Page 6 of 6

Re: 20160413 Variations on a theme of Adam Smith

PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:53 pm
by tahanson43206
20170313 Every now and then the columnist George Will mentions Adam Smith in one way or another.

The latest example is an Opinion Forum piece entitled "New school aims to preserve our self-evident truths" ... ent-truths

In the article, Mr. Will includes mention of the "Wealth of Nations" along with the Federalist Papers as examples of writings that not everyone needs to read, but that "someone" should.

The article overall is concerned with the opening of a new institution of higher learning.

Begin Quotation:
A primary mission of institutions of higher education should be the transmission of civilization's intellectual patrimony.
End Quotation.

In the context of The Knowledge Forum, I am interested in Mr. Will's theme as a reminder that while Dr. Dartnell's opening book (in what I hope will become a shelf full of follow on publications), Dr. Dartnell's index does not mention schools, colleges, university or any other similar organized institution for collecting and propagating knowledge, let alone values. His explanation for limiting the scope of this first volume to a reasonable size certainly justifies the omission, but it seems to me that a follow on volume might profitably address the challenges of building (or re-building) social institutions after the global structures stop working. Because I am interested in the successful development of communities away from Earth, the topic of building social structures with the people who are available seems worth addressing.

Elsewhere in this forum, Dave Z has introduced an update on research into use of DNA (or a similar long lasting chemical structure) to hold information, and thus serve as a long lasting repository of human knowledge. It seems to me that the challenge of educating the younger generation after a collapse would be much less difficult if all of human knowledge that can be collected into DNA (type) repositories were so collected, reproduced, and distributed to sites around the globe for two purposes. First is the higher order purpose of preserving human knowledge. Second, and the one that might help to generate funds to support the initiative, would be to make the repositories available to local communities to study while civilization still exists.


Re: 20160413 Variations on a theme of Adam Smith

PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:55 pm
by tahanson43206
20170315 On Inability to Repair an HP2605 Printer

Dr. Darnell's book "The Knowledge" is designed and constructed to assist persons who are attempting to rebuild civilization after a collapse.

In thinking about "The Knowledge" in the context of an HP 2605 printer which no longer prints red tones, I have come to the realization that civilization exists in the mind, and as human beings live out their lives, they achieve the mental capacity of which they are capable, if conditions are right, and then fade out until their achievements and capabilities become distant memories. If such humans were so inclined, and if they had the ability and the means, they might have recorded some aspects of the mental models they had created in a non-perishable medium or perhaps more than one.

The HP 2605 printer was first placed on the market in 2006.

Begin Quotation from Query on Google: HP Color LaserJet 2605dn Printer (Q7822A#ABA ... ... B000FBWL2O
Rating: 3.7 - ‎91 reviews Product Description The HP CLJ2605DN Color Laserjet Printer is an ... For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues. ... Date first available at, April 27, 2006 ...
End Quotation.

According to: the HP2605 is not yet discontinued, but I suspect the website is not updated to show current information. I find it hard to believe this model of printer is still being manufactured.

Regardless of the state of manufacture of this particular printer, my reason for opening this message is primarily to call attention to the fact that the ability for a printer such as this one to come into existence is a consequence of the happy coincidence of a gathering of human beings who hold mental models in the tenuous structures of their brains that allow and enable that to happen. The ability of a human being downstream to maintain such a complex system of components is dependent upon both a partial mental model of the printer, availability of documentation passed along from the original designers and builders, and availability of components to replace ones that have failed.

I'm making a gigantic leap here: In thinking about the challenge of reconstructing correct mental models of found advanced technology, it occurs to me that survivors will (in general) be unable to reconstruct those mental models, even if they were able to do so earlier in their lives. The key for success (it seems to me) is for survivors to undertake development of mental capabilities in the children who might be available at the beginning of the time of difficulty, and certainly in those who will (hopefully) come along later.

And the thought above leads me to the observation that education of children today does not explicitly anticipate development of the ability to create correct mental models as described above.

My guess is that those who are involved in education (around the world) today are working primarily from rote patterns they learned from elders, whether live or via transmitted materials such as books.

There is an advertisement on public television in the United States these days, which calls attention to the observed fact that the education systems in wide use in the United States today were developed in the 1800's. The advertisement calls for an update of the practice of education at the high school level, and offers a name of an organization dedicated to this undertaking.

