Piracy is not the problem. Money is.

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic Chat' started by Wolvenreign, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. Wolvenreign
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    Wolvenreign Transhuman Satanist Furry Technocrat

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    As I lurk and peruse these forums and many others, I see a sense of transgression pervading the discussion of so-called "pirated" digital materials. Justifications and guilt-ridden truisms dominate the conversation when it comes to downloading and/or using illegally obtained software. Statements such as "The company deserved it!", "I'm only using this as evaluation, THEN I'll buy it.", or, my personal favorite, "It's too expensive." belie a lack of understanding of technology and how it changes the game for humanity. It is also a symptom of the disease which infects and grips our world like a cancerous tumor with a trillion writhing, outstretched tentacles, squeezing our world out of every last drop of it's vitality.

    For you see, my friends, the free use of technology as we see fit is not the problem. Money is.

    Some clarification before I go on; I'm using "money" as shorthand for "any system of resource distribution which relies on the use of scarcity "value". This includes capitalism, communism, and any sort of barter system. It doesn't even matter whether it's fiat or "silver/gold standard". Any system at all that uses the scarcity of an item relative to the desire for it as "value" is fundamentally flawed, yet almost entirely unquestioned. A disclaimer, as well; this isn't to say it wasn't, at one point, a useful invention. It is simply irrelevant given our current level of technology and what we have been able to do as a society for nearly a century.

    That being said, allow me to make my case. What we are seeing in the phenomenon of so-called digital "piracy" is a conflict between money's desire to keep products scarce (therefore still in demand), and technology's capacity to reproduce a given work of art or piece of information nearly instantly and without end. Replication machines are the source of modern abundance in whatever form they take, be it automated factories or information processing computers.

    Copyright laws are put in place as a means of restricting this abundance when it comes to software and many other forms of information. They are seen as fair and just by their makers; and why shouldn't they be? After all, they continue to allow people who create content to be rewarded by the monetary system so that they do not starve, so they may continue to create their content. We all appreciate creators, don't we? We are grateful that they made what we play. We are SO grateful, that we are willing to take away a piece of our livelihood and give it to them that they may prosper.

    This logic, however, is a failure from the beginning. Not in that we are grateful, not in that we respect them; it is in assuming that money is still relevant to our goals, and that it is an institution which needs to continue to exist, even if that means making laws which give it life support in a technological environment that is deeply hostile to it's sustainability. When we continue to give credence to an existing system over the capacity to do better, we abandon rational thought and embrace absent-minded tradition.

    Tell me; what is wrong with us as a society, as a species capable of higher thought, when we tell ourselves that it is immoral to copy an infinitely replicable piece of data given the state of technology, yet entirely moral to continue to uphold a system which produces wars, creates famine and poverty, denies the use of healthcare to those who are both sick and impoverished, and crushes the discovery of science and production of technology, among many other horrific systemic failures? What is WRONG with us when we ignore better solutions to focus on temporary fixes?

    Here at the temp, and in many places around the web, we HAVE done better. We HAVE created homebrew of high quality. We HAVE opened the gate to a peek at what our technology would be like if money did not get in the way. Whenever you turn on your DS and open your flashcart to look at the backups you have on your card, that massive list of software that represents human achievement in the arts, you are peeking into the realm of possibility, of capacity realized when money has (almost) nothing to say about it. What you are looking at is freedom. REAL freedom. You are getting but a small taste.

    The guilt that you feel when you "pirate" something is the guilt of the slave afraid to leave his/her chains. The guilt of the runaway slave worker who fears that his/her fellow human property will be flogged because of his/her disappearance. Your empathy, though well meant, is entirely misplaced. Your chains are not of steel; they are of paper. Your locks are not the locks of metal; they are price tags. And make no mistake; they hold us ALL, from poorest street urchin to richest CEO.

    I do NOT blame the individual; there is nothing any one of us can do. We can talk, we can develop, we can try...but in the end, we can only not let this hold us back. We do not need to feel guilty about defying money. It is not immoral. It is the right thing to do, to tug on these chains until our fellow man feels the tug and realizes he is confined, though he may blame you before he blames the chains.

    If any of you are interested in a better, more scientific and systems theory oriented solution to our problems as a species, please feel free to check the link in my signature.

    To the temp! To logic! To technological freedom! :grog:
     
  2. pyromaniac123
    This message by pyromaniac123 has been removed from public view by GeekyGuy, Apr 29, 2013, Reason: Way to contribute to the discussion...
    Apr 28, 2013


  3. soulx

    soulx GBAtemp Legend

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    Well this is one of the more unique ways I've seen of people trying to justify piracy.
     
