RJMacReady's forum posts

#1 Posted by RJMacReady (361 posts) -

Remember all the infrastructure damage adn societal chaos unleashed by Y2K ? Neither do I.

#2 Posted by RJMacReady (361 posts) -

@Dagbiker said:

Consoles killed the stratigey game

I think the lack of mouse/keyboard is partially to blame. Can you imagine trying to play starcraft witha gamepad? Hopefully motion controls on next gen consoles will remedy this.

#3 Posted by RJMacReady (361 posts) -

I think "acting on" empathy as opposed to having the capacity to recognize the emotional state of another person is something that we should approach with more skepticism in a modern social order. I've posted about this before specifically in teh context of addressing the welfare state and transfer payments. Empathy facilitated cooperation but evolved under different environmental conditions then those that exist in a modern social structure. Because of distention and cognitive limits empathy can be deleterious as a person or institutions can evoke this response in the interest of their own interests rather then that of that person/institution without getting anything in return adn thus empathy can open teh door to modern forms of predation and result in asymmetrical exchange. This form of thinking is not optimized for large societies. As such there needs to be defense mechanisms against things like empathy and compassion because we cannot reasonably assess all the unseen actions of the individual that would be the putative target of this empathy.

Even inculcation itself might be a means to promote a behavior that causes the actor who conforms with that standard to act in ways that benefit those that inculcate them and so the act of advocating for a more empathetic social order could itself be a selfish strategy.

#4 Posted by RJMacReady (361 posts) -

Post office got itself a monopoly and a guaranteed revenue stream. It it makes you feel better i hate them too !

#5 Posted by RJMacReady (361 posts) -

Honor is a form of social currency as is respect. They are not redeemable in modern society because of memory limitations. We cannot assess the millions of actions individuals are performing and internalize them into some sort of schema that has magnitude or some quantity that we can reference to determine how we should act toward those individuals that either do things honorable or do not.

The exception are famous people who can tap into the public conscious via media platforms. Individuals like actors, politicians or other high profile people can accumulate honor and cash it in however this phenomenon is limited to only a few people in society and as such reliance on these archaic proto-market structures, honor, trust, respect actually serves to create stratification in society.

We also use these social currencies locally with friends and family and those we have repeated dealings with. However we cannot apply this evaluative mechanism at large scales to facilitate cooperation. Honor can only really be applied at the extreme margins of civilization.

#6 Edited by RJMacReady (361 posts) -

@gamefreak9 said:

@AZ123 said:

Look at the big picture, think logically and critically... is this faith in the free market god also known as the "invisible hand" really warranted?

I've seen this rhetorical ploy used often and i find it curious how the individual using it reconciles the inverse: that a centralized regulatory agency would be all knowing or omnipotent. Not only are regulators able to forecast future events but they even have the incentive and beneficence to do so because these political agents "love" us dearly and are creating an Eden for us.

Now that we can show that both means of diminishing the others arguments are nothing more the Strawmen and discard them( i sure hope we can i hope the left do not believe such absurdities about the political class) we can then engage in comparative institutional analysis. We can talk about the incentives of politicians, we can talk about how regulation serves to incentivize entrepreneurs to exit the market and become political entrepreneurs and attempt to capture rents because gaining market-power via legislation is much more profitable then operating in teh market. We can compare the incentives of a voter to a consumer in deploying their political capital vs their actual capital etc. We can talk about epistemological issues like where is knowledge in society? Is it centralized in a few geniuses that can then be easily identified and extracted from the gross population via democracy or is knowledge fragmented , decentralized or even contradictory and do we need more dynamic solutions to tap into this knowledge or cap it when it fails to yield benefits or intrudes on social domains it does not belong because it was too specialized to begin with?


Well i don't get it... ? Wrestling ?

#7 Edited by RJMacReady (361 posts) -

@hidys: As far as unemployment benefits are concerned there is a large volume of academic research that indicates that the duration of benefits effects the departure from benefits. To say that another way, the more generous the state is with other peoples money the more that recipients will abuse this generosity.





People abuse social safety nets because of basic risk offsetting behavior. When we socialize the cost of failure, or lack of will to obtain employment or some other socially destructive behavior we are discounting it and as such we will get more of this behavior. This is the fundamental insight of Sam Peltzman's research on seat belt safety which we can generalize to other behaviors that are even not economic or not human. The welfare state is a corrosive social institution because it allows some segment of society to obtain benefits of other people's labor without any proportional compensation.

We really shouldn't even need to look at the research here, it should be obvious that when you allow somebody to engage in predation on another person with no expectation of restoring that person they will do it. While humans evolved to be altruistic to non-kin that altruism is stabilized via specific environmental variables like the memory capacity of the average individual in the social unit or population viscosity. As we scale society up it is impossible for a potential donor to watch and put pressure on a recipient when the recipient makes decisions that will result in a delayed departure from benefits. The recipient doesn't answer to the provider of funds but to the government institution which didn't have to labor to provide the benefits, in fact the welfare of the agents in the distribution apparatus benefit from this perverse social arrangement so they are under very limited incentive to police free riders.

