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Mats Kaarbø


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Why must we pay to live on our own planet?

The question may seem childish to some, but I want you all to really think about this. Why must we pay to live on our own planet?

Why did we make an economic system that is completely decoupled from the laws of nature, when we know that we live on a finite planet?

Why do we work for money that we then have to use to get access to resources we need, when the resources is already here?

And why do some people inherit land and claim it their private property, making other people pay or wok for having access to their property, even when everybody is born on the same planet and there is more than enough room for everybody?

Again, why must we pay to live on our own planet?

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    Oct 11 2012: You don't have to pay (money at least, as Krisztian's post pointed out) at all if you don't want to.

    Pack up everything you own, move to one of those plentiful unowned geographic locations with all those unlimited resources you speak of (and no laws other than the laws of NATURE), and have at it. If you are capable of self-survival and living off the land, you will survive. If not....oh well.
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      Oct 12 2012: it needs huge courage to do that ,you make me think of Robinson Crusoe .
      while i thnk what you say is out of reality .why would we do that .we spend hundreds of thousands of time to come to now .it is not a easy way .are you kidding me ?

      what i suggest is to care more about our nature .with the mordernism .we lost so much of our nature .we become sullen and unhappy .should we continue ? we need some work to change this .we need
      to let people become more happy with life .that what i want to change .not going back to acient and working without wearing clothes.
  • Oct 11 2012: "Why must we pay to live on our own planet?"

    Because once upon a time all land and water was communally owned, but then, over time, every government and king wanted more funds in the short term (for war or personal enrichment) and decided to sell the land and the water to private interests.
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    Oct 14 2012: Mats, i'm answering hear bud.

    On many levels and aspects of myself i agree with you but when i open my eye's in the morning it's not the current reality, one day we will put aside these things that indenture us and our children, maybe it will be them that get fed up and seek a different path than what we have now, maybe we need to start giving 1% of our weekly food for the house to be given to those who are in need. To give without expectation is in itself a form of currency for the heart.
    • Oct 15 2012: True, but just to play devils advocate, maybe perhaps the aid we give has been detrimental to their evolutionary path as a community. Perhaps, the aid the global world gives to needy is preventing the possible revolutions that could have had already occurred. I remember participating in a debate once, though ages ago, and it was aid vs trade. I don't know. Funny enough, a thought just came to me. Why not fund an army whose goal is to engage these ill-functioning states through politics, trade and if needed militarily? I for one am not satisfied that millions go unfed and all we can do is cater to a small percentage of them. Just had another idea for another Thread... Is it time to go to war?
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    Oct 12 2012: Is it OK if I use your front yard to keep pigs and chickens? If not, how will you stop me from doing it? If you don't "own" your front yard it is up for grabs, jungle rules. If a functioning federal, state, county and city government is in-place you will be able to prove ownership and keep me out. Otherwise it depends on the outcome of the confrontation I will force. Currency and ownership are essentials to civilization. If you want to own or use products, property, and services you must pay for them.
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      Oct 12 2012: Explain more how is what you say related to money. From what you say, money are everything and not the judgment and well being of the people around you. You can pay with money everything ..... evan a loving friend?
      You already made a mind exercise that told us how you see the life if you lose the thing called money........Think about .....
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        Oct 12 2012: If you want to enjoy control and protection of your own property you must own it. If the land on which you live is public property you cannot keep me from raising livestock in "your" front yard because you do not own it. Except by inheritance or some royal decree or land grant it is money that allows you the right to ownership, which in-turn allows you the right of law enforcement, which in-turn allows you to keep me and my pigs and chickens off your property. I do not get your point about loving friends, or about losing the thing called money therefore I cannot respond. Thank you!
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          Oct 12 2012: Than I will point it right from the start by saying you that a true friend will help you in anyway possible maybe until the end also like your family. But if you train an army that make the duty only for money, what they will gonna do when supposedly you can not pay them, they will gonna fight until dead for your society evan they will not be paid? From your point of view a mercenary is stronger than an national army that make this for protecting the nation because they feel this is right for all the families and choose this not for money but for the good sense of protecting their nation.
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    Oct 12 2012: I don't pay to live on earth. I recieve tokens for services provided to others and then use said tokens to acquire services from others. What you should be asking is why do so many people receive tokens without really contributing and I don't just mean those on welfare, a much bigger problem is those that get tokens for providing a service that doesn't really need to be provided. eg Tax accountants, If the taxation system wasn't so rediculously complicated we wouldn't need half the (I'll say IRS for the American audience) to collect the tax and we wouldn't need accountants to try to limit the amount we pay.
  • Oct 16 2012: Asking the same question too. WHY?
    For some reasons now since we are paying for our existence here, maybe then we should make the most out of it. Live well but take part in conserving our planet too. We got only one planet anyway, so we better save it or else. Teach your kids the proper ways. Be guided! Use Maddie & Matt's Happy Earth.
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    Oct 14 2012: Here is a hopeful idea... I'm a bit wary of it, though as it is "shared with us by Goldman Sachs"

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    Oct 13 2012: Ownership does not seem to have much to do with money. First, paying money is just one of multiple ways to acquire ownership rights. Ownership may also be acquired through inheritance, gifts, claim of resources that do not belong to anyone, to say nothing of stealing and violent capture. Second, once the exchange is complete, money does not matter any more. What matters is our ability to enforce the ownership rights. It can be done through physical force - our own, the sheriff's or any other agency or by making resources unavailable to others - fencing, hiding, etc. Ownership only makes sense when our right to use resources is challenged in some way. When there is no need to protect our right to use something, the whole concept loses meaning. As for "intellectual property" - what it means, how to define it or enforce the "ownership rights" and how it is related to money - I don't even want to touch it here.

