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October 04, 2006


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[...I think, designers oughtn't to scale up their instinct to plan above that which they are actually designing...]

Furthermore - there is a big difference between planning for bricks, steel and glass and planning for human beings who can suffer and feel pain. Popper had it exactly right when he claimed that the proper duty of the social sciences was to study the negative outcomes of policy - Leftists, Rightists and others are filled with such a contempt for human individuals; to them, people might as well be bricks!

Frank McGahon

I guess that's true, but I think even a designer who imagines one can plan for rather than with people, still fails to appreciate the complexity involved with an entire society or economy which differs not by degree but by kind from, say, a building.


As to his interpretation of my point. The idea is not that there is anything wrong with "problem solving" but the instead the insight is that "planning" and "problem solving" are not the same thing and as it happens, central "planning" is a pretty poor way of solving problems. The "problem" of designing almost anything is best left to individuals in the market. There is no Department of Computing which specifies and designs computers to be used by everyone. It oughtn't be too difficult to imagine how such computers would compare with the ones we actually use today.

Oh, dear Mother of God. Just how do you think your various standard pieces of computer kit - and especially the Internet - work, if not by restricting the supposed "liberty" of individuals (whether persons or companies) to make up their own interfaces and standards?

Frank McGahon

Dear Mother of God yourself. Whose liberty is restricted when someone voluntarily chooses to adopt a common standard?

Jon Ihle

The humble monotheist arrives at this conclusion by a different path: God has a plan, but you, dumbass, are and will always be finite, so don't even try to emulate it. Just exercise your free will according to these general rules and everything should turn out ok. Except for the infidels - they're screwed. One needn't appeal to the supernatural to make the point, of course, but "I am small and my perception is limited and provisional, so just tell me the price" is a good lesson no matter how it's taught.


Whose liberty is restricted when someone voluntarily chooses to adopt a common standard?

Historically-speaking, usually Bill Gates.

Frank McGahon

I must say, I'm quite baffled as to what point you're trying to make.

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