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Johnny Mac

Role? Who defines that?, I need to get organized.

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Does "Liberty" mean the pursuit of one's self interest?

Explanation: Liberty in economic terms. By seeking one's own gain, they make gains for everybody. The economy is a mechanism for transforming private gain into public benefit. Each person is a cog in this machine.
Or are all social systems built on the proper understanding of the human person...This person I the source and end of all social and economic value. Which is it? or do you think it is something else?


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    Dec 23 2013: Is private gain and public benefit a zero-sum game?
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      Dec 23 2013: that question should not be so hard. i don't remember seeing smartphones around when i was a kid.
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        Dec 23 2013: No.It's a non-zero sum,meaning its possible that pursuing private gain also contributes to the public benefits.What do you think?
        • Dec 23 2013: Clearly there is no correlation between private loss/gain and public loss/gain.
          And so it is possible to have situations of private gain/ public loss (i.e. patents), and private loss/ public gain (i.e. parking tickets).
          I don't think this is news.
      • Dec 25 2013: I also don't remember seeing a generation of obese kids dramatically unfit compared to their previous generation. Just because the communications revolution went too far, what makes that a gain, and who is capable of defining what is gain and what is not?
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          Dec 25 2013: yeah, kids these days don't practice the art of archery and sword wielding, horse riding, poetry and playing the lute. they don't know a thing.
      • Dec 25 2013: Your attempt at sarcasm is embarrassing. The point to be understood is that what you call a gain (smartphones) is not a gain (obesity), depending on how things are being assessed. In light of obesity, lute playing, fencing, horse riding, and football would all be gains. If smartphones are preventing children from doing these things, as you suggest, then smartphones are a national disaster. Likewise, liberty is not necessarily the pursuit of self interest (eg: obesity)
        • Dec 26 2013: Hey Frank obesity is actually a gain .-) resulting from a pursuit of self indulgence into goods one likes to eat!

          On a more serious note, I agree with you that what some call a gain may not be considered a gain and in fact be a determent to what one ought to seek and cultivate. I would also like to point out that the stuff isn't preventing children from choosing to do certain stuff... it is children who choose to spend their time on this stuff rather than that stuff which 'prevents' children from that stuff while glued to this stuff! In other words the possibility isn't what makes it a reality it is choosing the possibility that makes it into a reality... we better choose what to consume and allow into our existence!
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          Dec 26 2013: it was not an attempt, it was a glaring success at sarcasm. my next attempt is at mockery: obesity is gain, in the most literal sense.

          just to restore the balance of values, try to go to rural india, and warn people about this "danger" of using smartphones. then RUN!

          obesity is best combated by knowledge about nutrition and healthy lifestyle. this knowledge is best distributed on smartphones.
      • Dec 27 2013: My local bar has a sign "NO WIFI, get drunk and talk with your friends",

        smartphones, as enabling as they are, are also a generator of estrangement and a constant work-related or social network stream of pings which disables your ability to introspect, constant mail/forum/facebook/etc checking is supposed to generate a short term memory impairment similar to smoking marijuana, using a GPS physically shrinks your hypothalamus, blue-ish glow of the screen sends "its daytime" signals into your brain and impair your sleep cycles, etc

        you could say smartphones themselves might be a zero sum game because we lost a couple of things along the way when we accepted the good stuff they brought (though I wouldn't blame obesity on them, this part has more to do what you eat then how much facebook you do in a day)
      • Dec 27 2013: Clearly we are Kriszt :)

        doomed into being monitored, semi-retarded and believing in goblins and gods and whatnot as long as there's no social responsibility for application of commercial innovation.

        I'm certain there's a way to market smartphones as utility devices, something that can help you find your way when lost, something with which you can check your mail or do an internet search in pinch etc,

        thing is, its just not done this way. It's Big Data meets 1984 + other (intended and unintended) consequences
    • Dec 23 2013: Amily,

      private gain and public benefit can be zero-sum games, just as they each and together can be win-win games and other possibilities. As you said 'its possible that pursuing private gain also contributes to the public benefits', of course its also possible that pursuing public benefit also contributes to the private gain and other possibilities... Its even possible for the pursuit of one's self interests to involve the pursuit of other's self interests as the two merge into a singular pursuit of interests... Do note that here 'one's' and 'other's' may refer to:
      - the individual and the collective
      - the collective and the individual
      - the individual and the individual
      - the collective and the collective...

