Trump presidency

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
ucim
Posts: 6408
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:23 pm UTC
Location: The One True Thread

Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:08 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:[...]control isn't really an end goal, I think. It may be a necessary means for other goals, such as the protecting from one another, but controlling the populace probably shouldn't be a governmental goal.
Agreed. Control is the means that is used.
Tyndmyr wrote:The government isn't out to make a profit for itself, really. However, the economy as a whole is at least somewhat managed by government. Or by the Fed, which is quasi-governmental. The lines are blurry in practice...
Yeah, this is my point. The economy is a tool used in pursuit of the primary purpose of promoting the general welfare.
Tyndmyr wrote:I've never gotten a job because I had a deep and abiding need to join the Best Buy tribe.
But Best Buy still exists because, as a tribe it can make more money with bigger and better stores than you could by yourself. That is its purpose. As a consequence, it can offer you a job.
Tyndmyr wrote:A few businesses might invoke some sort of tribal sentiment, but...
It's not about tribal sentiment, it's about the benefits of working together as a group.
Tyndmyr wrote:Looking at costs is very similar to looking at benefits
No, it's not. And in any case, many costs are also non-monetary. When your Pinto burns your sister to death in a fender bender, is that a monetary cost? Sure, there is lost income and such, and yes, insurance companies have to put numbers on it, and yes the car company figured a few (other) people burning to death was worth saving a few bucks a car, but those numbers don't really reflect your loss, or the loss to her friends.

Or do you think they really do?

Tyndmyr wrote:Personally, I don't need the money enough to embrace misery. [...] If you find absolutely nobody willing to accept it, that would be a clue that you may have misvalued the costs.
So, misery is an additional cost, besides the loss of purchasing power and salary and such? I wonder why some people might value it more than others... wouldn't that imply that misery isn't something that is "objectively measurable in cold hard cash"?

As I said earlier, not everything is reducible to money.

And like your own evaluation of whether or not you'd take the Xarthian, I don't think this country needs the money enough to embrace the misery of destroying the environment, destroying our alliances, destroying the rule of law, rejecting science wholesale, and destroying the idea that truth even matters any more, in order to get a few more euros in our piggy bank (which we'll end up spending to buy bombs in order to protect us from our angry friends).

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 4797
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:40 am UTC

ucim wrote:I wonder why some people might value it more than others... wouldn't that imply that misery isn't something that is "objectively measurable in cold hard cash"?

Not that this has much to do with the rest of the discussion here, but there can be objective measurements of things that differ between people. For a trivial example, there isn't a singular objective human height, but every human has some objective height. Likewise, there may not be a singular objective amount that everyone values something, but there can be an objective measure of how much each different person values that thing.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

elasto
Posts: 3516
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 1:53 am UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby elasto » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:31 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Not that this has much to do with the rest of the discussion here, but there can be objective measurements of things that differ between people. For a trivial example, there isn't a singular objective human height, but every human has some objective height. Likewise, there may not be a singular objective amount that everyone values something, but there can be an objective measure of how much each different person values that thing.

For objective things, sure, there can be an objective measure that makes sense. For subjective things, you may be able to come up with a singular number but it will most likely be meaningless.

To take ucim's example, one way to value a child's life to a parent would be to ask them how much they'd pay a kidnapper to release their child. But you'd probably find they'd pay everything they have. So a poor person might be willing to sell, steal and borrow and stump up $5k. A rich person might be willing to sell, steal and borrow $5m. Does the rich person love their child 1000x more than the poor person? Hardly.

Basically, the problem with valuing everything in life in dollars and cents terms is that a dollar has different value and different marginal utility to different people. The government needs to not just value everything in dollars and cents therefore, but also in terms of the best possible quality of life for the greatest number of people for the longest extent of time. And sometimes it will need to force some people to do things against their wishes for the greater good, and sometimes happiness will be better served by it sitting back, letting people be free to make their own mistakes and 'let nature take its course'.

That's a judgement call that is subjective by its very nature, which is why politics and political ideologies of vastly different stripes exist at all.

User avatar
Soupspoon
You have done something you shouldn't. Or are about to.
Posts: 3491
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:00 pm UTC
Location: 53-1

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:47 am UTC

Double-blind(fold) kidnapping valuations!

