Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
Thanks for the links to Norris's papers. I had attempted to gain access to those when I visited the Twin Cities a few years back -- as they were part of the UMN Norris archives -- but they kept worse than bankers' hours so I wasn't able to gain access to them during that visit.
In particular the long-lost paper "Back to the Countryside Via Technology" by William C. Norris, then CEO of Control Data Corporation, January 1978, was what I recalled. It delves into some of his vision for the PLATO network as a way of preserving the Nation of Settlers against the onslaughts of urbanization (and what has turned out to be a resulting demographic catastrophy in loss of total fertility rates among the baby boom generation).
Norris was one of my inspirations for county currency, as well as my early promotion of mass market computer networks. Sadly, perhaps even tragically, I did not get through his middle management at CDC to Norris about the mass market version of PLATO a group of us young engineers had demonstrated right under his nose at CDC circa 1980. The world might have been a very different place. It is my greatest professional regret that I didn't just barge into his office and chain myself to a door to get his attention.
The approach of replacing net asset taxation with what amounts to property insurance is a good one and indeed one I've suggested as part of an anarcho-capitalist model for government as mutual insurance company (ala Lysander Spooner). The basic income then becomes, literally, a dividend to the shareholders in the mutual insurance company -- which maintains defense of national territory as the foundation for all other property.
As for intellectual property, there are genuinely heroic inventions that need to be rewarded because technology development is damn expensive and money needs to be placed in the hands of proven inventors. The problem is patents are the _only_ asset that is de facto taxed by the Federal government -- when it should be the only asset that is _exempt_, if any. Moreover, the legal fees of maintaining filings world-wide should be picked up as a natural security measure -- as well as defending intellectual property as though it were sovereign territory. Finally, the standard of "non-obviousness" needs to be much more strictly enforced to prohibit patent trolls. For instance, I don't consider my invention of the massively multiplayer first person shooter 3D game to be particularly heroic or "non-obvious", which is why I've never made a big deal about not receiving much in the way of royalties from the follow-on industry. It was something that was bound to happen one way or another as more people got their hands on computers with graphics and networking capability.
On the other hand, probably the most pathological example of intellectual property in history is MS-DOS, so you cite it at length for good reason. However, if the property value assessment is, as I have often suggested, a market-based liquidation value, from virtually the moment that IBM made the decision to distribute MS-DOS with their 4.77MHz 8088 PC, the tax rate on Bill Gates would have been so great that he would have had to very quickly sold MS-DOS to some legal person that had at least as great a vision for the future of operating systems as DRI.
There were a number of operating systems around at that time but few that would run on the 8086/8088 hardware. One with multitasking was the iRMX86 OSsupplied by Intel with its 8086/8088 chips for real time development. I don't know how or why they overlooked that. My suspicion is that the real reason they chose MS-DOS was that Bill Gates's mother had direct contacts with the IBM board of directors.
If that's the case, it would make me feel quite a bit better about my decision to abandon development of an 8086/8088 OS -- a development that started before the first silicon was shipped while I was at the PLATO project where we modified the CDC Cyber COMPASS assembler to produce the instructions documented on the preliminary datasheets, and execute on an emulator running on the Cyber 6500 during off-hours.
The reason I initiated that project, with some of the PLATO system programmers (Ray Ozzie was a system programmer at PLATO but was consumed by his work on the Z80 firmware) was that I foresaw the horror of a bad operating system becoming the network-effect atop Moore's Law, and wanted to head it off. Others, primarily Steve Freyder, agreed and pitched in.
It was obvious to me that whoever got the critical mass OS for that platform would have a natural monopoly and lock out competition -- including superior operating systems.
I abandoned that project only because Mike Pavloff at Control Data HQ offered me a position at the Arden Hills Operations where I could pursue a mass market version of the PLATO network which would have, using Ozzie's Z80 firmware, bypassed the personal computer era entirely with a Mac-like UI and built-in 1200bps modem starting in 1981 with a monthly service charge of $40/month including "terminal" rental. We had that system benchmarked out at a scale that could have deployed nation wide late in 1979, but Wall Street analysts smelled blood and were ripping Bill Norris (the Nebraska farm boy that founded CDC with Seymour Cray) limb from limb due to his billion dollar investment in PLATO. CDC middle management mutinied and reneged on their agreement to let me pursue a mass market
version of PLATO. I fled CDC and tried to revive something similar at Knight-Rider's joint venture with AT&T, but that is another story.