      To frame it a bit differently "when God's will is for one to be happy and one will is to for one to be happy then is seeking to be happy doing: A) one's will B) God's will C) one's will AND God's will D) one's will OR God's will E) all of them.

      It's actually possible for the pursuit of one's self interests to involve the pursuit of other's self interests as the two merge into a singular pursuit of interests... beneficial to each and all...
    • Dec 24 2013: Let me put it this way. We should, and have already done the rule of private activity for the individual gain does not seriously or disproportionally violate the public safety or environmental damage, then it should be permitted, otherwise it should be illegal or criminalized if it is knowingly carried out. I don't think that every kind of individual activity and public interest is strictly a zero sum game. Also, even when some charity or political gesture-work by certain individuals is just to buy votes to achieve certain political gains are not a zero sum game either.
      In summary, the relationship of personal and public gain or loss is rarely exactly equal, or not even approximately equal at all.
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      Dec 24 2013: Rather than private gain vs. public benefit, consider individual gain vs. common gain, and in a closed system with finite resources, gains are zero-sum—the equation must balance.
      • Dec 24 2013: Well if we consider individual gains as part of common gains then the more the individual gains the more the common gains there be... think of it this way when an individual in the group changes the group also changes because the individual is part of the group! The other way isn't necessarily so... that is when the group changes that does not mean that every individual changed it just means that the group changed...
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          Dec 25 2013: Not sure I follow. If we assume there's a finite amount of whatever resource in circulation--dollars, gold, beads, etc.--and there are limits on this resource--no more dollars printed, no more gold extracted, no more material for beads, etc.--how does an individual's gain improve the group's position, since it is they from whence the gain came? It's akin to a game of poker, where each player begins with the same number of chips, but by the end of the night, all but one goes away with empty pockets.
      • Dec 25 2013: Positivists,

        Under the particular case you put forth there be no overall gains to the group from one individual gainings stuff while another loses it! There would only be redistribution of what's on the table. Now lets say that each player gets to put into the game ALL the assets they have. Lets also assume that as they are playing the game one player gets a notification that they just gotten awarded an additional asset (or has lost it). Under this particular case put forth the overall value of the group has increased (decreased) in relation to the individual's changes.

        Notice that the underling premises of scarce finite resources you put forth differs a great deal from interactions where value is actually produced with the shared interactions. In other words there is a great difference between the sum of the parts and the emergent properties can be more than the sum of the parts. Kind of like the difference between a group of individuals working side by side and/or a team of individuals working side by side while also collaborating with each other to do quite a bit more together...

        For a while I have been thinking that the scarce resource economic model needs a complete overhaul especially when considering that abundant resources are made scarce in order to maintain working the present scarce resource economic model... Consider that when I share an idea with you there now exists two instances of such idea... thats quite different than what happens when I share 'the beads' with you... there continue to exists a set fixed number of 'beads' (until one creates/finds more beads). Though at some level we still need to share 'scarce' resources to subsist, presently sharing ideas to thrive continues to be seen as a scarce resource to be controlled and restricted to and by TPTB...
        • Dec 26 2013: I agree with you, Esteban.
          Let me also put up more examples. When we used electric bulbs using tungsten, in the filament, a relatively rare material, then the resource competition would cause some slight market disturbance. But now we have fluorescent bulbs, or even light emitting diodes (LED), so the latter are much cheaper and made of abundant materials with much longer life span. It means that we have CREATED MORE "RESOURCES" IN QUANTITY AND VALUE.
          As a matter of fact, The United States of America, during the past couple hundred of years, has become an economic superpower not merely based on its natural resources, but, most importantly, by the human innovation and improvement in the management skills and the industrial productivity by its citizens. This is exactly the point we are discussing here. Unlike the colonialism of European countries during the 18-19th centuries, the U. S. never engaged in grabbing any natural resources or territories to get the so-called gain at the expense of other countries.
      • Dec 26 2013: Bart,

        Indeed, though actually if we look closely we will discover how they did engage in grabbing the natural resources and territories to get the so-allend gain at the expense of others... though that's another story.

