Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Persuading Puppets Is Pointless

My reply to Adam Gurri


You're correct that it's a huge leap!  But you really don't need to leap the chasm... there's a perfectly functional bridge.  It's called "diversity".  Markets are inherently diverse.  Let's say that an asteroid destroys our planet tomorrow.  Who do we blame for humanity's extinction?  Alex Tabarrok?  Nope...


Maybe we blame Mark Lutter?  Nope...

"With humanity concentrated on earth, an errant asteroid could wipe out civilization. Nuclear war could end human life. Rogue AI could eliminate humanity. Colonizing other planets limits the destructive potential of such threats. If life on earth is wiped out, Mars would still thrive. Private space exploration literally has the potential to save humanity."


Of course we don't blame these two individuals.  Do we blame the market then?  Well no... contrary to Lutter's argument for private space exploration... we're talking about a public good here.  Therefore... the not-market would be entirely to blame for human extinction.  Centralization, by definition, limits the variety of the very different paths that individuals would be naturally inclined and incentivized to take.   Centralization, by definition, puts far too many eggs in far too few baskets.

If people were free to choose where their taxes go then we would have a market in the public sector.  As a result, public goods would be just as diverse as private goods.  This is because the demand for ALL goods is inherently diverse.  You and I wouldn't put the same exact public goods in our shopping carts just like we don't put the same exact private goods in our shopping carts.

Progress is a function of difference.  Sexual reproduction is all about difference and voila!  Here we are!

Regarding Schumpeter's "corrections"... any such thing is the logical, but extremely detrimental, consequence of centralization.  With the current system there are public "shepherds" who are so confident in their information that they are very eager to limit the natural diversity of markets.

Don't get me wrong... we need rules/regulations to protect diversity.  But nearly all of our rules/regulations do the very opposite.

Regarding the physicists... you seem to appreciate the benefit of persuasion.  So do I!   Persuasion is a function of choice though.  Take away people's choices and it becomes entirely unnecessary to persuade them.  If people are marionettes... then it's pointless to try and persuade them.  If you want marionettes to behave differently... then you're going to have to try and persuade whoever is pulling the strings.

Allowing people to choose where their taxes go would cut all the strings.  So we'd have infinitely more persuasion than we currently have.

For me it's not difficult to cleanly separate not-market factors from market factors.  You're an intelligent guy.  And you can't choose where your taxes go.  If the economy struggles in any way... then it's because your difference (creativity/intelligence/knowledge/foresight) and Tabarrok's difference and Lutter's difference and the difference of millions and millions of other people has been and continues to be squandered to a significant extent.

Our system needs to be less like Hitler and more like Churchill...

"Since the Germans drove the Jews out and lowered their technical standards, our science is definitely ahead of theirs." - Winston Churchill

No comments:

Post a Comment