Suffice to say, when I saw MS-DOS I knew a horror had been unleashed and that Gates would become extremely wealthy.
If Freyder and I had been able to, somehow, beat Gates's mother and get our OS distributed by IBM, do I think I would have deserved to be the world's richest man? Hell NO! I consider my foresight to be no more than the ability to identify a bottleneck in the trade routes of Moore's Law that, if one could occupy, one could extract an enormous revenue stream from; and if my position on net asset taxation hasn't made it clear that I would not consider such foresight to be a "creative spark", I don't know what would.
You are correct to point out the similarity between the failure mode of capitalism and communism as being central control by corporation vs central control by government. But this is precisely the argument for why basic income is a solution to both.
You're correct in another way that needs some elaboration, because on the face of it you are dead wrong:
The demographic transitio, in which total fertility rates fall below replacement rate as women are given independence by economic development, is a powerful force for zero population growth, as can be seen in this GapMinder animation of TFR vs per capita income by country through time. If one relies on such data, one can see that overpopulation is not a problem (although race replacement of non-African countries by African countries will obtain due to liberal immigration policies into the future).
However, income as TFR suppression, must be seen for what it is: A kind of antibiotic targeting human fertility.
Viewed in this way, once the world has been Africanized and has a TFR below replacement rate, subpopulations that are immune to the antibiotic will emerge with very high TFRs.
So, yes, fertility controls will eventually become critical, since the biosphere is a two-dimensional surface and exponentiation is hyperdimensional, but this is true regardless of the political economy in place.
My suggestion for a transition policy, which I set forth in a 1992 paper titled "A Net Asset Tax Based On The Net Present Value Calculation and Market Democracy" was to cease taxing economic activity and, instead, tax net assets beyond bankruptcy protection of home and tools of the trade, and use the funds to pay out an unconditional basic income aka "citizen's dividend", thereby doing away with most of the present functions of government including not only the welfare state but also the need for burdensome regulatory agencies (that are subject to capture). Part of the problem here, of course, is the notion of "citizen" vs "non-citizen", but that is a far lesser problem than massive unemployment and hyper-centralization of net assets.
Quoting from that paper:
The government should tax net assets, in excess of levels typically protected under personal bankruptcy, at a rate equal to the rate of interest on the national debt, thereby eliminating other forms of taxation. Creator-owned intellectual property should be exempt.
With the exception of basic functions of government and the pay down of debt, the government budget should be dispersed to citizens as cash, rather than being spent in government programs or even limited in the form of vouchers. This is "market democracy" in which the citizens and their markets, rather than central planning and politics, influence the selection of goods and services to be capitalized and provided.
In a college course called "Physics for Artists" at the U of IA back in 1974, I pursued the frequency following effect of strobe lights as an adjunct to art displays to induce the desired state of consciousness. Fortunately the EEG technology was too expensive to complete the project for my college sophomore budget -- fortunately because it is the kind of thing that if shown in a public exhibit could definitely cause seizures. Milder forms are already probably being used in theater with rhythmic light and sound, but attenuated in a studied manner.
Elizabeth Warren's work on "The Two Income Trap" has shown the government's figures on the cost of living to be genocidally wrong. When I say genocidally wrong I mean the absence of children that contributes to "the labor shortage" is due to income redistribution from the middle classes to the increasing centralization of wealth among the upper 1%. Ricardo's "iron law of wages" was formulated in a time when "subsistence" could not cut into replacement reproduction due to the lack of birth control. The conscientious fraction of the population will respond to a lowering of real family income relative to the cost of replacement child rearing by ceasing to have children. This is what Warren's work shows is exactly what happened to the Baby Boomers when it came time for them to plan their families. To further import foreign workers to fill the "labor shortage" when it is already demonstrably the case that lowered _real_ wages has resulted in quasi-genocide of the populations being replaced is no longer excusable as mere ignorance by policy planners, if, indeed, it ever was excusable.
