Announcement of Third and Fourth Virtual Debates Among U.S. Transhumanist Party Presidential Candidates – Gennady Stolyarov II Interviewed by Steele Archer of Debt Nation

Announcement of Third and Fourth Virtual Debates Among U.S. Transhumanist Party Presidential Candidates – Gennady Stolyarov II Interviewed by Steele Archer of Debt Nation

Gennady Stolyarov II
Steele Archer


On September 10, 2019, U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II was again interviewed by Steele Archer of Debt Nation, this time to discuss the two forthcoming official final virtual debates of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Presidential primary season.

Watch the interview here.

3rd Virtual Debate: Candidates ForsytheHarrisHaywireHolsopple, and Kerecz – Saturday, September 14, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time – See more details here.

4th Virtual Debate: Candidates Ben ZionSchattkeTaylor, and Vrillon – Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time – See more details here.

The Debt Nation show will co-host the debates, which will be livestreamed from The Unshackled YouTube channel.

Remember to join the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free before September 21, 2019, in order to be eligible to vote in the Electronic Presidential Primary that follows. Join here, no matter where you reside.

 

The Rational Argumentator’s Seventeenth Anniversary Manifesto

The Rational Argumentator’s Seventeenth Anniversary Manifesto

The New Renaissance Hat
Gennady Stolyarov II
September 3, 2019
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The seventeenth year of The Rational Argumentator’s existence has been kind to us in terms of visitation. TRA attained 1,452,542 page views between September 1, 2018, and August 31, 2019, a count exceeded only by the 1,501,473 page views from the preceding year. Altogether, cumulative lifetime visitation to The Rational Argumentator’s pages has reached 13,933,800 and will surpass 14 million soon.  During its seventeenth year, TRA published 37 features; our rate of publication has slowed once again due to the whirlwind of activity within the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP), which is undergoing a turbulent primary election year and whose website published 123 features during the same time. However, our typical features during the past year have been in-depth and allow a thorough exploration of their subject matters.

We are pleased, furthermore, to have additional assistance and resources at our disposal. The work of TRA’s new Assistant Editor, Bobby Ridge, has enabled us to increase the pace of publication once again in recent months. Moreover, many of the highlights of the USTP’s efforts have been featured on TRA as well, allowing our readers to glimpse the many valuable activist initiatives that advocate technological progress and rational philosophy. My role as Chairman of the USTP, in which I am nearing the completion of my third year, has given me unprecedented opportunities to discuss technology, philosophy, and their impacts on politics to a worldwide audience. It is due to these activities that I was able to interview Ray Kurzweil on stage in September 2018 and co-host the Cyborg and Transhumanist Forum at the Nevada State Legislature in May 2019 – the first-ever official transhumanist event within a State legislature, which enabled a successful amendment to Nevada’s Assembly Bill 226 to remove the bill sponsor’s previously proposed prohibition against voluntary microchip implants. TRA has also featured two major academic papers that I was immensely pleased to get published: “The United States Transhumanist Party and the Politics of Abundance” (The Transhumanism Handbook, Springer Nature, July 2019) and “Empowering Human Musical Creation through Machines, Algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence” (INSAM Journal, Issue 2, July 2019). Furthermore, this has been a year of many constructive interviews, lively discussions and debates, and a successful visit to the Wellness and Longevity Seminar in Burbank, California, where I delivered my presentation, “Progress in the Politics of Abundance” and also hosted a U.S. Transhumanist Party discussion panel.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party has, in recent months, been applying lessons and models of creation which were refined within the pages of The Rational Argumentator for years. The USTP’s recent call for the development of free transhumanist symbols was a case in point. The non-monetary model of publication which TRA has employed since its founding has been readily scaled up to an entire non-monetary political organization, the USTP, whose projects are based on the skills and dedication of its volunteer Officers and members. By setting our sights high, guided by Reason and the desire for constructive improvement of the human condition, we can all work for a brighter future with greater enthusiasm and productivity – knowing that the results of our efforts will be directly available to others, indefinitely reproducible, and able to make concrete impacts upon the world. At times an extensive philosophical foundation, reinforced by continual study and deliberation, is needed to arrive at simple but powerful insights which, if applied, alter the dynamics of human behavior and set forth a new system of incentives where the desire to do good is itself prized.