Take hostage a number of rich-kids and an equal number of poor-kids, pair them up, then ask each set of parents how much they'd pay to release one kid from each pair without anybody knowing in advance if its theirs or their counterpart.

It might not get through the Ethics Committee, but I'm sure you could sell the plan to the Finance department given the likely ROI of the project!

User avatar
Sableagle
Ormurinn's Alt
Posts: 1811
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2015 4:26 pm UTC
Location: The wrong side of the mirror
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Sableagle » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:02 pm UTC

elasto wrote:So a poor person might be willing to sell, steal and borrow and stump up $5k. A rich person might be willing to sell, steal and borrow $5m. Does the rich person love their child 1000x more than the poor person? Hardly.
Of course not. They love their children just as much. It's just that poor people's children are worth so much less, and poor parents fail to understand that. That's why we send poor kids to war and keep rich kids out of it. We wouldn't want to risk the life of a future Minister or Secretary of State, would we?

Sources:
Spoiler:
Global patterns of mortality in young people: a systematic analysis of population health data {Group III refers to injury deaths}

Worldwide, group III deaths were the most prominent and accounted for 51% of all male mortality. Group II deaths in males increased 2·6-fold (from 20 to 51 per 100 000 per year) and group I 1·7-fold (from 39 to 63 per 100 000 per year) between early adolescence and young adulthood. An almost four-fold rise in male deaths in group III was reported between early adolescence and young adulthood (from 36 to 141 per 100 000 per year). Mortality rates in all categories were lower in high-income countries than in other countries, and the largest differences were in group I deaths (figure 1). Both group IA and IB deaths were uncommon in high-income countries, and accounted for only 4% of mortality.

The African region had the highest rates for both sexes and had high rates in each category (figure 1). Of note were the large numbers of group I female deaths, which grew 2·6-fold (from 155 to 402 per 100 000) between early adolescence and young adulthood. In low-income and middle-income countries in the American region, the increase in male mortality between early adolescence and young adulthood was largely from an eight-fold rise in group III deaths, which accounted for 72% of all male deaths and 52% of all deaths in adolescents and young adults in the region. In the eastern Mediterranean region, mortality was moderately high for both sexes in each age-group, but a pronounced rise in group III male deaths was noted between early adolescence and young adulthood (figure 1).

In low-income and middle-income countries in the European region, the male predominance of deaths was largely due to more than a seven-fold rise in group III deaths between early adolescence and young adulthood (from 24 to 179 per 100 000), which accounted for 65% of male deaths and 48% of all deaths. In the southeast Asia region, group III causes were predominant (43%), with many deaths in groups I (36%) and II (21%). In western Pacific countries of low and middle incomes, 62% of male deaths and 42% of all deaths were due to group III causes.


The association of state per capita income and military service deaths in the Vietnam and Iraq wars

Characteristics of decedents in the 2 conflicts were very similar with young, white enlisted men accounting for the majority of deaths. However, in the Iraq war, women accounted for a 2.4% of casualties. Also of note was the higher ratio of wounded to dead in Iraq. At the level of the state, the correlation between the ratio of deaths per 100,000 and per capita income was -0.51 (p < 0.0001) for Vietnam and -0.52 for Iraq (p < 0.0001). In both eras, states with lower per capita income tended to have higher ratios of deaths per population.






Yes, I am aware that
sarcasm doesn't always
show up in text.
Oh, Willie McBride, it was all done in vain.

elasto
Posts: 3516
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 1:53 am UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby elasto » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:36 pm UTC

That makes ucim's point too: Power is a form of currency in its own right - whereby in some arenas everyone has the same amount of power (one person one vote) whereas in others a few exercise far more power. And while power and money usually correlate it does not have to be that way.

It's the rich's access to power and influence alongside money that means their children avoid war (or the most dangerous aspects of it, at least) while the poor's don't.

It's yet another way we can't always measure everything in life in terms of $&c.

