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: 6566
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:23 pm UTC
Location: The One True Thread

Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:57 pm UTC

arbiteroftruth wrote:It is not even remotely clear to me how you see that sentiment implied by that quote.
Same here, except possibly through the (wrong) idea that everything is reducible to money, and getting more money is all that matters.

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: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:02 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:You've selected a point on a curve visualizing the highest quarter in the highest year for the Obama administration. Using that, you are attempting to claim you can see no difference between the Obama administration and the Trump administration.
Well, we did do the nose. But nowhere did I use that to extrapolate to the entire year. You cherrypicked, I cherrypicked.

What I did do was look at the shape of the curve for ten years, and its (visual) average. There was no significant change in the last two years.


It is not a curve for ten years. It's an erratic up-down bounce.
There is not a steady curve that continues through the Obama years to the present. 2016 had a 1.5% growth rate, and 2017 was somewhere between 2.3 and 2.6(it's still early for all the numbers, but it's certainly good, though shy of the 3% Trump promised). If you look at quarters, Q2-4 2017, and Q1 2018 were great, while 2016 through Q1 2017 have a falling trend, bottoming at 1.2%

You also have the economy cratering in 2015. Not recession level cratering, but a significant drop in growth. This is distinct from the recession, and cannot reasonably be explained by it.

Overall, the Obama years are not amazing, economically speaking. It is still early to judge Trump's overall impact, as he has quite some time left to potentially fuck things up, but you can't blame every bad part of the Obama years on Bush(though the recession is pretty fair), nor do the trends support Trump's gains as a result of Obama's actions. After all, when the changeover happened, you have a several quarter trend of falling growth that gets strongly reversed the quarter after Trump takes over.

But hey, don't take my word for it, look at say, CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/12/trump-economys-sustained-growth-pace-unlike-anything-seen-in-13-years.html

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:However, if the rate of growth for those investments [(clean air, clean water, good health, privacy, and freedom from despots)] is lower, then you will see an exponentially worse future.
What does "worse" mean for you? I like breathing. I like freedom. I like science. And I like living among people who value these things above money, organized superstition, political power, and stupidity.


If you value freedom over money, you can have a wonderful life as a hobo. Never have to work for the man, but there some downsides.

All of those things stem from money, in large part. Poverty doesn't bring freedom. It doesn't bring a healthy environment. It doesn't bring scientific discovery.

Look, you can have a city that prioritizes all of those things, but lacks money, and you get...Detroit. If you've got the economy, you can support those, but if you don't...you can have the best intentions, and the results are not great.

eran_rathan wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:All investment is prioritizing the future over the present. Investing in the environment, a bridge, or a company is not different in that respect.


Prima facie evidence for libertarianism being the idea of "I've got mine, so fuck you."

"I can afford to live in suburbs and commute to my high-paying job, why don't you poor people just work harder like I did?" - asks the middle income white man.


I'm not following how you got from there to here.

None of this requires fucking over the poor. In fact, it's sort of the opposite of that. I'm literally criticizing ways in which the existing system makes the poor pay for the benefit of the rich.

Environmental investment is not necessarily bad, but as with many other efforts our government funds, we are not actually funding things based on the best cost/benefit overall, but are skewing towards the desires of the wealthy. Private planes are a rich man's hobby. The leaded gas they burn affects everyone.

froghero
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:09 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby froghero » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:22 pm UTC

So, when should the country invest in anything besides the economy? In ten years, a hundred? When do we get to use that economic investment to buy quality of life? After quality of life declines? How much damage has to be done before preventative care makes sense?

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:33 pm UTC

froghero wrote:So, when should the country invest in anything besides the economy? In ten years, a hundred? When do we get to use that economic investment to buy quality of life? After quality of life declines? How much damage has to be done before preventative care makes sense?


All things, at some point, become an economic investment. The environment, human health, infrastructure. All of these have some financial value.

The point is mostly to do those things when they are the best remaining economic investment, instead of putting off economic investments because "we prioritize health above money" or some such. If you focus on economic improvement, you'll get quality of life increases. Wealth is highly correlated with quality of life.

Consider the problem of over-population. All money spent directly on fixing it was pretty much wasted. However, get a population wealthy, and the problem vanishes. This was trumpeted as one of the great social ills for decades, and in retrospect, the correct course of action was literally to do nothing about it but focus on gaining money.

