Catch phrase missiles?
Recently Noam Chomsky expressed his opinions about subjects such as missile defence systems that he feared would be placed in space shortening the time for
decision making in the event of nuclear conflicts.
In some other context, perhaps many years ago now, the same observer seemed to go along with many others in doubting the sanity of people claiming to be mind controlled.
I dont know if that is representative of his views but I felt that perhaps many intellectuals despite
being open minded and critical are still not immune to all the disinformation.
When he understandably warned against the threats of a militarization of space and pointed to a similar situation under Ronald Reagan, I wondered how much he had really understood about the SDI project
that went on in the 1980s. I may be underestimating Mr Chomsky and I certainly dont have the whole picture myself, but I am certain that the SDI project was partially a cover for other scientific projects
and the master minds may never even have beleived that it would be a realistic plan.
There has never been any objective and openly accessible evaluation of what went on under the umbrella of the SDI and how much resources were used in each individual project or what they consisted in. Due to the usual excuse of national secrecy.
When I listened to Chomsky I thought Don't let yourself be bewildered by the various labels they use like missile defence or SDI those are just political catch phrases.
I must insert once more that I may be naive in underestimating the respected intellectual but then it would probably apply to many others.
I continued thinking:
What they really aim to do is to divert resources from the civilian side to the military
once they succeed they use it any way they like. There is no carefully scrutiny of how they use it. Of how large a fraction various activities take up. Of how much those parts
assumed to be the main activity really cost. You need to go fairly deeply into logistics
like a spy to find it out.
They may even pretend to have a progressive improvement of some technologies that
worked all along to make it seem harder and explain the resources spent up, that really went elsewhere.
In the meanwhile they use the label 'missile defence' as a cover for the normal military R&D that would have been much harder to sell on the political arena.
Just like they used SDI as a cover for lots of secret technologies of an entirely different
nature. People in the american intelligence agencies have stated that they won the cold war not because they were the good guys but because they were better poker players.
What characterizes a poker player is that he doesn't show his cards and that he is bluffing.
Applying that to the fund raising campaigns of the military industrial complex we should expect that they are lying and hiding their real intentions.
So I am not saying they won't build rockets and stuff but I do suggest that they will use the extra money for much more interesting types of scientific development than the missile system that they present as the motive.
In the 1980s the best physicists protested against the SDI project both because they felt it wouldn't work anyway and because they felt there must be more reasonable (read 'soft') methods to achieve peace.
But they never(?) mentioned that this might just be a cover for entirely different projects and that the military just wanted some extra money.
It seems possible that the american society is divided in this manner.
Part of the elites really dont know whats going on inside secret projects.
And the situation may be progressively getting worse.
My guess is that the missile defense program may be to some extent a cover for
more of robot and AI technology, nanotechnology and anything that seems to have high strategic value.
For improving intelligent information processing to make the military more powerful. And keeping it all secret, increasing the knowledge gap to the civilian side.
Another and possibly even more important motive may be to control the scientific elite.
To make sure that elite is dependent on the military side. That it knows it can always rely on the military
for interesting projects while the civilian authorities tend to use resources in less stimulating types of activities.
To be duller.
In short, the civilian side fails to provide the scientific elite with interesting challenges.
I believe that that failure is dangerous and that there is a genuine need to move the initiative from the military to the civilian side. Of course this means that people must perceive that there is such a division and that they dont
automatically assume that the military is on their side just because its their military.
If those who are less keen on a militarist society would campaign for the same resources they would probably
want to use it for social welfare or something dull like that.
I suggest that it would be a better idea to campaign for using the military R& D resources for planning advanced
civilian technologies in every area of science and technology.
(Maybe the term 'civilian' could simply be interchanged with the term 'openly developed')
It is extremely likely that this would generate much more economic growth than the military R&D.
(Military R&D as opposed to openly performed R&D.
Military R&D synonymous with Covert R&D.)
Not necessarily because it would be completely different but because the emphasis would be closer to
civilian needs and therefore to potential profits. (The term 'needs' should perhaps be qualified to mean something less mundane and given a little more of a visionary touch)
I am sure robots and nanotechnology will be very useful on the civilian market. But I dont think it will generate
as much economic growth if the state of the art is kept secret all the time.
(following the media coverage you might get the impression that
Japan have more advanced robot technology than the US and that Iranians beat them as well
, albeit in the context of amateur contests, something that probably doesnt reflect the true situation. It reminds me of when the Chinese were accused of deliberately loosing to the Europeans in table tennis for politeness)
I think the focus should be on economic growth based on added value that comes through R&D.
I suspect that the world of finance with its manipulations has taken away a lot of momentum from economic growth because it has provided the opportunity to earn a lot of money without adding value in the process.
Some actors profit from the AC-component (=the varying part as distinct from the smaller long term net growth as measured over some longer period of time) of the exchange transactions to such an extent that they dont even need any net growth at all to make profit(?). They thrive on the deliberate production of fluctuations.
Many of those who belong to knowledge-based actvities such as R&D have been dragged along into this
kind of thinking. It is possible that the quality and content of what is being produced has changed for the worse
too since everybody tries to eliminate competition. This follows from the optimization principles in financial operations. It would be interesting to see the emergence of conditions allowing for better optimization principles more compatible with the ideal of maximum consumer value.
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It is very tempting to try and even out the fluctuations by changing the business rules and see what happens.
Whatever the final wisdom will be there is no doubt in my mind that it would be beneficial for real economic growth
if there were less opportunities to thrive on that AC-component.
Hence, wisdom local to this document is:
Net growth comes from adding value not from manipulations of the kind taking place in the world of finance.
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After saying this I should admit that I am quite confused about basic economic facts.
What are the main factors behind economic growth? There ought to be a set of essentially orthogonal components. Such as for example
1)accessible petroleum resources.
The added value then came from the sun in the past. There are no truly renewable sources but on a reasonable time perspective space exploitation will enable us to change even petroleum into a renewable resource if we want that. Not that it seems very attractive to through down oil tankers from the sky. Further there is a problem with the scarcity of matter in the nearby parts of space so even building plants out there doesn't come easy.
Disregarding such problems it is in principle possible to produce enormous quantities of complex compounds in space and transport them to earth or using them in space colonies.
The fact that the transport cost would be much greater than we are used to is not necessarily a problem since there is a lot of unused solar energy available.
2)Something orthogonal to petroleum resources.
In ordinary earth-bound economy other material resources minerals etc would be considered orthogonal
but since energy may be used for conversion among almost any pair of substances
the degree of orthogonality depends on the price we attribute to energy.
3)Inventiveness is largely orthogonal to material resources
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I am only sketching a little.
As I said I am confused about what really creates net economic growth.
I suggest that one should use a gauging principle that gives more weight to the economic well-being
of the common man in the rich countries.
I dont mean to leave the rest of the world out, I just want to able to gauge something with some precision which wouldn't be the case if one took a global average.
The meaning of well-being includes measuring how much time people need work and to travel
as well as other aspects that people perceive to be important.
It also makes sense to bring in the quality of consumer products since, if everything breaks too
quickly people will need to work harder without objectively improving their situation in material terms.
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