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About oktup

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  1. Thought I might bump this all-time classic thread with the news that Paul Mason is seemingly working on a book inspired by Kondratieff: http://www.explainyourshelf.com/paul-mason/ Hope all HPCers are keeping well this (K) winter and best wishes for 2014
  2. It's a good while since I read up on Bitcoins, but IIRC, your argument is conceptually the same as "Dave's system of giving out the prime number tokens between 1 and 1000 is unsafe, because once he's given them all out, he might make up some more prime numbers between 1 and 1000 and give those out too". ie it's not possible by definition. It's the maths that make this part of it safe, not the open source factor.
  3. Eh? What funds? It's not government money, it's a private company (The Peel Group) funding this.
  4. oktup

    Land Value Tax

    "Redistribution" is a slightly loaded term, as (in these sort of discussions) it usually implies taking something from its "rightful owner", and giving it to someone else, for ethical/greater good type reasons. However, LVT is meant to target the *unearned* wealth that landowners gain, and return *that* (at least partially) to its rightful owner. (For example, the person sitting on a plot of disused land next to a newly built transport line, etc; they have effectively siphoned off some of the wealth generated by the infrastructure improvement). So it would seem more appropriate to call LVT "restorative" rather than "redistributive". I think this is also a strong justification for it, in both practical and ethical terms.
  5. oktup

    Land Value Tax

    i) Given what's happened so far - and what is yet to come - in the current economic shakedown, perhaps we don't have to worry so much about causing huge and unpredictable effects (they're already here!). That might sound flippant, but isn't; clearly, we are about to undergo a profound dislocation (either practical or conceptual, or both), so we might as well try and get the canoe pointed the right way, as we go over the waterfall. ii) I'm not sure that quickly "changing the use of a significant percentage of land" is necessarily "the point". I would say it's more about recognising that wealth flows into the land (Harrison, "The Power In The Land" etc) and that this causes economic distortions such as boom/bust, malinvestment etc and effectively enables enslavement by rentier landowners. The use of the land could be left identical, but if LVT (amongst other reforms) enabled a change in the aggregation of wealth (which it surely could) then positive and far-reaching societal changes could still happen as a result.
  6. oktup