User avatar
ucim
Posts: 6408
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:23 pm UTC
Location: The One True Thread

Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:45 pm UTC

Art provides another example. Commodities are easily valued; they are sold in quantity, they are more or less fungible, and they are not rare. This allows the competitive market to set a price through (generalized) arbitrage. Art is not like that; each piece is unique, and each person values that piece differently - sometimes wildly differently. Sure, experts can tell the difference between the schlock in motel rooms and the fine art in galleries, because they're experts and there are some things that stand out in "good" art. Burn a motel-6 level painting; no loss. Burn "starry night"; huge loss in the many millions of dollars. But even that's not really the case; much art expertise is little more than stuffing. Van Gogh's work was universally thought to be unworthy of preserving. It was his wife (IIRC) and a friend who pushed for its preservation and exhibit after his death, and she nearly failed at it. This work could easily have been gracing the equivalent of a motel six and been forgotten. We're trained to think of it as schlock (or not) because of where it hangs.
Spoiler:
Something similar has been done with famous musicians busking in the street and having few people even stop to listen, while they are on their way to pay hundreds of dollars to see a concert, where they are all but told "this is good music" and worth the price.
So, what is the monetary loss if I burn a painting that would have later been discovered to be (or promoted to the rank of) a Masterpiece? Is there any objective way to measure the monetary value of a work of art, besides the accidental fact of the last price that was paid for it? Because if it had an intrinsic monetary value, the auction price wouldn't vary so tremendously, and auctions wouldn't even be a thing.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 6347
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:04 pm UTC

So did we just ignore the imprisonment of us citizens because they are brown in this thread? it's like Guantanamo and torture with Muslims. You got a bunch of scared people (well scared of fox news), who start violating rights because it's faster than doing it the right way. It's only been 10 fucking years, and we are right back to the bad old days of Bush.
We haven't even closed Guantanamo yet. I would say we will look back here with regret, but then I'm sure will be another crisis with more rights violated. Maybe climate refugees next.

The damage caused by scared* people in power is a terrible thing to behold.

*This one is especially stupid since there's no crisis, and Trump and company are manipulating white people. It's been a problem sounds Obama got elected with the tea party but it worse since they control all three branches now.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11213
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:44 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:A few businesses might invoke some sort of tribal sentiment, but...
It's not about tribal sentiment, it's about the benefits of working together as a group.


It's an organization, but it's not very much like a tribe. Sure, I agree that Best Buy or whomever hires people because it is beneficial, but the end result of this is blatantly money. That's the part I'm disagreeing with Ucim over, gma. The corporation is after cold hard cash, and if, for whatever reason, you separate productivity and cash...the corporation will choose the cash.

This makes the distinction extremely important.

Pfhorrest wrote:
ucim wrote:I wonder why some people might value it more than others... wouldn't that imply that misery isn't something that is "objectively measurable in cold hard cash"?

Not that this has much to do with the rest of the discussion here, but there can be objective measurements of things that differ between people. For a trivial example, there isn't a singular objective human height, but every human has some objective height. Likewise, there may not be a singular objective amount that everyone values something, but there can be an objective measure of how much each different person values that thing.


Agreed. You can also measure it in aggregate. If half of humanity is willing to put up with a given unpleasantness for a dollar, then it's probably not that bad, and for most purposes, that's probably a decent estimate of the cost of the inconvenience. Pain and suffering are given valuations in court settlements and the like on a routine basis.

Not everyone's going to have exactly the same values, but you can determine a given individuals valuation straightforwardly, and thus, it's definitely possible to estimate an average value, if you need.

It also seems like subjecting someone to a great deal of pain would have very direct costs. Someone in misery is not as productive as someone who is, yknow, not in agony. A decision as simple as picking a comfortable chair vs an uncomfortable one can result in productivity differences.

Edit: Sardia, I don't think it's ignored, just...not much to say beyond "yeah, that's awful".

User avatar
ucim
Posts: 6408
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:23 pm UTC
Location: The One True Thread

Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:07 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It's an organization, but it's not very much like a tribe. [...]. The corporation is after cold hard cash
Perhaps you're reading too much into the word "tribe" in this context. Yes, the corp is after cash, and it found out that by banding together in an organized manner, it can get more cash. My original statement was "They organize for the same reason a tribe organizes for the hunt." A tribe doesn't organize for the hunt because of tribal sentiment, it does so because it's a more efficient and effective way to bring home the bacon. Ditto Best Buy.
Tyndmyr wrote:Someone in misery is not as productive...
Yeah, that's a side effect. It's not the primary effect. The primary effect is, well, misery.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26440
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:16 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It's an organization, but it's not very much like a tribe. [...]. The corporation is after cold hard cash
Perhaps you're reading too much into the word "tribe" in this context. Yes, the corp is after cash, and it found out that by banding together in an organized manner, it can get more cash. My original statement was "They organize for the same reason a tribe organizes for the hunt." A tribe doesn't organize for the hunt because of tribal sentiment, it does so because it's a more efficient and effective way to bring home the bacon. Ditto Best Buy.

