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Monday, April 23, 2007

"Understanding the singularity will alter our perspective on the significance of our past and the ramifications for our future. To truly understand it inherently changes one's view of life in general and one's own particular life."

1 Comments:

Blogger skip sievert said...

The Singularity in and of its self is bullshit, in the sense that it makes no difference if the whole thing is controlled by money. It will still be unfair, unjust, and anti-human. That is why I am an advocate of Technocracy, without a real change in the operating system, we are doomed in a Price System.

The following information should answer some questions for those interested in Technocracy ideas. Thank you friends for reading through our material. Please help to make the general public aware of these concepts.


The Scientific, Technological Design for the Economy of North America
Provides for:

* Complete economic security for every man, woman, and child from birth to death;
* Complete health care;
* Modern, energy-efficient housing for all;
* Education to the full extent of each individual's ability;
* Viable mass transit;
* Employment for all who are able to work and care for those who cannot; and
* Careful stewardship of the Continent's natural resources and environment.


Background

As early as the winter of 1918-19, it became obvious to a group of outstanding scientists, engineers, and economists that technology was displacing man-hours of labor, leading to increased unemployment and lack of purchasing power. The group included Howard Scott, chief engineer; Frederick Ackerman, architect; Carl L. Alsberg, chemist; Allen Carpenter, M.D.; Stuart Chase, C.P.A.; L.K. Comstock, electrical engineer; Alice Barrows Fernandez, educator; Bassett Jones, electrical engineer; Benton Mackaye, forester; Leland Olds, statistician; Charles P. Steinmetz, electrical engineer; Richard C. Tolman, physicist; John Carol Vaughn, M.D.; Thorstein Veblen, educator; Charles H. Whitaker, housing expert; and Sullivan W. Jones, secretary.

Calling themselves the Technical Alliance, they embarked upon a survey of the energy and physical resources of the North American Continent. After fourteen years of intensive study, they were able to determine that North America had the resources, both physical and energy, and the know-how, to produce an abundance for all of its citizens. What is lacked was a viable method to distribute the abundance. This inability to distribute abundance had led to a depression in 1921, the unwise introduction of installment buying in the 1920s. the stock market crash of 1929, and the Great Depression.

The Technical Alliance determined that it was the efforts to preserve the Price System, a system which had functioned, albeit imperfectly, during the centuries of scarcity, that had led to the denouement of the 30s. They saw that a system that had grown out of conditions of scarcity could not function adequately to distribute abundance.

Requirements to be met

A system which could distribute abundance and satisfy the conditions listed above would need these features:

1. It must register continuously the energy converted in the total day-to-day operation of the Continent, both plant construction and maintenance, as well as the energy converted in the production of goods and services for personal consumption by the population.
2. By registering the energy converted, it would be possible to maintain a continuous inventory and to balance production with consumption, eliminating both scarcity of any one commodity and unnecessary resource depletion due to overproduction of some other.
3. This inventory could provide information as to the type of goods and services produced, where and how much had been used in order to give replacement information, and could, if desired, identify the user.
4. It must distribute goods and services to every member of the population, giving each individual citizen the widest possible choice in consuming his share of the Continental physical wealth.
5. It must guarantee that each individual's consuming power be his, or hers, alone, much as a Social Security number is assigned to each individual, and is not to be transferred to anyone else.

What would be the means of distribution?


On each of these counts, money fails to meet the requirement for distributing abundance.

1. It is not a measure of energy converted, or of production or consumption of goods and services.
2. It can be transferred from one person to another, a fact which could deprive some citizens of their share of abundance, besides making fraud and bribery possible.
3. It can be stashed away. In this connection it must be noted that any obstruction in a flow line, even at the consuming end, will eventually shut the line down; hence, money will not keep production moving evenly.

On all counts, money does not meet the requirements of a medium of distribution of abundance.

