@sumdepony

1. The American left cannot win without persuading large swathes of the right & centre

Thinking about political persuasion from a left-Wing point of view1. The American left cannot win without persuading large swathes of the right & centreThere’s a comforting lie that some parts of the American left like to tell themselves. We don’t need to worry about convincing conservatives- we just need to get non-voters to vote.This has never rung true to me. What evidence we have suggests turnout is not a panacea. For...

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If the minimum wage doesn’t effect unemployment then how could we explain that?

If the minimum wage didn’t effect unemployment, how could we explain that? Monospony in labour markets[UNFINISHED DRAFT]I. If the minimum wage didn’t effect employment, how could we explain that?Recently there has been a great deal of interest among non-economists about various studies which seem to suggest that minimum wage increases do not have a negative effect- or at any rate, a large negative effect- on employment. This...

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Contra the Lebowski Theorem

See: https://kottke.org/18/04/the-lebowski-theorem-of-machine-superintelligenceThe fundamental mistake behind this thinking is the premise that agents with goals seek to be in a position where they no longer have unfulfilled goals. This isn’t true, rather agents with goals seek to fulfil their goals. The difference between these things is subtle, and only arises in a situation where agents can rewrite their own goals.Because agents...

@sumdepony

There are a couple of problems with cooperatives:

There are a couple of problems with cooperatives:In general, cooperatives have an incentive not to expand if expansion means bringing new workers into the cooperative. This is because cooperative members are capital owners, and every new member dilutes their share. In the best case scenario this leads to the firm not growing as much as it should- missing out on economies of scale. In the worst case scenario this leads to exploitative...

@sumdepony

Hi Gift of Fire

Hi Gift of FireWhat you are referring to is called the repugnant conclusion; the argument that aggregate utility utilitarianism implies that a world full of enough people will lives barely worth living will be better than a world with fewer people, living very nice lives.The repugnant conclusion is not, to my mind, especially relevant to diminishing marginal utility as an argument for redistribution. Consider, for example, that...

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The books I wanted to write in the fiction career I’ll never have

Perhaps six months ago I finally accepted that I’ll almost certainly never be a novelist. I’m just too busy with various non-fiction projects.There’s nothing special about ideas in fiction. Anyone can have a ‘brilliant’ idea for a novel given a pen and paper, a caffeinated beverage and an afternoon in the sun. I’ll admit that there are a few bright glints, a few truly great ideas that we should all be thankful for, but for...

@sumdepony

A third option in the UBI/Job Guarantee debate- shortening the working week.

Both a Job Guarantee and UBI have been proposed as solutions to the perceived threat of a decline in demand for labour following increasing automation. We’ll take it as a given that the threat is real. However, both solutions are imperfect.Against UBI it has been argued that the UBI has the potential to create a permanent underclass with no economic power, and only limited political agency.Against a Job guarantee it has been argued...

@sumdepony

The de Pony Sum Pill Challenge

I liked the old pill challenge, so I’ve come up with my own variant. Suppose you were a committed effective altruist, which one of these should you pick?Blue: So long as you are being truthful, everyone hearing or reading your words will believe that you are being sincere, although they might still think you are wrong.Yellow: You have invulnerability to everything except aging. You can still be captured or restrained.Red: You can...

@sumdepony

Why I left philosophy

1.I started working on intuitions. To see what a philosophical intuition is (or rather, what one type of philosophical intuition is), consider the following:You might think knowledge is justified and true belief. But suppose I look at my watch and it says the time is 12:37. On this surely reasonable and justified basis I believe that the time is 12:37, and indeed the time is 12:37. However, unbeknownst to me my clock is stopped. It...