As far as I know, people in tribal hunter-gatherer societies don't organize for fishing (for small fish in e.g. rivers and streams) or gathering the same way they do to hunt large game. That's not because fishers and gatherers lack the tribal sentiment or cohesion that hunters have, it's because fishing and gathering are goals that can be accomplished without as much cooperation as it requires to take down buffalo or whatever.

Which is to reiterate, the "for the hunt" part is key here. We're not talking about why tribes exist at all, but rather why they work together closely for one particular activity.

But Tyndmyr has already missed that point several times, so I'm not sure whether your or my additional clarifications here will make much difference at this point.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11213
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:34 pm UTC

This disagreement stems from identifying corporations, charities, and governments as fiscal entities, which Ucim disagreed with.

I'm not sure how "they're doing this because it's the best way to make money" is anything other than acknowledgement of the above.

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Someone in misery is not as productive...
Yeah, that's a side effect. It's not the primary effect. The primary effect is, well, misery.


Regardless, it means that misery is not immune to valuation.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26440
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:52 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:This disagreement stems from identifying corporations, charities, and governments as fiscal entities, which Ucim disagreed with.

I'm not sure how "they're doing this because it's the best way to make money" is anything other than acknowledgement of the above.

They're not all doing it because it's the best way to make money, though. Corporations are, sure, but that was never in doubt so your Best Buy example was irrelevant, but many non-profit organizations exist to address some issue or problem, and while raising money is one useful tool for achieving that goal, it's not the only one, nor is it actually the reason the organization exists.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11213
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:12 pm UTC

That was already covered with regards to charities and governments, yes. I'm not sure what the disagreement is, then.

User avatar
ucim
Posts: 6408
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:23 pm UTC
Location: The One True Thread

Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:17 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:This disagreement stems from identifying corporations, charities, and governments as fiscal entities, which Ucim disagreed with.
I'm not sure how "they're doing this because it's the best way to make money" is anything other than acknowledgement of the above.


Corporations do it to make money. That is their goal.

Charities don't do it to make money. Money is a tool, but their goal is to promote specific well-being somewhere that needs it.

Governments don't do it to make money. Money is a tool, one they have a hand in creating, but their goal is to protect its citizens and promote their general welfare.

While all three of these use money (just like you and I do), they are not all fiscal entities (a yet undefined term which implies a fundamental monetary orientation). You and I are not fiscal entities, even though we both use money. We are also not automotive entities, even though we both use cars.

My fundamental disagreement is your statement that everything can be reduced to "cold hard money" valuation, and that that light should illuminate Trump's actions vis a vis tariffs, border detention, treatment of allies and despots, etc.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

User avatar
Quercus
Posts: 1731
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:22 pm UTC
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Quercus » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:21 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:but many non-profit organizations exist to address some issue or problem, and while raising money is one useful tool for achieving that goal, it's not the only one, nor is it actually the reason the organization exists.


To cement this with a real life example; I was the treasurer of a small charity for a year, and in my experience raising money and achieving our charitable purposes (the official UK legal term for "the good stuff the charity is supposed to be doing") were often in direct conflict. We had a lot of non-monetary resources (buildings with usable space, connections and favours with various organisations, volunteer hours) and one of the most critical parts of my role was deciding how much of those resources to channel into revenue generation, and how much to channel into charitable work. Too little revenue generation would be bad, as then you couldn't pay staff, bills etc.; but too much would also be bad, because then you'd be building up an unnecessary surplus and not actually best achieving your objectives. At best you would have to spend the excess money generated from your resources to buy services to further your charitable objectives, and that was almost never an efficient way of operating.
Last edited by Quercus on Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:30 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11213
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:25 pm UTC

The important one for this topic is government, and I note that a definition already exists up-thread.

