Thursday, February 27, 2014

Split Preference Disorder

There is exactly one search result for "Split Preference Disorder".    LordChibiVampire is the first person to openly acknowledge that they suffer from this condition.  The symptoms don't quite match but that's a minor detail.  The point is that LordChibiVampire is a extremely brave person to be the very first person to talk about this condition that afflicts nearly all of us.

Reply to The Joseon Dynasty


Let's pretend...shall we?

A. You're my BFF
B. You're a congressman

We go shopping together in a giant store that sells both public goods and private goods.  I'm actually doing all the're just there for moral support.

I have my shopping cart.  First thing I put in is garlic.  Because...garlic really matches my preferences.  Next thing I reach for is some environmental protection...but before I can put it in the shopping cart you trip me and put it back on the shelf.  The next thing I put in my shopping cart is Warpaint (the band).  Well...not the actual band (I wish) but their CD.  For some reason you don't trip me.  Moving along I go to grab some public education and find myself sprawled out on the ground.  You tripped me again!  And you put the item back on the shelf and put a bunch of drug war in my cart instead.

Ok, I think I see what's going on here.  For some reason you believe that my preferences really suck when it comes to public goods.  Why just public goods though?

It doesn't make a lick of sense.   Not even a little bit.

If society, as a whole, derives more value when 500 congresspeople override our preferences for public goods...then the same has to be true when it comes to private goods.   The thing is...we know that this really isn't true when it comes to private goods.  So you've got this intense cognitive dissonance going on.

Unless everybody who isn't a congressperson suffers from split preference disorder?  LOL  The public preference side of our brain has lousy lousy lousy value judgement while the private preference side of our brain has excellent value judgement?  That's just so...sad/funny.  Is there a cure?  Is it contagious?

You grasp a few concepts but completely fail to see how they fit into any sort of big picture.  You've got a micrograsp of economics.  

The market works because we can give people positive feedback when they use society's limited resources to create things that we value.  We go around giving our money to people who do valuable things with society's limited resources.  If somebody does nonsensical things with society's limited resources...then we don't give them any positive feedback.  Why?  Because we don't trust their value judgement.

Let's think of it from a religious angle...buying/spending is sacrificing...and producers are gods.  You're saying that we'd worship the wrong gods in the public sector but we worship the right gods in the private sector?  I can discern when a private god is giving me blessings...but I can't discern when a public god is giving me blessings?

Why would we ever want to worship the wrong gods?  If Warpaint is a false god...then I don't want to worship and make sacrifices to them.

What's a false god?  A false god is a god that gives you nothing in exchange for your sacrifice.  A false god is a shyster...a thief...a false god will simply rip you off.  A false god says "No blessings for you!"

Somehow, in your world...we have enough value judgement to elect the right public gods...but we don't have enough value judgement to choose which public gods we make our sacrifices to?   How can the first decision require less value judgment than the second?  We're intelligent enough to choose our gods but not intelligent enough to know which ones we should make sacrifices to?

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