It is symptomatic of where civilization is headed that the respondents most highly rated here at "News for Nerds" -- presumably a technically and scientifically literate sampling of civilization -- exhibit almost scientific literacy regarding Watson's statements.
This reinforces my perception of civilization as more of a eusocial organism than anything resembling an enlightened society. Eusocial organisms, like bee or ant colonies, do exchange information between its members but the information is relatively low bandwidth taking the form of pheromones. Most of the words used to describe Watson, such as "racist" and "sexist" are so loaded with connotation that they are virtually worthless as high bandwidth tokens -- serving more the function of pheromone signaling in eusocial insects: "Not of the hive! Attack!"
You are referring to the climatic memetic demographic prisoner's dilemma. The idea there was to try to have the most primitive form of "meme" imaginable: A speech act which could take one of two states "defect" or "cooperate", in the context of a population which may, or may not, repeat memes and which -- independent of repetition behavior -- may or may not comply with the meme it "hears". Tit for tat during iteration of the PD was simulated by allowing a variation in which the behavior (cooperate or defect) was based on what the organism had last experienced, as opposed to what the organism had last "heard". The "climate" was the degree to which the environment provided "food" to make up for loss of points in the PD score keeping.
The notion that one can _reliably_ "experience" defection _as_ defection is what I claim is an unrealistic assumption -- deception being such a central strategy in evolution -- hence tit for tat is a poor assumption.
The notion that "tit for tat" is relevant to evolution in the iterated prisoner's assumes that defection is detected -- an unrealistic assumption. The only reliable evolutionary system in which cooperation is sustainable is one in which the replicators (genetic and memetic) share a common fate aka vertical transmission. This is why the meiotic lottery works in multicellular sexual species and it is how symbiosis between species can evolve in ecologies where migration is restricted -- migration being the origin of the evolution of virulence via horizontal transmission. However, since restricting migration is not practical in much of nature, there is an "optimal virulence" in which a replicator tests the limits of its ability to, in essence, "take the money and run", and exploits to that limit.
When the response of industry leaders and Congress to the collapse in the jobs market of 2000 was to increase H-1b worker visas, it should have been a signal to any sane youngster US citizen (who wasn't an Asian immigrant) to steer clear of the IT industry. Yes, there are jobs that are well paying and yes there are a lot of US citizens, even older US citizens, who are getting them despite the insane guest worker policies pursued by Asian ethnic nepotism taking over Fortune 1000 IT hiring authority.
But think about the way casinos operate: When someone wins at the slots, the machines make lots of noise but when someone loses at slots, there is dead silence.
Since 2002 he was only partly employed. In 2009 he recollected
Essentially I have been officially unemployed for not quite five years now. There's never enough funding.
If you are a non-Asian US citizen, there are better ways of terminating your bloodline than getting a degree in IT, such as suicide bombing some of the industry leaders that expanded the H-1b visa program when the jobs market collapsed in 2000.
Sortocracy is sorting proponents of social theories into governments that test them. It is the only political system that allows people to escape bad governance: People can vote with their feet.
Any attempt to "reform the political process" is doomed for the reason pointed out by Machiavellli:
It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out nor more doubtful of success nor more dangerous to handle than to initiate a new order of things; for the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order; this lukewarmness arising partly from the incredulity of mankind who does not truly believe in anything new until they actually have experience of it.
Any system that does not allow people to experience a new order of things by voluntary assortation is doomed to the political equivalent of theocracy: Imposing a single social theory on unwilling human experimental subjects. You must allow for consent to experimental treatment of human subjects and you must allow for control groups to evidence causality.
There is going to be a revolution.
Oh good grief. 15 years after the DotCon implosion, when industry leaders and Congress responded to the collapse in tech employment by ramping up H-1b guest worker visas, we're supposed to believe this is news?
I"m not sure I'd say TUTOR was an ok language for the day. It didn't even have local variables. Local variables were so controversial that I had to leave the University of Illinois and get a job as a system programmer with CDC to add local variables to TUTOR.