X-Message-Number: 21930
Date: Mon, 9 Jun 2003 09:05:19 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #21914 - #21928

Hi everyone!

Some comments on "Cooperism":

(Yes, I've once more been tempted too much!). In any case, it's not
"maturity" in any general sense that might produce a situation
like Mike Perry's Cooperism. People, even immortal people, need
much more rewards than general altruism to participate in jointly
owned property... assuming that both "ownership" and "property"
will continue to have meanings like what they have now.

One thing which looks likely to me is that we'll all take a much
longer-term view of benefits to ourselves. Right now friends will
do favors for one another because they expect those favors to 
someday be returned. The number of people whom you can expect to
meet again, perhaps in very different roles, will increase the longer
you expect to live. This means that favors you give to someone
you meet may be returned much farther in the future, and probably
with interest (not as %, but as an increase over the favor you
gave). The longer we all expect to live, the broader will be
the group of those who will someday return favors you did them
now. The limit, which will never be reached because it would
take infinite time to reach it, would be that everyone expects
eventual return of favors they may give to anyone else, again
with interest. Is this Cooperism or not? (Note here that I 
am implicitly assuming an infinite population over time, but
of course never an infinite population at any given finite

And if the human population reaches a PERMANENT finite limit
in the universe, then could we get Cooperism sooner? There is
also the cost of the favor to be considered: even now we'll do
minor favors for people we hardly know and PROBABLY won't
meet again. Just how much such favors cost us will increase
the longer we live, once more. So even a finite population
doesn't suggest complete Cooperism. Whether a group will put
up with "joint ownership" depends a lot on what such joint
ownership costs its members.

Another quite different argument also needs pointing out here,
too. Things get cheaper as our technology advances (generally).
In the early European middle ages, traders owned ships jointly.
Eventually they came to own them individually, not because
of any increase in libertarian ideas but because ships had
become inexpensive enough relative to general wealth that
individuals could afford their own ships, while before they
could not. So if I give you a favor now, its expense will
go down in the future (why the return favor would be larger).
And this has a corollary: there will ALWAYS be favors too
expensive for us to give except to those close to us. Is
this an argument AGAINST Cooperism? You get to answer this.

         Best wishes and long long life for all,

              Thomas Donaldson

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