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.

We ignored the hypocrite

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels The stock photo site didn’t say who the woman is and this poem is of course not about her

We ignored the hypocrite for she went skiing while knowing the harm

We ignored the hypocrite for she travels while railing against coal

We ignored the hypocrite for she ate a burger one time despite what she believes

We ignored the hypocrite and now the world is gone

This poem might not have been that good. I wanted to make one about how it is hard to fully live by your ideals. Basically everyone with a lot of ideas about how society could be function better is going to be a hypocrite at some point but that it is important to still try, and not give up on good believes because you can’t fully live them. I don’t think that really came across or at all in this poem. Maybe just a harsh version of the gist.

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.