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formerly hh26

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joined 2022 September 04 21:33:01 UTC


User ID: 164


formerly hh26

0 followers   follows 0 users   joined 2022 September 04 21:33:01 UTC


No bio...


User ID: 164

I wouldn't straight up cut someone off if they were already a friend for other reasons and that was the only thing about them I disliked. But it would be a yellow flag which would make me less comfortable around them. Because stuff like that rarely shows up in isolation. I've never actually had the issue show up, because the type of people I typically hang out with are so far from that archetype that it's not even a remote possibility.

  1. There's a negative feedback loop here that prevents this from being reliably true. That is, in an environment where it is possible/easy/profitable to consistently get away with unethical behavior, more people do it until it becomes common enough that people respond and become less trusting in order to protect themselves. This is largely what distinguishes high-trust societies versus low trust. Additionally, the expected cost of unethical behavior is the probability of being caught multiplied by the penalty, which means that you can stabilize at higher levels of ethics by ramping up the penalties, be that financial, reputational, or justice. I think this is largely why upper and middle class communities tend to be higher trust than lower class communities. If you have lots of money, stable long-term friends, and a job that relies on maintaining a professional bearing and reputation, then you have more to lose even if you do unethical but technically legal things. None of my friends have, to my knowledge, ever shoplifted in their lives, and if I found out they did I would lose respect for them and shame them for it. Because that's not the kind of person I want to hang out with, even if they were stealing from some soulless megacorp and there's no risk of them stealing from me. Ethical people who can reliably recognize each other and group together can create better. happier, more stable subcommunities by filtering, which creates a hard-to-measure cost to being unethical.

  2. The rational game theoretic perspective says to maximize your utility function, which if you are not a sociopath might itself contain a term for ethics. Don't fall into the trap thinking that people are profit-maximizing corporations, sometimes good deeds are their own reward. A large part of why I do ethical things even if I might get away with it is because one of my terminal values is the desire to be a good person. I feel guilty when I do bad things, and I feel good/proud/accomplished when I do good things, especially if there was a temptation to do a selfish bad thing and I chose to do the right thing anyway. Most people have something like that. The philosophical argument that you should be good because if everyone is bad you'd be worse off is weak, it was always weak. It's not the actual reason to be good, which is that it is good to be good, and if you're not an evil sociopath your utility function will care about that in its own right. If someone is an evil sociopath then there's not much the rest of us can do to convince them to care, all we can do is arrange society such that unethical behavior is punished harshly enough that the rationally selfish unethical behaviors we can't punish are rare and minor.

This in turn incentivizes would-be-dictators to make tons of broad and vague rules with selective enforcement. If there is such a byzantine maze of laws that almost never get enforced, then nobody pays attention to them and then everyone ends up technically in violation of some sort of rule. Then the enforcer can pick and choose who gets penalized based on their own internal reasons, but always has some sort of justification in the actual rules to pin it to.

Not sure if this belongs here or in SQS, but it could either be a small question I don't understand or a discussion depending on whether or not people disagree about the answer.

Why did support for Ukraine split along the left/right the way it did (at least in the U.S.), when typically one would expect it to go the other way. That is, the right is usually more pro-military, pro-military intervention, and patriotic defending of one's homeland. Even though the right tends to be more focused on domestic issues and oppose foreign aid, military support tends to be the exeption. Although there was bipartisan support of the Iraq war (at least in the aftermath of 9/11) the Republicans were more strongly in favor of it and stayed in favor of it for longer. If Russia had threatened to invade the U.S. the Republicans would have been not only gung-ho about repelling them but also about retaliating and obliterating them in revenge so that none would dare try ever again. So you would think they would sympathize with Ukrainians as similarly patriotic defenders of their home turf, while the left would be all peace and let's try to get along and diplomatically convince the invaders to stop without violence, or something like that.

But that's not what happened. Why?

