Category Archives: Opinion

Rules for interaction (not really)


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

A few years back I had a quite long list of guidelines I wanted people to follow when commenting on this blog. I’ve since changed them (or maybe I never posted them at all, I don’t recall), but they still seem like good guidelines for (online) interaction so here’s the list:

  1. Don’t overgeneralize about groups or humanity as a whole. Sure some or most people might fit a certain generalization but it could come off as quite offensive to the ones who don’t fit the generalization (and some who do). You could get around this by just adding the word most,  but I don’t know how different most x are bla comes off from x are bla.
  2. Try not to argue (about politics) when you’re getting emotional. Try to get a good night’s sleep and see if you can approach things more rationally. This because to me it seems like getting angry at each other during an argument isn’t fun. Originally I also applied this rule to other emotions and though I can see how it not following this rule might lead people to adopt different conclusions then they would if they followed it, I can see how those different conclusions could be valuable now. Heck, even anger can be motivational and get people in your in-group to do something. When you’re speaking in front of an audience, where the people just watching the conversation and getting popcorn outnumber the people who’ll be frustrated by a shouting match, getting into an angry argument could be just fine.
  3. To some people, political jokes are only funny when you share a point of view and some people just have a different sense of humor. Not really a rule but something to be aware of.

I had more guidelines at the time, but what I left out were redundant guidelines which are already covered by the other ones and one which I think wasn’t very useful.

From political economics to quantum mechanics back to political economics


This is a post I wrote a whole back but hadn’t published jet because I wasn’t happy with it jet.

 

It initially started off with two links to videos with Noam Chomsky the following two:

However, it is not necessary to watch the full videos to get the gist of the article. Just a basic idea of Noam Chomsky’s political philosophy of anarchism which involves among other things worker control of the means of production.

(Here the post initially started)

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I think Chomsky’s ideals of worker participation can be very much achieved within a framework of free market, small businesses and freelancers. Because a freelancer is a separate legal entity than the business for which it works and thus might have less to fear if his contracts come from a diverse range of sources, he the freelancer is allowed to bargain with the small business over more than just money, but also organisational matters.

Additionally, the free market allows individuals to set up small businesses. These might not be 100% distinct from freelancers since there is still a large degree of a person trying to set up his own organisation and create his own rules for it. So in this way too we allow for worker participation.

Lastly, it might also be good to have the government enforce a certain amount of worker participation in the larger more rigid businesses, but here you rely on more trust in the system than Chomsky seems to have.

I do also think this model can be combined with a welfare state, by re-conceptualising why we pay taxes. Traditionally we think of it as a social contract you give the government taxes and the government provides you goods that no business can because of game theoretical (collective action problems) reasons and organisational reasons in the past.

Traditionally we think of it as a social contract you give the government taxes and the government provides you goods that no business can, because of game theoretical (collective action problems) reasons and organisational reasons in the past.

However, I’d propose we think of tax not as a social contract with the state but as a duty to do good. Most governments reduce your tax load if you give or invest your money in charities. So, if you try to do good with your money you won’t really pay much taxes.

One of the problems with this has always been, how do you decide what is a charity? On this question, there are many different answers possible. I think my charities must fulfil the condition that they try to do something the market doesn’t have an incentive for or a severally reduced incentive for. This of course still doesn’t create the dichotomy required for a simple list of things, but I think we can make smarter policies than just a list.

One of the ideas in quantum mechanics I particular like is the idea of pure states of particles and mixed states of particles.

Here a pure state is a neat mathematical solution to the wave equations concerning particles. Perhaps in layman’s terms, you could call it the extreme on a spectrum. Although if you see a spectrum as just a line instead of a space, that can have any number of dimensions, this analogy only holds when there are only two pure states.

Perhaps the reader can already guess that if the pure states are the extremes on a spectrum, the mixed states is the space in between those extremes. Where mathematically the wave-function (the mathematical description particle of the particle I earlier called a solution) is a combination of the two pure solutions. In physics, we call such a combination a superposition between two (or more) pure states.

Ok, so what does this have to do with policy? I think we should think of any organisation as a mixed state between charity and “evil” corporate business. That way we can reduce taxes by the degree to which the organisation is a charity. We’d probably still have to come up with sub-criteria, that make a business more or less a charity when they are present, but economists and other social scientists come up with those kinds of criteria all the time.

One big risk of this plan would be that in our current system big business could have too much of an influence on those sub-criteria and thus make them or their subsidiaries tax-deductible to some extent.