    I'm not an expert on this, but there seems to be a disconnect between the concept of ownership and necessity of money. Any thoughts?
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      Oct 14 2012: Ownership and money are totally two concepts
      we use money to achieve ownership e.g we spend money on house and then it belongs to me .the company will write our name on the contry .then we have it .

      also i think we can have a ownership of money .like the Forbes ranking says 'who have aproperty of some money .
      • Oct 15 2012: Hi chen. Well I will have a go at linking ownership and money.
        In my earlier post I talked about the 'hunter/gatherer' times when ownership meant
        what you could carry. Anthropologists and historians tell us that it all changed when farming started.
        To do farming you have to 'own' the land, you have to settle and defend the crop, and the seed for next year, and if you are successful and develop a surplus you can then trade/lend/ barter and the whole commerce thing kicks off. From this a 'division of labour' develops and you have the basis of contemporary society. From this stems social systems and hierarchy.
        This is where money comes in. It is the Political leader who determines and controls the currency (first known was in what is now called China). Notice whose name or image was pressed into most of the coins.
        The money was always under State Control and largely used to pay for goods and services to maintain the State and wage war. The peasant was given a coin for the chicken, then, when he wanted a chicken again he exchanged the coin for a chicken (or equivalent).
        This is the connection between State, Money, and ownership.
        Extension 1 :- Tax. The state decided to demand some coins back from the peasants so they could pay the soldiers etc they needed to wage increasingly expensive wars.
        Extension 2 :- Paper money and promissory notes.
        Paper money (known as Fiat money by experts) enables the State to operate in a constant state of Debt (I promise to pay the bearer printed on in the UK)
        Promissory Notes = beginning of stocks and shares - nominally related to Paper money, but this is no longer tied to Gold Reserves or any kind of 'Reality'.
        The theoretical money can be exchanged for goods/services and property, of course, but only whilst the State prevails and survives. State fails and all bets are off !
        Why does the state survive? Vested interest !
        Some of us are doing very nicely thank you very much.
        The above is not the truth but aid to discussion. Enjoy
    • Oct 14 2012: This is one of those cases where it doesn't matter if you pay in dollar bills, bananas or energy credits. What you have is a resource transfer between two parties, or at the very least a transfer of the rights to a certain amount of resources, it's easier to think of it that way than in terms of money (you don't have to think about inflation and exchange rates anymore).
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        Oct 14 2012: Money or other medium of exchange (sometimes) matters for the act of exchange. After I buy something, it does not matter how much I paid or how much money I have to determine my ownership. What matters is whether I can protect and enforce my right to use the resource. Money does not seem to have much to do with this ability. Is there a flaw in this logic?
  • Oct 13 2012: To answer your question, we pay because history dictated that a monetary system was better suited for peace and stability. Contrary to your statement, personal motivation and monetary compensation are not mutually exclusive elements. I can still do favors and charity work but at the same time function within a monetary based system Money as we know it know was the greatest invention of man. It paved the way for the notion of a business transaction that then made corporations possible. Without money, all the advancements in accounting and economics would have not been possible, and globalisation of commerce could not have had happened. Technological advancements were primary due to the power of market demand, corporate competition empowered the middle class, and single handedly take down most social hierarchal systems. It doesn't matter as much if you are mega rich, getting hold of technology allowed you to be connected, allowed access to knowledge and global communication.

    I for one am very proud to be part of a specie that has made it this far. Sure, the systems that exist now are not perfect, but we humans have an amazing track record of breaking records. Another way of answering your question is, we pay because we adhere to a system that allows compensation for service and goods. We adhere to a monetary system because transactions occuring in this system is a lot easier to account for than any other system. It is still the best system for transaction in the corporate level. Certain products and services require massively intricate and complicated systems of human cooperation, where compensation in the form of a monetary value is the only way to maintain accounting. Governments cannot run on favours, i.e. see corruption! Contracts needs numbers or they will always be disputed. Like I said, we can and should do a lot of things just because they are the right thing to do, and I believe that exists in the status quo, what we should move forward to is progress.
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    Oct 13 2012: Perhaps it depends on our individual perception of "pay". We have a "human-made economic system" because we are humans, who apparently needed a way to organize ourselves with this process.

    My perception of the land I "own" on paper, is that I am occupying this space while I am here on earth. I participate in the human created economic system because I am human. If the resources are "already here", as you say, then there is no need to pay to get those resources. I, for example, grow much of my own food on the land I occupy, and many people have that opportunity to "get access to resources we need", as you say. Most people I know in this region grow much of their own food. Many people in this area barter for goods and services....these are choices we can all make as we travel this life experience.

    My perception is not that I "pay" to live on this planet, but rather, I use the economic system that is in place, work with nature, which provides some resources I need (food) and work in harmony with others to obtain services and goods when needed. It is always a choice as to how we use the systems that are in place, which we created as humans:>)
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    Oct 13 2012: Unfortunately Mat.