Is it just because the left has been harping on about Putin for years so hopped on the anti-Russia train too quickly and the right felt compelled to instinctively oppose them? If China had invaded Ukraine (for some mysterious reason) would the right be pro-Ukraine and the left opposing intervention because they don't want to piss off China (and accusing Ukraine of being nazis as an excuse)? That is, is there something specific to Ukraine/Russia that caused this divide here specifically, or am I misunderstanding the position of each side regarding military intervention in general (or has it changed in the past few decades and my beliefs used to be accurate but no longer are)?

Knowing very little about tax code, I think this shouldn't work because the jump from $50k -> $5million would be counted as profit in some sense, similar to if you buy $50k of stock and then sell it for $5 million. I think it's called an "asset appreciation tax"? So your taxable income would go up by 4.95 million from having an asset you paid $50k for go up in valuation, and then down by $5 million for the donation, giving you a net -$50k (because you spent $50k that you then donated). But I'm not certain this is how it actually works.

Okay but you don't seem to be arguing against categorizing people, you're mostly just suggesting that accurate categories are superior to inaccurate categories. I'm not especially familiar with Wonderlic, but some quick Googling suggests it's an employment-specific intelligence test. Which means it's is not literally measuring merit at a job, it's categorizing people based on questions that it thinks are a proxy for job skill (unless the job literally consists of answering Wonderlic questions). People don't go around politically identifying with in discrete groups based on their intelligence, but screening out unintelligent people is still a form of grouping people up and discriminating based on something that isn't directly merit, but is strongly correlated with it.

Except I'm not just coyly avoiding references to HBD but secretly referring to that alone, I'm deliberately including a broader range of groups like using someone's membership in the KKK to know you don't want to be friends with them, or using someone's presence on a sex offender registry to avoid hiring for daycare positions. This is also a form of using someone's group membership to pre judge them. Of course there are differences, I'm not trying to argue "these are the same therefore in order to be consistent you have to support or oppose both". My point is more "there are tons of differences between these things, which ones are the actually relevant distinctions and why?"

I'm not sure that's stable though, because it may inevitably slippery slope its way into progressivism. That is, this optimal state depends on universal but not-common knowledge: the utilitarian version has to actually be a secret. Because if you are publicly insisting on ignoring group memberships and everyone knows that person A is discriminating against group X in a not-secret way, then the public persona is forced to denounce them as a X-ist in order to maintain consistency. But if everyone using the utilitarian version in practice, then it's hard to keep that a secret from everyone else (who is doing the same thing). And if only the smart well-behaved rationalists who can be trusted to discriminate responsibly use the utilitarian version while everyone else uses the liberal version, then a higher fraction of smart well-behaved rationalists would be discovered and denounced as X-ist creating a stereotype against them.

Maybe it works if you restrict the secret utilitarian version to only cases where there's absolutely no conceivable way of being discovered.

I would describe her as economically socialist, socially conservative/centrist. Which ought to be broadly coherent as positions despite being rare in practice. She's all in on Bernie Sanders, redistributive policies, and taxing and regulating the crap out of corporations and rich people. None of which demands social justice censorship, feminism, or collectivization of people into little intersecting boxes and then blaming straight white men for all of society's ills.

Except smoking tobacco also kill you in some subtle and devious ways, and it took us hundreds of years to actually get formal scientific data for that. It seems entirely reasonable that smoking marijuana would have similar effects which are significantly above zero but non-obvious due to the long-term nature of it.

Absent hard data pointing in either direction, it seems reasonable to ballpark guess that it's probably has similar effects to things most similar to it, of which tobacco cigarettes seem like the closest comparison (which are a thing people smoke and inhale), not watermelons (which are a fruit that people eat).

More importantly, if we have no idea, you shouldn't report it in a table of things that we do have an idea about. You should leave it off the table or say "we have no idea"

In many cases it's where merit is difficult to measure up front. If you are looking at job applications, you can't literally perceive merit until you've already hired someone, and thus excluded the other candidates. If you're trying to avoid rapists, you can't perceive merit until they've literally attempted or succeeded at raping someone. If you're looking for romantic partners, a 1 minute analysis based on group membership is 120 times cheaper than going on a 2 hour date, and thus potentially worthwhile if the amount of information you can extract from it is 1% as much.