The mechanism that does meet the requirements is the energy degraded in the production of goods and services. This energy loss constitutes the physical cost of production and can be stated in units of work (ergs or kwh) or in units of heat (kg calories of Btus). We can therefore measure quite accurately the energy lost in any given industrial process, as well as the total physical cost of operating the Continent.

After subtracting the energy required to operate the Continent as a whole – new plant and maintenance thereof, roads, housing, hospitals, schools, local transport, continental transport, communications, education, child care, and maintenance of public institutions – the remainder would be shared equally by all adult citizens in the form of personal energy credits. In the U.S. alone, in 1992, more than 81 quadrillion Btus were consumed, with 62 quadrillion being used for overall operating, leaving 19 quadrillion to be consumed by the personal needs of the population. That should supply every North American with their favorite personal items, all else being supplied as a right of citizenship.

Keep in mind: to be consumed. Since there is a definite limit to the amount of goods and services one individual can consume, it is both reasonable and efficient to issue equal numbers of personal energy units to each adult, male and female alike. It is anticipated that the number will be greater than anyone can reasonably use before the units expire, at which time new units would be issued. These energy credits would be usable only by the person to whom they are issued; no one else could "cash" them. Since everyone would have their own plentiful supply, there would be no point in transferring credits to any other person – or stealing someone else's!

How will society be organized in a "technate"?

First, realize that it will take time, to overcome the thought-patterns and habits that have been the norm in the Price System. The urge to acquire things in order to gain recognition could give way to a desire to excel in one's chosen field of endeavor. Whole new complexes of energy-efficient housing interspersed with green areas and local cultural facilities must take the place of the millions of units of substandard housing and the decaying infrastructure which exist today. Taxes and monetary debt will be unknown. Crimes involving property – 95% of all crime – will no longer be a problem. Disparity between rich and poor will vanish and, with it, eventually, racism, sexism, classism, ageism – most of today's troubles.

Can we do a global makeover? No. To bite off more than we can chew is a sure prescription for failure. When things are running smoothly in North America, then we can invite people from other countries to come and observe what can be adapted to their situation.

After the period of transition is over, the children born into the Technate will enjoy lifetime economic security and education to age 25, as a right of citizenship. During the ages 12 to 25 education period, they will choose the path best suited to their talents for their life's work – a work life that will last probably 20 years of a mere 12 hours a week of work, with 78 days continuous vacation each year. At about age 45 then, they will retire at full compensation, free to travel, enjoy a hobby, study, whatever. This calculation of work is all that is needed to operate a Technate. Our current Price System keeps people busy doing pointless things. A class/caste system is thus maintained.

The actual operation of the Technate will continue as society operates today – those with the expertise in the various lines of industry and the professions will carry on all necessary functions. We will be well rid of political interference and the financial substructure, neither of which contributes one iota to the physical operation of the Continent. Those people who are currently engaged in politics or finance will either retire, or, if under 45, will find a line of work suited to them.

In order to operate a mechanism as complex as an entire Continent, the needed functions must be divided into manageable units. There will be industrial sequences (agriculture, manufacturing, mining, etc.) service sequences (education, medicine, etc.) and research sequences. Each sequence will have its own director chosen from among its most capable personnel by his or her peers. These sequence directors will together form an advisory body, similar to the U.S. President's Cabinet, which will advise the Continental Director, chosen from among the sequence directors by his or her peers, on matters of policy. Through such a vertical alignment, each person will be heard, making possible the most completely efficient society ever devised.
Any desirable features of societal organization not specifically mentioned here, for lack of space, must be assumed to be included at the most optimum level. In fact, the increasing population, coupled with the flagrant depletion of resources which has occurred as a result of 20th century Price System excesses, makes it imperative that Technocracy's Design, with its emphasis on balancing production with consumption in order to conserve natural resources, its insistence that only goods of optimum quality be manufactured for the same reason – in order to conserve natural resources, its equalizing of consuming power and opportunity in order to avoid the chaos which looms if we continue on our present course, be adopted as soon as possible.

10:25 AM  

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