Now, translate that to modern issues. Consider how folks talk about urban blight, or littering in poor areas. You can, if you wish, throw money directly at those things. You can gentrify a community with a crapton of money, but really, it's probably just kicking the current residents out, and moving new, wealthy residents in. The wealthy people live in a nice area, and the poor people live in a rougher one. Nothing has actually changed, but we've moved everyone around and spent a bunch of money on it. Of course, there's not really much intrinsic difference between rich and poor people. If the poor people had a lot more money, they would love to have a nicer neighborhood. If the local economy picks up, he locals can get better jobs, you get a thriving boom area.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10240
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:05 pm UTC

Overpopulation, economically, is... weird. More people means more stress on current resources, but more people also means more scientists which means faster development of technology. We could get our population down to 100m people and everyone could have their own manors and private airplanes without having too much of an impact on the environment, but they would produce far fewer scientists.

Really, the key too immigration is to figure out how to bring in the immigrants who are most likely to either go into research or have their children go into research. Turns out that, while they aren't usually in the first camp, the illegal immigrants that are willing/capable of traveling the great distances involved to enter the US do tend to be in the latter camp more often than the average American. Of course, it's even more likely if they are able to actually access the institutions through legalization, so there's another argument there. Highly skilled immigrants and student immigrants are even better, being in the first camp.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:15 pm UTC

Wealth concentration via people dying off is possible, but it has inherent long term limits. You can't keep doing it forever because eventually your population sinks too low, and your society ceases to meaningfully exist. Sure, it increases the wealth/people ratio, but if your strategy puts you on a path towards extinction, I'd consider that a bad strategy. At best, it's short sighted. The ratio is boosted, but total wealth keeps dwindling, because you're losing human resources.

Basically, it's the Thanos problem.

Looking at wealth is probably better. It might be a great deal harder to produce more wealth than to get rid of people, but it's economically a lot more sustainable.

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 4968
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:24 pm UTC

It's important to remember that money is just an abstract representation of value, and what you want out of an investment is an increase in value, not necessarily an increase in value-represented-as-money. If your investment has "better returns" because you get more money out of it, but worse returns in terms of value tallied both in terms of money and non-monetary forms of value, then it's not actually better returns on investment.

Think about investing in your personal health. If you sacrifice your health to gain lots of money that you then can't enjoy because, for one thing, you've got to spend it trying with limited success to compensate for health problems later in life, and more directly because you have lost something of great value that you can never get back and will suffer for that loss for the rest of your (probably shorter) life, then that wasn't actually a good investment, because you got less value back from what you put in, even if you die with a higher bank balance. (On the other hand, forsaking all work and money "for the sake of your health" to the extent that it leaves you in poverty and suffering the consequent health repercussions of that is similarly not a good investment).
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
Soupspoon
You have done something you shouldn't. Or are about to.
Posts: 3665
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:00 pm UTC
Location: 53-1

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:27 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It is not a curve for ten years. It's an erratic up-down bounce.

That statement, alone, leads me to believe that you aren't using the same language about graphs as just about anybody else is.

Add to that some of your other descriptions of the graph I think you're describing and I'm doubting we can even have a sensible conversation about this, with terms reference so dissimilar.

I say this with the sincere hope to spare you the effort. It may seem that basically everyone here is just being contrary to you for the sake of it, but clearly at least one side of the conversation is being powered by preconceptions and wshful reading between the lines over actual data, and (either way) you're really not going to make such headway in this conversation.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:40 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It is not a curve for ten years. It's an erratic up-down bounce.

That statement, alone, leads me to believe that you aren't using the same language about graphs as just about anybody else is.

Add to that some of your other descriptions of the graph I think you're describing and I'm doubting we can even have a sensible conversation about this, with terms reference so dissimilar.


I'm looking at the actual data, not the visualization. Or, if you prefer, you can look at a bar chart of it, plenty of reputable ones around.

In theory, a line graph ought to hit the bars at the same time, but the one referenced doesn't seem to quite match up. The peak ucim referenced, I can't find literally anywhere else, and it's higher than any quarter in the year. You shouldn't have that. Add in the lack of absolute numbers, and the particular visualization does not seem great. Maybe it's using old data(economic data is routinely corrected after the fact), or maybe it's using some unusual time scale that isn't labeled on the graph. In any case, that's a shortcoming of the visualization. Not seeing a change because the visualization is bad is very different from not seeing a change in the data.