    It is been with us since the beginning, from shells to credit.
    • Oct 13 2012: It's not unfortunate, far from it really. Nor is greed or self-fishness a flaw but rather a natural challenge that mankind has done amazingly well in. Our monetary system has allowed us to achieve a higher form of cooperation without sacrificing our individuality. Because of money, people have moved towards a form of objective meritocracy. Granted it is not perfect! But at least, it paves way for progress by allowing service and product transactions to be made. Everyone takes the fact that money is the greatest tool of equal opportunities. Greed and selfishness are not human inventions, any living thing that takes up space in this world is territorial and programmed to fight for survival. Property law, money, economic systems are our answers that fight. What is fairness? What is a fair price? Would you rather have a world where the brutes and the self-proclaimed divine representatives answer those for you, where terrorism is rampant, where you could work for the rest of your life just to pay of the debt of protection from death? Read our history, we have never been as free as we are now. First humans? They were running scared for their lives from predators, scavenging and very much ruled by their instincts. I give credit where it is due! We as a collective specie deserve a pat on the back.
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        Oct 13 2012: EDIT

        In many ways what you just posted is close to what my post was suppose to convey but i prefer what you just said Ronald.
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      Oct 14 2012: The first people didn't buy goods from other people with shells. They used barter. Barter is the exchange of personal possessions of value for other goods that you want. But we have seen cases, historically, that in places where abundance was present, people didn't even bother to barter because there was access of everything to everyone. So, the argument that a medium of exchange has always been with us throughout history and is therefore a natural way of human interaction is a fallacy.
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        Oct 14 2012: Yes i agree but my people did though it wasn't shells and the ancestors of my people used shell necklaces to trade for services rendered, samething, there was an agreement then exchange, there is always an agreement.
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          Oct 14 2012: "there is always an agreement."

          Sure, you're absolutely right. I was just indirectly extrapolating, which I often tend to do. I also want people to think critically about established systems and the notion of what's right, hence starting this conversation.
  • Oct 13 2012: To me the basic answer is because our social system or culture compared to the history of the planet, is still in the very early stages. Thru the scientific method huge advances are made in many, many fields that affect our daily lives. Yet our collective ideologies on economy and governance are quite old and some would say quite outdated. The power structure is maintained thru the monetary system, of that there shouldn't be much doubt. Search YouTube for "The Secret of Oz", winner of best documentary of 2010 for a powerful visual. To put it simply, we are born into a world culture of consumption and competition. Profit rules the day not community, and that profit over the years has been used to influence the entire system from direct political influence, to media, to education ... this dogma of profit & ownership permeates most if not all aspects of the global culture, to the point where many have been lead to believe it is "human nature". We have to pay to live on this planet we were born onto, because it benefits some of the population (which some in the past have called their 'divine right'), and using those benefits, they have established a system of indoctrination so powerful, even those who receive a sliver of the benefits are champions of the system.
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      Oct 13 2012: ha yes, i forgot that there are other economic illiterates making movies than the zeitgeist guys. the secret of oz is different, but equally bad.
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    Oct 13 2012: Hello Mats,

    Childish or not, it is indeed a valid question.

    It reminded me of a conversation we had here on TED some time ago. Here goes a link in case you are interested in taking a look, maybe some of the answers overlap with the ones here?


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      Oct 14 2012: Hi Andres,

      Thank you for the link. I will look into the conversation. It raises some interesting questions about property that I'll look forward to read about.

  • Oct 13 2012: So what are "Earths natural laws" ?
    We were once all nomadic 'hunter-gathers' - hunting and gathering and no doubt sometimes stealing what other groups had hunted and gathered.
    The Old Testament is full of tribes warring and enslaving each other....is this what you propose ?
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      Oct 14 2012: "So what are "Earths natural laws" ?"

      Simply put, the laws of nature and the boundaries that comes with that.

      "We were once all nomadic 'hunter-gathers' - hunting and gathering and no doubt sometimes stealing what other groups had hunted and gathered.
      The Old Testament is full of tribes warring and enslaving each other....is this what you propose ?"

      I would not propose reverting back to a hunting and gathering society at all, but instead utilize technology to create abundance for all, eliminating the need for money. We have abundance of resources, but we need technology to distribute it to everybody.

      What about you? What would you propose?
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    Oct 12 2012: Greed & selfishness. If everyone was prepared to put the needs of others before their own there would be no requirement for anyone to pay for anything. Don't hold your breath.

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    Oct 12 2012: Hi Mats,

    IT all depends on your understanding of the word "pay".
    Consider - if you want fruit from a tree, you must pay the effort of picking it.
    After eating it, you must pay the earth with your excretion.
    Certainly, if all required for our needs were in abundance, then there would be no need for money.
    But in times of scarcity, - when there are not enough beans for all, then the beans get counted.
    And when the beans are not enough to sustain all, then some will die so that some will live.
    Then, what of the one who hides the beans to make them scarce?
    This is the flaw of money. Do not pay the hoarder - rob him.
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      Oct 12 2012: Good and if you have to chose to help someone that is grown up and has his/her opinions and ideas and maybe can help the society or marginalise him/her just to not brake something or disturb in some way. And if you try to slowly "get down" someone and that persons is the "fruit" of a love story, you gonna kill the life until you gonna kill yourself? Do you have limits and if you do not have, in what direction they point? ...or should i say they go ....
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        Oct 13 2012: Iulian,
        I, Mitch SMith have limits.
        Some of them I chose, some were thust upon me.
        And they change in each instant according to the best path forward.

