- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: bill on September 07, 1999 at 12:46:05:

In Reply to: points posted by Gee on September 06, 1999 at 13:20:50:


Yes - nicely put.

The agreement to place limitations on personal freedom and "self interest" results in a greater freedom for the entire community - and to the degree that an individual places his/her personal "freedom"/self-interest above that of the community, to that degree is the community benefit diminished. It reminds me of the tragedy of the commons. One important aspect of the GPL movement is that it is driven to a large extent NOT by homo-economicus, individuals <"individual possessing "incentives," which can be retroactively unearthed by imagining the state of the bank account at various times">
but by the sheer pleasures offered by creative endeavor.

SDF has pointed out the futility in using a word like "self-interest" here and here. because Gee has rubbed it with so much sophist soap that it has nearly lost practical traction.

Words like "freedom", "self-interest", "rights", etc. are all culturally derived and have to be placed within their cultural context. To speak of them only as they might relate to the individual is an exercise in abstraction. Even bromides like: "My rights extend only to your rights" are worthless because either:

1. A norm is so culturally accepted (assault is not simply "a violation of personal rights it also hurts) that there exists little or no objection from any segment of a population.


2. "Rights" are defined in such a way as to provoke segments of the population to question their validity. For example so-called "intellectual property rights" as they relates to "freeware" (I understand "shareware" is NOT the same thing), patenting seeds, or the "rights" of a ship owner to single hull an oil tanker.

We will be brought back to slightly less abstract notions such as the greatest good for the greatest number.

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