The optimal Bayesian thing to from a purely selfishly rational perspective seems to be using immediately identifiable group membership as a first screening pass (establishing the prior) and then update with more direct merit measures as/if they become available.

  1. Does this suggest that if such an obnoxious rational person does have the statistical sophistication to draw such distinctions and make decisions in secret, then it's okay? That is, stereotypes are bad in general if widespread because normies will abuse them, but the actual rational analysis is fine if used in an isolated and secret way that normies don't find out about?

  2. What defines "obnoxious" here? Is rationalism itself defined as obnoxious because it cares about pedantic details that normies don't? Or is it merely the social obliviousness of nerdy rationalists who oversimplify everything and miss the forest for the trees, such that a more sophisticated rational intelligence that understands and compensates for normies would not be obnoxious?

I think I defined it fairly unambiguously:

Let's suppose that we know with certainty that people in group X have a statistically higher rate of bad feature Y compared to the average population, whether that be criminality, laziness, low intelligence, or are just unpleasant to be around. I'm taking the fact that this is accurate as an axiom. The actual proportion of people in group X with feature Y is objectively (and known to you) higher than average, but is not universal. That is, Y is a mostly discrete feature, and we have 0 < p < q < 1 where p is the probability of a randomly sampled member of the public has Y, and q is the probability that a randomly sampled member of q has Y.

It's "accurate" in that the literal proportion of people with trait Y in the general population and the group, in real life are p and q respectively, with p < q, and we also believe this to be true. As opposed to an inaccurate stereotype representing a false belief. In-so-far as Y actively impacts merit, then membership in X does provide a real signal correlated with merit.

Obviously actually measuring merit directly is superior to imperfect correlations, but if you are, for instance, hiring someone for a job, imperfect correlations are the only thing you have up until you actually hire someone and watch them perform the job. Literally everything you judge on is going to be an imperfect correlation of some form, so it's just a question of which ones you use and how much weight you put on each.

In what contexts are accurate prejudice/biases acceptable justification for discrimination?

I want to consider a broad range of groups including both involuntary/innate characteristics such as race, gender, and IQ, as well as more voluntary categories such as religion, political ideology, or even something like being in the fandom for a certain TV show, expressing a preference for a certain type of food, or having bad personal grooming. This is a variable that your answer might depend upon.

Let's suppose that we know with certainty that people in group X have a statistically higher rate of bad feature Y compared to the average population, whether that be criminality, laziness, low intelligence, or are just unpleasant to be around. I'm taking the fact that this is accurate as an axiom. The actual proportion of people in group X with feature Y is objectively (and known to you) higher than average, but is not universal. That is, Y is a mostly discrete feature, and we have 0 < p < q < 1 where p is the probability of a randomly sampled member of the public has Y, and q is the probability that a randomly sampled member of q has Y. Let's leave the causation as another variable here: maybe membership in X increases the probability of Y occurring, maybe Y increases the probability of joining X (in the case of voluntary membership), maybe some cofactor causes both. This may be important, as it determines whether discouraging people from being in group X (if voluntary) will actually decrease the prevalence of Y or whether it will just move some Ys into the "not X" category.

Another variable I'll leave general is how easy it is to determine Y directly. Maybe it's simple: if you're interacting with someone in person you can probably quickly tell they're a jerk without needing to know their membership in Super Jerk Club. Or maybe it's hard, like you're considering job applications and you only know a couple reported facts, which include X but not Y and you have no way to learn Y directly without hiring them first.

When is it okay to discriminate against people in group X? The far right position is probably "always" while the far left would be "never", but I suspect most people would fall somewhere in the middle. Few people would say that it would be okay to refuse to hire brown-haired people if it were discovered that they were 0.1% more likely to develop cancer and thus leave on disability. And few people would say that it's not okay to discriminate against hiring convicted child rapists as elementary school teachers on the basis that they're a higher risk than the average person. (if you are such a person though, feel free to speak up and explain your position).

