Can the Internet Teach Us to Love the Market?

My Big Idea is that the one thing we modern humans need for our socialization is to accept in our hearts the divine law of the market economy: first, find some way to serve your fellow man, then get paid.

Unfortunately, we moderns mostly still think as peasants.  We want to live by sucking up to some local lord and then line up for his free stuff.

There is a problem with this, as the story of the late Alfie Evans and the British NHS tells us.  When you sign up for health care that's "free at the point of delivery," then the government goons at the point of delivery get to decide who lives and who dies.

Same thing with Bernie's guaranteed jobs plan.  If the government has to find you a good job at good wages, then you will have to take whatever the government goon gives you.

I assume that is why teachers are so unhappy, along with government employees in general.  If you work for the government, you are just one of their goons, and it probably gets to you after a while that you are not doing anything useful.  So you start counting the years, months, days until retirement.

My question is, how can we teach people to understand the market system, and socialize ourselves to wive and thrive with it; rather than vote for the latest used justice salesman to promise reparations for slavery; a shattered glass ceiling for centuries of the patriarchy; justice for workers; and free education, pensions, and health care for all?

See, my idea is that the political shysters are always telling people a lie.  They told the workers to stick it to the employers who gave them jobs, with strikes and demands and rights.  But nobody knows what a corporation can afford fifteen years from now.  We do know that corporations paying above market wages and benefits are cruisin' for a bruisin' and usually get it, right in the kisser.

And so on.

But here we are in the 21st century, and everyone in the ruling class is wondering how to control the unprecedented megacity and its people, according to Richard Fernandez.  Military guys are wondering how to do military operations in the city; administrative staters are wondering how to do their rule by committee.

And then there is the internet, where the tech titans realize that the name of the game is to get the cheapest possible smartphone into the maximum number of hands.  A quarter-billion Indians are on Facebook and 70 percent of Filipinos.

But perhaps most significantly the communications revolution has brought billions of young workers into business processes system [sic] who were never there before.  Unremarked by "global institutions" a significant percentage of the planet's population is being trained on a scale that dwarfs the anemic efforts of country educational institutions.  Far from just being a potential urban battlefield in a future conflict the megacity may be something far more important: the potential incubator of a giant work force that will transform the economy and balance of power of the world.

For instance, there is Kenya's M-Pesa, the payment-by-cell phone technology that Vodaphone launched back in 2007.  Then there is the revolution in trust that the internet has created with its feedback rating systems.  And so on.

Right now, everyone is obsessed with the witch-hunting mobs of Twitter and the end of retail with Amazon and the horror of online porn.

But what if the role-playing games are educating kids and teaching them skills in ways we can't even conceive?  What if the "giant work force" raised on the internet decides that what is best in life is to find something useful to do and offer it to the world?

Maybe things are not as bad as Christopher DeGroot thinks:

Now in this age of individuals, social relations are extraordinarily difficult and even more treacherous than in the past.  The reason is that traditional customs, born of need and fear, have been replaced by individual autonomy.  And, given what people are, on average – that is to say, selfish, dishonest, inconstant, and wicked – it follows that to depend on another is an exceedingly dangerous thing, although, of course, we must all do it.

Only I think the opposite is true.  In the market economy, there are enormous pressures toward trust and honesty, and enormous payback for entrepreneurs that can create walled gardens of trust.  That is what I take from the TIT-FOR-TAT strategy for playing Prisoner's Dilemma.

And that is why the "selfish, dishonest, inconstant, and wicked" element makes for the darlings of politicians, whose stock in trade is to help their supporters cheat.

But what if the brave new world of the internet develops into the equal of the selfish and dishonest element of humanity with a virtual world of overwhelming payback from trust?

Just hoping.

Christopher Chantrill (@chrischantrill) runs the go-to site on U.S. government finances, usgovernmentspending.com.  Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.

My Big Idea is that the one thing we modern humans need for our socialization is to accept in our hearts the divine law of the market economy: first, find some way to serve your fellow man, then get paid.

Unfortunately, we moderns mostly still think as peasants.  We want to live by sucking up to some local lord and then line up for his free stuff.

There is a problem with this, as the story of the late Alfie Evans and the British NHS tells us.  When you sign up for health care that's "free at the point of delivery," then the government goons at the point of delivery get to decide who lives and who dies.

Same thing with Bernie's guaranteed jobs plan.  If the government has to find you a good job at good wages, then you will have to take whatever the government goon gives you.

I assume that is why teachers are so unhappy, along with government employees in general.  If you work for the government, you are just one of their goons, and it probably gets to you after a while that you are not doing anything useful.  So you start counting the years, months, days until retirement.

My question is, how can we teach people to understand the market system, and socialize ourselves to wive and thrive with it; rather than vote for the latest used justice salesman to promise reparations for slavery; a shattered glass ceiling for centuries of the patriarchy; justice for workers; and free education, pensions, and health care for all?

See, my idea is that the political shysters are always telling people a lie.  They told the workers to stick it to the employers who gave them jobs, with strikes and demands and rights.  But nobody knows what a corporation can afford fifteen years from now.  We do know that corporations paying above market wages and benefits are cruisin' for a bruisin' and usually get it, right in the kisser.

And so on.

But here we are in the 21st century, and everyone in the ruling class is wondering how to control the unprecedented megacity and its people, according to Richard Fernandez.  Military guys are wondering how to do military operations in the city; administrative staters are wondering how to do their rule by committee.

And then there is the internet, where the tech titans realize that the name of the game is to get the cheapest possible smartphone into the maximum number of hands.  A quarter-billion Indians are on Facebook and 70 percent of Filipinos.

But perhaps most significantly the communications revolution has brought billions of young workers into business processes system [sic] who were never there before.  Unremarked by "global institutions" a significant percentage of the planet's population is being trained on a scale that dwarfs the anemic efforts of country educational institutions.  Far from just being a potential urban battlefield in a future conflict the megacity may be something far more important: the potential incubator of a giant work force that will transform the economy and balance of power of the world.

For instance, there is Kenya's M-Pesa, the payment-by-cell phone technology that Vodaphone launched back in 2007.  Then there is the revolution in trust that the internet has created with its feedback rating systems.  And so on.

Right now, everyone is obsessed with the witch-hunting mobs of Twitter and the end of retail with Amazon and the horror of online porn.

But what if the role-playing games are educating kids and teaching them skills in ways we can't even conceive?  What if the "giant work force" raised on the internet decides that what is best in life is to find something useful to do and offer it to the world?

Maybe things are not as bad as Christopher DeGroot thinks:

Now in this age of individuals, social relations are extraordinarily difficult and even more treacherous than in the past.  The reason is that traditional customs, born of need and fear, have been replaced by individual autonomy.  And, given what people are, on average – that is to say, selfish, dishonest, inconstant, and wicked – it follows that to depend on another is an exceedingly dangerous thing, although, of course, we must all do it.

Only I think the opposite is true.  In the market economy, there are enormous pressures toward trust and honesty, and enormous payback for entrepreneurs that can create walled gardens of trust.  That is what I take from the TIT-FOR-TAT strategy for playing Prisoner's Dilemma.

And that is why the "selfish, dishonest, inconstant, and wicked" element makes for the darlings of politicians, whose stock in trade is to help their supporters cheat.

But what if the brave new world of the internet develops into the equal of the selfish and dishonest element of humanity with a virtual world of overwhelming payback from trust?

Just hoping.

Christopher Chantrill (@chrischantrill) runs the go-to site on U.S. government finances, usgovernmentspending.com.  Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.