[p2p-research] Building Alliances (basic income and entrepreneurship)

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Sat Nov 7 06:07:44 CET 2009

J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 7:51 PM, Ryan Lanham <rlanham1963 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Now you are on the key point.  There are few economic investments to be
>> made.  Here's the rub: Why is that?
> The really short answer:  the amount of well-applied intelligence
> required to do something that creates significant value has been
> increasing every year for a long time.  People aren't getting smarter,
> the intelligence we have is decreasing in value, and intelligence is
> not meaningfully additive.
> If you are an investor trying to get a certain return on investment,
> that means the pool of people that can deliver the required value is
> shrinking.
> It is a very hard problem.

You wrote above: "intelligence is not meaningfully additive."

What about the last few thousand years of cumulative culture?

It depends what sort of intelligence you are talking about, perhaps.

Certainly, some intelligences are more difficult to add together than 
others, I'd agree.

But, I do agree in general with your point on increasing difficulty; it is 
part of the thing driving increasing specialization. Still, lots of 
important ideas are happening across specialties. And lots of people can be 
looking for those, with just a basic knowledge of information in two or more 

Anyway, maybe this all points to "investment" becoming an unworkable model 
for social change?

On the other hand, computers are "augmenting" our intelligence, like Doug 
Engelbart worked towards.

Still, I wrote my senior thesis in college about how intelligence had only 
limited value, and likely had diminishing returns, so it's not clear to me 
being that much "smarter" will make us that much happier.

Our deepest problems in the word today seem to have more to do with values, 
sharing, cooperation, and things like that. Kindergarten stuff. :-)
   "All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten"
All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I 
learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school 
mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.
These are the things I learned:
     * Share everything.
     * Play fair.
     * Don't hit people.
     * Put things back where you found them.
     * Clean up your own mess.
     * Don't take things that aren't yours.
     * Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
     * Wash your hands before you eat.
     * Flush.
     * Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
     * Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint 
and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
     * Take a nap every afternoon.
     * When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and 
stick together.
     * Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: 
the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, 
but we are all like that.
     * Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the 
Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
     * And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you 
learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.
   Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and 
love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
   Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult 
terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your 
world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it 
would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk at about 3 
o'clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or 
if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where 
they found them and to clean up their own mess.
   And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the 
world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

Still, you keep emphasizing people and individuals. P2P is more about the 
power of a network of people creating a digital commons. So, your model, 
which likely also includes proprietary information and not sharing, just is 
coming at things from a very different direction. How can you expect a 
million people to help with your deepest technical problems when you 
probably can't even legally talk about them in public and ask for help with 
them? Where you would be worried some "competitor" will swoop in and scoop 
you and so on? It's just a different way to live.

--Paul Fernhout

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