Tag Archives: Politics

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Freedom of speech public/ private spheres


I think the law concerning free speech, should include public and private spheres. But I don’t know yet what influence these things should have on the content that is allowed in them or the duties to the parties involved. Continue reading Freedom of speech public/ private spheres

“In Circles” Lyrics analyses of a Transistor song


Transistor_Artwork_1
Source

 

Oops, I… I based this reading off of an incorrect transcript of the song….

Here is the song, and underneath I posted the transcript I used for my reading.

I hear you buzzing, a fly on the wall

In through the window and up through the hall

Flying in circles just trying to land

I see you hurting, I do what I can
But I won’t save you

I won’t save you
Maybe you’re looking for someone to blame

Fighting for air while you circle the drain

Never be sorry for your little time

It’s not when you get there, it’s always the climb
But I won’t save you

I won’t save you
I won’t save you

I won’t save you

Continue reading “In Circles” Lyrics analyses of a Transistor song

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

Referendum on the association treaty with Ukraine


In the Netherlands on the 6th of april we’re having a referendum on the association treaty between the EU and Ukraine. I plan to write a few pieces on this topic and have in the past few months done a bit of research.

22th of March some of the student associations in Leiden organized a debate between two of our politicians (Renske Leijten and Kees Verhoeven) and a journalist (Arno Wellens).

At the event I was allowed to record the debate and am allowed to upload it.

It is in Dutch, but for the not so few of you who speak the language, I have uploaded it and embedded it below:

Apologies for the suboptimal quality of the Audio.

A Game Theory Workshop I gave for the Leiden Debating Union a while back


I gave this workshop somewhere in 2015 and probably should have uploaded it somewhere sooner. Underneath you’ll find the presentation and a link to the google drive where you should be able to download it (the red link underneath the embedded thing has the notes/remarks as powerpoint notes and the embedded presentation has them as separate slides).

I didn’t really change much to the text besides add some slides with text I said/ meant to say, but I think it will be useful to some. I remember that I was rather nervous and tired when I gave this presentation so the text version is probably strictly better than the one I gave in person…

Google drive link

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.

Tab for a cause post


tab for an cause

(note from 2020)This post is very out of date. Nowadays I would deffer to GiveWell when it comes to charity recommendations. They recommend one of the charities Tab for a Cause has, namely GiveDirectly.

The picture you see above is what I usually see when I open an new tab in my Firefox browser (you can also see that I didn’t really follow my own advise. This was due to some mistakes at the start of the new layout of the “tab for a cause” website and the addition of the voting system. I hadn’t really thought about what to vote jet and I had a lot of votes. I had so many votes because of an mistake made by the website earlier. Letting sevral hundred people share the same acount, before acounts where introduced). I installed an app that lets me donate ad revenue the site gets from the ads, you might be able to see the ads in the picture. In the spirit of my previous blog post I decided to share this with you in hopes that it causes us to do more good, in an very easy way that doesn’t really take any effort. For the humanitarian that is also kind of lazy. To make this into at least something resembling an blog post instead of just a shameless commercial I’ll now try to justify why I prioritise certain causes slightly (although not by much) over other causes. Continue reading Tab for a cause post