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Comment Re:Something wrong here... (Score 2) 205

Not at all. There's nothing inevitable or deterministic in your suggestion. The secondary market isn't relevant to all the participants of the primary round-robin system. Most participants will use the hard drive they got for their own projects (that's why they joined the round-robin queue in the first place). A small fraction only will decide to defer their projects, and sell their drive on a secondary market.

Only very briefly. Then the bureaucrats responsible for running the system, or the guys driving the van that delivers them, will realise that they can make life much better for themselves by "losing" half the supply and selling it on the secondary market. Go look at the USSR for what happens when you try and run a society on something like round-robin.

The state ensures that all the population is able to obtain access to goods, and that is exactly as fair and legitimate as letting people die in the streets?

Yup. It ultimately depends on how you define fairness - whether the fair way to get more resources is to work for them, or to have more children and have the government confiscate them for you.

Finally, if *survival* is at issue, I'd say that rationing is a lot more rational than a free market alternative, irrespective of fairness, welfare or legitimacy.

You'd have to look at the results, and I'm not aware of any proper studies on this. Maybe a free-market system would have let more people starve initially, but also mean the people most vital to the war effort were better-fed and thus able to work harder, ending the war sooner and thus saving more lives overall.

Comment Re:This is hardly surprising (Score 1) 1127

Something I just can't help wonder is... Do you eat meat? Have you thought through the ethics of keeping animals confined for the single purpose of killing them and eating them?

I see nothing inherently wrong with this (I have plenty of problems with specific implementations). I care about animal suffering, but "purpose" is meaningless, and there's no reason the life of a meat animal has to involve any more suffering or cruelty than a wild one.

It's a matter of removing animals that causes problems with our way of life as well as gathering meat. I have no wish to bring extra suffering to the animals I hunt just because I don't use the correct tools for the job.

I have no problem with killing animals as necessary, but following this argument through to its conclusion probably does mean using aeroplanes, or whatever gets the job done most efficiently. Primitive hunting as still practised in parts of Africa is possibly the cruellest way to die outside of deliberate torture (the animal is literally run to death, chased for ~3 days unable to stop or rest until it's exhausted enough to kill; of those which escape, many will die from the exertion shortly after). A skilled hunter, bringing down the animal with one shot before it's even aware of him/her? I have no problem with that. But as soon as you inflict any extra suffering in the interests of sport, that's wrong - and I suspect even the best of modern hunting tactics causes more of that, on average, than the most efficient possible way of doing the necessary killing.

Comment Terrorism writ large (Score 1) 892

In space, everyone knows where everyone is (scattering sensors around is cheap, and the second law of thermodynamics means there's no way to hide unless you know which direction your enemy's looking from), and everyone can kill everyone else quite easily. Just the velocities involved mean an interstellar ship is a missile (and probably one that can devastate planetary ecosystems); there is no defense other than to strike first, no way to meaningfully armour a ship (even counter-missiles are impractical due to conservation of momentum), and honestly, when it comes to war, no reason to even have ships at all - just launch missiles directly from whatever your bases are.

If we survive long enough as a race to have interstellar travel, I predict people living on artificial habitats inside gas giants and/or stars, the location/flight-plan of each a closely guarded secret (and probably communicating/trading only by meeting on neutral ground), since that seems like the only place you could hide. If you're out in the open, any idiot with a grudge can wipe out your civilization.

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