So for the most part our variables are:

-Group membership voluntariness

-Feature Y's severity and relevance to the situation

-The situation itself (befriending, hiring, electing to office)

-Ease of determining feature Y without using X as a proxy

-Causality of X to Y

Personally, I'm somewhere between the classically liberal "it's okay to discriminate against voluntary group membership but not involuntary group membership" and the utilitarian "it's okay to discriminate iff the total net benefit of the sorting mechanism is higher than the total cost of the discrimination against group members, taking into account that such discrimination may be widespread", despite the latter being computationally intractable in practice and requiring a bunch of heuristics that allow bias into the mix. I don't think I'm satisfied with the classically liberal position alone because if there were some sufficiently strong counterexample, such as someone with a genetic strain that made them 100x more likely to be a pedophile, I think I'd be okay with refusing child care positions to all such people even if they had never shown any other risk factors. But if there were a similar strain that made them 10% more likely I don't think it would be fair to do this, because it's such a low base rate that 10% doesn't do much to offset the cost of the discrimination. Also the utilitarian position allows for stricter scrutiny applied for more serious things like job applications (which have a huge cost if systematically discriminating against X) versus personal friendships (if people refuse to befriend X because they don't like Y, those people can more easily go make different friends or befriend each other, so the systemic cost is lower)

But I'd love to hear more thoughts and perspectives, especially with reasoning for why different cases are and are not justified under your philosophical/moral framework.

Easy solution: save backups of chat histories even when people block users or delete accounts.

Pushing back a bit on Gungeon. I've been playing it a lot with my fiance and although we have a lot of fun, in some ways it's actually more difficult than single player (for me) because she's not very good, which means she dies a lot. This means she spends a decent amount of time as a ghost and not a normal player, and also the way to resurrect a dead ally is by using a chest. Although it doesn't cost a key, it also uses up the chest so you don't get a weapon from it, meaning by the late game after she's died and been resurrected 4-5 times we are significantly underpowered.

OP does not specify the precise age of his son, but it's implied to be young, so I suspect the kid would spend the majority of time as a ghost given the difficult gameplay. There are easier co-op games out there.

The best argument I've heard in favor of unions is that the equivalent bargaining power of "a company" isn't "an employee" it's "all the employees".

Suppose we remove the distinction of capital versus labor, and suppose that we have two groups of people with disproportionate level of bottleneck in a production process. That is, if we have X people from the first group, and Y people from the second group, then the level of production is something like

f(X,Y) = A sqrt(X)P(Y)

where A is some constant, and P is 0 if Y is 0 and 1 if Y >= 1

That is, you only need one Y (the employer), but can have as many X as you want, but the more X you have in the same job the more diminishing returns you get. For each production process people can gather together and organize and form mutually consensual agreements to find some equilibrium level of X that makes this efficient. BUT, Y has disproportionate bargaining power here. If any individual X threatens to quit, their quitting drops the profits of the process by some small amount. But less than their average. The other X essentially pick up the slack, and the production keeps on going. But X is now unemployed and has 0 income, which is catastrophically awful and wasteful, as all of their potential labor is essentially being wasted unused. X quitting hurts themselves more than it hurts Y. But if Y threatens to quit then everything stops and everyone is at 0, so it's a credible threat.

But if all of the X form a union and threaten to quit/strike together, then again production stops entirely, just as if Y threatened to quit. So now they have equal bargaining power.

I'm pretty sure whoever I read this sort of argument from explained it way better than I just did, but I don't remember who or where (it might have been on the motte, so if whoever it was recognizes this argument as their own and can find the post, feel free to repost it and claim credit).

Like pretty much every point the left has, there's a genuine underlying issue that they identify: a kernel of truth, and then it has been exaggerated and distorted and taken way too far.