The above explication of the value of non-monetary approaches is not intended, of course, to criticize monetary or capitalist systems in any way – but rather to highlight the importance of parallel and complementary systems of intellectual creation that do not rely on the kinds of rationing that scarcity of physical goods necessitates. Indeed, as more human creation has become possible in the digital realm, and as automation has made many physical processes far swifter and less expensive than previously, we are rapidly nearing a time when abundance, rather than scarcity, becomes the prevailing condition in terms of the availability of goods and concepts. The barrier to progress in those situations is the mindset that continues to cling to an assumption of pervasive scarcity when, in fact, positive-sum solutions exist which allow everyone to achieve their desired objectives and more besides.

While there remain major areas of scarcity to overcome – particularly the scarcity of time which limits us all and to transcend which it is imperative to achieve indefinite life extension – in many instances in today’s world scarcity is either artificially imposed (as in, for instance, monopolies on software or medical patents or exorbitant prices charged for access to some academic journal articles) or imagined (as in the numerous protectionist fallacies that pervade mainstream political discourse today). While it is difficult for humans to transcend the evolved mindsets which served our ancestors more effectively during epochs when scarcity was indeed ubiquitous and relegated most humans to the barest edges of survival, nonetheless the effort must be made to adapt our thinking to the material realities and technological possibilities of our time. We are not yet at the technological stage where the evolutionary baggage of fallacious thinking might be genetically engineered out of us, so, in the meantime, our best recourse is to exert a conscious effort to resist the traps and ruts of evolved conditioning and replace them with thorough, rational, intentional consideration of the evidence around us. The opportunities have never been greater to access a plethora of thought-provoking content that both trains and inspires the mind to pursue the rational approach instead of the evolved one. Will and time are the remaining ingredients needed for the rational approach to take root and flourish within the individual mind. However much time our readers are willing to spend on The Rational Argumentator’s pages, I am hopeful that all such time will incrementally cultivate elevated ways of thinking that will translate into world-improving action.

While there remain plentiful challenges to overcome in the contemporary culture of lowest-common-denominator discourse, there is also much to look forward to in the transformations that both technology and rational advocacy can bring about. Amidst all the difficulties, transhumanism and techno-optimism are rising in influence, and I have experienced this first-hand. I am confident that if the majority of the current problems facing humankind can be overcome in the next several decades, then any future problems that arise will be significantly less severe than the familiar predicaments of our world today. The Rational Argumentator will remain a freely available, frequently updated resource for those who seek intellectual sustenance and inspiration to fuel the attainment of the next, greatest-yet era of our civilization.

Gennady Stolyarov II,
Editor-in-Chief, The Rational Argumentator

This essay may be freely reproduced using the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike International 4.0 License, which requires that credit be given to the author, G. Stolyarov II. Find out about Mr. Stolyarov here.

Will Persian Gulf ‘Tanker War’ Become a Shooting War? – Article by Ron Paul

Will Persian Gulf ‘Tanker War’ Become a Shooting War? – Article by Ron Paul

Ron Paul
September 2, 2019

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The UK got a taste of its own medicine  in late July 2019, as Iran seized a British tanker, the Stena Impero, just two weeks after UK Royal Marines seized a tanker near Gibraltar carrying two million barrels of Iranian oil. As could be predicted, the US and UK media are reporting Iran’s seizure of the Stena Impero as if it were something out of the blue, pushing the war propaganda that “we” have been attacked and must retaliate. Media criticism of the UK is limited to claims that it has not put enough military into the Persian Gulf, not that it should never have seized the Iranian ship in the first place.

The truth is, the UK seizure of the Iranian ship was calculated to force Iran to retaliate and thus provide the pretext the neocons need to get their war.

As usual, Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton is in the thick of this operation. Bolton Tweeted that he was so surprised – but pleased – by the UK move against the Iranian tanker. However it is becoming clearer that Bolton was playing a role behind the scenes pushing London to lure Iran into making a move that might trigger the war he’s long been yearning for.

The ramping up of tanker wars comes just as the Pentagon has announced that it will send 500 US troops to Saudi Arabia – the first such US deployment since the US withdrew its troops in 2003. At that time, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz hailed the move out of Saudi Arabia as denying al-Qaeda one of its prime recruiting tools – US troops in their holy land. What will 500 troops do in Saudi Arabia? Some say they will help prepare the Prince Sultan military air base for a possible US air squadron deployment.

We must be clear on how we got to the very edge of war with Iran. President Trump pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) promising he would exchange it for a much better deal for the US. He quickly re-applied all previous US sanctions on Iran and demanded that our allies do the same. The US policy would be to apply “maximum pressure” to Iran which would result in Iran capitulating and agreeing to all US demands.

