Self-Governance vs. Government (Available for Mac)

This from Wired.com:

“A colleague once defined “work” as “that which you accomplish while not distracted by the internet,” and he was onto something. Anyone who works on a computer  understands how easily personal communication (e-mail, instant messaging, social networks) can distract from the task at hand.

Eyebeam Lab’s Steve Lambert, creator of Add-Art and co-creator of the New York Times spoof, released an application over the weekend that solves the problem: SelfControl, a simple open source program for Mac OS X that prevents you from resorting to well-worn procrastination techniques by blocking access to websites and e-mail servers.”

Some people may not understand this and say why would one want to restrict your own freedom? The answer lies in what Nobel Prize Winning Economist James Buchanan talked about. This is a social contract. The founding fathers created the Constitution to restrain the government enough to protect it’s rights but not to take them away. Buchanan sees this as a risky but necessary institution to ensure freedom. So what does this have to do with Mac Software? James Buchanan would called this the “alarm clock” on Robinson Crusoe’s island. In other words, Robinson does not have to worry about anyone else but yet he still uses the clock to restrain him. As I agree with James Buchanan in a lot of ways, the problem lies in that we cannot always renew and create social contracts and often we are born in them without any input.

The second part to take away from this software is that it gives a good example of governance versus government. Government does not allow you to exit. In Buchanan’s world, people agreed to it unanimously and thus there is no reason to exit. In the software’s case a person agrees to the restrain unanimously and may exit at any time. Government does not allow you to do this. For example, if they were to not allow you to check your email from the hours of midnight and 4 am. People often do not see the distinction between governance and government and it is as simple as taxes are not voluntary, the software above is.

The rest is here.

~PCCapitalist

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m the person who made this application and just wanted you to know that I think Socialism has merits and your analogy doesn’t hold up.

  2. The idea is that it is voluntary. Statism is not, neither is Socialism.

  3. Good post. True to point. Keep up the good work. Dido


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