Archive | June 2016

Is Resource Based Economics Scientific?

Though there would be a great deal of scientific data and processes involved in such a system, I would have to say no. The basis itself is not indicative of the characteristics of natural systems in general. Rather the main tenant of RBE is that “the resources are the common heritage of all of the inhabitants”. It’s not made clear as to whether or not that means humans alone; however suggestions throughout the explanation tend to suggest that it is. The basis for this reason appears to be sociopolitical and very socialistic.

The major difference between RBE and currency systems is the lack of a unified metric for valuing products and services. This doesn’t appear to be a problem with RBE as distribution is Open Access and thus doesn’t require it. There is the social value of products and services which is dynamic and somewhat Democratic; in that products and services would be utilized based upon public want and need. This of course would be dependent upon availability with respect to the initial survey. My argument here of course requires some qualification. Species propagation is dependent upon many factors; one being resource constraints. Where resources are apparently abundant, species impulsively take advantage. This is observed in all ecosystems. There is really no scientific argument for sustained abundance due to the manner in which all biology propagates. The observed favorable impact of economy, scientific methodology and technological advancement has been a rise in the standard of living and only that. RBE does not seem to be capable of removing the coercive nature of resource calculation and distribution for that reason. This argument also requires qualification. It’s not the physical abundance or scarcity that invokes impulsive responses like population growth. It is the perception of the abundance or scarcity of resources that brings that result. In any situation where resources are perceived to be scarce, the natural impulse to hoard is to be expected. There are no defeaters to the phenomenon of scarcity in RBE; only the phenomenon of artificial scarcity. For this reason RBE seems to be more coherent than the current system on this topic specifically. Of course most humans are only going to be concerned about the socialistic fairness that would appear to be intrinsic to it. This however is not likely to be the case in practice as abundance is likely to be thwarted by our own impulses to take advantage of surplus. Natural competition for resources is a fact of nature that seems to defy all proposed solutions. The notion of Abundance is not realistic; and arguments that require abundance for the favorable outcome are fallacious. This paragraph is a basic explanation of the arguments that follow in this article.

RBE only addresses the lack of knowledge of the resources available on the biosphere alone. The plan for calculating the carrying capacity must be dynamic in that carrying capacity is more than a division of resources among the populous. RBE takes this into account however there is no descriptive plan for calculating carrying capacity. It is of course reliant upon the technological advancement; efficient and effective usage and re-usage however there is no real plan to deal with these specifics that could effect the outcome. RBE seems to be truncated and too narrowly focused to produce the outcomes that are being promised. This is because it only focuses on the distribution of resources to humans. It doesn’t consider the biosphere as a complex, self-organizing system that needs to be managed in a naturalistic methodology. For this reason, I find it to be lacking in solutions for ecological issues, health and well being, ethics and security. This isn’t however because the system couldn’t address these issues in detail after the fact. It’s because of the issues that could arise due to a foundation that promotes a social heuristic that isn’t likely to value the fact that closed systems do not exist in reality; and human social systems are to be subject to natural law no matter how advanced. Distribution of resources among humans has little to no relevance on the management of the biosphere as an ecology. Though it has relevance to the health and well being of the population there is no clear argument for how it will promote it in a competitive environment. This argument requires some qualification of course. The previous paragraph explains that though there would likely be large advantages to RBE the basic competitive nature of self-organizing systems isn’t being addressed directly. The distribution of resources toward public health is going to be dynamic and there is no declaration of the sovereignty of that aspect. The basis of RBE is political and thus easy to manipulate. History has taught us grave lessons concerning this. The same principle applies for ethics. In competitive environments human amygdalas promote insecure and defensive types of behaviors. RBE does not appear to address this in an effective manner. The movement away from the warlike society of yet is a wonderful thought however RBE does not have a sufficient argument for it could achieve this as it is based upon the notion of abundance being feasible. I have already addressed this. It also does not seem to have a specific plan for protection from off world natural disasters. As a matter of fact, it tends to ignore not only the resources that space could provide, but also the dangers. Again, humanity is subject to natural law no matter how advanced.

