Subject: Re: Engineering Envy [was: Re: CL and UML]
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2001 10:34:59 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* "Biep @" <>
> Prices are high, for local standards, so people ditch their yams and
> plant cocoa.

  Why did they _all_ switch to cocoa?  If ther prices were high, did they
  not engage in long-range planning and _save_ some of it, or spend some of
  it on less productive things that they could not have afforded before,
  but which would have been a very, very smart thing to have done while
  they had excess funds?

> After a few years, Nestle tells them "sorry, the world market is bad,
> prices go down", and pays them less than they need to survive, and many
> farmers literally starve to death.

  Why could they not return to yams when the price of cocoa dropped below
  the value of yams?  That would seem to happen long before anyone starved
  to death.  Also, you cannot eat money, so if you are a farmer, with all
  the immense risks that involves, it is very, very stupid not to maintain
  crops that can sustain yourself.  Or perhaps they did that stupid human
  trick that never fails: If you have excess funds, procreate until you no
  longer have excess funds, then share the funds equally until you all die.

  It looks like these people _planned_ to starve if their assumptions (or
  promises, but you have to _believe_ promises) about the price of cocoa
  did not hold.  (I know, I know, Norway has done that with its oil, but
  the Ivory Coast folks should have known better with cocoa. :)

> IF these sweat shop workers have been lured into an economic trap, I should
> call that exploitation.

  The problem is that "exploitation" happens only to people stupider (and
  consequently less informed) than the "exploiter".  The root cause of this
  whole world problem is that some people are smarter than others.  There
  are two basic solutions to this problem: Kill all the morons, or kill all
  the brains.  If you look at how several political regimes have behaved
  throughout history, you might get the impression that they are precisely
  adopting one of those two options.  (Social democracy is a little more
  advanced: Kill everything outside 2 sigma.)  World history and evolution
  and nature in general keep telling us something we humans do not want to
  hear: Some people _have_ to die for the rest of us to live better.  The
  only question that political systems can answer is _who_ gets to live or
  die.  Those who do not realize this will not live well before they die
  young.  Our current political systems have created a world where people
  are afraid that we are not "sustainable".  Of course we are not.  But
  instead of killing contemporary people, we are killing future people.  It
  is definitely not sustainable to keep everybody alive forever.  We will,
  eventually, resort to killing a lot of people, and I mean a _lot_, like
  probably half of the planet's population, because, like fruit flies in a
  laboratory jar that runs out of sugar, we will be too many before we get
  the point.  And that is OK with me, I do not plan to hang around forever,
  and neither do I want children to make things worse.  But in the end,
  nature exploited us, not vice versa, because people are generally stupid
  and ill-informed about the choices they make.  (Which is probably what
  some people _really_ mean when they say people are not rational.)

  What we need is a very powerful, very smart, very well-informed world
  leader, and it should be programmed in Common Lisp, to make that
  gratuitous Common Lisp relevance again.

#:Erik, cynic at large
  Travel is a meat thing.