Don’t go around handing out blank checks, and you won’t have to worry that someone will fill in a huge amount and try to cash it.
Really, that’s what the people in Texas did—they explicitly signed up to a deal where the price per kWh could change without limit, and pre-agreed to pay whatever the rate was.
Because in theory on average it would be cheaper.
It’s kind of like selling fire insurance—sure, you get this nice steady stream of premiums. But every once in a while, unpredictably, a house burns down and you have to pay for it.
It’s fine to do that if you’re an insurance company and have many customers, so you can figure out how many houses you can expect t- statistically—to burn down each month. AND you buy reinsurance (it’s a thing) in case you’re unlucky and all your customers houses burn down at once.
But it’s dumb to just sell ONE insurance policy, hoping your customer’s house won’t burn down, if you can’t afford to pay for it.
Don’t do that.
Auto-pay is fine for things where the amounts are reasonably predicable—your cable bill, say. Not for things that might vary a lot.
For me, it’s being completely focused on a task. To the extent that the task occupies all of my short-term memory, leaving nothing for anything else distracting.
This is, I think, why it’s annoying to be disturbed while in the flow state. The whole house of cards falls down when a disturbance occurs (example: the phone rings) while in flow—something necessarily gets tossed out of short-term memory to accommodate the interruption.
Even for a fairness argument, it seems hard to justify the rent subsidy (the difference between market rent and controlled rents) coming out of the pockets of landlords, vs. the public treasury.
Why pick on landlords?
Yes. This is an argument for paying legislators nothing. New Hampshire has the second largest legislature on the the planet. The pay for members of the NH House of Representatives is $100/year, plus mileage. (it’s not a full-time job).
New Hampshire is a pretty well-run place.
And for paying bureaucrats, esp. senior ones, more. Far more. In Singapore the PM is paid $3M/year, cabinet ministers $2.5M/year (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabinet_of_Singapore). Lower level bureaucrats are paid like corporate managers with similar scale of responsibility (they don’t have large numbers of these people, but the ones they do have are very competent).
Singapore is a pretty well run-place.
See https://www.amazon.com/Where-My-Flying-Car-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07F6SD34R (Where is my Flying Car?, J. Storrs Hall) on this—I find his take on it dead-on.
Hall says growth in energy use per capita flatlined, and that happened mostly because established industries rigged the system to keep themselves on top, and stifled new technologies in a snarl of red tape and regulation. (For the greater good, of course. </snark>)
I think about half of Gordon’s policy RXs are wise, the other half deeply unwise. To the extent public policy has anything to do with growth (a lot, I think) it seems pretty clear US policy circa 1930 (just before the New Deal) worked a lot better than US policy circa 1970.
Whatever pain reverting to public policy circa 1930 would entail seems to be outweighed by the vast increase in per-capita wealth. Several studies have estimated per capita GDP at 3x to 4x what it is today, if the earlier policies had been kept in place.
Every policy proposal needs to be compared to the status quo and not to some utopian ideal.
It seems likely that a well-designed UBI would be vastly more efficient than our existing hodgepodge of welfare and other subsidies for the poor. It would eliminate the overhead of figuring out who should receive them and limiting fraud, and eliminate the disincentives to productivity that we have in place now. Neither is a small gain.
A UBI might also go some way toward settling our vast political bifurcation, by making people feel the world is a bit more “fair”.
An increase in entrepreneurial activity would be nice, but doesn’t drive the case for UBI.
Highly recommended: https://www.amazon.com/Our-Hands-Replace-Welfare-State/dp/1442260718/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=in+our+hands&qid=1601063375&s=books&sr=1-1
If that’s true, the field is broken.
Religion is symbiotic to humans—that’s how it has persisted for millennia, despite being factually mistaken about many important things. Some of us get along fine without it, but we seem to be a minority.
It would be great to have something honest to fill the niche taken by religion, including community, moral guidance, and making people feel better about their lives. I would be willing to donate some money toward the project.
Most religions involve an afterlife—without that the “religion niche” may not be filled. One truthful way to offer this might be to talk about quantum immortality—if the MWI is correct and we can only experience worlds in which we survive, then subjectively (only!) we may each perceive ourselves to be immortal. Cryonics is another option here.
Ideas about destiny and duty seem to play important roles in religions. I suggest something along the lines of “spreading the light of life and intelligence thruout the universe”. Frank Tipler has written a lot about this—mostly nonsense in my opinion, but we could take his vision of the Omega Point not as inevitable, but as a goal we (intelligence in the universe) have a duty to accomplish.
That seems to fit pretty well with long-termism, however defined. We could take it as our project realize Tipler’s dream—to colonize the universe with intelligence, to make the universe an ever-better place to live.
“I’m sorry” is often used as an expression of sympathy—no relation to any apology.
Them: “My mom got cancer”
You: “I’m so sorry!”
(sorry for them, not sorry for anything you did)
To the degree that that cocaine business (like any honest business) creates value, there’s some truth in that. But most of the value is in the high that the customers get when they consume it—it doesn’t create much *economic* value. Except to whatever extent the cocaine makes users more productive (it’s a stimulant, as is caffeine).
