I stumbled upon this video while trying to look up something depressing on Wikipedia (specifically, what Wikipedia says about MH17). I absent-mindedly typed in “wiki” in the search box and this is what came up…
I watched it because the idea of wiki-style shared information appeals to me (see below) and I’m sharing it because it actually choked me up as a positive example of man’s natural impetus to create and to share, and a reminder of how advanced we really are (barring the sociopaths at the top, of course).
The more I read things like The Report from Iron Mountain or try to puzzle through certain hard to explain events, I begin to believe that at current levels of technology (ie, all basic needs can be met for everyone on earth right now), we could have peace and prosperity in a free system, but that the powers-that-be engineer strife to justify the existence of the modern state. (For more on this, check out my podcasts on The Report from Iron Mountain and The JFK Assassination). Ends up, seeing this example of the goodness inherent in creation that Ward Cunningham’s demeanor exudes in this video informed me much better than if I had actually gotten to the MH17 entry as I had planned!
By way of background, the reason the wiki idea appeals to me is two-fold:
(1) I am a firm believer in voluntarism. I think human nature or the current state of our social conditioning at least, lends itself to creating and sharing and to appreciating the work of others. It’s why I love our restaurant tipping system. People pay quite a lot for service at a restaurant even though they are in no way legally obliged to do so. They would not get arrested if they ran out on a tip and they would be gone so fast they probably wouldn’t even get seen doing so, yet during the seven years I waitressed, almost every single person left a tip and tips were 15% or more the vast majority of the time. Wiki and tipping are examples of voluntarism and I love them! (I don’t suggest voluntarism is perfect, just that it’s far better than the coercive system the modern state is based on.)
(2) My second reason for liking the wiki idea is its theoretical implications for free markets. According to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, he based the concept of Wikipedia on FA Hayek’s Theory of Knowledge, which basically says that no one person knows everything but that everyone together know everything. That is why free markets and free pricing reflect all the information needed to distribute goods and services to their highest purpose, while central planning is hopeless. It is why I believe that in a free system, given that we can now affordably produce all the necessities of life for everyone on earth, all prices for goods and services would be bid to the level of clearing: all labor would go to food until all got food, then differentiation would work next level necessities into the universal category, then second and third level goods would go to those who could add higher level value to the system. Yes, wealth would not be evenly distributed, but value-added would be compensated and even the least skilled would benefit (as of course they do even today). And frankly, wealth would at least be more evenly distributed than it is today, because government could not use its monopoly control over our rights for the purpose of bestowing privilege to the most powerful. (For more on this concept, see my summary of Our Enemy the State.)