US economic warfare against Iran would bring the country to its knees, the Administration claimed, and would deliver a big win to the US without a shot being fired. But the whole plan has gone terribly wrong.

Iran did not back down or beg for mercy in the face of Trump’s actions, and the Europeans have at least attempted to keep the JCPOA agreement alive. And the UK following neocon orders has led the country in a serious and unnecessary crisis that does not look to be easily resolved.

How could the US administration have miscalculated so badly? Many of us could have told President Trump that the neocons always promise a “cakewalk” when they are talking up a military action. Time and time again – Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria – they promise a quick victory and deliver a quagmire.

The American people overwhelmingly do not want to go to war with Iran and the president wants to be re-elected. Will he return to the political base that elected him on promises of getting along with the rest of the world, or will he continue to follow his neocon advisers down the road to a failed presidency?Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

This article was first published July 22, 2019.

Today’s Schools Are Yesterday’s Streetcars: How Technology Will Transform Education – Article by Kerry McDonald

Today’s Schools Are Yesterday’s Streetcars: How Technology Will Transform Education – Article by Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald
September 2, 2019

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We can predict the future of education by glimpsing the past of transportation. Fueled by technological innovation, namely electricity, streetcars gradually replaced the horse-and-buggy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, followed by mass-produced automobiles that ultimately toppled the streetcar.

Throughout the 20th century, cars became safer, faster, cleaner, and cheaper and allowed individuals unprecedented mobility and autonomy. Then, in the 21st century, car-sharing applications showed how technology could once again disrupt the transportation industry, expanding rider options and challenging entrenched systems of control.

Education transformation will take a similar path. Fueled by technological innovation, schools are now in the middle of their streetcar moment. Chalkboards are still ubiquitous, but computers are increasingly being used not only to supplement learning but also to administer it. Personalized learning, as this technology-enabled classroom education is called, is all the rage.

In public schools like those using Summit Learning, a personalized, online learning approach developed by Facebook engineers and funded by Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, the computer becomes the teacher, executing a largely self-paced curriculum and offering more flexibility and autonomy for students. True education transformation will come when learners realize that they don’t need an intermediary at all.

The platform has sparked controversy, as some parents and educators resist change. Like the streetcar and transportation, personalized learning in schools is altering and modernizing the educational landscape. But it is just a launchpad.True education transformation will come when learners realize that they don’t need an intermediary at all. Personalized learning in conventional schools will shift to self-directed education or unschooling, driven by the learner herself using the resource-rich networks of both real and digital communities. As Ivan Illich wrote in Deschooling Society:

The current search for new educational funnels must be reversed into the search for their institutional inverse: educational webs which heighten opportunity for each one to transform each moment of his living into one of learning, sharing, and caring.

Illich wrote those words in 1970 before the technological webs now at our fingertips were ever imagined. The funnel model of education, even when augmented by technology, is simply passé. Conflating learning with schooling, mired in coercion and a controlled curriculum, is an outdated idea. Schooling is something that others do to you; learning is something you do for yourself.

We already see how this works in our own adult lives. Just as the first automobiles began to disrupt old notions of transportation, recent technological innovations are recalibrating the way we learn. Whether it’s using YouTube to fix a toilet, Duolingo to learn a language, Audible to listen to books, or FaceTime to have lessons with your guitar instructor, technological platforms and applications are quickly helping us to shed our schooled vision of learning. Increasingly, we see that we can self-educate by following our own curiosities and pursuing our own personal and professional goals.

We can choose our own teachers and select the learning tools that work best for us. In his book, Illich wrote,

School prepares for the institutionalization of life by teaching the need to be taught.

Technology frees us from this institutional paradigm of education and lets us teach ourselves.

It can do the same for our children. As our own relationship to learning shifts in response to new technologies that make information and knowledge more accessible, we may begin to question the worn-out ways our children learn. As we realize the value and reward of self-education in our own lives, we’ll want to give this gift to our children.

In his academic papers and award-winning 2013 TED Talk, Newcastle University professor Sugata Mitra explains how children teach themselves without institutional schooling. His “hole in the wall” studies have been widely cited, showing how children from the poorest slums of India to elsewhere around the world are able to learn to read, to teach themselves English, and to understand advanced scientific content (like DNA replication) simply by having access to an Internet-enabled public computer.

Mitra calls this approach “minimally invasive education” and concludes in his talk:

If you allow the educational process to self-organize, then learning emerges. It’s not about making learning happen. It’s about letting it happen.

Thanks to technology, we adults now see this learning emerge all the time in our own lives. It can be the same for our children.