Representation matters a little. You should have a reasonable diversity of characters in different roles in different media. People should be able to identify with different characters that share characteristics with them other than just skin color. But not every single film has to have a rainbow cornucopia matching every single distinct subset. Every character in Mulan is Chinese (or a Hun), because it takes place in ancient China. Most characters in Peter Pan are English, because it's a story from England/Scotland. A lot of characters in Disney's Princess and The Frog are black, because it's set in New Orleans. A lot of American TV shows have a large diversity of characters interacting, because there's a lot of diversity in America. As long as all of these things exist, you will see both heroes and villains of each race. You will see bullies and victims and romantic love interests and weak cowards and loyal friends and scheming backstabbers, and lots of different people slotted into those roles. That doesn't require that every single piece of media have every single race in every single role. In some films the bad guys might be black and the good guys might be white. In some it might be the other way around. The point being: anyone can be anything, you are the arbiter of your own fate. As long as Hollywood does not converge all around the same consistent patterns such that one race is always slotted into a particular role, in which case children will pick up on those patterns and form those stereotypes. The left is right that this is bad. The left is wrong that doing it in the opposite direction to how it was in the distant past is good.

We already solved this problem. How many decades of under-representation, you ask? I turn the question, how many decades did we have it solved for? I don't know that every single issue was completely hammered out, but the 90s and early 2000s seemed reasonably fine to me. My generation grew up with healthy diversity and colorblindness on TV, and then we threw it away to punish our ancestors. The 50s were 70 years ago, who are you trying to teach "not to do this again"? Kids today are just going to learn that race and gender and identity categories are super important and you need to treat people differently according to their category and stereotypes, they're not unlearning stereotypes from the 50s because they didn't grow up in the 50s. They have no decades of learned racist baggage to unlearn because they haven't been alive for decades. They're learning the racism they're being fed on TV right now.

I think the word "marginal" is much better than "pointwise" here. People already use it to refer to the distinction you're making here (though usually not in the context of "badness", and doesn't require grabbing a tangentially related word from mathematics and abusing it into shape.

Similarly, we can use the word "average" or "group" instead of "uniform"

Additionally, "bad" seems like an unnecessarily loaded term. We might as well refer to the "marginal" versus "average" contribution people in groups make to society and/or the economy. From there, the "badness" of people with a net negative contribution to society is left as an exercise for the reader. This way it's more clear specifically what you're referring to, because there are lots of different ways people can be "good" or "bad".

Tanking your own career and losing money that you yourself earned (or had "earned" via fraud) is not the same as bankrupting your entire family estate which had been passed down for generations and shared with your family. If SBF was managing the funds of a few dozen siblings/cousins/aunts/uncles/nieces/nephews instead of random strangers, he simultaneously would have been more careful and would have had more oversight from them.

As for the mortgage crisis, my understanding of it was that bad mortgages were packaged up and misleadingy labeled and sold as if they were better than they actually were. Which means when they failed the people who created the bad mortgages in the first place were not the ones who suffered for it, which is another form of lack of skin in the game. If mortgages could not be resold, the people who made them would have lost their own money, or more likely would have recognized the danger to themselves and not made bad mortgages in the first place. I'm not saying "make it illegal to resell mortgages" is actually a good solution, there are an awful lot of benefits to modern economies that maybe make up for the costs of losing skin in the game in many places, but it is a huge cost and an awful lot of the problems we see in the modern economy are those costs.

It's a prisoner's dilemma. Both sides are currently caught in a defect-defect equilibrium, in which case it's in the interest of neither side to unilaterally start cooperating. In cases where there is sustained contact between the same individuals, ie a repeated prisoner's dilemma, there is some hope. But in cases where everyone just hops from job to job, town to town, country to country, there's little reward for an individual who sacrifices their own interests for the sake of an employer/employee only to be shown no gratitude because their next interaction will be with a completely different individual of that class who is used to defect-defect.

I think this requires noblesse oblige from the people higher up, which mostly only happens if there is accountability for people at the top via skin in the game. If you are a feudal lord with lands that your famils has held for generations and peasants under you whose families have worked for your for generations, you are incentivized to take care of them because their thriving is your thriving. If you mistreat them too terribly they will rebel and chop your head off. If you mismanage the lands you will go bankrupt and be reduced to poverty. If you do a good job you will be wealthy and loved.