In any case, the contentious bit is that I believe that government actions ought to be justified on a cost/benefit basis, and that not all government actions currently are. Of the recent topics/ones Ucim seems to believe cannot be valued, let's look at the recent actions against citizens.

What's the cost/benefit on using ICE to hassle citizens? Cost seems pretty straightforward. Whatever proportion of ICE's budget is being used to do this, plus whatever costs are incurred as a result of these impacts. Benefits? Well, I can't imagine productivity is improved by screwing with law abiding people. That's just a cost. Tangible benefits do not seem obvious. So, at a glance, it seems like an action without any sort of cost/benefit justification.

It's not that it can't be valued. It just happens to have a negative value.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26440
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:36 pm UTC

I think part of the disagreement is that everyone else is pointing out that a utilitarian analysis of actions (by a government or otherwise) need not come down solely to money, and in fact often doesn't even make sense to talk about in a monetary way.

Being in pain for the rest of your life has negative utility even if you're paid more to compensate for any purely financial losses.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11213
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:38 pm UTC

Is there a more convenient universal way to measure utility than via money?

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26440
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:40 pm UTC

Is there a more convenient way to measure medium distances than paces?

Not really, but there are sure as hell better ways to do it all the same.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
ucim
Posts: 6408
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:23 pm UTC
Location: The One True Thread

Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:42 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:In any case, the contentious bit is that I believe that government actions ought to be justified on a cost/benefit basis
No, the contentious bit is your claim that (monetary) cost/benefit analysis is sufficient to justify action or inaction. A seaish amount of cruelty can be justified that way.

Cruelty helps you dominate, and domination gives you more control over the populace. A broken populace is more likely to accede to your wishes, whatever they are. This is the basis of slavery, war, and conquest.

Ethics is important too, and ethics does not convert into dollars. It is wrong for me to enslave you even if the two of us together can make six times as much money.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11213
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:15 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Is there a more convenient way to measure medium distances than paces?

Not really, but there are sure as hell better ways to do it all the same.


What'd be your suggested measurement system then?

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:In any case, the contentious bit is that I believe that government actions ought to be justified on a cost/benefit basis
No, the contentious bit is your claim that (monetary) cost/benefit analysis is sufficient to justify action or inaction. A seaish amount of cruelty can be justified that way.

Cruelty helps you dominate, and domination gives you more control over the populace. A broken populace is more likely to accede to your wishes, whatever they are. This is the basis of slavery, war, and conquest.

Ethics is important too, and ethics does not convert into dollars. It is wrong for me to enslave you even if the two of us together can make six times as much money.


I don't think slavery required utilitarian ethics to justify. They may have been used as a crutch for that purpose, sure, but ultimately, I suspect it was more about the utility for the owner, rather than the utility for everyone. Yes, the plantation owner was well off, but the south pitted against the north had some serious problems with production, logistics, etc. Looking at the wealth at large gets you to the correct conclusion even if there are other paths there.

Utilitarianism may not be sufficient for absolutely every circumstance, but it provides a good approximation for many, provided one does actually account for all costs. Many utility monster scenarios are simply a result of ignoring fairly large costs to make a point.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26440
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:18 pm UTC

Neither of us is objecting to utilitarianism. We're objecting to your tying utility to money and money alone.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11213
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:21 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Neither of us is objecting to utilitarianism. We're objecting to your tying utility to money and money alone.


What better system, then, is used for scoring utility than money?

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26440
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:23 pm UTC

Do you think utilitarianism magically becomes an unworkable ethical system in any context without money?
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11213
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:29 pm UTC

I think if you're measuring things, you need to have some sort of number at the end of it, or you haven't actually measured it.

So, if you're measuring up courses of actions against each other, you need some kind of system to keep score. Money's a particularly commonly used method of valuation, but if you don't believe it's best, then what is?

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26440
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:36 pm UTC

Money is a common and generally broadly useful proxy for utility, but it isn't itself utility.