Generally, one would not extrapolate a bull market as a mere continuation of a bear market or vice versa. A clear, fairly abrupt trend reversal happens at the election quarter, and growth stays consistently high thereafter. I don't know what further evidence one could ask for.

User avatar
Quercus
Posts: 1756
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:22 pm UTC
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Quercus » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:50 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:All things, at some point, become an economic investment. The environment, human health, infrastructure. All of these have some financial value.

The point is mostly to do those things when they are the best remaining economic investment, instead of putting off economic investments because "we prioritize health above money" or some such. If you focus on economic improvement, you'll get quality of life increases. Wealth is highly correlated with quality of life.


Are you sure that tackling climate change and anthropic mass extinction will become the best remaining economic investment *before* the planet is in an unstoppable slide towards human uninhabitability?

Also, as an aside, regardless of how effectively you think they do it our economic systems only ever value *human* quality of life. As someone who places great value in the more-than-human world such systems are resulting in what, to me, is a moral crime of unspeakable magnitude. This may go some way to explaining why our views on such systems are so different.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:57 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:All things, at some point, become an economic investment. The environment, human health, infrastructure. All of these have some financial value.

The point is mostly to do those things when they are the best remaining economic investment, instead of putting off economic investments because "we prioritize health above money" or some such. If you focus on economic improvement, you'll get quality of life increases. Wealth is highly correlated with quality of life.


Are you sure that tackling climate change and anthropic mass extinction will become the best remaining economic investment *before* the planet is in an unstoppable slide towards human uninhabitability?


Weirdly enough, the US has actually made enough progress towards the Paris goals after Trump's pull out speach to improve our estimated date of compliance*. Trump isn't going to any lengths to pursue progress on global warming directly, it's all a side effect of pursuing cheap energy.

So, yes.

*https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/06/01/trump-withdrew-from-the-paris-climate-plan-a-year-ago-heres-what-has-changed/?utm_term=.7e5cc141e42a

Quercus wrote:Also, as an aside, regardless of how effectively you think they do it our economic systems only ever value *human* quality of life. As someone who places great value in the more-than-human world such systems are resulting in what, to me, is a moral crime of unspeakable magnitude. This may go some way to explaining why our views on such systems are so different.


Eh, I think we can and do put value on other life as well. Well, some other life.

Malaria-carrying mosquitoes going extinct would probably be a net win for us, if not for the mosquitoes themselves. I would indeed be okay with that, and consider the resulting food chain tweaks to be a relatively modest cost in return for the quality of life gain. How would you value the extinction of a not particularly well liked type of bug? Or how should we assign value to it?

User avatar
Dauric
Posts: 3941
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 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:26 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Quercus wrote:Are you sure that tackling climate change and anthropic mass extinction will become the best remaining economic investment *before* the planet is in an unstoppable slide towards human uninhabitability?


Weirdly enough, the US has actually made enough progress towards the Paris goals after Trump's pull out speach to improve our estimated date of compliance*. Trump isn't going to any lengths to pursue progress on global warming directly, it's all a side effect of pursuing cheap energy.

So, yes.

*https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/06/01/trump-withdrew-from-the-paris-climate-plan-a-year-ago-heres-what-has-changed/?utm_term=.7e5cc141e42a


... Ehhh, no.

If you read that article carefully you might notice the point that Trump's policies haven't actually been enacted yet, and the U.S. can't actually withdraw from the accords until 2020. A lot of the repeal of the Clean Power Plan is held up in the courts, and even without action at the federal level individual states are taking up the regulatory burden for air quality, so Colorado's renewable market is largely a function of Colorado legislation directed at Xcell Energy not unregulated free markets. If you read towards the end of that article they make the point that if Trump's policies do finally get enacted they'll underperform the Paris targets by a fairly significant margin (~13% as opposed to ~28%), which by current estimates the Paris targets are still too modest to actually stabilize temperatures.

The grand upshot of that article is not that effects of Trumps policies have been measured, but that the effects off his policies are uncertain because most of those policies have yet to be enacted and it will take another two to seven years before we ultimately know what the outcome of them will be.
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.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:35 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:... Ehhh, no.

If you read that article carefully you might notice the point that Trump's policies haven't actually been enacted yet, and the U.S. can't actually withdraw from the accords until 2020.


Correct. That's why Trump himself gets no particular credit. He hasn't actually done *anything* to promote dealing with climate change. Nor is he at all likely to do so.

