200,000 (~population of Kuwait/Uruguay/Lithuania)
> ^6 64,000,000 (~population of the UK/Thailand)
> ^7 1,280,000,000 (~population of India/China)
> ^8 25,600,000,000 (about 4 times humanity, top council will be 6 people)
> (group size rationale, skip if you don't care) I chose 20 because larger
> groups are favorable, to cause lower levels to have a higher degree of
> professionalism. Additionally 20 * 7 (=140) is still an almost
> first-name-possible group size. I also think 8 layers seems like a good
> quantity. Reducing the group size to 10 causes there to be 10 levels, with
> the highest being 7/10 filled. There's some chance there'll exist an 11th
> level in the not-too-distant future, the 20 groupings are expected to be
> stable even with "optimistic" population growth estimates. Importantly, I
> think 20 provides a good balance of being able to get to know people, yet
> not uncomfortably personally. Culture and other factors may make tweaking
> of group sizes favorable. Especially in remote regions it may be
> hardly/unfeasible to group into neat groups. This effect is noncritical.

Group size must always be malleable - some people turning up, not
turning up, children becoming of voting age, people moving, etc etc.
No point getting fixated on 20, but merely on the concept of
"relatively small groups" - perhaps a minimum group size of say 7, and
a maximum group size of say 47 (picking random numbers here). Of
course, there becomes a collective benefit in maximizing voting power
at higher layers, by maximising the number of groups in your lower
level(s) - therefore minimizing group size.

Probably also important to consider population growth and reduction in
cities, and how that effects the levels.

Regardless of system, numbers, levels, how the chosen system might be
gamed needs to be analysed critically, and also mathematically in
detail (Debian uses a "Condorcet" type voting system due to its
mathematical properties), because such analysis will be done anyway by
those with capacity, so it must be open for all to understand.

> Every level is allowed to make law for the levels below it. The extend of
> permissible law is limited by higher level law.  In accordance with the

And also by lower levels - do you want financially self-motivated
elected individuals at higher levels collaborating to dominate lower
levels in respect of zoning and development - effectively gaming the
system in a direction that was not intended? (It's rhetorical, of
course not.)

> laws the levels may levy taxes and manage budgets. If law permits they may
> contract natural/legal persons to perform tasks, even legal persons of
> their own making.
> Somewhat interesting to note is that this is not at all a peaceful setup.
> Every representative will continue to fight for it's group's unfair
> advantage. I would hope the highest level will create a legal person that
> is exclusively granted military rights, with elaborate safeguards, so as to
> enforce a demilitarized planet (let's at least get that out of the way as
> best we can..).

Hmm, enforce demilitarization by building a military force.  You know
what, all you "top-level" guys, have I got a plain plane plan for you,
with designs on the hop for excellent ICBMs, control systems,
communication networks and more - and if you sign this 3-year
contract, we'll build 'em all in your 5th and 6th level electorates!
That's what we at Lockheed-Zentin call a win, win, win win win
situation :D :D

> Similarly I imagine multiple levels of courts. I wish for
> free migration, because we are all human and our place
> of birth was not a choice, but who am I?

You sir, are an idiot. I wish for protection of my family and brothers
and sisters - no, I crave for racial strength in my region; fuck it,
even -one- region!

I am what many would call wealthy, have some schooling (the three R's
- readin, typin and web surfin), living in natural and technological
abundance (car, computer) - why would I ever agree to take in the
dregs of the world onto my farm?

Thank you very fucking much but I'm productive and so's mah land, Boy!
 I grace 250 head of cattle, feeding thousands of people on a yearly
basis, and am making enough (at least in a good year when it rains
enough) to continue paying off the mortgage so I can draw it down in a
few years for my children when they want a car and want to go to Uni
(and hell, they might want to do some travel to experience the world).

Exactly who's land you gonna take for these migranets?

> After all it will be an exceedingly fair struggle.

Like fuck it will!  You can take my cattle from my cold dead hands!

And here I was thinking I was talking with a sane person...

> A very pure form of democracy, with exceptional
> clarity of authority and robustness in growth.

I guess those "levels" have all been built with those "very pure form
of humans, with exceptional clarity of authority and robustness in
their concepts of growth."

Damn! Gimme some of your pills man! Dunno what world you're in, but I
need your pills in this world I find my self!

> It would fail only because of the people.

Ahh yes.

Well well well.

I just -knew- you'd end up agreein with me :)

"Most people", rearing their ugly heads once again!

But ah bing but a boom clunk crash.

> But to my sorrow, it just might.

Damn right it just might fail. Only thing you're wrong about there is
the "might" bit.


More information about the cypherpunks mailing list