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  4. Wolvenreign
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    Wolvenreign Transhuman Satanist Furry Technocrat

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    Don't you think that demanding that the answers to complex subjects be condensed into bite-sized pieces of information robs you of your ability to understand them fully or with any depth? (No offense.)
     
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  5. Veho

    Veho The man who cried "Ni".

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    I wonder why you felt the need to include piracy into it, since the topic isn't about it and works perfectly fine without having to drag piracy into it. Is it to lure people into the thread? Provoke a reaction?
     
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  6. Wolvenreign
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    Wolvenreign Transhuman Satanist Furry Technocrat

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    It's just an aspect of the disease that people here would readily recognize, Veho.
     
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  7. Kouen Hasuki

    Kouen Hasuki Kouen the Cyber Husky

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    Its all down to marketing :P
     
  8. Wolvenreign
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    Wolvenreign Transhuman Satanist Furry Technocrat

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    Allow me to ask you something, Soulx. In your mind, is it impossible to "justify" piracy, regardless of the evidence and/or logic presented?

    To clarify, I am not saying that that is what you have implied, nor am I asking a rhetorical question. (To me, the only stupid question is a rhetorical one. So I don't ask rhetorical questions.)
     
  9. xist

    xist ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ

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    Wow, talk about misguided. Seems your argument would have the world devolve into fighting each other for commodities. And if those commodities aren't physical then whoever put the effort in to create them has to lose out.
     
  10. Wolvenreign
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    Wolvenreign Transhuman Satanist Furry Technocrat

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    ....Sorry, xist, did you check the link in my signature? The one that says, "We need to move past monetary concerns."? That's what my argument is leading towards, and it's nothing at all like what you describe.

    Edit: I also suggest that anyone who checks the link would also watch the video on the front page. It will help you understand the subject in much greater depth.
     
  11. Sicklyboy

    Sicklyboy Resident Mechanical Keyboard Addict

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    [̲̅$̲̅(̲̅ ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°̲̅)̲̅$̲̅]
    Games are expensive.
     
  12. xist

    xist ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ

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    It's laughable that something like that would actually gain momentum. People are by their very nature unable to exist in the equilibrium described and to believe otherwise is somewhat naive. Whilst i agree it'd be lovely to live in a Star Trek style utopian society it's an impossibility.

    Society needs different levels of responsibility and commitment and after a while that burden requires some reason to continue doing it. Without some form of recompense then everything falls apart.
     
  13. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    Sounds quite Hippie and Utopian, not to mention unrealistic. Money by itself isn't really worth anything - people invented money so that they can exchange goods using a universal exchange ratio which they called currency. Would you really like to return to the good old days of exchanging two chickens for a goat or would you prefer sharing everything in a socialist-cross-communist fashion which as we all know always works out great? ;)
     
  14. Wolvenreign
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    Wolvenreign Transhuman Satanist Furry Technocrat

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    Foxi4, I will address your concern in two ways.

    One, it is clear you didn't real the whole thing fully. I mentioned in the third paragraph that I was using money as shorthand for anything that uses scarcity value, including barter systems.

    Secondly, and this is something that xist will need to read as well, there is an ocean of difference between utopian idealism and systems theory, though they can seem quite similar, much like how technological development and speculation are vastly different, but appear similar on the surface. Utopianism merely states that everyone will get along just fine and everything will be perfect. Systems theory, on the other hand, works scientifically to build a system from the ground up using what we know. It is essentially a technological application of our knowledge, in place of a vastly arbitrary and thoughtless mechanic.

    Is it perfect? Of course not, but neither is our understanding of the universe. It is, however, the best we can do, and the best at doing the best we can do, through continued improvement and evolution. A society that changes as our knowledge changes. Emergent, if you will.

    At one point in history, it would have been laughable to conceive of a democracy. "How can one have a kingdom without a king? Who will tell them what to do? People just won't be motivated anymore." The answer to what will motivate us is the same now as it was then; a need to survive. The real difference is, given the actual measurement of our very finite resources and the rate at which we deplete them, we will do so with a great deal more precision.
     
  15. Zetta_x

    Zetta_x The Insane Statistician

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    Currently right now, we depend on money. We spent a few centuries training people that in order to get something you need money. If we did away with money, not many people would know how to adapt and survive; people don't know how to hunt, farm, or have basic survival instincts.

