Collective interest

Chris Burford cburford at
Fri Jul 21 21:43:09 MDT 1995

Collective interest


Wed 19th:

Ideologies are as much subject to selection as
genes, the question has to be asked is under what
social environments will ideologies of self sacrifice
tend to undergo extended reproduction.

Thurs 20th:

To my mind, the great advance made by Dawkins towards a
materialist theory of ideology lies in the proposal that a
similar disagregated approach be taken to the components of

Obviously, in neither case does such disaggregation imply
complete statistical independence, Kauffman's work on rugged
fitness landscapes is suggestive here.

Chris B:

I was wanting to support your earlier proposition and to
link it with Kauffman's work, and here you have done it already!

I think this is a important connection, and provides a model
relevant for the rebirth of socialism. Perhaps the Soviet model had
a limited statistical life expectancy in a predominately capitalist
world in the prevailing conditions of the 20th century, but elements
of socialist thinking both from within and without the Soviet system
lie around everywhere like spores. Even if the chances of aggregation
are statistically low at each point, they can aggregate. For example
people from a Trotskyist background can talk to people from a Stalinist
background, on this list.

Another example is the question of the extent to which computers can
aid in planning, controlling or at least guiding modern economies. This
is one on which I think Paul, Lou, and Steve have probably taken somewhat
different positions. It is not clear yet which model is most viable.
But out of such models I feel pretty certain arises the possibility of at
least greater social control of the social process of economic production.

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