Re: ply to Grant

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Thu Feb 07 2002 - 15:21:40 GMT

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    From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    Subject: Re: ply to Grant
    Date: Thu, 07 Feb 2002 07:21:40 -0800
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    >At 06:30 AM 6/02/02 -0800, you wrote:
    > >>
    > >>At 07:18 AM 5/02/02 -0800, you wrote:
    > >>Snip.............>
    > >> >So, yes, the engineering of cultural change IS worth billions to both
    > >> >individuals who do the engineering and to the populations that adopt
    > >> >ideas.
    > >> >
    > >> >Grant
    > >> >
    > >>Is this about the survival of the fittest or the fattest Grant. What
    > >>intergenerational equity?
    > >>Jeremy
    > >>
    > >I thought we were applying the survival of the fittest to the memes here,
    > >not people we like or dislike. And what's intergeneraltional equity got
    > >do with whether a new technology makes money or not? I don't even know
    > >you mean by intergenerational equity. Are you talking about generations
    > >memes or generations of people? And what kind of equity? Equity between
    > >what and what? The culture of Henry Ford's manufacturing process has
    > >certainly survived for several generations of both humans and memes.
    > >of Bill Gates looks to keep going while many others drop by the wayside.
    > >I'm not sure what your question was meant to imply.
    > >
    > >Grant
    > >
    >OK Grant
    >I admit that I have no respect for greed or greedy people, but what has
    >making money got to do with whether fitness to survive exists or not?
    >Surely you don't think that a few generations of financial 'success'
    >indicates superiority or 'fitness.
    >Intergenerational equity is a term on which 'The Precautionary Principle'
    >is based. It refers to the idea that future generations (our kids and their
    >kids ad infinitum) have as many rights to an unspoiled environment as the
    >present generation does. The precautionary Principle, theoretically, guides
    >development in the 'civilised' world. In brief it states that if we can't
    >prove that no damage will result from an action, then we should not
    >undertake that action. Needless to say, though it sounds nice, corporate
    >heavyweights, like ENRON, find ways to pervert its high ideals.
    >My question was to do with the relative nature of fitness. It is the same
    >as my questioning of other subjective dichotomies.
    >I hope that I have made myself more clear this time Grant
    I wrote that reply to someone who remarked on a statement that engineering
    cultural change could be worth billions. I even forget who the original
    author was. But my point was that this is already happening. Apparently my
    remark grated on what appear to be leftist leanings. I have no quarrel with
    your politics but culture IS being changed, whether we like it or not, and
    some of the people who are successful in engineering those changes are
    making billions. The people who work for them are also making billions.
    The people who buy their products are also doing quite well. This is a
    simple fact of life that anyone can observe just by looking around at the
    world we live in today.

    I don't see memes as just fads being passed back and forth within a culture.
      The true creation of memes and their propagation is being done by science,
    business, politics, and the other institutions that build society and keep
    it running. And within that society are various cultures based on ideas
    invented by people. The scientist sees the world in terms of what he/she
    does for a living. The same applies to the manufacturer, the politician and
    merchant. The memes they create and transmit come from their world view.

    Microsoft, the company, is a separate culture from the rest of the
    manufacturing world. Bill Gates has taken the crude ideas of programming as
    invented by IBM and a few professors and turned them into a way of bringing
    the benefits of those ideas to millions if not billions of people. This
    involved inventing new ways of organizing people to write software, new ways
    of rewarding the people who do it, new ways of selling the products they
    produced, and a philosophy of manufacturing that rewarded the sharpest minds
    over the merely loyal followers. How millions of people now work in
    factories, offices and farms has been affected by this new culture. Many
    competitors to windows have fallen by the wayside. Technically better
    software has come and gone because it lacked the other elements of
    Microsoft's culture of production and distribution. That made the Microsoft
    culture more fit and the memes that comprise it were able to ride on the
    organism that contained them, even when what might have been superior
    individual memes did not last.

    Henry Ford's revolution did the same thing. The U.S. is built on his way of
    manufacturing. People who built on his success have profited from it as
    have the millions of workers who have affordable transportation. The nation
    has built a system of roads that make the whole of our country accessable to
    anyone with a car. It has enriched people who make, buy, sell, and drive
    automobiles. It has also made the auto a central part of our culture. Now
    we are beginning to suffer from that success. The air we breath, the land
    we've covered with roads and parking lots, the oil we've sucked out of the
    ground and spewed into the air are all aspects of Henry Fords idea of making
    a car that any man can afford to buy and drive. The manufacturing machine
    he left behind and the others copied to compete with him have changed the
    face of the earth and contributed millions of new thoughts and ideas to the
    pool of memes we call our culture.

    The only test for fitness in evolution is survival. Not survival in
    generations of life on earth, but survival compared to competing organisms
    (if we can include memes in that category for the moment). By this
    definition, those that live and prosper while their competitors fall by the
    wayside are more fit than those competitors. IMO it's as simple as that.
    How individuals feel about it is irrelevant. Those who prosper from it will
    no doubt like it and those who don't probably won't.


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