Episode-1605- How Would you Design a Society From Scratch — 19 Comments

  1. I absolutely must chime in about the plant of the week. I *hate* the kiwi that is available in the supermarket. However, other members of my family love it, so I planted some hardy kiwi. When I finally got a harvest, wow! what a difference! It is smaller because it doesn’t have that gritty core, which, as it turns out, is what I hate. So, I love this variety.

    Now, back to the harvest issue… I have determined to my satisfaction that it is not possible to prune a hardy kiwi without sacrificing some harvest. If you prune in the spring or summer, you sacrifice this year’s harvest; in the fall or winter, next year’s. But, it can be a real monster if left unpruned. So, I try to prune 1/4 of it each year, rotating around every 4 years. That way I get a good harvest while still keeping it somewhat contained.

    • I agree, pruning is difficult. I find it better to prune in the dead of winter. There are still some losses in production, but much less. It flowers on second year growth, so aggressive pruning (to primary and secondary vines as is done in the tropics) will not work well for northern growers.

      For production, the best method is to simply give it room and let it grow on it’s own. You can control the height with trellising, but let it get big. Rather than pruning, focus on tieing it to the trellis and directing it’s growth outward.

      For me, light pruning is used only for the growth tips (about one foot removed from the ends of last year’s growth) to force it to branch out in the spring. These cut tips are easily rooted.

      I’m in Zone 4, and Issia kiwi will grow here. However, it needs protection from late frosts if you hope to get any fruit. It flowers early, and though the vines are hardy, the flowers are not. With a south facing brick wall to grow this on, you could easily push it to zone 3. Wind will do more damage than cold.

      Zone 5 would benefit from some winter protection, but should be a little less work with a more reliable harvest. If you’re zone 6 or higher, this will produce without any special efforts on your part. Plant it, leave it alone, and in a few years start harvesting.

  2. Lots of good things to contemplate in this podcast. TSP listeners may also be interested in today’s Tom Woods Show, “Ep. 440 Liberland: A New Libertarian Country? Liberland is a burgeoning micronation between Croatia and Serbia, and founded on libertarian principles. By popular demand, we talk to two of its top people in today’s episode.”

  3. On the guaranteed liveable income for life, where would the resources come from that everybody’s guaranteed income purchases? Would systems of abundance have to be in place for this to work? Permaculture obviously holds the answers here.

    If I didn’t have to work to make a living, I’d spend all my time in forests and out planting trees and stuff.

    And if I were to be completely brutally honest, there are things I do not trust myself with if there were no law enforcement. What does that mean? I think there’s something wrong with me.

    As the designer with the magic wand, can I zap abundance mindset, voluntary association, and non aggression into people’s brains permanently? Otherwise, if I were the designer, I would design complete anarchy into the system. Whatever works, works.

    • Well as I said you can’t do it, absolutely can not do it with the current system. As to resources do you know how much food it thrown away? How much is sent to land fills, how much is recycled having never been bought.

      As to your questions as to trusting yourself, at least you are honest.

      Like many young men you likely lacked a sufficient foot in your ass from an older male and have yet to develop the personal discipline on your own.

  4. Wow, alot to think about. One thing that popped into my head while listening was the warning in 1 Samuel chapter 8 when Israel wanted a King (the state). Fascinating to think of this warning in ancient religious writings. Seems that Israel operated in a stateless society but voluntarily banned together under the leadership of a prophet (religious/military leader?) when attacked from neighboring states. Is this accurate?

  5. Love these type of shows! You’ve always been a good communicator but you’re really so much better at it now than you used to be. The arrangement of your ideas, the tone, the anticipations and reactions of your audience, are just a lot better.

  6. One different way at looking at lot of this (listening to the medical parts) is actually removing “technology” entirely from the equation. Reading Holistic Management Framework from Allan Savory has really solidified the need to question technology as the “cure” for ails. Technology is a tool, but one of many tools. When I think of health care, in most situations especially faced in the west, its not an issue of technology. Technology just is a patch response to the way everything is organized and viewed.

    I hear things like “machines that do self-diagnostics” and I think…. why don’t we have more doctors in our society who are capable of doing that rather than looking to outsource everything to machines? “We have a scaling problem” so we revert to, scaling = machines. We could then go into the whole “machines taking over so humans can do other things”, which I’ll then ask “to what end”? Creation of more technology? So humans can just do whatever they want and by virtue of having technology there are no consequences?

    I recently heard an interview with Joe Cross and he mentioned the view of health as such. “I do what I do, which is focus on business. I eat, party and do whatever I want without concern because I can then pay you (the doctor) to fix me and we go about our ways.” That’s the mentality. The long tail / over-nichification / over-specialization is breeding the belief in outsourcing everything. (In a just-in-time fashion might I add). Ergo technology is usually a guise for a patch.

    • I tend to go with the philosophy of “keep it simple” and love simple, elegant solutions. I think there’s a place for machines and they do some great things for us, – I’m definitely for anything that saves times or eliminates work, but sometimes we end up making more work for ourselves. A lot of the “time-saving” technology that we now have seems to devour a good bit of our time.

      Complexity is fine, wherever it’s warranted but I’m constantly looking around and questioning why we do this to ourselves. Tax laws, healthcare, processing fees, dying (sorry, “end of life” in soft-language speak), just about anything, is more complicated than it needs to be. We create this shit! Why? Do we have some sort of guilt and this is our self-flagellation for punishment?

      A great deal of health is about stress – you can tie-in so many things to it. It’s my feeling that much of this stress comes from dealing with the big machine, or system of bureaucracy and complexity, that used to be composed of “people-machines” angry and uncaring, but it slowly converting to real machines that don’t seem to be much better in my estimation. I have to wonder if we’re just tweaking things more than actually improving things or simply doing away with the whole thing altogether.