There's no one single quantity that's going to objectively work in every situation. That doesn't mean actions aren't comparable, just that not all pairs of actions can be compared monetarily.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
ucim
Posts: 6408
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:23 pm UTC
Location: The One True Thread

Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:46 pm UTC

Which quantity is bigger: 7, or (4 + 3i)? They are both numbers; if you can't well-order the numbers, how can you even hope to well-order the "general welfare" of a state?

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11213
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:51 pm UTC

Well, every measurements going to be a proxy, right? We don't actually have a unit of utility that we can directly measure, utility's just an abstract concept for how we value a bunch of stuff.

What's a pair of actions in which a non-monetary comparison returns a superior result to a monetary one? Or which monetary comparisons cannot return a result?

ucim wrote:Which quantity is bigger: 7, or (4 + 3i)? They are both numbers; if you can't well-order the numbers, how can you even hope to well-order the "general welfare" of a state?


If you're valuing things in imaginary numbers, then the problem's with your valuation, not your ordering.

Edit: I know that, traditionally, people have sacred values and non-sacred values, and object to any attempt to use the same valuation to trade off between both. Comparing one life to five, fine. Comparing one dollar to five, fine. But you compare dollars to lives, and people get offended.

Fine. That's a thing people do. However, it's not something intrinsic to dollars or lives, and insisting on the barrier between them isn't Utilitarianism at all.

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 4797
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:58 pm UTC

This whole discussion is way off-topic now, but complex numbers are basically just two-dimensional numbers, so a complex valuation of something would be a valuation of it in terms of two incommensurable aspects of value, which may be a thing.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

User avatar
ucim
Posts: 6408
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:23 pm UTC
Location: The One True Thread

Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:06 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:If you're valuing things in imaginary numbers, then the problem's with your valuation, not your ordering.
No. The "problem" is that the thing itself that you are trying to value is complex. In the simplest sense it has a real part and an imaginary part. ("Real" and "imaginary" were poor choices for naming the components of a complex number, but we're stuck with them.)

The point is that it has orthogonal components. It simply cannot be well-ordered. Therefore it cannot be measured in dollars.

Pfhorrest wrote:This whole discussion is way off-topic now
No, it's absolutely spot on topic. Trump has taken {actions}, and they are being defended on a strictly monetary basis. Besides disagreeing with the monetary assessment (in which none of us are expert), I am disagreeing with the very essence underlying the defense - that being that nations should take actions based strictly on (one dimensional) monetary reasoning. In support of this point, and stripping all the politics away from it, I offer the complex numbers and the idea that costs and benefits, to the extent that they can be quantified, reduce at the very least to complex quantities and can therefore not be well ordered.

This means that money is not a universal measure of "goodness", and specifically that it is not an appropriate measure of Trump's {actions}.

It is, to be sure, one element that can and should be measured, but it would be an existentially fatal mistake to believe and/or act as if that one element is sufficient to measure our "success" by. How does it profit a man to gain all the riches of heaven if he loses his soul in the process?

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

User avatar
Sableagle
Ormurinn's Alt
Posts: 1811
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2015 4:26 pm UTC
Location: The wrong side of the mirror
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Sableagle » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:18 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Well, every measurements going to be a proxy, right? We don't actually have a unit of utility that we can directly measure, utility's just an abstract concept for how we value a bunch of stuff.

What's a pair of actions in which a non-monetary comparison returns a superior result to a monetary one?
Your daughter made friends with a black man. They were walking along the side of the street, chatting, when some neo-Nazis in a van swerved into them and ...

a) ... killed them both instantly.
b) ... abducted them both, forced her to watch them beat him to death then shot her in the head.
c) ... abducted them both, forced him to watch them rape her, then shot them both in the head.
d) ... abducted them both, forced him to watch them rape her, forced her to watch them beat him to death then shot her in the head.

They then dumped both bodies in a field somewhere and drove off to Missouri. They'll never be caught.

Does any of those scenarios have a greater or lesser utility to you than any of the others?

Hey, man, you asked.
Oh, Willie McBride, it was all done in vain.