    You want to know what survival instincts are in America? Welfare and begging; it's like the ability to naturally sustain life has vanished.

    What is the problem with Money? It's a form of control. How much money do you have right now? Whatever it is, it's a laughable amount to the people who control it. There are people making money so fast right now without having to form an eye brow sweat. I have a friend who has a mother who owns 10+ properties and is renting them out to make enough money to buy another one, rinse and repeat. She has so many connections to do virtually anything she wanted to.

    The top 2% of people can virtually buyout what we need to survive and have enough money to hide their tracks. While it may never be this extreme, money is the essence of power and we have seen so much implicit evidence of people with large amounts of money influencing society today.

    However, we have now reached a breaking point in human population. Can we go back to everyone having farms and be self sustaining? The answer is no. The human population is so large, that it's impossible to have your own land where you can have the resources to sustain life. Does this mean we are screwed? The answer is still no, the richest have got it figured. The average middle class person may believe that all life is equal but they refuse to face the problem of the effects of overpopulation. While it's certainly nice that everyone can be happy; we may eventually reach a point where this is not possible. Already we are seeing countries where the population is so destitute that there is little hope. However, the richest realize that not everyone can be happy and they have their own little circle of trust to keep happy and everyone else is not fit to survive.

    What the fuck did I just type?
     
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  16. Black-Ice

    Black-Ice Founder of the Church of Renamon

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    Abolish money.
    /Thread
     
  17. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    There will always be more and less wealthy individuals - that's how society works. Before currency, the posession of land was the scale of wealth and it was a source of control just as much as money is today as the owner of the land in the feudal system practically "owned" its inhabitants. In the event of a total colapse of the world we currently live in, food and water will take over the role of money as they're the bare essentials and with no economy to speak of, money would lose all of its "worth", so to speak.

    Instruments of power and control have existed since the beginning of our race, societies we live in have a very much hierarchal structure and looking upon it critically is going againts your own nature - you just have to look at the big picture to realize that.
     
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  18. Shoat

    Shoat GBAtemp Regular

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    He has a point.
    The resources that humanity as a whole has availalbe are probably more than enough to ensure no one has to starve ever again and maybe even to provide free healthcare all around the globe. Not being restricted by money would also advance science, not to mention that the most common cause of both small-scale crimes and even wars would be gone if money didn't exist anymore.
    You have to remember that all of the modern world is being managed (somehow) while a large portion of the money that exists sits idle on some rich fuckers' bank accounts doing nothing, imagine those resources weren't wasted.

    The main problem with removing money in favor of a globally fair system is that the vast majority of the people who are in power around the world are driven by lower motives (namely greed) and would walk over corpses to ensure their luxury life.

    A utopian dream like this can only ever happen if we can artifically fix our genetic code and remove greed, hate, envy and such things from the personalities of all humans (ala Fringe) or forcefully banish everyone with such personality-traits from the planet. As long as there is even one asshole in the world who would steal (be it by force or by "selling with profit") from others even though he already has enough, this would not work.

    I'm still wondering to this day how Star Trek's Federation managed that leap from money to utopia.
     
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  19. Wolvenreign
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    Wolvenreign Transhuman Satanist Furry Technocrat

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    My reply to you, Zetta, would be that even the richest people on Earth are enslaved to money, even if it is less so. They are hurt as much as we are when science is hampered by their need for a "budget". Every time an art project is shut down or a scientific breakthrough is cancelled for a more profitable project, even the richest suffer from the lack of diversity. Given that even our best technology must be funded, and subsequently sold, the phenomena of "planned obsolescence" repeatedly causes devices to be short lived.

    In other words, the rich have almost as much to gain from such a transition as the poor do. Not to mention that we are a finite planet with finite resources; no matter how much money you have, if there is no material left to replace that which we have needlessly wasted in the name of money, you're still going to starve. Or die of global warming.
     
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  20. Wolvenreign
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    Wolvenreign Transhuman Satanist Furry Technocrat

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    Au contraire, mon ami; that is how society HAS worked. There is no evidence to suggest that it is how society MUST work.

    In fact, allow me to link a rather interesting video about what motivational science has learned about behavior.



    Edit: Whoops! Sorry for the double post.
     
  21. xist

    xist ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ

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    Systems Theory relies upon self-regulation. Humanity will never be homogeneous enough to self regulate...therefore if that's the whole principle behind the argument it's inherently flawed.