Kevin Raney

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Can we create a sustainability model based on compassion and a willingness to help first before we talk about money?

Can we create an economy based on compassionate individuals socializing with other individuals motivated by the desire to better our species rather than generating profit? I understand food, clothing, and shelter are necessary but then after that, how can we capitalize on an inherent desire to socialize and help others and create an economy and social network that demonstrates the best about human beings?

  • Dec 1 2011: Yes. It is believed that the world moves on information. But in fact it stops and goes on "understanding" of information. Ask yourself if it is possible to graduate from the management of information to the management of "understanding"?

    I've spent many years working on this very question and have developed several informatics and models to re-engineer communication and knowledge transfer to put the premium on comprehension. Along the way I have come to realize that truth is not a subjective impression but something which can be "transacted" in components. But it is still true that the truth will set you free.

    In a system in which the components of truth have economic as well as other scientific value points, it is not necessary to advocate truthfulness or compassion or fairness or most any other of the values we generally think of as "good" because they are by nature "optimal". When education and journalism and other instances where mission critical information becomes handled in such a way as managing understanding, the frauds, exploiters, polluters will find themselves on the outs.

    I can not say much more without giving away my hard won proprietary insights. Suffice it to say that the components of truth can be managed "optimally" and that such optimization leads to inclusion of those with capacity and exclusion of those with nothing but bluster and intent to plunder. Every person on Earth has a truth and every truth can be rendered to new media in a way in which fraud can no longer hide. But the devil is in the details. And those details are in my head waiting to get out.
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    Nov 28 2011: Hello Kevin,

    There have been plenty of comments regarding this topic in a similar debate here:

    Would society benefit or suffer from volunteering replacing employment?

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      Nov 29 2011: Andres, thanks for the guidance. These conversations are expansive!
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    Nov 28 2011: David, competition is key and is one of the foundations upon which our economy is built. So, do you believe more in the survival of the fittest through competition decides the success of any economy? How do you see the economy evolving in the next 100 years? Psychologists B.F. Skinner believed you could create a society that uses credits instead of money. The credits could be earned a variety of ways. Perhaps I am naive but could the credits be earned through good deeds instead of who is the fastest and the strongest?
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      Nov 28 2011: I think it's easy for a psychologist to say things like that because he deals with self report, rather than observable phenomenon. I don't actually think survival of the fittest through competition decides the success of any economy, I actually think a strong working labor force that's paid well enough to buy the products it produces does that. I'm a Henry Ford capitalist if anything...

      I was simply suggesting that at any time throughout history, if you asked people this same question... They would all say "Yeah, sign me up. Let's start from a compassionate place, let's really care about people"... but the history of those same people who would have responded that way, is a history of wars fought over ideals, resources, women, governmental strategies, and religion. Those same people that would say "Yeah, sign me up for compassion", would also just as quickly say "Yeah, sign me up for the army" if they were impoverished.

      I think something you forget too, is that suffering is necessary, in order to define a "good deed". In a world where we no longer compete over resources and people have "enough", you could theoretically start focusing on compassion, but at that point... What's the compassionate thing to do? Live for yourself, everyone else has "enough".

      To get there, we need whips cracking, and we need carrots on the end of a stick... in my humble opinion. Someone has to farm the nerds food while they design robots to pick food... No one's going to volunteer to pick food... So supply and demand starts to come into play, "How much do we have to pay you to keep feeding this 80 pound nerd that will make you obselete in a few years?"... He's damn sure not going to feed himself.
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        Nov 29 2011: David, what then are the "carrots on the end of a stick"? What is the incentive for people to pick food?
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          Nov 30 2011: Money and sex... same thing it's always been...
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    Nov 27 2011: First I think you'd have to prove that we actually want to sociallize, and be compassionate towards one another. I don't think human history offers any evidence of that. We all say we want that, but then we plop down in front of the TV and give homeless peolpe shifty looks. We all wish Rwanda was safe... but very few of us wish it enough to go help people there. Most of us wish we weren't at war, but we voted for Bush twice. If everyone loves helping each other so much, how come the second a country of individuals with no safety net, and a capitalist economy, allowed people to immigrate to it people from all over the world literally flooded its borders?

    I would like to suggest that no one wants to cooperate, or have too much compassion for their neighbor, that's difficult work... Most people want a healthy sense of friendly competition, like that you get at a sporting event. There's nothing exciting about us all working together anyway... BTW, lots of us just want to be left alone... I love to talk in generallities, but individual human beings are very unique, and we all have enemies we'd rather not be compassionate towards, and friends we wish we were more compassionate towards, because we are not in practice.

    The human brain, like everything else here evolved to compete. Of course that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. I often feel like a relic of the past nowadays.