|Jay Hanson on Thu, 6 Nov 1997 18:38:24 +0100 (MET)|
[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]
|nettime-nl: Re: [isg] Governance in Cyberspace|
At 03:41 AM 11/5/97 +0100, Felipe Rodriquez wrote: >Governance in Cyberspace (or what the EU calls the Information Society) >does not adapt to traditional power structures. These structures, that we >usually refer to as authorities, are in essence almost always regionally >bound; their authority and influence stops at the regions- or countries >border. One of the unique, and unchangeable, properties of Cyberspace is >that it moves over those borders, and thus in many ways rejects the concept >of local authority. In American-style money-based systems of government, MONEY is source of all political power. Here in America, MONEY buys seductive images (mass media) and sets political agendas. This is how American money politics works on the local level: ============================================================ BAD DRIVES OUT GOOD by Jay Hanson Systems that select for failure are often called Greshamite systems after the English financier Sir Thomas Gresham (1519?-1579). His name was given to Gresham’s Law, the economic principle that "bad money drives out good." When depreciated, mutilated, or debased (bad) money circulates concurrently with money of high value (e.g., silver or gold), the good money disappears because of hoarding. As more and more people notice that good money is being hoarded, more and more good money is hoarded—runaway positive feedback. Ultimately, the monetary system fails. American Democracy can also be seen as a Greshamite system. To understand why, first consider the theoretical premise of our political system: a government that is willing to act for the Common Good. Next, consider two very different candidates for public office. Ms. Honesty believes in the principle embodied in our Pledge of Allegiance "... liberty and justice for all." If Honesty is elected, she will treat everyone fairly and pursue the Common Good. Mr. Corruption is a good capitalist who motivated to pursue his own private gain. He has studied the system carefully and knows that he can gain political power by rewarding his friends and punishing his enemies. Which of these candidates has the advantage? Obviously, Corruption has the advantage! Here's why: Mr. Jones is a local developer who has money, employees and influence. Philosophically, he is an average, self-interested individual who was trained by television (and to some extent by his family and formal education) to consume as much as he can. In fact, Jones can’t even remember ever hearing about public goods. Will Mr. Jones contribute to Ms. Honesty? No, why should he? If she wins, Jones will receive justice and fairness from her anyway (a public good). If she loses, Jones will be punished by Mr. Corruption for helping her. Will Mr. Jones contribute to Mr. Corruption? Yes, because Jones has been promised a change of zoning (a private good) so he can build his new gated community. Jones writes a check for $2,000 to Mr. Corruption and has a few dozen employees volunteer to help out on Corruption’s campaign. American Democracy tends to elect politicians who are motivated to maximize their own private gain (there are some rare exceptions). Runaway positive feedback occurs as politicians need more and more money to run for public office. As this process continues, more and more politicians are corrupt. Bad drives out good and Corruption drives out Honesty. To what end? In the end, we do not even have a political system (one-person-one-vote), only an economic system (one-dollar-one-vote). -------------------- "Public goods" are goods and services that can be shared by a whole group of people. Some examples of public goods are national defense, police protection, government, and environmental services. As a rule, government must provide public goods for two reasons: 1. Private investors won't supply public goods because they can't make a profit on them. 2. Voluntary efforts won't supply public goods because the voluntary contribution of any one person exceeds the services received by that person. For example, suppose the cost of national defense to each taxpayer is worth the services each taxpayer receives. But if the entire cost were spread out evenly among only those who will voluntarily pay, then the individual cost will exceed the individual services. Thus, only government can supply a national defense through its taxing powers. This same principle applies to voluntary efforts at cleaning roads, parks, and so on. Voluntary efforts will ultimately fail because those who don't contribute (called "free riders") can use the services anyway. So there is little incentive for volunteers to contribute over the long term. Ultimately, volunteers will "burn out". [ Civic-minded citizens can even be seen as a form of corporate welfare! Instead of corporations paying for their social and environmental destruction, civic-minded volunteers donate their own time and money to keep their communities together while CEOs give themselves a million-dollar bonuses! ] "Private goods" are restricted goods. A couple of examples of private goods are gated communities and toll roads (only those who pay can enjoy the services). America's political system is based on private money: whoever can raise the most money usually wins. Our private-money political system naturally exhibits a strong bias towards private goods—and private profits. This bias towards private goods leads to less public infrastructure and more private infrastructure (e.g., private police, gated communities, etc.). Unfortunately, this leads to a two-class society: one with private infrastructure and one with no infrastructure; and ultimately, these will lead to the disintegration of the state. Jay -- http://dieoff.org/page1.htm -- * Verspreid via nettime-nl. Commercieel gebruik niet toegestaan zonder * toestemming. <nettime-nl> is een gesloten en gemodereerde mailinglist * over net-kritiek. Meer info: email@example.com met 'info nettime-nl' in de * tekst v/d email. Archief: http://www.factory.org/nettime-nl. Contact: * firstname.lastname@example.org. Int. editie: http://www.desk.nl/~nettime.