RBE seems to be a political ideology to be scienced the shit out of. Though I think it has the potential to be a much better system than the one we currently live under, I also think it has the potential to be much worse. It appears to be another truncated political system that would produce more struggling with systemic issues than it solves. This is because the foundation doesn’t directly address the issues. It doesn’t create a heuristic that is coherent. It appears to be political ideology in which scientific reasoning is to be imposed. This doesn’t appear to be an effective approach to a scientific economic system as the approach itself is not scientific. It’s socialistic and instrumentalistic. I’m not confident in RBE.

 

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A Study of Beauty

Everyone knows beauty when they see it; but what is it exactly? What are the characteristics; physical, philosophical and spiritual? Is it in the eye of the beholder or the properties of the universe… or both? Let’s look at this question in depth.

Up until the 1800s there was thought to be obvious¬†observable, physical evidence of unfavorable characteristics in human behavior. In the time of Freideric Nietzsche, physically unattractive people were thought to be morally unappealing as well. When confronted by a person that shared this belief and expressed it to the homely Nietzsche he replied, “Do you know me?”. It seems silly in hindsight to lend credence to such a notion; but there is an interesting fact about the way that the brain processes that particular type of information that could explain the confusion.

Gustatory impulses are processed in an area of the brain that is located beneath the boundaries of the Temporal and Frontal Lobe. This is where the physical reactions to unfavorable behaviors, thoughts, ideologies, forms etc. are processed as well. This is why vomiting often accompanies horrible tragedies, accidents, traumatic experiences etc. This not only correlates the more severe forms, but also the more benign. Some of the more benign forms can be normalized in the Frontal Lobes as Novelty.

beauty

The notion of unattractive people being prone to moral depravity led to a study. The researchers were testing the idea by testing a prediction that an average of the facial features of a large group of the worst criminals would produce the types of facial features that would distinguish criminal impulses. What actually happened was the average of the facial features in both the male and female studies produced portraits of very good looking people. What they found from this study and the independent studies that followed, was attractiveness is normative to a large degree. Attractive people essentially have average, normal features and we impulsively find that attractive.

There is good reason for us to prefer what is normative. It’s often an indicator of health, strength, social functionality etc. It’s not quite as shallow as we tend to think. It’s also not quite as black and white. The image above shows that Normative Appeal is essentially the rule. This is the case even though we find differences to be beautiful as well. Novelty is normalized with what is considered Long Normal when the gustatory response is not present or not strong enough to outweigh the interest. Marilyn Monroe’s beauty mark is an example of a small imperfection that made her more interesting; and added to her beauty. It’s that very small lack of bilateral symmetry that made her more interesting. Humans may strive for normality, but we are also bored by it. That which is different without being disruptive or destructive is often interesting to us.

All of this information requires some form of metric for comparison and contrast. Beauty is a spectrum. We find some things to be more beautiful than others. We also have varied accounts of beauty; so it also seems to be subjective to a small degree. The metrics are however dynamic; since we find so many characteristics to be beautiful. There is an interesting phenomena that occurs when the realistic human metric is forced on the observer. In this case small inconsistencies can be extremely unappealing. This is what is happening with the Uncanny Valley. Many of the inconsistencies with stick figures to cartoons to 3D cartoons to more realistic characters are forgivable under many metrics. This persists until the image nears reality to the point that it forces the realistic human metric. This is what all portrait artists who do realistic portraits struggle with in their final pass.

valley

When an image becomes so close to a realistic human there is really no other metric to compare it to, than a realistic human image. This is something that humans are very sensitive to. We use this skill not only to distinguish one person from another but also to judge mood, health, physical fitness etc. All of the characteristics, their benign opposites and more account for our perception of beauty. Michelangelo tended to produce ideological beauty where as Picasso tended to push the bounds of asymmetry. There are many types of beauty and it appears that the overarching axiom is Normative Appeal. The homely Nietzsche was ideologically beautiful in his intellect. The most heinous criminal can have the physical appearance of a character from Greek mythology; and small inconsistencies can either put us off or drive us wild. The phenomenon of beauty is in itself beautiful; because of how immensely interesting it is.