        Please expand on your arguement - I have said nothing about killing? You seem to have something to say - I'd like to understand you, but your language is not well defined. Try - subject-->verb--> object. We have 2000 characters in these posts, so your language can be more specific.
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          Oct 13 2012: If you do not take actions in helping a hungry person and you can and have the possibility to do it, is like you participate silently in the slowly killing of that person. Maybe now you understand me. Your theory with beans does not sustain the human spiritual evolution of this days and the consciousness of human kind so when you get more than you need from nature or the others is like you do not think to that people that are doing this and have limits just to let the others have also. That person that has more than another one and is in the same level of evolution, is one that robbed the others because evolution theory say that the strongest one is the one that is more evolved and is not about money here. Money are not coming from nature so they are not take into account in front of God. Remember that we are equal in front of God but spiritually and nothing in this world can determine us to not come closer to God, especially this days when there are so many possibilities.
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        Oct 13 2012: OK - I see where you are coming from.
        But to me, the words "spirituality" and God" are without meaning. They might mean something to you, but have no basis of communication - in the context of communication they are noise because there is no definition to share.
        I am sure you know what you are saying, but these words ("god/spirituality") actively prevent anyone from being able to share your understanding. Perhaps you can find alternative words?
        In times of scarcity - some die. I cannot see any way around that. It would be silly for all to die if there is food for some.
        One needs not be the strongest to win such a competition - one needs only be stronger than the weakest.
        If the weak ones do not starve, they will become food for the predators.
        But now - show me this scarcity?
        You show me where it is, and I will show where someone is hiding the beans.
        If the miser is strong, the robber must be stronger.
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          Oct 13 2012: Have you thought that this crisis can be intentionally made in this technologically evolved days where money are more and more informational manipulated. Is wrong for you to relate directly money with food and scarcity with die or live if this scarcity is human made. It is not nature that is in crisis is the human kind in crisis and this is because some bad persons intentionally are doing this. So the scarcity is in that people that use this tool called money in a bad intentioned way and not just to buy how much they need. This is what is happening because is like they take decisions for human kind and forgot how is not to have this tools.
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        Oct 13 2012: Yes, I agree with that, except - if there is scarcity, some will die. There is no escape from that.
        If, however, there is scarcity because some are hiding the food, then it is injustice - death will be caused by the thief of food.
        If we accept money as our token of trade - it will move the food with it.
        But look - you cannot counterfeit food - it is either food or not.
        If you hide it, it will decay.
        Money is not food, and yet, we let it stand between us and our food.
        In this we consent to our hunger.
        We should stop doing that.
        Pay unto Caesar? Well - is Caesar worth paying? If not, abandon his coin.
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          Oct 13 2012: Have you thought that scarcity is related to human actions and not to how many we are in this world? Suppose we are like animals but more conscious. Do you think that nature will let us come into this world if there are no more resources to live. If you see the mother nature like a whole and is alive you see around you, do you think that will permit us to come in this world if the life can not be sustained. My opinion is that a lot of us humans have lost the sense of limit in their needs and is because there is a forced (not natural) competition in "tastes" so to say and this is related to money not to good sense. Think about .......
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        Oct 13 2012: Hi Iulian,
        Yes - I see scarcity as the action of bean-hiders.
        Where i live there is no scarcity at all.
        However, I do see the earth being ripped up and made toxic.
        I do not live in a place where people do not have enough food.
        And yet, i am told these places exist.
        I do remember when my family did not have enough food for a short time, but i remember how the community made sure that we got enough - as soon as they knew we were in need.
        I do not believe in "mother nature" as most people do. I believe in observable dynamics.
        I observe that the universe and all that is observable to our weak eyes is a continuum of "self" from the particles to the atoms, to the viruses, the bacteria, the animals and these apes called humans.
        In fact - anything that is a pattern that self-sustains has a self.
        I observe that selves exist only in relation to other selves.
        I observe that self organising entities seek to join with others at different degrees of symbiosis.
        I observe the birth of greater selves with each new union through symbiosis.
        I observe that nothing is whithout change and that the expansion of entropy drives the arabesque dance of self along an infinite fractal plane of time-space generating more and more complexity with more and more self-ness and greater spans of entropic modulation both forwads and backwards in the time vector itself.
        We fool ourselves that we are made, and yet we are nothing but the process of making, and will never be made. We fool ourselves that history repeats, and yet it cannot. We fool ourselves that by looking back we will find all answers, but there are no answers in the wreckage of entropy - only in the forward fractal dance of time.
        The old ones talk of the great wheel, but when you look at it - it is an expanding spiral - and it is chaos - the coils can be close as 1/infinity, and yet, the deviation cannot be known.
        Maya rides the storm - but the storm is time - and maya will never catch it.
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          Oct 13 2012: Is good to know that you have a good live environment and you can be satisfied and also that you can contribute to the growth of your nation and you help each other like this. Is not good from my point of view to forget where you come from and who made you reach that land Australia. I do not want to contradict you about your beliefs but you gonna grow older and just think how your children will talk about your beliefs and how they will remember you. They will remember fractals and atoms and viruses. You want like other people in the past to find a meaning of life and if you gain power maybe you want to demonstrate it to yourself or the others if they do not have same capacity with you and so on you will be like many others with no diversity and lost in the science. If you think you know so much where will gonna be the joy of living if you demonstrate something to yourself and after that you will not be happy until you make all others believe in what you say. Let me be a fool one and maybe I will be happy in my foulness but do not expect to understand you in your grate (or great ) discoveries when you will not evan remember who you are and where are you from. Think about ......
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        Oct 14 2012: Hi Iiulian,
        Yes thought about ...
        I am not so interested in finding any meaning of life - what good is that?
        I am curious about what makes things happen. There is joy in that.
        My children will remember my descriptions - viruses, fractals etc - but not so much. They will remember most how I love them, how i listen to them, how i answered their questions with truth and how i stepped aside for them to find their own truth. They will remember how i did not inflict them with the lies of my fathers. And then they will forget all that - it's not important to remember - only to act in truth.
        What use is power to me? What use is power but to force lies on children?
        Lost? I think not my friend.
        It matters not if you accept my beliefs, or I accept yours - it only matters to share them.
        It matters to compare beliefs and be willing to listen.
        I know who I am. I know where I came from.
        It is my joy that there are others.
        It is a joy that I meet them - as i meet you now.
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          Oct 14 2012: I do not share your opinion about lies of your fathers, you just made their words lies and is also yours a lie maybe later in front of your grown children. Maybe is the same belief and you should respect that "lie" also as you step aside of the "lie" of your childrens and maybe later you will step down of your "lie" and you will think is the same belief but with other words and for sure for this becouse of contradictions and missunderstanding you made harm to your parents. I have this feeling that you have to escuse to them if you can ...
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        Oct 14 2012: Hi Iulian,

        You do not have to agree. You also do not know my father.
        You talk in vacuum and have ears closed.