User avatar
Thesh
Made to Fuck Dinosaurs
Posts: 6166
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:55 am UTC
Location: Colorado

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:31 pm UTC

Money is complicated, but generally speaking value is a very poor measure of utility. For goods and services, it's more of a measure of how much something costs to make, which is dependent on the supply and demand of resources involved, which is of course distorted by inequality (each dollar you spend has less utility than the last, on average). This means that two products with different prices does not indicate that one product is better than the other, just that one consumed more resources to make. The collectors markets are a little different, but this is mostly novelty value and not a rational assessment of utility.
Last edited by Thesh on Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:32 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Summum ius, summa iniuria.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11213
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:31 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:This whole discussion is way off-topic now, but complex numbers are basically just two-dimensional numbers, so a complex valuation of something would be a valuation of it in terms of two incommensurable aspects of value, which may be a thing.


In one sense, that may be what we're discussing here, in that I'm advocating a single metric of value as applying to everything, rather than multiples.

Unfortunately, the most recent Trump news doesn't lend itself well to the example, because if you have costs and no benefits, very little comparison is necessary to declare it a bad decision. I think everyone's on board with "persecuting citizens with ICE is a bad idea". It matters very little if you use money or another metric to measure this.

Topics like open borders vs restricted immigration, you have a more complex cost/benefit relationship, and there's something to explore there, but the current bit? Not really.

Sableagle wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Well, every measurements going to be a proxy, right? We don't actually have a unit of utility that we can directly measure, utility's just an abstract concept for how we value a bunch of stuff.

What's a pair of actions in which a non-monetary comparison returns a superior result to a monetary one?
Your daughter made friends with a black man. They were walking along the side of the street, chatting, when some neo-Nazis in a van swerved into them and ...

a) ... killed them both instantly.
b) ... abducted them both, forced her to watch them beat him to death then shot her in the head.
c) ... abducted them both, forced him to watch them rape her, then shot them both in the head.
d) ... abducted them both, forced him to watch them rape her, forced her to watch them beat him to death then shot her in the head.

They then dumped both bodies in a field somewhere and drove off to Missouri. They'll never be caught.

Does any of those scenarios have a greater or lesser utility to you than any of the others?


All are deeply negative in terms of utility. Given that all end up with the same two people dead, and the perpetrators not being caught, you end up with very little to decide between. The latter three all include some degree of suffering as well. Suffering is, of course, a cost(we've already established that people will exchange money to avoid suffering), so they're worse. The last one appears to have the most suffering, it's the worst of the lot.

This is not a complicated question to compare, regardless of if one uses dollars as a metric or not, merely a morbid one.

User avatar
ucim
Posts: 6408
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:23 pm UTC
Location: The One True Thread

Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:05 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:In one sense, that may be what we're discussing here, in that I'm advocating a single metric of value as applying to everything, rather than multiples.
Yes, and it's clearly incorrect to do so. Pretty much provably so, unless you stick your fingers in your ears and scream "I can't hear you!"

Tyndmyr wrote:Unfortunately, the most recent Trump news doesn't lend itself well to the example, because if you have costs and no benefits, very little comparison is necessary to declare it a bad decision. I think everyone's on board with "persecuting citizens with ICE is a bad idea". It matters very little if you use money or another metric to measure this.
But you see, there are benefits! They may not benefit you or me, but they benefit somebody in power.

1: He generates outrage (which plays to his base)
2: He creates a problem (which he can then blame on his predecessor)
3: He creates a court backlog (which can be solved by appointing more judges. I wonder who is in charge of appointing judges.
4: He reinforces the idea that he can do whatever he wants, and doesn't have to justify it with anything reasonable. This gets the enemy (liberals) to lose heart and eventually give up.
5: He helps our (old) friends turn away from us, as they turn away from each other. This destabilizes the world order, making things better for Russia.
6: By helping to improve the position of autocratic regimes, he bolsters his own autocracy.
7: He distracts us from other things he's doing, and other things being done to him (such as the Comey investigation)
8: He creates a "new normal"
9: He hands us over to Russia, China, and North Korea, and receives his reward.

Now, what that might be I don't know. Perhaps it's big real estate deals, perhaps it's "ha ha fooled you" and a bullet in the head. But he's moving himself in the direction he wants to go. We are paying the price in blood, but he is getting the benefit.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11213
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:13 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Unfortunately, the most recent Trump news doesn't lend itself well to the example, because if you have costs and no benefits, very little comparison is necessary to declare it a bad decision. I think everyone's on board with "persecuting citizens with ICE is a bad idea". It matters very little if you use money or another metric to measure this.
But you see, there are benefits! They may not benefit you or me, but they benefit somebody in power.


