I’m not actually asking for people to do a thing for me, at this point. I think the closest to a request I have here is “please discuss the general topic and help me think about how to apply or fix these thoughts.”
I don’t think all communication is about requests (that’s a kind of straw-NVC) only that when you are making a request it’s often easier to get what you want by asking than by indirectly pressuring.
That’s flattering to Rawls, but is it actually what he meant?
Or did he just assume that you don’t need a mutually acceptable protocol for deciding how to allocate resources, and you can just skip right to enforcing the desirable outcome?
Can you explain why return on cash vs. return on equity matters?
I’m struck by the assumption in this essay that you have a clear distinction between your own values and other people’s.
I think that having a clear sense of personal identity can be difficult and not everyone may be able to hold on to their own perspective. I am concerned that this might be especially hard in an era of social media, when opinions are shared almost as soon as they are formed. Think of a blog/tumblr/fb that consists almost entirely of content copied from other sources: it is nominally a space curated/created by “you”, but really it is a lot of other people’s thoughts aggregated with very little personal modification. That could be a recipe for really poor internal coherence.
It’s pretty standard psychologist’s advice to have a journal where you write truly private reflections, shared with literally nobody else. I imagine this helps in constructing a self with boundaries.
Relatedly, “self-affirmation” (really kind of a misnomer: it means writing essays about what values are priorities for you) has a large psychology literature showing lots of good effects, and I find it extremely helpful for my own thoughts. A lot of self-help seems to boil down to “sit down and write reflections on what your priorities are.” Complice is this in productivity-app form, The Desire Map is this in book form, etc.
Note that the examples in the essay of mechanisms that produce inefficiency are union work rules, non-compete agreements between firms, tariffs, and occupational licensing laws. The former three are not federal regulations on industries, and so would not show up in a comparison of industry dynamism vs. regulatory stringency.
Ok, this is a counterargument I want to make sure I understand.
Is the following a good representation of what you believe?
When you divide GDP by a commodity price, when the commodity has a nearly-fixed supply (like gold or land) we’d expect the price of the commodity to go up over time in a society that’s getting richer—in other words, if you have better tech and better and more abundant goods, but not more gold or land, you’d expect that other goods would become cheaper relative to gold or land. Thus, a GDP/gold or GDP/land value that doesn’t increase over time is totally consistent with a society with increasing “true” wealth, and thus doesn’t indicate stagnation.
I agree that Carnegie’s US Steel is not the type of “monopoly” that I consider socially harmful. I seem to remember that there is empirical evidence (though I don’t know where) that monopolies due to superior product quality/price are actually fragile, and long-term monopolies must be maintained by legal privileges to survive. (If anybody remembers where, I’d appreciate a reference.)
In this context, thinking about whether you are “good” is not “constructive.”
Thinking about whether you’re doing something “constructive” is, by contrast, extremely constructive.
Here’s my trajectory:
1.) Worry a lot about “I’m not good”
2.) Improve in some dimensions, also refactor my moral priorities so that I no longer believe some of my ‘bad traits’ are really bad
3.) Still worry a lot about “I’m not good” where “good” refers to some eldritch horror that I no longer literally endorse
4.) Learn the mental motion of going “fuck it”, where I just rest my brain and self-soothe. Do that until I deeply do not give a fuck whether I’m good or not.
5.) Notice a mild but consistent desire to do things that are, not “good”, but “constructive”—i.e. contribute to the construction of a nice thing that takes time and effort to complete.
6.) Notice that the people around me mostly like it when I do “constructive” things, and call them “good.”
I’m a little more optimistic about calorie restriction mimetics than Aubrey, but I think everybody sensible has pretty low confidence about this.