      To improve anything, I think people are going to, in whatever way it comes, feel like they have control, which of course implies responsibility, which of course implies more freedom, which would probably send most people running back to the old way saying “tell me what to do.”

      I don’t know. At least in smaller tribes where there’s a shaman or healer, there seems to be more people pulling for you. In our system, your looking at financial devastation to you and your family on top of illness or death. You essentially fighting two enemies at once.

    • I think you’re right about technology often being a patch to address bigger problems that are too hard or too big to tackle at the moment or maybe we just hate to admit to them. Foundational problems are a hard problem to crack because over time they become culture.

      • All great points. (This and above)

        What’s interesting though is the “hard problems” you speak of, at least I’m starting to come under the assumption that it IS the culture. It’s not really something separate. This is also one reason why i’m a bit more cautious than others to point to some culture, that I don’t know intimately, and say “see they know how to do it over there”. Life isn’t so simple.

        When I was in college I always had sociology (socialist) professors saying to look to the japanese as some sort of golden idol to follow, failing to mention how the bottom is in the process of falling out of the entire society and country. The level of stress, group think, insane societal pressures, homelessness, joblessness and jobloss, etc etc.

  7. I have thought for years that one major problem in the US is the lack of a goal. What is the overarching big picture goal around which all other activities should be organized? For me I don’t see one. So what does a group do when it has lost its purpose? It devides up and the pieces fight amongst themselves.

    I heard a story about the guy who desinged the sidewalks

  8. at Texas Tech, they built the buildings first and put in no sidewalks. After the first year everywhere there was a foot path they put in a sidewalk. I think that idea might form an outline for each area. Every area would be different.
    Second principle, everybody likes different things.

  9. I’m really not a fan of the hypothetical shows. Designing a society from scratch is so far from any of our realities as to be fantasy. Real world survival is a lot more valuable to me personally. I enjoy the homesteading/ self reliance shows best. I completely avoid the political/ fantasy land shows. There may be good info inside, but I just cant bring myself to listen.

    • In other words you can’t get up the courage to consider designing your own life I guess.

  10. In the show you give the example of the first to discover flight having to set aside what they believe are the limitations imposed by gravity, in light of seeing a vulture in the air. While the questions you raise are useful to come at these problems from a “beginner’s mind,” I don’t see the “vulture”(ie. someone who has already successfully reached one of these goals) in this case that one could look to to believe these end goals are someday possible. In the case of flight, we didn’t invalidate gravity in order to fly, we discovered the principles of aerodynamics the vulture made use of, principles which needed no external enforcement by a state (or group admin in the case of a virtual nation) to function on a day-to day basis.

    Likewise if the design of a society required that there was no state to enforce those design specs, then we may need to discover what designs can be self-enforcing (yet avoid becoming Skynet or the Matrix 😉 ). The difference comes where the laws of physics are already written and immutable, societal laws can, do, (and perhaps should) change based on a number of factors. The closest I can think of an application where one can write the “physical laws” of a system would be a virtual nation, which leads me to think it may be a good starting point for working on some of these societal problems. Thanks for the food for thought with this show.

  11. As a (slightly) different perspective to get the thought juices flowing..

    Labor must be performed to transform ‘raw materials’ into the things that humans want.

    This labor is termed ‘work’.

    IMO when we react to someone NOT working (welfare) it is because we ARE working and they’re not (its ‘unfair’). This isn’t just a response to welfare recipients, even young retirees (inheritance or genius based) are envied. Older retirees are met more with a response of ‘well, they earned it.. (by working)’.

    So.. here comes technology. Now ALL of that work (with the possible exception of ‘creativity’) will in a SHORT PERIOD be able to be performed by a ‘non-human slave’.

    So.. the real question.. ‘who owns the slaves?’ If you own slaves.. you’re a Greek philosopher (yup.. that’s how they had all that time to ‘invent democracy’).

    If you don’t own slaves, you’re one yourself, or your ‘obsolete’ (non-human slaves are better/cheaper.. so why keep you around consuming resources?).

    To use an analogy from another show.. you no longer need to be milked or bled.. so its time for the slaughter.

    IMO.. not needing ‘human slaves’ = the collapse of consumerism.. and in many ways the collapse of ‘markets’.

    For there to be a ‘market’.. you need people with goods & services to trade. If your ‘average’ person can’t provide a competitive product.. they’re done.

    So, again IMO, the future looks VERY different.. and the future is NOW.. (the future is already here.. its just unevenly distributed).

    Two paths.. techno warlords, or spontaneous self-government are the only possibilities without active suppression of technology. Which would have to be GLOBAL or the ‘free’ society would shortly dominate the tech fearing ones.

    The tech exists NOW for me to become a techno warlord (dictator). The advantage to the ‘old way’ being that the human portion of a future dictators entourage can be VERY small, and completely controlled by the technology portion of ‘the troops’.

    Of course, this is ignoring some of the other, more horrifying tech that’s becoming available (selective memory erasure, ‘mind reading’ machinery) that makes the dictators job that much easier.

    p.s. voting for the ‘spontaneous self government’ path.

    version 2:
    what I call: gods and ‘dirty people’

    maybe for another post.. 😉

    • Another aspect of the need for human slaves going away:

      you don’t need the ‘control mechanisms’ of fear & ‘democracy’ for your workers

      So, there’s no real point in even continuing as a sham (two party) democracy, or of paying for ‘useless’ non-working slaves (ghettos, prisons) as a fear/guilt goading mechanism.