But the “subsidy” mostly comes from other inner-city residents—for the most part, they’re the customers (obviously some outsiders come into town to buy, but I suspect that’s a small fraction of the business). So it’s a zero-sum transaction within the inner city, except (as said) for the hedons of pleasure experienced by the end-users.
I think the costs of the drug war (fear, crime, overdoses, toxic side-effects of adulterants, incarceration, destroyed families, etc. - all of which overwhelmingly fall on inner-city poor people) far exceed any “subsidy” to the inner city.
I suspect a stronger argument could be made that the drug war is a key element of the institutional structures that keep the underclass down. Supposedly (from those who were there) Nixon’s War on Drugs was intended to make life harder for blacks: https://www.forbes.com/sites/eriksherman/2016/03/23/nixons-drug-war-an-excuse-to-lock-up-blacks-and-protesters-continues/#5feee3f542c8 https://www.drugpolicy.org/press-release/2016/03/top-adviser-richard-nixon-admitted-war-drugs-was-policy-tool-go-after-anti https://www.vox.com/2016/3/29/11325750/nixon-war-on-drugs https://www.cnn.com/2016/03/23/politics/john-ehrlichman-richard-nixon-drug-war-blacks-hippie/index.html
Cocaine is a stimulant, so wouldn’t that make users *more* productive?
And if it were legal, it would be cheap, so no “crimes to get their next hit”. Despite heavy taxation, the (significant) social harm from alcohol and tobacco doesn’t come from crime.
Life is risk. Go.
Just be prepared—financially and in terms of other commitments—to be delayed by quarantine, etc.
“You are spending more money than you can afford.
This will result in unnecessary stress and misery in your life.
You will be happier in the long run if you reduce your standard of living to a level that’s easily sustainable for you and put the remainder of your money into a substantial financial buffer for yourself.”
a) Yes, it is, but that’s the point of it. And the viewpoint seems self-justified to me.
b) The article makes no claim that “progress” is continuous or smooth or monotonically increasing, or that it doesn’t suffer setbacks. The point is that *in spite* of setbacks, civilization has experienced net progress and there appears to be reason to expect that to continue—in the long run.
c) Yes, but there’s a feedback loop at work. The more that problems create pain for people, the more people focus resources and attention on finding solutions for those problems.
d) Again, yes, we depend on cheap energy. There seem to be lots of other ways to obtain that other than burning fossil fuels—nuclear power is the most obvious solution, tho there are others. And, again, there’s a feedback loop at work—as energy prices increase, that will create incentives to find cheaper sources.
e) “Rapid enough” is a function of attention, capital, and effort invested into solving problems. As we work harder to solve problems, our rate of progress at solving those problems increases.
Of course there are existential risks—most of them involve very short-term catastrophes that may happen too rapidly for people to adapt and respond to. It’s urgent that we think about preventing them. The fact that we’re here talking about it is a good sign.
But people—and civilization in general—aren’t passive victims of vast historical forces. They act and influence outcomes.
In the words of Karl Popper, “Optimism is a duty. The future is open. It is not predetermined. No one can predict it, except by chance. We all contribute to determining it by what we do. We are all equally responsible for its success. ”
You should read Richard Epstien’s _Takings_ https://www.amazon.com/Takings-Private-Property-Eminent-Domain/dp/0674867297
It’s all about this. He makes a lot of insightful points—we could be improving things far more than we do now, if only we could pay the losers to stop opposing the changes.
I’d think that at some point before now, the super-high profits to be made from renting apartments would create political pressure to allow building more housing—after all, developers want to get more of that lovely profit.
But, it seems, no.
Same thing (even worse) has happened in the Bay Area—insane rents, yet no political will to permit building more housing.
We are evolved animals. Set your expectations reasonably. Don’t expect miracle cures, esp. if you’re past the usual age of reproduction. Be skeptical of those promising miracle cures.
Esp. as we get older, there are lots of things we need to learn to live with, and suffer with. Embrace mild ameliorations, like ibuprofen and (small doses of!!) opiates.
Our bodies are reasonably well adapted to the kinds of things our ancestors in the state of nature had to do on a daily basis. Try to do more of those (lots of mild exercises like walking, some occasional strenuous exercise, very exceptional extreme physical efforts) and less of the modern unnatural stuff we do a lot of (sitting and staring at computer screens, eating sugar).
Be skeptical of programmes that tell you to diverge too much from the ancestral behavior patterns.
Be skeptical of fads and “breakthrus”.
Appreciate that if one approach were obviously and clearly better than the others, this would likely be pretty clear to everyone by now.
Since that isn’t the case, don’t expect too much. There is probably no one approach that is a whole lot better than the others (tho some may be far worse than the median).
With all due respect to the first set of authors, I wouldn’t argue with Charles Bennett on the subject of thermodynamics. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02084158
I’ve been thru this same thing with doctors.
One, after being pressed with “why?” repeatedly, fessed up.
They get paid for each office visit. The way they make money is to force patients to visit the office periodically, on pain of having necessary prescriptions cut off.
I’m not talking about narcotics or controlled substances here. (For those, the DEA really does force the MDs to see the patient in person for each prescription.)
You have a greedy doctor. He thinks he’s only cheating the insurance company (cheating by demanding needless office visits) but of course everybody pays for that. And your time is worth something, surely.
My advice: Get another doctor.