We will realize that we can be educated without being schooled.

In the 21st century, the transportation industry was jolted again by technological innovation. Uber, Lyft, and other car-sharing companies challenged longstanding local monopolies, granting riders more choice and flexibility with better service and lower costs. Next, autonomous vehicles may be the new wave of disruptive innovation in transportation. Meanwhile, in education, technology will continue to expand access to resources, information, knowledge, and skills that make self-education outside of schooling not only possible but preferable.

Like the streetcar and horse-and-buggy, institutional schooling will become a cultural relic, a quaint reminder of yesteryear. We will realize that non-coercive, technology-enabled, self-directed education in collaboration with others results in better, more meaningful, more enduring learning than its institutional predecessors can offer. We will realize that we can be educated without being schooled. Indeed, the future is here.

The Right to Repair: Shouldn’t Americans Have the Right to Fix Their Own Stuff? – Article by Brittany Hunter

The Right to Repair: Shouldn’t Americans Have the Right to Fix Their Own Stuff? – Article by Brittany Hunter

Brittany Hunter
September 2, 2019

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If you’ve ever felt the hurt of shelling out $200 to fix your MacBook or repair your broken iPhone screen, then you might know how important it is to break the monopolistic hold huge corporations have on the world of consumer product maintenance, which is where the right to repair comes in.

Recently, Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled his plans to overhaul the agriculture sector and “Revitalize Rural America” on his 2020 presidential campaign website. While much of the text in this section is predictable and on brand for Sanders—who blames the business sector and capitalism for most problems, there is one area that stands out: his stance on the issue of the right to repair.

“In rural America today, farmers can’t even repair their own tractors or other equipment because of the greed of companies like John Deere,” the site reads. It then promises that, if elected, Sanders will “pass a national right-to-repair law that gives every farmer in America full rights over the machinery they buy.”

Sanders may be wrong on a number of issues, but when it comes to a consumer’s right to repair, he is absolutely correct. And while he may not recognize it, his stance on this issue is actually more aligned with free-market economics than it is with democratic socialism.

For anyone unfamiliar with the term, “right to repair” refers to each individual’s right to fix or alter their own purchased property without having to go directly through the manufacturer to do so. Often times, this means paying high costs or facing negative consequences—like a voided warranty—if repairs are made by a third-party or by the individual consumer themselves.

Today, many have to pay a large fee just to have their equipment digitally unlocked by John Deere before it can be fixed.

It might seem almost absurd that the “right to repair” is even an issue, especially since many of us have routinely attempted, to varying degrees of success, to fix many of our own household appliances and devices. Yet, many corporations and companies from PlayStation to Apple have erected barriers that make it harder for consumers to repair the property that belongs to them.

As Wired explains:

Increasingly, companies use a variety of tactics to block access to repair. Companies either don’t sell replacement parts, or they sell them at big markups. They don’t make repair information, such as manuals or schematics, publicly available or open-source. They manipulate the software so that if you get unauthorized repairs done, the device locks until the manufacturer unlocks it. This forces the customer to take any problem to the original manufacturers, who can charge whatever they want. This also means the manufacturing companies have all the cards to decide if, when, and how much it costs to fix something.

John Deere, who Sanders mentions specifically because of the role the company plays in the agricultural sector, has been a huge culprit of inhibiting a consumer’s right to fix what is rightfully theirs, which has caused major financial burdens for farmers.

As farming equipment has become more sophisticated and tech-reliant, it has become increasingly more difficult for farmers to perform their own repairs. Today, many have to pay a large fee just to have their equipment digitally unlocked by John Deere before it can be fixed. And if they cannot afford to pay the manufacturer’s price, they are unable to use their equipment to earn a living. However, John Deere is just one company of many utilizing this strategy.

Another company inhibiting a consumer’s right to repair is Apple. Apple relies on what are called “End User License Agreements” to monopolize the repair of its products. If you’ve ever noticed that some iPhone repair establishments boast of being an “Apple Authorized Dealer,” this means a shop has had to pay a fee to Apple in order to be given the authority to repair its products, effectively monopolizing who is allowed to fix Apple products.

Unfortunately, a consumer does consent to the terms of the contract when buying a product with a manufacturer’s warranty.

This causes prices to go up for consumers who are limited as to where they can take their devices to be repaired. For those who choose to go to an unauthorized dealer, their warranties with Apple become void.