Financial benefits, mind you.

1: He generates outrage (which plays to his base)


This has a positive dollar value how? You might possibly be able to describe this as entertainment, but it's of negative value to a number of people, so that's pretty dubious.

2: He creates a problem (which he can then blame on his predecessor)


This sounds like a cost, not a benefit.

3: He creates a court backlog (which can be solved by appointing more judges. I wonder who is in charge of appointing judges.


Judges, too, are a cost.

4: He reinforces the idea that he can do whatever he wants, and doesn't have to justify it with anything reasonable. This gets the enemy (liberals) to lose heart and eventually give up.
5: He helps our (old) friends turn away from us, as they turn away from each other. This destabilizes the world order, making things better for Russia.
6: By helping to improve the position of autocratic regimes, he bolsters his own autocracy.
7: He distracts us from other things he's doing, and other things being done to him (such as the Comey investigation)
8: He creates a "new normal"
9: He hands us over to Russia, China, and North Korea, and receives his reward.


Again, I have no idea what you think is a benefit from the rest of these, but you seem to have missed something about cost/benefit analysis.

It is not quite the same as "handy for partisan reasons".

You're describing costs, not benefits. As mentioned before, the role of cost/benefit analysis is for society as a whole. "Because Trump likes it" is not a reasonable application of that.

User avatar
ucim
Posts: 6408
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:23 pm UTC
Location: The One True Thread

Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:24 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:This [apparent cost] has a positive dollar value how?
It's an investment in the future... Trump's future. He is investing with our money, to get the payout at the end (or to keep the payoff he's getting sub rosa now). That's part of what the whole Trump investigation is about.

Granted, this is all speculation on my part, but although the net is a loss for the country, I have no doubt that Trump sees it as a gain for Trump.

It's all in the POV.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11213
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:29 pm UTC

I agree that Trump appears to be largely self interested, sure. As for the idea that he's stupid and selfish only because he's working for someone else, ehhh. I dunno. Looking back over his history, it appears to be largely genuine. He's got a really long history of talking up whoever he thinks he can get something from.

Overall, he's not a wonk or an accountant, he's a PR guy. It bleeds through on everything he does. I'm certain he puts a great deal more effort into talking himself up than he does into balancing the books for...anything.

User avatar
Dauric
Posts: 3900
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:58 pm UTC
Location: In midair, traversing laterally over a container of sharks. No water, just sharks, with lasers.

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Dauric » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:01 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
2: He creates a problem (which he can then blame on his predecessor)


This sounds like a cost, not a benefit.


In the world of marketing (which is really the world Trump lives in) finding and/or manufacturing a problem people want solved is half the job. The other half being to figure out how the product you're tasked with selling can be viewed as a way to solve that problem.

Creating unease, even in some cases outright fear, is -beneficial- to the marketer. Creating problems, or just the perception of a problem is a benefit to the marketer.

This extends in to politics as, in the act of marketing themselves, politicians sell themselves as the solution to any number of social ills real or imagined. Make the people afraid of their own shadows and tell them how your policies will make those shadows go away and they'll vote for you just as assuredly as people will buy food products marketed as solving all their real and imagined health woes.

The side effect of all this though is a populace that is too frightened of criminal bogymen to let their children out of the house, but also bemoans that they're getting fat because they don't go outside and play any more...

But hey, it's all good because those marketers are making money selling products, and it's only the aggregate movement of money that denotes a positive and healthy society right?
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. A Liquified Godwin spill has evacuated threads in a fourty-post radius of the accident, Lolcats and TVTropes have broken free of their containers. It is believed that the Point has perished.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26440
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:41 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
ucim wrote:They may not benefit you or me, but they benefit somebody in power.

As mentioned before, the role of cost/benefit analysis is for society as a whole.

But ucim didn't say they benefited society as a whole, or you or me. He said they benefit somebody in power.

Did you miss that point or are you intentionally obfuscating?

Because you seem like a pretty smart guy, which makes all these lapses of comprehension and naivete seem improbable.

Which leaves trolling as the more reasonable explanation for much of your conduct in this discussion.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 21 guests