Subject: Re: source access vs dynamism
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1999/09/03
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Raffael Cavallaro
| The "something" which they "want ... so badly" is not to starve.

  again, no, that is not the explanation.  if it makes you happy, I'll sure
  concede that under conditions where the only other condition is death, I
  expect people to accept most everything, but even then, there are limits.
  however, I wasn't talking about people who actually face starvation as
  their only option.  however, if you care to argue such things, it's much
  more forceful to use conditions that aren't dictated by politics, since
  the whole point is to question why people freely accept conditions that
  they a very short time later object so strongly to that they go on strike
  and do other labor-union things to hurt their employer.  obviously you
  can force people into an "accept or die" situation if you _want_ to, as
  many politicians seem to get a kick out of doing, but then the issue is
  how these people get to and stay in power.  it has always amazed me how
  you can actually manage to keep millions of people in check just by
  making them believe that you face each one of them at a time, because as
  soon as they understand that everybody else are just as unhappy, things
  start to happen.  this kind of grand-scale trickery and deceit is as
  useful in selling crap software as in running third-world countries.

| Its quite easy to fault them for accepting such employment when you live
| in a society with a complete social safety net, where no one ever
| starves, no matter how long he's been unemployed.  Unfortunately, this is
| not the reality that many, if not most people live in.

  I actually love this line of argument.  because I haven't personally
  experienced the entire world history dating back to the first humanoid, I
  shouldn't say anything that you can take to be about conditions that you
  consider the single most important in human history.  how very cute.  it
  is also customary to hold up the third world as an example of how bad
  things can be, but that is really very silly: all the reasons for their
  problems are different from our past problems, which were a lot worse,
  considering that there were no aliens who sent us big fat checks with
  lots of strings attached and with a world bank (no, make that a universe
  bank) to tell us how to run things.  you see, neither Europe nor the
  U.S. have _always_ been affluent, and some would say we still aren't all
  that affluent.  e.g., Norway was correctly described as a really backward
  country near the beginning of the previous century, complete with
  atrocious hygiene, extremely low worker morale, and rampant abuse of
  alcohol and prostitutes as soon as people were paid.  we're still mainly
  exporting raw materials for other countries to process and profit from,
  and people _still_ drink themselves unconscious on pay day.  people here,
  too, were starving at times, and did basically anything to stay alive.  a
  whole bunch moved to the U.S. and, lo and behold, managed to multiply
  much faster there than they ever did back here.

  however, the point I'm trying to get across is that people who did _not_
  live in fear of starving, moved to the big cities where there was work
  and the _prospect_ of more wealth some fuzzy time in the future, but
  actually, right then, people were starving and dying in the cities and
  _not_ in the countryside where they came from.  the _cause_ of the bad
  working conditions was that people were willing to accept just about
  anything after having been promised the sky.  my case is against people
  who promise the sky, who capitalize on people's hopes for the future, yet
  who never give them a decent _present_ because they work better when both
  their hopes and their need are high.  my case is against people who don't
  see that they have been tricked by such people and turn away from them,
  but instead embrace them the more they don't get their promised future,
  for fear of losing _all_ hope.  my case is against people who don't
  actually accept what they say they accept and then form labor unions and
  whatnot to fight for the rights they _agreed_ to have violated in order
  to maintain a _hope_ for a better future.

  this is way off topic as such, but the software equivalent is what we get
  from Redmond, WA: oppressively bad shit today but ever better promises of
  a better future, and people buy this line, for some unfathomable reason.

  in conclusion, I'd have to say that I don't think people actually want a
  better future -- they want a _promise_ of a better future.  when they get
  a better future, they won't be satisfied with it.  in fact, they turn out
  to be _dissatisfied_ with it, as in "this is _it_?".  that's what happens
  when you promise too much.  those who survived the AI Winter can tell
  stories about that promise-making gone wrong, too.  the core problem is
  that today's whole marketing culture is all about glitz and glory and
  solving _all_ the problems of the past with this teensy new gizmo or
  software or whatever.  why don't people wake up and smell the espresso?
  they've been had!  the biggest problem with this crap isn't that people
  waste so much money on idiotic things and so much time on stuff that
  won't ever give them what they want, it's that that which really _would_
  improve their future has very little chance of ever getting out there,
  except surreptitiously, like Lisp does.  and that's what I worry about.
  save the children: just say NO to sex with pro-lifers