In addition to Apple and John Deere, the video game industry is also guilty of impeding the right to repair. They do this by attempting to control who is allowed to repair their gaming consoles. In 2017, The Entertainment Software Association, a trade organization that includes Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and others, worked diligently to block legislative efforts in support of right to repair legislation in Nebraska. Additionally, both Sony and Microsoft have “tamper-proof” stickers on their consoles, which warn the user that their warranty is void if they attempt to fix their device themselves.

Although this is most certainly a slimy move by many corporations to void warranties, make extra money on repairs, and force consumers to buy completely new products, a consumer does, in fact, consent to the terms of the contract when buying a product with a manufacturer’s warranty.

However, this situation became especially frustrating when both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 had significant, widespread problems that left many consoles broken and useless to users. While Xbox 360s plagued by the infamous “red ring of death” were refurbished free of charge, so long as consumers were willing to send back their machines to Microsoft for repairs, PlayStation 3 consoles cost $200 to be fixed.

The flaws in both systems did not sit well with the gaming community, who were unimpressed with the handling of the situation. Had independent parties been allowed to fix these consoles, both companies might have saved themselves from angry consumers who were dealing with a manufacturing flaw and not a problem born of their own doing.

Interestingly enough, these “tamper-proof” stickers are actually illegal under a federal law called the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty. However, most consumers cannot afford to pay all the legal costs associated with taking these giant corporations to court. And thus, most never challenge the warranties. Not to mention, so long as no one is being physically harmed, passing legislation that restricts how a private company can conduct business is not an ideal solution, even if its actions are shady.

Lexmark placed a chip in its single-use cartridges that rendered them useless if a consumer attempted to refill it with ink.

Lexmark, the printer company, took the fight against the right to repair even further than these other companies, eventually arguing its case in front of the Supreme Court in 2017. Everyone with a printer knows that it is exorbitantly expensive to replace the ink cartridges. Impression Products wanted to help consumers save money by refilling their existing Lexmark printer ink cartridges with toner instead of having to buy an entirely new cartridge.

Lexmark had placed a chip in its single-use cartridges that rendered them useless if a consumer attempted to refill it with ink. Impression Products, along with other small companies, found a way to disable the chip and refill the cartridges at a low cost.

Impression Products’ innovative solution to a frustrating consumer problem didn’t sit well with Lexmark, who sued for patent infringement and fought the company all the way to the highest court in the land. Unfortunately for Lexmark, the court ruled against it, declaring that the company’s patent rights were exhausted with the first sale of its toner cartridges and that consumers had every right to alter or fix property they rightfully owned.

To some extent, Sanders is correct to call out corporate greed over the struggle for a consumer’s right to repair. Many corporations resort to shady tactics in order to charge consumers more to fix their products or force them to buy entirely new products, as Lexmark has demonstrated.

The antidote to corporate greed is actually found within free market principles.

However, whether Sanders and his supporters realize it or not, above all, the argument in favor of the right to repair is actually an argument in favor of private property rights—something democratic socialists are typically against.

Once a product is purchased and money exchanges hands, the consumer becomes the sole owner of said property. This gives them the right to alter or repair a product in any manner they see fit. If manufacturers can literally remotely lock you out of your own property for having “unauthorized” repairs done, effectively holding your property hostage until you take it to an authorized dealer or until you pay their ransom to get it back, then whose property is it?

Sanders might not be a fan of big corporations, but the antidote to corporate greed is actually found within free market principles, like an individual’s right to do as they will with their own private property.

The Overuse of Mathematics in Economics – Article by Luka Nikolic

The Overuse of Mathematics in Economics – Article by Luka Nikolic

Luka Nikolic
September 2, 2019

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If you enrolled at university today, you would find economics modules filled with mathematics and statistics to explain economic phenomena. There would also be next to no philosophy, law, or history, all of which are much more important to understanding the way our world works and how it impacts the economy.

The reason is that since the end of the 19th century, there has been a push toward turning economics into a science—like physics or chemistry. Much of this has been done by quantifying phenomena and explaining it through graphs. It has been precisely since this shift that there has been such a poor track record of public policy, from fiscal to monetary.

What many contemporary economists fail to realize is that economics is as much of a philosophical pursuit as a mathematical one, if not more so.

Modern economics was first introduced as a formal subject called “history and political economy” in 1805. Economics was a three-decade-old discipline then, as Adam Smith had published his Wealth of Nations in 1776. The earliest economists were philosophers who used deduction and logic to explain the market. Smith deployed numerical analysis only as a means of qualitatively assessing government policies such as legislated grain prices and their impact. No graphs or equations were used.

