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Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! But even though the last one has stolen the name, all these scenarios are in fact a race to the bottom.

The end result is that either everyone optimizes for competitiveness – by having minimal tax rates and regulations – or they lose all of their business, revenue, and jobs to people who did (at which point they are pushed out and replaced by a government who will be more compliant).

Maybe many of his rivals are nice people who would like to pay their workers more, but unless they have some kind of ironclad guarantee that none of them are going to defect by undercutting their prices they can’t do it.

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The reasons Nature is red and tooth and claw are the same reasons the market is ruthless and exploitative) From a god’s-eye-view, we can contrive a friendly industry where every company pays its workers a living wage. From a god’s-eye-view, if everyone agrees not to take on a second job to help win their competition for nice houses, then everyone will get exactly as nice a house as they did before, but only have to work one job. Whether or not it was a mistake, it wasn’t an accident – agricultural civilizations simply outcompeted nomadic ones, inevitable and irresistably. Maybe hunting-gathering was more enjoyable, higher life expectancy, and more conducive to human flourishing – but in a state of sufficiently intense competition between peoples, in which agriculture with all its disease and oppression and pestilence was the more competitive option, everyone will end up agriculturalists or go the way of the Comanche Indians.

Fit companies – defined as those that make the customer want to buy from them – survive, expand, and inspire future efforts, and unfit companies – defined as those no one wants to buy from – go bankrupt and die out along with their company DNA. It theorized that sufficiently intense competition for suburban houses in good school districts meant that people had to throw away lots of other values – time at home with their children, financial security – to optimize for house-buying-ability or else be consigned to the ghetto. Jared Diamond calls it the worst mistake in human history.

(I’m not really sure how widely people appreciate the value of analogizing capitalism to evolution.

Like the rats, who gradually lose all values except sheer competition, so companies in an economic environment of sufficiently intense competition are forced to abandon all values except optimizing-for-profit or else be outcompeted by companies that optimized for profit better and so can sell the same service at a lower price.

Therefore, the system is likely to end up with everyone once again equally competitive, but the sacrificed value is gone forever.

Last modified 15-Aug-2017 19:42