This is largely the result of the energy market, not Trump himself. In particular, US natural gas production has been super helpful. This is not the sort of policy that has been pushed by those who advocate an environment first strategy. They generally advocate against the "drill everything" approach. However, increasing natural gas production is pushing out dirtier energy methods, while also, thanks to lower energy costs, increasing our ability to handle other needs.

It's evidence in favor of economic approach, but that's entirely different from giving Trump credit. His big speech stuff is symbolic, and has pretty much no effect either way.

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 6539
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:40 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Dauric wrote:... Ehhh, no.

If you read that article carefully you might notice the point that Trump's policies haven't actually been enacted yet, and the U.S. can't actually withdraw from the accords until 2020.


Correct. That's why Trump himself gets no particular credit. He hasn't actually done *anything* to promote dealing with climate change. Nor is he at all likely to do so.

This is largely the result of the energy market, not Trump himself. In particular, US natural gas production has been super helpful. This is not the sort of policy that has been pushed by those who advocate an environment first strategy. They generally advocate against the "drill everything" approach. However, increasing natural gas production is pushing out dirtier energy methods, while also, thanks to lower energy costs, increasing our ability to handle other needs.

It's evidence in favor of economic approach, but that's entirely different from giving Trump credit. His big speech stuff is symbolic, and has pretty much no effect either way.

Natural gas is only a net gain if pollution and methane leaks are kept to a minimum. This requires rigorous enforcement, which the GOP isn't known for doing. Just a quick example of how even good things that happen during Trump's administration gets perverted.
https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/coa ... atural-gas
Edit added link.
Last edited by sardia on Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:47 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
ucim
Posts: 6566
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:23 pm UTC
Location: The One True Thread

Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:36 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It is not a curve for ten years. It's an erratic up-down bounce.
That's a kind of curve. It's the (smoothed) derivative of the GDP itself; the thing to look at is its general "altitude". Quarter to quarter changes are mostly noise, including cyclical variation. If you take a look at the US GDP per capita chart (there's a list on the right) over ten years, it's a pretty steady upward trend since 2009. That trend is just continuing. Ditto the GNP chart (bottom of the list).

There is no evidence in the charts that Trump is doing anything. The trend was in place since 2009.

Tyndmyr wrote:Poverty doesn't bring freedom. It doesn't bring a healthy environment. It doesn't bring scientific discovery.
Quite true. I would not expect these things from impoverished nations. But the United States is not impoverished by a long shot. We are probably the wealthiest nation on the planet. We can spend a little to get a healthy environment. And it's not even about the spending (though that's part of it) - it's the attitude that these things aren't important that is so destructive. And what does he want to do with all this money? Build more bombs, destabilize the world, and create a Space Force, all while preaching that the earth is flat.
Spoiler:
That last part (flat earth) is a metaphor, in case you didn't get it.
Tyndmyr wrote:Private planes are a rich man's hobby.
I was waiting for you to say that. While a few rich men fly private planes, most private pilots are not rich by any means. General aviation ("private planes") are what give us traffic reports, medivac flights, crop dusting, pipeline patrol, photogrammetry, and many other things, in addition to air taxi operations and business executive travel. General aviation provides jobs for many people who are not at all rich, and those businesses provide jobs for the next layer of not-so-rich people.

Aircraft piston engines (a small subset of general aviation engines) use leaded gas because it's the best way to prevent engine damage. Car engines normally operate at only a few percent of rated power. Aircraft engines routinely operate at 65%-75% of rated power, continuously, in widely varying conditions.

In any case, that's a red herring, and I doubt Trump gives two toots about it.

Tyndmyr wrote:All things, at some point, become an economic investment. The environment, human health, infrastructure. All of these have some financial value.

The point is mostly to do those things when they are the best remaining economic investment...
No. Just.... no.

Things have an economic cost. You do things because there is a return. Often that return is not economic. You don't come home early to see your son's baseball game in the hopes that it will increase your bank account some time in the future. You do it because you love your son and it will make him happy. You don't plant flowers in your garden because it increases your property values; you do it because they are pretty and it makes you smile when you come home.

The same thing is true of a nation. We don't clean the air in order to make a profit, we clean the air because breathing is a Good Thing, and lung pain is a Bad Thing. We don't assist with the defense of our allies in order to send them a bill; we do it because peace and freedom are a Good Things, and because war and dictatorships are Bad Things.