Even earlier, 17th-century philosopher John Locke contributed more to economic liberty than any mathematician has since. Likewise, philosopher David Hume successfully explained the impact of free trade with his price-specie flow mechanism theory, which employs pure logic. John Stuart Mill’s book On Liberty likewise furthered the cause for free markets without using math.

In 1798, Malthus mathematically predicted mass starvation due to population growth, but he could not quantify the rule of law and free markets.

The first substantial misuse of mathematics was by Thomas Malthus. In 1798. He predicted mass starvation due to population growth, which was exponential and outpacing agricultural production, which was arithmetic. Malthus was evidently wrong, as contemporary free-market Japan’s population density towers over collectivist sub-Saharan’s Africa. Malthus could not quantify the rule of law and free markets.

Alfred Marshall’s Principles of Economics (1890) was the first groundbreaking textbook to use equations and graphs. One of Marshall’s students, John Maynard Keynes, would further the cause of quantifying economics by mathematically linking income and expenditure and how government policy could impact this. Keynes’ General Theory (1936) would serve as a blueprint for 20th-century economic policy as more scientific methods of economics gained favor in the coming decades. Friedrich Hayek summarized this shift in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

It seems to me that this failure of the economists to guide policy more successfully is closely connected with their propensity to imitate as closely as possible the procedures of the physical sciences—an attempt which in our field may lead to outright error. It is an approach which has come to be described as the “scientistic” attitude—an attitude which is decidedly unscientific in the true sense of the word, since it involves a mechanical and uncritical application of habits of thought to fields different from those in which they have been formed.

It is impossible to quantify human action. Although equations, such as utility measures, do exist to quantify human behavior, they are faulty when examined. How can an equation tell me when I am no longer satisfied with a certain good? Mathematically speaking, it is when marginal utility becomes negative. This may be true. However, the problem is how to determine how much chocolate will give me a stomach ache—mathematically speaking, what amount will produce negative marginal utility. A doctor could not figure this out, let alone an economist.

There cannot be “catch-all” formulas due to the complexity of economic phenomena. Measuring the elasticity of demand for a certain good is at best a contribution to economic history. Elasticity will hardly be constant in the same country throughout time, let alone in other countries. However, the economists pursuing this analysis do not do it to update economic history—it is done for the purpose of having government micromanage demand for these goods. In reality, government should allow the free market to produce a certain good. The market will determine the demand/supply.

Economics is more related to jurisprudence than math.

Economics, among other things, is the study of the allocation of scarce resources. If there is a limit of a certain good, it’s not the government’s job to utilize an equation to distribute it. Rather, governments must ensure that the property rights of that good are clearly defined. It is then up to the person who owns the good to allocate it. As such, economics is more related to jurisprudence than math.

The Solow-Swan growth model is a perfect example of quantifying economics. It claims to explain long-run economic growth based on productivity, capital accumulation, and other variables. It is unquestionable that these factors impact growth, however, it oversimplifies the complex interactions between various qualitative factors.

For example, English Common Law has allowed countries such as the US or Hong Kong to prosper more than African nations with no basis for the rule of law and where corruption is still widespread. Protestant nations were historically more favorable toward capitalism compared to other religions. Both of these factors undoubtedly affected the variables in the Solow-Swan model—the problem is quantifying them. Productivity and capital accumulation do not “just happen.”

Monetary policy has suffered the worst. Today, central banks manipulate interest rates to stimulate the economy due to a false belief in purely theoretical mathematical models. Such sophisticated analysis would be welcoming if it offered a better track record. By artificially lowering interest rates, central banks create malinvestment in the economy, creating a bubble.

Once the economy is deemed to be “overheating,” the rates are raised, causing the bubble to burst. This is precisely what has happened since the introduction of discretionary monetary policy in many instances. The 2008 crisis is the most recent example.

However, such policy was not possible with the gold standard because there was no need for a central bank nor monetary policy, as a tool, to even exist. Likewise, the economy was much more stable. Why did gold work? It could not be manipulated easily by the government, and furthermore, it was spontaneously chosen by people because it fulfilled the necessary criteria. Mathematical formulas cannot replicate this. One economist jokingly described it:

Instead of trading away your valuable pigs for horses, why not accept some smooth stones? Don’t worry that you don’t want them, someone else will give you horses in exchange for them! If we could just all agree on which smooth stones are valuable, we’d all be so much better off!

While serving as Hong Kong’s financial secretary from 1961 to 1971, John Cowperthwaite was skeptical about government collecting statistics outside what was necessary, claiming, “If I let them compute those statistics, they’ll want to use them for planning!” Hong Kong remains one of the richest and freest economies.