        It has been fun - but no value past this.

        Fare well friend.
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          Oct 14 2012: Yea we deviated from the subject of discussion but is important to not forget our past and respect our anchestor as they wanted to make a better future for all. We change and lose, as they have done, the things that made harm to them at least they tried an we try.

          so long friend :)
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      Oct 12 2012: Hi Arkady,
      Steve Pinker identifies 3 modes of human interaction:
      Dominance, reciprocity and communality.
      Money is very good at regulating reciprocity.
      It is hopeless at regulating dominance and communality.
      In fact, the term "dominance" is not well fitted to humans. I would suggest that the true term in humans is "leadership" because it assumes that responsibility goes before power - dominance assumes force of violence with no responsibility.
      The trick of a "natural": curency is to exclude bean-counting from leadership and communality.
      This might be done by having a different value exchange system for each.
      As it stands, the circulation of money in the realms of leadership and communality lead to concentrations of power and wealth respectively.
      If money were confined exclusively to direct inter-personal reciprocation, it would work extremely well.
      Anything deemed to be community capital would require voluntary labour and materails donation from the community. Leadership would, likewise be supported by voluntary donation to the leader.
      For such a system to exist, it would take a fundamental shift of custom.
      It's not impossible - communality was supported by voluntary contribution in the past - teh trick is to bring it to a scale that retains the larger communities we inhabit at present. Either that, or downscale the size of cities.
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        Oct 13 2012: Thanks for a great comment. I deleted my original post, because it felt like preaching. I did not like it. But your comment is what I love to read in forums. One correction - the model of human interactions based on dominance, reciprocity, and communality belongs to Alan Fiske. Steve Pinker uses it for language studies. I enjoyed this video very much: http://youtu.be/3-son3EJTrU

        I wouldn't say, "dominance" is not fitted for humans. "Dominance" and "leadership" are different things. Leadership is based on voluntary submission, dominance seems to imply involuntary submission. Both have place in human relationships. You cannot get rid of dominance altogether in a cop-criminal situation, for example.

        I have to digest how this model relates to money and how to exclude money from dominance relationships, e.g. employer-employee relationship (they seem to be excluded from communality already).

        However, economy based on voluntary contribution is, definitely, a good idea. I have some experience volunteering and it feels good compared to employment on multiple levels: a) they will never lay you off; b) there is a sense of personal responsibility that boosts the quality of work - nobody compels me to do the work, so I do my best just out of respect to myself. Compulsory communal services and contributions, however, usually, do not work. E.g. Soviet economy, social security, and many others.
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          Oct 13 2012: Hi Arkady, seems we are on the same page with a lot of things.
          As you have observed, for anyone who has not experienced voluntary community, it is difficult to imagine the difference!

          I will add that the practice of adversarial systems in government and law comes from the Greeks - the concept is primative.
          It is true that dominance was the most effective method for assembling a nation of strangers. Humans have the capacity for more sophistication than that.
          I, like the Greeks, observe behaviour in animals - I observe their harmony, and I observe their bloody fights. But, unlike the Greeks, I do not presume to be the same species as cattle, birds, snakes or lions.
          This is where I suggest the shift in custom - the reliance on the primative adversarial system was convenient - it might now be obsolete.

          Also - thank you for the correction - it's great to get insight into the origin of ideas!
          I will now look closer at Alan Fiske - we are blessed by giants, but it is hard to discern the difference between a giant and a dwarf who has climbed on the shoulders of a giant ;)
          I have seen Pinker's disertation a few times - always good to see it again!.
          I regard him as a giant building on the works of giants - he seems to know how to discern.

          (Edit: "cops" are a fairly recent invention. The dichotemy is entirely artificial - both cops and criminals are defined by laws - the adversarial nature of those laws induces the polarity. The continuum is only complete when you add the farmer and the sheep. It then becomes farmer/sheep/wolf/sheepdog - the farmer makes the laws. The fiction upon which those laws are based is the assumption that the farmer "owns" the farm. A strong wolf has no fear of the farmer because he can jump the fences easily - he has no fear of the sheepdogs, because they are just wolves pretending to work for the farmer - both dogs and wolves eat sheep. A farmer can only own anything by dividing all to a weaker state than himself.)
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    Oct 12 2012: My employer provides free lunches and has a kitchen full of snacks available at all time. I gained 20 Lb in a couple of months of working there. I had to consciously cut back to get in shape again. I don't think of myself as a greedy person.