Sometimes there's an economic benefit, but you don't make money for its own sake; you make money for the things it brings you when you spend it. And making money by destroying the things you would buy with it is daft.

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: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:00 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It is not a curve for ten years. It's an erratic up-down bounce.
That's a kind of curve. It's the (smoothed) derivative of the GDP itself; the thing to look at is its general "altitude". Quarter to quarter changes are mostly noise, including cyclical variation. If you take a look at the US GDP per capita chart (there's a list on the right) over ten years, it's a pretty steady upward trend since 2009. That trend is just continuing. Ditto the GNP chart (bottom of the list).

There is no evidence in the charts that Trump is doing anything. The trend was in place since 2009.


In the sense that everything since then has been better than the recession, yes.

However, you've basically just chosen a timescale long enough to smooth out all of the inconvenient data. Relative to the recession, almost all years are quite good.

]Quite true. I would not expect these things from impoverished nations. But the United States is not impoverished by a long shot. We are probably the wealthiest nation on the planet. We can spend a little to get a healthy environment.


And we will, without making it a special priority, purely due to economic reasons.

And it's not even about the spending (though that's part of it) - it's the attitude that these things aren't important that is so destructive. And what does he want to do with all this money? Build more bombs, destabilize the world, and create a Space Force


I was waiting for you to say that. While a few rich men fly private planes, most private pilots are not rich by any means. General aviation ("private planes") are what give us traffic reports, medivac flights, crop dusting, pipeline patrol, photogrammetry, and many other things, in addition to air taxi operations and business executive travel. General aviation provides jobs for many people who are not at all rich, and those businesses provide jobs for the next layer of not-so-rich people.


The sort of people who can afford planes have at least significant wealth. If you have a farm, particularly a modern factory farm, it is not cheap. Those people are, relatively speaking, well off compared to the general population. Not all of them are super-rich. There's a difference between a private jet and a cessna...and yes, the rich have reasons for doing what they do, but generally controlling the masses is the primary way of making environmental changes. A higher efficiency standard doesn't greatly bother the wealthy. If a car costs a bit more, pretty much always going to be a larger impact on the poor.

And nobody is usually all that interested in focusing on luxury items. A significant proportion of the 200,000ish private aircraft in the US exist for hobby usage. Licenses are tracked, and commercial licenses only make up around 40% of licenses. For a lot of folks, it's a hobby, and a reasonably expensive one.

I'm not against folks having hobbies, but there's a lot more "sorry, that's the way it has to be" when regarding hobbies for the poor vs the rich.

In any case, that's a red herring, and I doubt Trump gives two toots about it.


Of course Trump isn't going to limit private aircraft. It is deeply unlikely that he'll restrict his own lifestyle. See the previous note about Trump not being the idealized fiscal leader. He's deeply unlikely to champion the interests of the poor over the rich, save by accident, or as benefits him due to populism*.

*Source for Trump not giving a fuck about the poor: His facehole.

Tyndmyr wrote:Things have an economic cost. You do things because there is a return. Often that return is not economic. You don't come home early to see your son's baseball game in the hopes that it will increase your bank account some time in the future. You do it because you love your son and it will make him happy. You don't plant flowers in your garden because it increases your property values; you do it because they are pretty and it makes you smile when you come home.

The same thing is true of a nation. We don't clean the air in order to make a profit, we clean the air because breathing is a Good Thing, and lung pain is a Bad Thing. We don't assist with the defense of our allies in order to send them a bill; we do it because peace and freedom are a Good Things, and because war and dictatorships are Bad Things.


At a certain level, individual economics and macroeconomics diverge a bit. The former frequently makes for good examples, but a government is a fiscal entity in a manner somewhat different from a father, and internal home economics do not greatly resemble a government.

In particular, we should not strive to make a government happy in the same way that a family strives to be happy. Government isn't a person. If you can't quantify the benefit it is providing to the citizens, then there's an issue. Clean air has value. Straight, dollars and cents value that can be quantified, where the joy at seeing your child is not the same kind of thing. The government is not your father.
Last edited by Tyndmyr on Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:24 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Sableagle
Ormurinn's Alt
Posts: 1901
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2015 4:26 pm UTC
Location: The wrong side of the mirror
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Sableagle » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:04 am UTC

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

You say it's all economic decisions, but you don't specify over what term.