It should be recognized that mathematically-driven economics is a divergence from the foundation of traditional economics.

Sadly, Cowperthwaite’s skepticism of central planning based on models is rarely heeded today, evidenced by the Keynesianism that has reemerged in the intellectual sphere. Furthermore, considering that publishing in mathematically-driven economics journals is needed to secure tenure, it is questionable whether mainstream economics will be changed by such incentives.

Mathematics has a place at best for budgets and debt servicing—but it should be recognized that mathematically-driven economics is a divergence from the foundation of traditional economics.

Gennady Stolyarov II and Johannon Ben Zion Discuss a Transhumanist Vision for U.S. Policy

Gennady Stolyarov II and Johannon Ben Zion Discuss a Transhumanist Vision for U.S. Policy

Gennady Stolyarov II
Johannon Ben Zion


Johannon Ben Zion of the Futurist New Deal Podcast interviews U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II regarding the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s recent efforts, visions for the future of American politics, technological progress and technological Singularities, the importance of life-extension advocacy, open-source approaches to innovation, and overcoming challenges such as information overload and overly slow and cumbersome approval processes for innovative medical treatments. Mr. Stolyarov and Mr. Ben Zion also discussed in general terms the upcoming USTP Presidential Primary Election, for which voting will open on September 22, 2019.

This interview was filmed in Burbank, California, on August 24, 2019, following the Wellness and Longevity Seminar that was hosted there to mark the publication of The Transhumanism Handbook.

References

– “Progress in the Politics of Abundance” – Presentation by Gennady Stolyarov II
– U.S. Transhumanist Party Discussion Panel – Burbank, California – August 24, 2019
– The Transhumanism Handbook
– “The United States Transhumanist Party and the Politics of Abundance” – Mr. Stolyarov’s chapter in “The Transhumanism Handbook” – available for free download
– Free Transhumanist Symbols
– Futurist New Deal Podcast videos
– Johannon Ben Zion – Candidate in the 2019 U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party Presidential Primary

Join the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free, no matter where you reside. Those who join by September 22, 2019, will be eligible to vote in the Presidential Primary.

U.S. Transhumanist Party Discussion Panel – Burbank, California – August 24, 2019

U.S. Transhumanist Party Discussion Panel – Burbank, California – August 24, 2019

Johannon Ben Zion
Gennady Stolyarov II
Arin Vahanian
Charles Holsopple


On August 24, 2019, many leading transhumanists gathered in Burbank, California, to commemorate the publication of The Transhumanism Handbook. Subsequent to the seminar and book-signing event marking that occasion, the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP) held a discussion panel hosted by Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II and featuring Director of Marketing Arin Vahanian and USTP Presidential Primary candidates Johannon Ben Zion and Charles Holsopple. Subjects of conversation included assessments of the public’s receptiveness to transhumanist ideas, approaches toward spreading transhumanism, common misconceptions and challenges to overcome, as well as the upcoming Presidential primary election, for which voting will begin on September 22, 2019.

Find out more about The Transhumanism Handbook.

Join the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free, no matter where you reside. Those who join by September 22, 2019, will be eligible to vote in the upcoming USTP Presidential Primary.

See the USTP Platform here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov’s chapter in The Transhumanism Handbook – entitled “The United States Transhumanist Party and the Politics of Abundance” – for free here.

Progress in the Politics of Abundance – Presentation by Gennady Stolyarov II

Progress in the Politics of Abundance – Presentation by Gennady Stolyarov II

Gennady Stolyarov II


Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP), delivered this presentation, entitled “Progress in the Politics of Abundance“, during the August 24, 2019, Wellness and Longevity Seminar in Burbank, California, to commemorate the publication of The Transhumanism Handbook. Mr. Stolyarov spoke to update the audience on recent USTP activities in 2019 since the writing of his chapter, entitled “The United States Transhumanist Party and the Politics of Abundance” which is available for free download.

Some of the subjects addressed in Mr. Stolyarov’s presentation are the necessity and challenges of overcoming the evolved mindset of scarcity – the zero-sum mentality – in politics, the USTP’s #IAmTranshuman campaign, its successful effort to amend Nevada Assembly Bill 226 to remove the prohibition against voluntary microchip implantation, and its Transhumanist Symbols project, of which the products are freely available here.

The presentation slides are not fully visible in the video but can be accessed and downloaded here.

Find out more about The Transhumanism Handbook.