Need itself has a positive supply elasticity, the more aid that is available the more need becomes available. Now maybe this might satisfy a particular sadomasochistic streak in some members in that they want to feel good about helping by regardless of how much dependence emerges as a result of their efforts to accumulate spiritual reward or just feel good about themselves but it should be totally voluntary arrangement like any other fetish that can potentially hurt the participants.

Also it should be noted that corporations and the welfare state are very similar in that they allow their beneficiaries to free-ride or obtain the benefits of the social system at the cost of external parties. The welfare state allows recipients to obtain aid and yet delay or defect on repayment because the consequences are discounted. Corporations have a legal shield called limited liability, effectively shareholders(owners) of a corporation can create negative externalities (pollution) or bad crappy products and yet the shareholder is protected from any form of sanction beyond their investment capital. If an owner of a pit bull fails to leash it and it gets out of the yard and kills a child that owner is liable. Not so in teh case of welfare recipients and corporate stakeholders.

#8 Posted by RJMacReady (361 posts) -


I'm not disputing your points, i never was. I was saying that you identified the the superficial flaws of progressive paternalism. I don't support price controls.

Negative freedom is the freedom to be free of something, or "freedom from actions of another person or institution". So rape would be a violation of negative freedom or a regulatory decree that i must not smoke is a violation of negative freedom.

Positive freedom tends to be the opposite. It's the freedom from some need, like hunger or health care. Advancing positive freedom allows you to interfere in another person's actions. In the context of what i wrote liberal paternalism advances the positive freedom of everybody but disproportionally the political class in that they can now interfere with other people via regulatory instruments of the state. This takes the form of political power in that a politician may take your money(interference with your freedom) to finance their campaign which then generates political capital for them which allows them to extend their ability to interfere allowing them to take more of your wealth generating a positive feed back system.

#9 Posted by RJMacReady (361 posts) -


I think you touched on an important point in the previous post about paternalism or the idea that WE don't understand what is best for us therefore we need beneficent central planners to help us optimize our decisions. Gamefreak touches on this.

@gamefreak9 said:

There are risks in the world people have no way of foreseeing, the fact of the matter is insurance must be taken before the event happens, and if you don't foresee such an event happening why would you have insurance? This is the role of the government plain and simple.

If government is organized by people then i see a self-detonating statement or a contradiction here. If people cannot forecast future events with certainty then what separates the non-bureaucrat from the bureaucrat? What makes one person effectively better then all the rest to the point that THEIR POSITIVE FREEDOMS should override OUR NEGATIVE FREEDOM? How can you resolve this paradox unless its' to say government personal , past or present, possess some intimate knowledge that a person who does not win elections or does not have political connections that get them a public appointment has access to ?

Then there is the question of democracy itself which tends to serve as the fulcrum of this argument but in my opinion destroys the entire project of paternalism. Democratic output is intransitive, that means that no majority can exist when you have more then 2 selection options. Any will expressed via democratic election cannot be defined as the will of the people because it cannot mathematically be proven it's teh majority. The lack of majority preference ranking is the subject of arrows impossibility theorem.

If Democracy cannot give you the will of the people then as an egalitarian principle it fails and it must descend into elitism. To be more specific democracy is not TWO wolves and ONE sheep voting what's for dinner. Democracy is ONE Wolf and TWO SHEEP voting to have sheep for dinner.

Then there is the rational ignorance problem which is, as far as i'm concerned the final nail in the coffin of democracy. Democratic decisions making is subject to tremendous ignorance and error because of the lack of incentive to make informed selections due to teh value of the vote. If our votes have no value then it is rational to not make informed selections. Because of this any output via democracy will not outperform the market because the consumer is more likely to obtain greater utility from making informed selections in a market then making them in a democratic contest. To put that another way, when you make a bad decision under a democratic contest the probability that your ignorance will hurt you is very low because the impact of your decision is unlikely to alter the final outcome so being uninformed is safe. In a market structure that is inverted, when you make a bad decision because of lack of knowledge your more likely to receive the negative consequences of your ignorance because your decision and it's ensuring outcomes are more isolated.

All this leads to a paradox of egalitarianism. Many egalitarians do not support the market or want it constrained via some form of government intervention. Presumably the government will then be regulated , at least partially, by some constitution and some form of voting structure. This just cannot work and so efforts to make a more equal society by relegating more decisions to a centralized regulatory authority end up exacerbating elitism which is what the egalitarians are struggling to reverse. They end up destroying any chances they have of making their society more equal by concentrating power in a single institution. They end up expanding freedom, but only for a few in political office or those corporations who are able to seize power from political officials which of coarse doesn't allow markets to function correctly.

#10 Posted by RJMacReady (361 posts) -

I'll say Magnolia bcs everybody else is saying Boogie Nights. Both where great films imho. Also Punch Drunk Love is great and the only movie with Sandler in it that is worth watching mainly because it's not an adam sandlar movie.

I actually didn't find TWBB to be as good as these three.