    Money aren't evil. It's how we use it. There is spiritual side to money. I wish, we had to pay a quarter or a dime for these lunches or snacks. The process of getting money out of my pocket (or anticipation of it) gives me time to think "do I really need this stuff?" When stuff is free, we just stretch our hand and put it in our mouth.
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      Oct 12 2012: money are evil becouse for some people and the perception of a lot of people represents a tool to control and if you for a reason do something that is not well saw for a group that control that tool you will be marginalized in the way that how much "power" that tool has, like when you have a gun and point to someone but the gun is with water , bulets, laser, waves and so on and the question is: Do you think that if this "tool" is in the wrong hands we gonna survive ? or we will obey and evan die until the last one. I chosed to not obey and now I can not find a job and I am not accepted to work from about 3 years. And I ask you another question, do you thnk if I worked and I grow up well and for the simple reason that i have my opinions I should be pointed with the "tool" and be slowly marginalised. Tell me , you gonna be like me or you will get lost. Did i scared you and did I remembered you maybe about KKK but with other "subjects" to point to and is not the conspiracy theory, Is something happening to me now and is already in practice.
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        Oct 12 2012: Iulian, thanks for your reply. You taught me a few things. 1) You show how insensitive my post was and how easy it is to hurt people with our opinions, even if we don't mean it. I'm sorry. 2) You show that most things around us represent something else in our minds. E.g., money are physically just pieces of paper or metal, but they are also a medium of exchange and can symbolize power, control, can be a tool of oppression, or charity. In reality, money are just pieces of paper. Those other things are in our minds. What you call "evil" is in our minds, it's not a property of the money.

        Guns can be a tool of violence, power, and control. Guns can also be a tool of preventing violence and aggression or can be used for sports and recreation. Same things can even be said about sex. It can be a source of joy and expression of love or it can be a tool to enslave and oppress other people.

        Of course, it is wrong to point at you with "tools", guns or money, because of your opinions. What I mean is that the "evil" is not the tool. The "evil" is in the ideas, intentions, and attitudes that make people do these things. I even refuse to say that the people who do that are "evil", because, from my experience, very few people control their own beliefs.
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      Oct 12 2012: This is happening also because of the money and the way you feed yourself every day by going to market and buy things and you forgot that how is to feed from nature by going and pick how much you need. I can tell you a joke now that you are not better than an wolf at this point or any other animal on the planet :). And I suggest you to be more close to the nature and to imagine how you can live there without technology like some russians are doing now and also some spanish people and more are doing this and they feel grate as I saw. Think about ....
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        Oct 12 2012: I'm not sure if I'm ready to move into the wilderness with my family yet. There is always a trade-off between comfort, security, and freedom. Our internal struggles are at the core of our life. E.g., when we decide whether to start our own business or to work for an employer, we make a choice between freedom and security also. We trade even with ourselves. What currency should we use for these kinds of trade-offs? Why do we have to trade with ourselves? Isn't it even more absurd than to trade with each other? We can get rid of money and go back to natural economy, but these internal trade-offs will haunt us forever. That's what concerns me more than the OP question.
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          Oct 13 2012: When you go from one system to another is like you give a chance to someone to chose the way that like more and some are doing this by example some are doing this by consciousness some are doing for pleasure ... etc. So if we come back to natural way we can be closer to the roots of our existence but with just the tools that we really need so the other tools are just something that we can give to others that do not have and need them. If you are going to need just your clothes or just your "skin" means something about your evolution. :)
  • Oct 11 2012: Greed. It is easier to destroy than to build. Even if all we've got are a few greedy men, the impact of their wrong choices would still be significant. Now if the shepherd is depraved, where would he or she lead the flock?
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    Oct 11 2012: i want you to think about such issues, but in vain so far.

    mankind can live natural life, as it did, 100 thousand years ago. it means 30 years life expectancy, 20% child survival, famines, aggression and struggle.

    civilization makes possible to have these conversations from a warm room, eating chips or whatever. we need to allocate time to activities. we have limited time, which increases with technology (the trick is that machines take some of the tasks, this appears as extra work time). but whatever happens, time has to be scheduled. decisions have to be made about what we do. that is the price. the price of one hour of fishing is the one hour of anything else we could do instead. we divide labor. we exchange work hours with each other, so we can do what we do best, and let others do the other stuff. exchange is a way to enhance our wellbeing. but rates have to be negotiated. that is, again, price. that is why we need to pay.

    these concepts are not new. these concepts are 100-200-300 years old. so i must correct myself. i don't want you to think. first i want you to learn. learn the material at hand, because there is no reason to reinvent the wheel.
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      Oct 11 2012: what you said are all right .

      while do you like to be locked in a room and always sit in front of the computer and watch the screen all day long .i thnk at least it is not healthy for us and for our develop,you know one of our,inherent quality is to enbrace nature .it is far away with the road that we should develop to .there is a experiment that people who live with a nature way is mmuch better for their health and can live a long life ,
      those who live a life full of walls and man-made things like tv and some other ,facilities .dont have a healthy mental .

      so i said we should reconsider how to develop ?
      with the civilization .we got stuck .we can not eat well and ,frequently we got sick .and our physique is decreasing ,it brings us many problem .i didnt say that we should develop with the civilization .i say we should reconsider how to develop .should we reduce our working time and do more exercise ,should we have a better invironment and live the nature .maybe we are too wild about civilization and regard of our nature .there need a balance between it

      looking forward to a better society ,
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        Oct 11 2012: trekking is not nature. sitting on a park bench is not nature. safari in africa is not nature. working out is not nature. flowers in the room is not nature. eating "bio" or "organic" is not nature. growing food in a plastic container, in a hydroponic system, using sodium lamps is not nature.

        nature is hunting, and being hunted. nature is dying from disease. nature is eating edible grass instead of wheat. nature is enduring the cold, and hoping the spring to come before we run out of stored food.

        and again, this has NOTHING to do with whether we pay or not. you pay for more "natural" ways as well. often you pay more.
    • Oct 12 2012: "i want you to think about such issues, but in vain so far.

      mankind can live natural life, as it did, 100 thousand years ago. it means 30 years life expectancy, 20% child survival, famines, aggression and struggle."