Join the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free, no matter where you reside. Those who join by September 22, 2019, will be eligible to vote in the upcoming USTP Presidential Primary.

What That Giant Asteroid of Gold Would Really Do to the Economy – Article by David Youngberg

What That Giant Asteroid of Gold Would Really Do to the Economy – Article by David Youngberg

David Youngberg

July 22, 2019

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In Greek mythology, Psyche was a woman of such beauty that she inspired jealousy in the love goddess Venus. The 19th-century Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis named a massive asteroid after her. How appropriate that it turns out that 16 Psyche, one of the biggest asteroids in the asteroid belt, is made out of a metal famous for inspiring lust: gold.

Unlike gold discoveries of the past, there’s no rush to harvest Psyche. NASA wants to send a probe only to study it, prompting several articles to erroneously breathe a sigh of relief. According to one:

….if we carried [Psyche] back to Earth, it would destroy commodity prices and cause the world’s economy – worth $75.5 trillion – to collapse.

No one tries to explain how cheap gold would cause an economic collapse, and for good reason: it wouldn’t.

Psyche has a lot of gold—about $10,000 quadrillion worth at current prices. The eye-catching headlines that claim it’s enough gold to make “everyone on earth a billionaire” are, of course, complete fantasy. Selling that much gold would cut prices nearly to zero.

Harvesting Psyche would not cause an economic collapse.

If gold was still used for money, that much gold would create massive inflation, resulting in a lot of economic hardship. No country uses the gold standard anymore, so that’s hardly a concern. Rock-bottom gold prices would certainly be devastating for gold mining companies and people who keep their wealth in gold bars. That’s really bad for them, but they’re a tiny part of the global economy.

Perhaps the confusion rests in simple reverse causation. Recessions definitely cause lower commodity prices, but lower commodity prices cause recessions no more than umbrellas cause rain.

Harvesting Psyche would not cause an economic collapse. If that much gold could cheaply be brought to market it would be a boon, not a bust. It’s impossible to predict what a world of cheap gold would look like, but the story of aluminum gives us a hint.

Even though it’s the most abundant metal on the planet, most aluminum is trapped in bauxite and was difficult to purify for most of human history. Pure aluminum was incredibly rare, and there was once a time when the stuff of soda cans was more precious than gold. Aluminum bars were displayed next to the French crown jewels, and pure aluminum caps the Washington Monument.

Cheap gold probably won’t give us an economic boom, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be an economic boon.

Techniques like the Hall–Héroult process changed all that. What was once the metal of monarchs and monuments became readily available to everyone. It’s so cheap that we now use it in fishing boats, airplanes, and beer kegs. Its foil version keeps food fresh—we throw aluminum away all the time.

Making aluminum cheap didn’t cause an economic collapse. Quite the opposite. It made society wealthier because refining improvements made everything else cheaper, thereby creating new opportunities. Wood that once went for beer kegs could be used for something else. Aluminum boats don’t corrode in water, and this application freed up steel and timber that would otherwise be used to replace degrading vessels. Modern airplanes wouldn’t even be possible without aluminum, and their existence frees up fuel, time, and materials that would have otherwise gone to passenger ships and trains.

True wealth is not found in precious metals, and Bloomberg’s Noah Smith rightly points out that harvesting Psyche won’t cause a new industrial revolution. But he goes too far when he claims that it won’t make society richer because, holding everything else constant, a cheaper resource is the definition of economic progress. It’s only a question of magnitude.

If a future entrepreneur were to harvest Psyche, it would certainly be devastating to the gold industry. For everyone else, it would be a stellar improvement.

Harvesting Psyche, if it can be harvested at the right price (a big if), would make society richer because that much gold would allow us to reallocate our efforts to other endeavors. No one knows what exact effects cheap gold would have because the price of gold has never been anywhere near zero. While gold has limited production applications now, who knows how people will adapt if gold is functionally free? There are substitutes, and there are substitutes for substitutes.

Gold, for example, is incredibly ductile and an excellent conductor of electricity; perhaps houses would be wired with gold instead of copper, freeing up copper that could be used in other ways. Or maybe there’s an industry that’s only possible with cheap gold, like aviation is for aluminum. We can’t look at how gold is used now, with its sky-high price, and assume it’ll be the same with a rock-bottom price. Cheap gold probably won’t give us an economic boom, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be an economic boon.

If a future entrepreneur were to harvest Psyche, it would certainly be devastating to the gold industry. For everyone else, dirt-cheap gold would be a stellar improvement.


David Youngberg
is an associate professor of economics at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.