If you are the patriarch of a family and you mistreat your wife and/or children they will hate you and leave.

If you are a modern high level bureaucrat or government official in charge of millions/billions of dollars of someone else's money and mismanagement is rewarded with a transfer or a golden parachute, there's none of this. There's no incentive to behave responsibly to those below you, and there's no incentive for people trying to climb their way up to do so gracefully when a momentary clawhold can be cemented with the powers obtained along the way.

If SBF, or the bankers who caused the housing crisis, or the politicians who ruined the economy during Covid faced the ruin of their families into longterm poverty, or beheading by angry mobs, those issues probably wouldn't have happened in the first place because they would have been more careful. If every politician who voted for war was required to lead on the front lines, we'd have a lot fewer wars. But because many (most?) hierarchies allow people high to foist the consequences of their decisions onto people lower down, we typically don't get the nice scale of risk/reward that you envision here, though it sometimes does work like that.

I see that as lining up with my claims rather than contradicting them. Most people think that talent-earned wealth is okay, but generational wealth is unearned, and therefore consider only the latter to be an insult and grounds for an attack. The vocal minority who hate all rich people are forced to frame their arguments in terms of unearned wealth because claims that "Musk is talented and therefore capable of generating tons of money and this is unfair so he should share the fruits of his labor with us less talented people" fall on deaf ears.

Very few people actually have a problem with talented people earning lots of money and then spending their own money on personal consumption, even if this is "unequal" compared to untalented people who have less money. Nonzero, but very few. Most people complaining about rich people are actually upset at some combination of

1: Rentseeking. Big company gets a stranglehold on some sort of niche or patent, ousts/regulates/threatens out their competition, and earns tons of money disproportionate to their actual economic contribution. CEO/executives/shareholders get rich on economic surplus that they didn't rightfully earn.

2: Inherited wealth. If John is talented and earns a ton of money, as his private property he can do whatever he wants with it. One of the things people like to do with their money is give it to their children, especially when they die and can't use it any more. So John gives his earned wealth to his son Jim, who is a spoiled talentless loser, and gets all of the benefits of massive wealth with none of the personal contribution to society or perceived merit. Everyone hates Jim.

3: Interest. Capital is incredibly valuable to the economy. Therefore people who invest their money in capital can earn lots of money from their money. Therefore their wealth grows exponentially even without them having talent or contributing labor. Talentless losers like Jim can invest the wealth they inherited and continue to become increasingly wealthy without actually having any talent whatsoever. They're still contributing to the economy in the sense that the wealth they invest is useful, but they themselves have done nothing to earn it other than inheriting the legacy of their parents who did earn it (or stole it via rentseeking, or literal theft in the distant past)

These are all really hard problems to solve. I'm not entirely convinced that 2 and 3 are actually problems in their own right rather than just discomforting rights people have. Like, someone has the right to masturbate while smearing poop on their chest, but I find it disgusting and would rather wish they didn't even though technically I would agree they are free to do that in the privacy of their own home and I won't argue that the government should make it illegal. It's still disgusting to my sensibilities.

In my opinion, 1 is a genuine problem that definitely needs to be solved. 2 is probably fine if we can address 3, and 3 is only solvable by economic stagnation or post-scarcity. Basically, as long as the economy is growing, and capital investment is an important component of that growth, then the people driving the growth via investment will capture the growth. If the economy stops growing, or labor becomes a more important part of growth rather than capital, then capital is no longer so ridiculously valuable and interest rates will plummet. Until then, I think we're stuck with Jims getting richer.

On top of this, information which is distributed by fallible humans needs to be justified as true. Putting 100% faith in and changing your entire worldview after every supposed fact you read in any book from any person is a terrible idea and will quickly lead to contradictions. A book with plenty of examples has an opportunity to not just tell you what it thinks is true, but demonstrate the evidence so you know whether to believe it or not, and to what extent.