Whether you think that risk is worth it probably depends on to what extent you trust journalism, internet activism, and YouTube and other self made-intellectuals to properly police the activities of government. And that believe should in turn very much depend on the country you’re in and the political culture over there, although to some extent I must concede that the corruption in the American system is trying to infect other places around the world. On this, I’m not sure to what extent this attempt is being successful.

 

 

 

 

 

Why I’ve voted yes in the referendum on the Association treaty with Ukraine


In the run-up to the referendum  on the association treaty with Ukraine I’ve changed my mind quite a few times, but in the end I decided to vote in favour of the treaty. In making this decision I think there were three questions that were most important to come to a conclusion.

Is the treaty good for Ukraine?  Is this expanding our sphere of influence and should we be doing so? And last. Is the treaty good for Europe?

In the end I think the answers to all of these questions lead to a vote in favour of the treaty, although there are certainly points from both sides on each of these topics. Continue reading Why I’ve voted yes in the referendum on the Association treaty with Ukraine

About Corbyn, Sanders and Hillary


I usually try to avoid writing these kinds of posts, overly emotional ones about politics, but my current emotional state really created the desire to write this -and some of the stuff I wrote elsewhere, about the subject of politics- in me. I think this kind of emotional reasoning most of the time leads to the wrong conclusion. But here it goes:

I’m not that sure I really am a @SenSanders supporter anymore. Over the past weeks I’ve seen he’s wrong on too many issues. @HillaryClinton seems wrong on a lot of issues too, but I never suspected her to be right on that many things. I did from Bernie. At least my seaside neighbour has @jeremycorbyn. He seems to be the real deal… Hope I don’t find out similar stuff about him, and that the stuff I already found out isn’t going to have a harsher impact on me later. Rationally I understand I can’t really expect a candidate to be perfect, there’s too many compromises that are required to be an effective politician and people disagree without that too. But I really want one of them to be perfect right now. So we can have a shining beacon of hope to guard away the darkness of corruption and the stench of reality itself. My own state of mind is probably playing a large role in this as well. Seeing death so close by really opened me up to the suffering of others. And it made me very emotional about it as well.

Sorry that I don’t fill in the details of why I feel this way, but this way the emotional message seems clearer to me. Maybe the details will spill out in a future chapter or a second draft.

Should I really be turning tragedies into something “good?”


I feel kind of guilty again. This feeling feels very much the same as the last post I did about it. However, it’s slightly different this time. I kind of feel that I shouldn’t take anything good away from Daphne’s death. That it should just be a terrible tragedy instead of also something “good.”  But I am taking something good away from her death. The sadness I feel fills me with motivation to write things down. Now I’m even writing a very weird kind of book, because of it and in part about it. It might not be a book, it might become a game or visual novel or walking simulator. (This probably also means the post I promised will be the end of that novel or game. So you’ll have to wait for that one for quiet some time.) At least it’s going to be something,  instead of the sadness and tragedy I almost feel that this should be. I’m wrong about that of course. Sure death is sad, but we are always allowed to make something good out of it. I’m not sure if Daphne would have wanted this to happen, and I think I want to talk to her parents about this and some other things, but it is happening. It’s the way I’m going to deal with this sadness.

I also kind of feel like I don’t deserve to be sad. That because I haven’t seen her in 12, 13 or maybe even 14 years. I don’t deserve to be sad about her passing. That I can’t honour her memory because I didn’t really know her anymore. This is wrong too of course. Lots of people, which I actually know in real life, I know to the same degree as I know her. Those people and her I know more as almost an idea of a person than a person in and of themselves. And I bet that many people I know, now know me that way too. Doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be sad if I die or that I shouldn’t be sad if they die.

I feel kind of bad that my previous post was my most successful ever


Don’t get me wrong I think it is probably one of my better posts, but I have weird feelings about the way it got successful.

My previous post got that many views because I actually promoted it. I didn’t really promote it for the sake of it getting a lot of views. I promoted it because I needed to talk to people about it so I shared it on my social media. I had some nice conversations with some people, and those people got to know some things about me they didn’t know before. But this whole post has been building up to it hasn’t it? It feels very wrong to “use” the death of someone I cared for, even if I didn’t really know her anymore, to “launch” some sort of internet succes. These are unfortunately feeling I haven’t found the exact cause for so I can’t “rationalise them away”… I think this post is going to do worse anyway, since I’m not in the mood to “market” this post beyond a simple twitter and perhaps facebook share. That’s maybe for the best…

Here’s a video talking about similar but not identical feelings  enjoy 🙂