Skip to comments.Digital Socialism, Atomic Capitalism
Posted on 11/08/2012 1:08:23 PM PST by Eric Pode of Croydon
If someone invented the ability to copy food, or copy oil, there would be riots in the streets if everyone couldnt have all the food and oil they wanted.
And today, with MASSIVE political upside to conservatives:
We can promise the have-nots ALL the movies for FREE. We can promise them ALL the video games for FREE. We can promise them a copy of EVERY song for FREE. We can promise them a copy of EVERY single college course taught at an Ivy League school for FREE
Conservatives should & ought to do this.
We should do this because the Entertainment and Academic industries are not on our side, and we have no reason to support them.
We ought to do this because property rights do not and cannot extend to the digital. And we look foolish going along with it.
Property rights, since the Magna Carta, have been the foundation of free market economics, and personal liberty.
We put incredible value on a bar of gold, a dirty old shoe, a new 60 TV, a home PRECISELY because it cannot be duplicated freely and shared.
If we could duplicate and share the atomic we wouldnt have to worry about property rights they never would have existed.
Even further, we so innately know the difference between the two things, if someone tries to take something atomic from someone else, we view the use of force (even deadly force) as moral.
For now, forget Intellectual Property. We can discuss it at length later.
Even if we fast forward into the world of 3D printing, surely we can imagine the digital designs being unprotected and passed around freely, while the plastic, ceramics and metal - those ARE YOURS, and you must OWN THEM to print the shiny new thing.
The reason this crucial distinction is necessary between the digital (formed by bits) and the atomic (formed by atoms) is that when things go digital, SCARCITY goes out the window.
Scarcity is the backbone of economics historically. People have limited means, and unlimited wants.
But yet, this year more than last, and next year more than this - every year into the foreseeable future: more of humanitys quality of life, more of human consumption, more of human want is digital vs. the atomic.
A new economics is in order: People have limited means for ATOMIC wants, but they can be fulfilled digitally to their hearts content.
Atomic capitalism does not go away when we embrace digital socialism.
In fact, I argue it is just the opposite.
Since we have been conned by Hollywood and Academia that somehow turning their work into free unlimited beer for the people hurts America, we have caused our citizens to treat our atomic property rights as junk.
The defensive logic of Hollywood and Academia makes no sense to have-nots, so when we let creatives stand next to real property owners and act as if their digital assets are just like atomic ones we demean the unfortunate zero-sum fact of atoms.
We demean the very foundations of property rights.
But if instead, conservatives approach the masses and say, We have many free things to give you, and they are your moral right, since no one else has to give up theirs for you to be entertained and informed, we are re-enforcing the specialness of the atomic.
By being honest, and speaking the capital T Truth to the have-nots, respecting what is to them so obvious, we can gain rational credibility, so when we double down on atomic property rights they trust us.
Perhaps, the creative intelligentsia will come to have greater respect for conservatives property. Perhaps not.
But conservatives ought to fully embrace digital socialism, in order to save atomic capitalism.
What we call intellectual property today was debated at the constitutional convention, but eventually made it into the constitution. Even copyleft (rah, rah, Linux!) depends on copyright to work. No, don’t do that.
I couldn’t find anything that I did agree with. Does this moron think that under his utopian system that anyone would continue to produce music and video?
Why? Because these people are big on sharing everyone elses wealth. Why not share theirs first and show us how well it works? They could be the first to set an example.
“Why not share theirs first and show us how well it works? “
How many homeless people could fit into the Streisand mansion? Does Babs REALLY need all those bedrooms?/s;)
I do occasional driver work on a vary narrow subset of particular weird drivers for linux. I don't get paid for it, but I get linux for free, so I give and they give in a cooperative manner.
IP isn't quite so easy as some would have it seem.
What works for joint efforts (linux) doesn't work for individual creative efforts (David Weber's book). Apples and oranges.
Has this moron never heard of intellectual property?
One little problem.
The arrow of time points in one direction.
Electrons are plentiful. The time and energy required to arrange those electrons from randomness to a meaningful pattern are not free.
Somebody has to eat to be able to make the nice “free” digital stuff go from random clouds to ordered bits on the net. They might need a computer too. And a guitar, drums, possibly some keyboards. Then some microphones, cables, and recording media. An audio editor comes in handy.
These things don’t like rain and snow very much, so now the creator of the “free” digital stuff could really use some shelter. Heat would be good in the winter. Cool in the summer. Plumbing is good.
I get paid to answer questions.
Not many atoms leave my hands, but a lot of electrons get moved.
By this reasoning, my clients have every right to the answers they want and need, but I have no right to make them pay to know the answer even though it may take me months to find it for them. And a computer. And some books. Maybe a place to keep them dry....
No. I am not liking this hypothesis.
“You say that like it’s a bad thing”
Good or bad is not the point. It explodes this guy’s thesis.
By the way, there’s a good book for conservatives on this issue called “Digital Barbarism” by novelist Mark Helprin (not lefty journalist Mark Helperin).
I’ve heard rumors that FR’s own Travis McGee likes to be compensated as well.
Yep. They should give their movies and music away for free for the sake of the poor and needy - especially for the sake of the children.
Oh, and the elderly.
It'll help save the enviromnet, because people wouldn't need all that paper money.
And especially do it for the womans lady parts - can't forget those!
It is a bad thing. I enjoy books, television, movies, and music. It would be a shame if those things went away.
In fact, I've bought some that he had let me read for free.
A man's gotta eat.
“How many homeless people could fit into the Streisand mansion?”
Congratulations, you can think. If “atomic propetrty” is not copyable like digital codes, it can nevertheless be subdivided. Among the first task of communist governments is to redistribute property in land, houses, etc. by splitting into smaller parts. Think of Zimbabwe relatively recently, or the Warsaw Ghetto. As in all things the Connor’s have a point, only they offer the exact wrong solution. Much of landed property was at some point bought through political means rather than economic means. Think of railroad barons—who weren’t James J. Hill—or enclosure acts. A good book to read is “The Great American Land Grab.”
Criticism of intellectual property is most often of a kind with legal monoppoly over unearned landed property. They see injustices like salt of the earth folks being eminent domained in favor of Walmart, and presume all property is like that. Only there is a certain justification for real life goods, because, as they say, God ain’t making any more land (which is a wildly misleading cliche, but forget that for now). Digital goods, contrarywise, once the book or whatever is written can be reproduced infinitely fir everyone in the world to enjoy at negligible cost. Therefore they conclude all intellectual property is like railroad land given away by the feds at pennies on the dollar.
I’m not nodding when I say Star Trek is a major starting point in thus line of thought. Partly because digital barbarians don’t read outside of chatrooms, blogs, and forums, they learn best from cheesy sci-fi movies and tv shows. Anyway, I am given to understand fictional technology exists in the series where by hard goods can be instantly manufactured by magical plenty machines. Viewers think about how this would impact the real world, then suddenly gasp and shout, “What if the owners of the magical conjuring machines monopolized like the evil music industry.”
Such wild dreams assume what socialists always assumed, that potential plenty is achievable, and blame whom socialists always blame for selfishly and inhumanly holding it back, the owners of the means of production. If imaginary magically effortless production could only make people money by unjust property laws, and as the author said people would be rioting in the streets to stop it, then currently available effortless production must be unjust, too, and supported by mere laws.
I think this “moron” thinks that such a move would significantly defund the left and expose them as hypocrites as they fight sharing their property while demanding we share ours.