    Celebritie Hpc Heroes

    Fred Harrison Jim Corr "FARAGE" The Love Police Charlie Sheen cgnao
  7. I'm not sure how the rule of law can exist without a state. It seems rather like saying that a balloon can exist happily without the rubber container bit. ("There *is* still a balloon, it's just voluntary, consensual and unconstrained!") ie, "the rule of law" implies an equal, universal application, and enforcement where necessary. So one can't choose to simply "opt out" of the rule of law - by definition. What are you calling the agency preventing such an "opt out", if not "the state"? If this agency of prevention does not exist, how can you claim the existence of "the rule of law"? I'm puzzled.
  8. Isn't that statement based on an assumption that the underlying system you are modelling is 'objective' or 'neutral', though? I'm sure you can model a game of poker perfectly, but what happens when you win and then the dealer pulls a gun on you? The system has suddenly changed because, to some extent, the actors can reorder the system at will. Alternatively, on a less abstracted level, an anti-entropic system can evidently exist happily for a time within an enclosing entropic system. This can be interpreted as a positive state of affairs. Similarly, an anti-entropic socioeconomic system can presumably therefore exist happily for a time within an enclosing entropic socioeconomic system (if we take the smaller system to be some kind of utilitarian/sharing structure, and the larger system to be the ultimate destruction of all human wealth due to a big crunch, for example). I can't see an obvious entropic lesson here.
  9. I've read both of the above (admittedly, rather quickly) but they haven't really addressed my main concern, which was the basis for extrapolating an entropic theory from a specific scientific quantitative domain, to one that is least partially anchored in qualitative and ethical considerations. To be slightly more specific, from the first: The first quote above points out the fallacy of anthropomorphism, ie ascribing human qualities or values to non-human things. However, the second extended quote appears (to me, at least) to contain several examples of exactly that. "Why life exists" - apparently presupposes that the existence of life needs a causal 'logical' reason. Similarly, "Free energy is using the Demon", "Energy wants to be converted", "life is Nature's way of..." Energy and Nature are being anthropomorphised here. Energy doesn't "want" anything. The Nature that entropises on one scale is the same Nature that is simultaneously anti-entropising on another scale. What can we definitively conclude from this? If anything? The second link seems quite a specific problem domain, ie it's a study of optimal network design. I'm not sure that the immense complexity of human societal structures and resource distribution are prima facie directly tranposable into this model. The authors themselves state that "food webs belong to a different class of complex networks" because of the "asymmetric situation". This presumably references one of the opening conditions, that "For a large class of networks, where the interactions between members are of mutual benefit or value" - but this is not necessarily the case in human networks - see the problem of altruism, or indeed exploitation. The authors also admit that "for a specified operating environment, there may exist some other distribution that can outperform the maximum entropy distribution with respect to the global performance target". Also, the assertion that "The main consequence of this distribution is the inequity in the allocation of wealth, i.e. a small number of people hold the majority of the wealth in a society. While this may seem unfair, our theory suggests that this is the optimal distribution of wealth for the society at large" seems to be placing primary importance on the maintenance of a certain network configuration, rather than (say) a more utilitarianist metric. Why? Finally, given the frequent acknowledgements such as "The notion of value is generic here", "there may be various domain-specific constraints on these variables", "This is a reasonable assumption", "We postulate this satisfaction measure... as most real-life situations involve some kind of a saturation effect", I can't see that this comprehensively proves that any anti-entropic economic system is inherently futile. It might indeed be a more difficult system to maintain, but living is more difficult than dying, and that's not a compelling argument for mass suicide. One other point which raised a wry smile was: I think it's reasonably clear that this assumption, if translated to the domain of human economic activity - ie that the current financial network is "organized to not be overly concerned with the satisfaction of any particular member, but is designed for the overall satisfaction of the entire network" - is simply not correct. If only!
  10. I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean here. Reservoirs and polytunnels are presumably anti-entropic, but they would also seem to be positive strategies in terms of supporting human life. As would medical technology. etc. Similarly, I'm not sure that entropy necessarily increases in our current economic model. It would seem possible (or likely) that there are attractors baked into the cake, meaning that, for example, bond holders/creditors will almost inevitably end up increasing their share of the money supply as time goes on. Surely that would be tending towards an anti-entropic, rather than entropic, point of equilibrium. If you're using "entropic" scientifically, could you give a bit more detail please? And if you're using it as an analogy, why is the most "entropic" solution expected to be morally and/or practically preferable?
  11. oktup

    Peston - How The West Went Bust

    Your analogy is a poor one, because wine is a luxury good, rather than a fundamental human need (such as secured shelter). A better example would be if your water company issued a finite number of 'water consumption licenses', and banks allowed Joe Public to bid up the prices of these licenses by creating huge amounts of artificial debt, and then also allowed some of these people to leverage their own license in order to further outbid poorer people, who were desperately trying to buy their own license. You would then ask, "Well if I took out a £200,000 bank loan, just because I wanted to have access to drinking water, whose fault is that?" And the answer would be "The fraudulent predatory practices of those in the banking sector, along with those responsible for the inadequate regulatory framework, for restricting and exploiting people who were trying to secure a fundamental human need." For bonus points, you could observe that the lobbying industry, and the connections/revolving door between government and banking, further demonstrates that the blame should indeed be apportioned to BOTH of these groups. HTH.
  12. oktup


    That's not necessarily true, is it? If one considers borrowing short and lending long to be fraud (which it essentially is, surely?) then you can simply ban fraud. You could still allow (100% reserve) borrowing and lending at the same term; which would be 'legitimate', non-fraudulent debt, no?
  13. Front-page article on the Guardian about the 'magic' of money creation in the banking system: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/15/money-privatised-stealth (I did search but it doesn't seem to have been posted yet, surprisingly?) As previously discussed (hat-tip Injin et al), perhaps there is now a growing confluence of means (social networking, and the requirement for mass media to 'open up' somewhat in response), motive (a growing need to fix the increasingly broken money system) and opportunity (a puzzled and receptive 99% who find themselves facing diminishing living standards, and are wondering how that has come to pass). But then again, as this article asks, Why does positivemoney only have 3153 Facebook likes? What can be done to further the progress in this area? Any other examples of the meme getting "out there"?
  14. oktup

    Clinton Cards

    I believe AA and BB cards are still trading near their mark-to-model prices - it's a bloodbath in the FF - QQ tranches though.

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