For anyone who is interested in learning more about this initiative, the web site is:

It would seem to me that the pace of recovery from a global disaster will be influenced by the quality of thought put into building educational systems, primarily for young people, but secondarily for older persons who have not had a new thought in years, but who remain capable of growing new neurons and establishing new neural networks.


Re: 20160413 Variations on a theme of Adam Smith

PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:08 pm
by tahanson43206
20170312 Page 638-657

In the opening sequence of Part Third, Mr. Smith presents arguments in support of the conclusion he reaches on page 657:

Begin Quotation:
We must carefully distinguish between the effects of the colony trade and those of the monopoly of that trade.
End Quotation.

I find Smith’s arguments in opposition to monopoly persuasive, while noting that he concedes that individual merchants have most certainly profited as a result of the policy. His argument persuades me that everyone else is decreased in benefit as a result, including England itself, other nations, and most certainly the colonies.

I am interested in the subject of taxation, looking forward to a set of economies located away from the Earth, and exchanging digital files with the Earth and each other.

I have posited the existence of atom assemblers, and further posited that such machines would be both slow and distributed widely among the population of the remote communities.

Today, I am interested in considering the subject of taxation, which is most certainly going to be needed in order for communities to attend to needs which are shared in common by residents, such as maintaining supplies of water, healthy food, clean air and a myriad of other needs.

To prepare, I took a quick dive (via Google) back to Roman times, where I refreshed my knowledge of taxation as practiced in the years when Rome was ascendant.

At the stage upon which I will focus today, Rome was able to secure its income by taxing its provinces, and the way it appears to have done that is by appointing an individual to collect the desired taxes from each province. That individual then secured contractors to carry out the work of extracting “contributions” from citizens. Apparently it was common for these contractors to extract a share of the citizen “contributions” to meet their own needs, with a bit of padding.

In 2017, in the United States, I observe that while the need for tax income to various governments is still very much with us, the means of extracting contributions from citizens is (generally) accepted, in the form of sales taxes, income taxes and property taxes.

In remote communities, there very well might be similar systems in place.

The question I have is on how any tariffs might be imposed upon incoming our outgoing transmissions to or from the Earth or other remote communities.

It seems likely to me that the cost of building and maintaining transmission facilities would fall into the “common” category for communities, while it might well turn out that on Earth, non-governmental agencies might have the wherewithal to build and maintain such facilities. That might especially be the case if the entities managing the facilities are in position to serve as agents for remote communities, and thus to secure a percentage of trade value for products exchanged.

I am thinking of Edward Lerner’s InterstellarNet, without the aliens.

With regard to atom assemblers, and management of taxation, it seems to me likely that it would be common practice to trust the citizens to ask for sales tax, and to pay whatever amount is collectively chosen without quibble.

At the same time, it would seem to me a matter of some public concern how digital files are handled, if the communications facility is indeed a public facility.


Re: 20160413 Variations on a theme of Adam Smith

PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:15 pm
by tahanson43206
20170326 Reference #1 Pages 657-672

The major themes of these pages of Mr. Smith's discussion are further disapproval of the mercantile system, and in particular the way in which that system benefited particular business people while causing injury to the Nation as a whole, and to the colonies who were forced to endure the monopoly of trade created by the Act of Navigation,

and ... a remarkable discussion of the factors in play at the time of writing, when the North American colonies were actively engaged in separating themselves from the British Empire.

I decided to close this segment on page 672, because on that page Mr. Smith wrote words that I find prescient.

Begin Quotation on page 672:
From shopkeepers, tradesmen, and attornies(sic), they are become statesmen and legislators, and are employed in contriving a new form of government for an extensive empire, which, they flatter themselves, will become, and which, indeed, seems very likely to become, one of the greatest and most formidable that ever was in the world.
End Quotation.

In looking forward, toward a time when communities will come into being at great distances from the planet Earth, I think that the many examples Smith cites of European colony making show clearly that the Greek model is superior in every way to the Roman, so long as the Laws of Physics as interpreted by human kind do not support the Roman model of brute force imposed upon the colonies.

Smith has been railing against monopoly of trade for the first half of this book, and it would not surprise me if he continues his tirade to the very end. Thus I am persuaded that as we humans look forward to a time when communities exist away from the Earth in numbers, and potentially of great size, that the inevitable temptation by some humans to try to impose monopoly upon others should be identified as they come into being, and firmly shriveled before they gain strength.