      Care to explain why communal ownership of land would be incompatible with "civilization"? Also, the only things keeping living standards higher than the prehistoric standard (or the standard from the advent of agriculture up until the 19th century, which was worse than the prehistoric one) are hygiene, food, water and environmental standards and modern medicine. This is why it's a crime against humanity to not have affordable health care for all (even the unemployed) orregulatory standards and why libertarianism is so f-ing evil.
      • Oct 12 2012: 'Care to explain why communal ownership of land would be incompatible with "civilization"? '
        It has been tried. Several times. Failed each time. Civilization comes about with specialization of task -- pot maker, farmer, trapper, etc. People decide on exchange rates for their goods and services. People who are better at their specialization get to trade in larger volumes, and are compensated more. This competition motivates people to improve themselves. Everyone wants certain resources, but acquiring most of them requires time and energy. (Why do you think no one pays for air?) So, the people who can afford it get to have more of it.

        "it's a crime against humanity to not have affordable health care for all"
        If wishes were horses...

        "and why libertarianism is so f-ing evil"
        Guess who is riding the aforementioned horses!
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        Oct 12 2012: because it is incompatible with reality. communal ownership leads to no progress and degradation.

        hygiene, food, medicine and such things are fruits of civilization, not its enablers.
        • Oct 12 2012: "It has been tried. Several times. Failed each time. Civilization comes about with specialization of task -- pot maker, farmer, trapper, etc. People decide on exchange rates for their goods and services. People who are better at their specialization get to trade in larger volumes, and are compensated more. This competition motivates people to improve themselves."

          What does ownership of land have to do with this? Does renting instead of owning land prevent you from being a good carpenter, scientist or entrepeneur?

          "(Why do you think no one pays for air?)"

          Isn't that something I should be asking you, not the other way around?

          The world is fine with communal ownership of air, so why would it be any different with communal ownership of land and water (most of the oceans are actually communally owned, and so is a portion of the land)?

          "because it is incompatible with reality. communal ownership leads to no progress and degradation."

          You mean some people are better at owning land than others? That there is land v 2.0 that's better than land v1.0, that water gets periodic upgrades depending on the owner? Tell me where I can find the factories that produce better land and water for me to buy...

          "hygiene, food, medicine and such things are fruits of civilization, not its enablers."

          No one was starving before "civilization" came along, agriculture just allows a higher population density (but the food will be less diverse /of lower quality which, has to be compensated for with modern medicine).

          My main point was that a civilization that does not grant all of its citizens health care is worse than a prehistoric society, it's basically no different from an alien race landing on Earth in 10.000 b.c. and using humans as slaves: the humans get all the stress and work requirements of a civilization but not the increased standard of living.
      • Oct 12 2012: "Isn't that something I should be asking you, not the other way around?"
        My answer to the question was right there, in the previous sentence; that's why I added that question. Resource! Wikipedia: "Resources have three main characteristics: utility, limited availability, and potential for depletion or consumption."
        Air (at least on the surface) is practically unlimited, and easy to acquire. So it is not even considered as a resource in most uses.

        "Does renting instead of owning land prevent you from being a good carpenter, scientist or entrepeneur?"
        Though I have worked mostly for huge multinationals, the buildings I worked in were not owned, but rented, by the companies I worked for. Rented from whom? Why did its ownership have to be private? Answer: Land is a very limited resource.

        "The world is fine with communal ownership of air"
        Air is not communally owned. Air does not have an owner. For something to be communally owned, some people have to get together and declare themselves to be a community, and that community has to claim ownership of it. One does not claim ownership by just declaring "this land now belongs to the people of Burma". If it were that easy, all the planets, their moons, and stars would have been "claimed" by many communities already. To claim ownership, one has to utilize a resource and/or also protect against other people claiming ownership of the same resource.

        "You mean some people are better at owning land than others?"
        Most certainly! Different bits of land are associated with their own resources too. That makes one bit of land unsuitable for one task, and optimal for another task.
        • Oct 13 2012: "Why did its ownership have to be private? Answer: Land is a very limited resource."

          How does it follow that limited resources have to be in private hands? What would change for your multinationals if they rented from the government instead of a real-estate investment fund? By communal ownership I mean that the land is owned by the government and the rent money businesses and people pay for it is distributed among the citizens, either through a social dividend or some progressive structure. There would still be a free market for land because people would just bid for renting rights, just as they would if the land was owned by real estate companies.
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        Oct 12 2012: "You mean some people are better at owning land than others?"

        exactly. some people can make more out of the same land. nobody really knows what to do with a piece of property. we need to try and look. that is the trial and error of the market place. error is a necessary feedback. this is absent in communal ownership.

        "No one was starving before "civilization" came along,"

        many was starving from time to time. hunger was a natural part of life for many millennia. civilization gradually reduced it to a moderate degree of malnutrition and occasional famines, and later eliminated hunger altogether. it was a long process.

        "My main point was that a civilization that does not grant all of its citizens health care is worse than a prehistoric society"

        it is a personal preference, but probably you have that opinion only because you have never tried a prehistoric society. my personal preference is that whatever good something would be or we imagine would be does not justify forcing it onto those that does not want it. community health care is good as long as everyone agrees to it.
        • Oct 13 2012: "exactly. some people can make more out of the same land. nobody really knows what to do with a piece of property. we need to try and look. that is the trial and error of the market place. error is a necessary feedback. this is absent in communal ownership."

          Everything you mention here is about development of the land, not ownership of the land. If all land was owned by the government and businesses could bid for renting rights on a land exchange you'd get the exact same free market for development, except the rent money would be divided across all citizens instead of a handful of real-estate moguls who never developed land to begin with.

          "civilization gradually reduced it to a moderate degree of malnutrition and occasional famines, and later eliminated hunger altogether. it was a long process."