        It's also curious to note that fluorescent bulbs, or even light emitting diodes (LED), are so much more expensive than the previous ones... They may use less energy but they cost more... and overall I am not sure how the balance ends up. Also I am not sure what would happen if we take into account the whole costs... which happen to be more efficient overall. I once read that the clean solar cells electricity happened to be more detrimental to the environment because of their 'dirty production'. Yea once you have the cell it doesn't contaminate but to have it made it does contaminate.

        One example of CREATING MORE "RESOURCES" IN QUANTITY AND VALUE. could be using plants to filter the air and grow clean air within buildings. We could add to that fish cultivation and a couple of other things to create a self-sustainable ecosystem that enables more life within a given space. I read that the amazon forests land isn't fertile... that the abundance of life there stems from the delicate balance resulting from the flora and fauna interplays... some plants even have multiple roots systems ... some of them in their branches ... the roots in the ground basically exists only as anchoring foundations ... the nutrients and water is absorbed through the branches root system... Whats even more amazing is that the rains result thanks to the plants being there! Something to do with the evaporation of water from the leaves and other characteristics. I read that In cities the hot roads keep the water vapor from condensing and raining !

        You are right on the spot when you state that one of the key points to flourish centers on doing more with less... you mentioned it as "innovation and improvement in the management skills and the industrial productivity".
        • Dec 27 2013: Esteban, Let me just give you a brief explanation of the 2 questions you raised:
          1. I was comparing the total costs of either CFL or LED bulbs in the sense of what will cost you the amount of money for the same light intensity (lumens) in the consumption of the amount of electricity AND the effective life span of each bulb. Then the CFL or the LED would cost MUCH LESS than the tungsten bulbs.
          2. The U. S. A. was established not from the hands of the American Indians, or even the Conquistadores in Mexico,. It was from the hands of the English mostly. The Alaska and Louisiana territories were purchased from Russia and France respectively. The inclusion of the State of Texas was a little murky, but all of these happened before the petroleum resources became well known. Furthermore all of these occurred before the invention of light bulbs and discovery of petroleum fuels.
          The most important point in my previous discussion is that during and after the period of the industrial revolution, say from 1800 to 2000, the U. S. joined several small military conflicts and the major wars, it didn't get any major resources or territories, like the Russian and French "victors" did.
      • Dec 27 2013: Bart,

        The main point I seek to point out involves how the stories we tell influence the realities we consider... regardless of the actual concordance with the actual facts... A secondary point revolves about what to do now with the situations...how do we intertwine individual and social existences to enrich each other and mutually complement each while also catalyzing the good stuff like 'liberty' and mitigating the bad stuff like 'exploitation' ...

        I see we are basically looking at the same data while deducing different conclusions... As you sort of pointed out... there exists some murky stuff ... that murky stuff could change the determinations we chose to make based on how we choose to interpret it. Besides some of the data we hold may even be quite distorted. For example I recently bought a LED lamp that lasted only a few weeks just as I have bought regular light bulbs that lasted only a short time rather than last the expected life span stated in the box... That's why I mentioned that overall I am not sure how the bulbs cost compare in the end...

        Focusing on what you referred as the most important point in your previous discussion from what I know there where major resources gained from the military conflicts; though I will concede that these where unlike what other 'victors' got.

        Please note that I tend to make comments that seek to question and open up the considerations... this can be perceived as disagreeable rather that as it is actually intended. Hopefully you will perceive the later rather than the former. As you sort of mentioned we in essence actually agree and both seek to CREATE MORE "RESOURCES" IN QUANTITY AND VALUE. (resources == notions ideas thoughts innovations considerations).

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