Stubborn Attachments

Tyler Cowen: “A sufficiently long time horizon will favor growth over redistribution even if we are counting only the interests of the very poor in the social welfare function. The benefits of radical redistribution are one-time in nature. We can try to equalize all wealth today, but we would not be able to draw on comparable resources for the next generation. Such a widespread collective redistribution would lead rapidly to negative economic growth. In contrast the benefits of economic growth will compound over time.”

Model hallucinations

“Any time that the mind encounters such a flow of feelings and perceptions, it irresistibly attributes them to some underlying entity that accounts for what’s going on. Just like the play of colours and shapes makes us see a bus careening towards us on the street, when happiness gives way to sadness, the mind infers that ‘someone’ (me) must have experienced a loss. The result is a model of a unified entity that allows us to act, think and interact – especially with other people – coherently and effectively. Self-modelling is simply an optimising strategy that allows us to bind together certain properties of the world so that they’re easier to grasp. By striving to maximise predictive success, the mind irresistibly succumbs to the substantialist temptation.”

Contra Grant On Exaggerated Differences

from: August 7, 2017 at 09:37PM

The economics of brideprice

from: August 5, 2017 at 11:25PM

National identity eases cross-cultural trust problems

from: August 5, 2017 at 06:52PM

Humans without Vulnerability

from Ken Arneson

The Axes of American Politics

“…cities tend to be very diverse, and the fundamental social adaptations required for urban life are built around toleration of very different people living next door. This is in contrast to rural life, where the fundamental social adaptations are built around everyone being able to cooperate and work together as a single society — so that difference is accepted so long as it falls within a particular broader envelope, but is very dangerous beyond that.”

Sonny Gray and the Collective Bargaining Agreement

from Ken Arneson

Globalization and Political Structure

“Borders hamper trade. In its early stages, the political response to globalization consists of removing borders by increasing country size. War is then an appealing way of conquering markets. In its later stages, however, the political response to globalization is to remove the cost of borders by creating international economic unions. As a result, country size declines and negotiation replaces war as a tool to ensure market access.”

A Theory of the Size and Number of Nations

from: August 2, 2017 at 12:27AM

Aliens in our midst

from: August 2, 2017 at 12:25AM

Poor crop yields and violence

from: July 31, 2017 at 08:15AM

One Small Step Towards a Theory of Pitch Sequencing

from Ken Arneson

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

from: July 28, 2017 at 03:54PM

The Feedback Loop from Hell

“Because here’s the thing that’s wrong with all of the “How to Be Happy” shit that’s been shared eight million times on Facebook in the past few years—here’s what nobody realizes about all of this crap:

The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.

This is a total mind-fuck. So I’ll give you a minute to unpretzel your brain and maybe read that again: Wanting positive experience is a negative experience; accepting negative experience is a positive experience. It’s what the philosopher Alan Watts used to refer to as “the backwards law”—the idea that the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place. The more you desperately want to be rich, the more poor and unworthy you feel, regardless of how much money you actually make. The more you desperately want to be sexy and desired, the uglier you come to see yourself, regardless of your actual physical appearance.”

Manifesto for a New American Liberalism, or How to Be a Humane Libertarian

“The essence of real, humane liberalism, in short, is a small government, honest and effective in its modest realm. Otherwise, leave people alone to pursue their non-violent projects voluntarily, laissez faire, laissez passer. But do not ignore other people, or disdain them, or refuse to help them, issuing a country-club declaration of “I’ve got mine.” Humane liberalism is not atomistic and selfish, contrary to what the High Liberals believe about it—and as some misled libertarians in fact talk in their boyish ways as if they believed about it, too. It is on the contrary an economy and polity and society of equal dignity.”



Time Simply Slipped Away Without Any Meaning

from: July 27, 2017 at 10:01PM

The Roman Loophole That Could

“…the entire edifice of Western civilization – all the cultural, social, and philosophical structures that define the world in which we live today – can be traced back to a stupid loophole in Roman inheritance law.”

Be the different one

from: July 27, 2017 at 06:55PM