          Hunter-gatherers had to work less to get better nutrition, better life adult life expectancy, more freedom and less epidemics than in any civilization after them, except modern welfare states. Furthermore people never knew modern medicine would be invented and it still isn't available to all. Sedentary civilization wasn't motivated by noble efforts to improve living standards, the real motivation was this: 1000 overworked vitamin defficient diabetics with bad hearts would still overpower 100 fit hunter gatherers in combat, assuring more booty (both literal and figurative) for the chiefs and priests who led their tribes to a sedentary lifestyle.

          "community health care is good as long as everyone agrees to it."

          Bankers and executives making obscene amounts of money and subsequently claiming a disproportionate share of resources, is good as long as everyone agrees to it... But I'll be sure to notify all the viruses and harmful bacteria out there and ask them to please only choose victims in such a way that those with communal health care don'y end up paying for the scroungers anyway (google herd immunity).
      • Oct 13 2012: "How does it follow that limited resources have to be in private hands?"
        Krisztián and I already covered that part. 1. Bit of land can be very different from each other. 2. It takes smarts to figure out good uses for bits of land. 3. Relative success and failures are a good indicator of whether or not a bit of land is being used in a relatively optimal way, and that acts as feedback for what works and what doesn't. I'll add a few more points. 4. Government departments are very bad at handling failure -- look at what they did to GM and all these Big Money companies. 5. Government departments are just happy to "get by" -- as long as there is no crisis at hand, they tend to do nothing. (Read Akio Morita's "Made in Japan", especially the bits of what he saw in USSR.). 6. Governments easily fall into corruption and nepotism. (I can add a few more points if you still have questions.)

        "Everything you mention here is about development of the land, not ownership of the land."
        If people own something, they take good care of it. Look at forestry. If corporations can OWN a bit of forest for logging, they make sure that their investment (money or effort) remains like the goose that lays the golden eggs. If they can't own it, they milk the resource dry, and then go to the government, begging for new resources to exploit.

        "Hunter-gatherers had to work less to get better nutrition, better life adult life expectancy"
        This is completely untrue. Care to provide citations to real research?

        Yes and no... epidemics spread fastest in dense populations.

        Sorry... I have to go now.
        • Oct 13 2012: "etc... Government departments are just happy to "get by" -- as long as there is no crisis at hand, they tend to do nothing. etc..."

          The government doesn't have to concern itself with the details: they lease the land to the highest bidder who has to develop the land himself.

          "If people own something, they take good care of it. Look at forestry. If corporations can OWN a bit of forest for logging, they make sure that their investment (money or effort) remains like the goose that lays the golden eggs. If they can't own it, they milk the resource dry, and then go to the government, begging for new resources to exploit."

          This would actually be a good argument, if it were true... Most logging and mining companies don't own the land they work on and never have, the few that do aren't better stewards than the rest. Also, with private ownership it's very attractive to flatten everything to sell it to a developer or engage in real estate speculation, both very harmful practices.

          "This is completely untrue. Care to provide citations to real research?"

          You can start here, and it's not some hypothetical, it's srill true of hunter-gatherer societies today http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_affluent_society

          Would I give up my life for that of a hunter-gatherer? No, but that's only because I live in a 21st century Northern European welfare state where I get to share in the riches of my society (including modern medicine). If I were a drone in the Romney/Ryan state-ideal in the near future or just any peasant/worker living in any agricultural society between 8000 b.c. and 1920, I would be worse off than a hunter-gatherer.
      • Oct 14 2012: Leasing to the highest bidder is quite capitalistic! How is this supposed to solve anything for you? Leasing transfers rights to the lessee for a limited period of time. Of course, if the non-performing lessee employs enough people, it can always cry "think of all the people who will go jobless, if you ask us to shut down and return the land". Practically all existing governments fall for this. Anyway, this goes against the idea of communal properties too. Communal work environments lead exactly to the heavily unionized fields in the US, like in GM or the teachers' unions, etc.

        I'll find a research paper on reforestation later. In the mean time, http://www.garretthardinsociety.org/articles/art_tragedy_of_the_commons.html.

        About hunter-gatherer societies: it is quite likely that they ate a larger variety of foods than people in industrialized societies. Industrial societies had to discover the importance of micronutrients like minerals and vitamins through science. With hunter-gathers it was there by default. However, 1. that lifestyle cannot sustain the population of 7 billion that we have now. and 2. modern industrial societies have better life-expectancies http://condensedscience.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/life-expectancy-in-hunter-gatherers-and-other-groups/. Also refer to the PDF that this article links to. Sahlins' work about two such tribes does seem to indicate they had to work less. But then how much do we have to work if all that it takes to keep us happy is food? Another way of looking at it: What is your current income, and how much of that goes to just feeding you? Exclude the cost of "luxury" feeding, like at restaurants and bars.

        You just LOVE Straw Man arguments, don't you? Please tell me the difference between a Romney drone and an Obama drone. They both seem the same to me. And these 'drones' live longer than hunter-gatherers too.
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    Oct 11 2012: i think you mention agood question .why do we must pay to live on theplanet we sre born on
    why must we live with money .
    ans should go back to the original life ,juat as animans when we are hungry we hunt and when we are hot we just jump into the river and have a bath ,i think that is a question needed to be disscuss ,
    what it brings us with the civilization.did we live a much happinees life ,and you know with the developmen of the society .we human beings burden a huge pressure and .many even killed themself .and how can we live a lifetowards a better direction ,and reduce the pain of our mental health ,
    many times i think of the scenes that i am hunting with seveal people and we dance around the fire and we eat the big piece of meat .wouldn't that be much more happier?

    it is time for us to reconsider what it brings us with the civilization.how can we develope into the right diretion.