You can save a lot of money by only using half the proper number of bolts when you put up a steel-framed building. When it wobbles just a little you can tell people not to worry. When that wobble winds up cracking the girders or shearing through the bolts, though ...

http://flood.firetree.net/?ll=40.6942,-74.1408&zoom=12

http://flood.firetree.net/?ll=36.8651,-76.3213&zoom=13

http://flood.firetree.net/?ll=26.1726,-80.1891&zoom=12

http://flood.firetree.net/?ll=29.9574,-90.1099&zoom=11

http://flood.firetree.net/?ll=38.1978,-121.7777&zoom=9

http://flood.firetree.net/?ll=38.8903,-77.0441&zoom=16

... you may find that people expect you to sort out the mess.
Of course, Trump'll be long dead by 2100, so nobody's going to make him sort it out.
The year 2100. Put away the SWAT team, guys. I meant the year 2100.
If you're voting for policies of "fuck that make money" and you've got newborn babies in your family, though, you know someone who's quite likely to be around to see whether the "by the end of this century _____" predictions are right.
Hey, if by then they're living in a $100,000 apartment with $50,000 of insulation for the extreme heat and cold, $15,000 of armoured glazing for the hailstorms, $5,000 of heavy-duty bars over every entrance, a £7,000 alarm system, $3,000 of water storage for droughts and a $5,000 high-capacity rifle with underbarrel shotgun each, they'll be wealthier than they would be in a $175,000 apartment somewhere they didn't need all that stuff, right?
Oh, Willie McBride, it was all done in vain.

User avatar
ucim
Posts: 6566
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:23 pm UTC
Location: The One True Thread

Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:53 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:...but a government is a fiscal entity in a manner somewhat different from a...
Government is not a fiscal entity. It is an entity that happens to use money (which it gets from its constituents), it's an entity that creates money (the means of exchange, and the platform of exchange) in order to accomplish its goals, but the purpose of government is not itself fiscal. Government isn't a business. It should not be run as one.

Tyndmyr wrote:Clean air has value. Straight, dollars and cents value that can be quantified, where the joy at seeing your child is not the same kind of thing.
I think we're done here. There is no common ground.

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
addams
Posts: 9997
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: Trump presidency

Postby addams » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:14 am UTC

(sigh...) We the People of the United States of America....

No. The Government is Not our Daddy.
Trump is Not our Daddy, to rescue us.

You and I, weather we like it or not, are Brothers.
Spoiler:
My Brother; (as we Gasp for Breath)
..umm..I think you might be doing that Wrong.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

User avatar
Quercus
Posts: 1756
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:22 pm UTC
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Quercus » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:11 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Quercus wrote:Also, as an aside, regardless of how effectively you think they do it our economic systems only ever value *human* quality of life. As someone who places great value in the more-than-human world such systems are resulting in what, to me, is a moral crime of unspeakable magnitude. This may go some way to explaining why our views on such systems are so different.


Eh, I think we can and do put value on other life as well. Well, some other life.

Malaria-carrying mosquitoes going extinct would probably be a net win for us, if not for the mosquitoes themselves. I would indeed be okay with that, and consider the resulting food chain tweaks to be a relatively modest cost in return for the quality of life gain. How would you value the extinction of a not particularly well liked type of bug? Or how should we assign value to it?


Spoilered for off-topic (sorry mods! I seem to be making a habit of this - I promise if it goes on much longer I'll move into a more appropriate thread)

Spoiler:
Your last question is a bit of a tricky one for me, it's akin to asking "what is the dollar value of a human life? how about someone who no-one likes? What about a petty criminal? A murderer?". I'm not saying that I treat individuals from other species as having equal value to individual humans (though some come pretty damn close - great apes and cetaceans in particular), but my sense of their value comes from the same empathic place as my sense of the value of human lives, so it's difficult to sensibly reduce it to a dollar value.

That said, I think that broadly I value several different things when looking at life, whether individuals, species or ecosystems, human or otherwise. I value complexity, diversity and uniqueness. I also value sentience, though that's a notoriously tricky one to pin down and I've mostly given up and just assume it roughly scales with complexity and doesn't have a sharp cut-off.

I also try to remember that life is highly interdependent in non-obvious ways, so there is value in treading lightly even when the foreseeable results of intervention seem positive.

One thing that I explicitly exclude from my assessment of value is how much humans like or even notice something. That just collapses back to valuing humans and their interests, and it's pretty core to my morality that life has value independent of humans, and that our assessment of value of, say, a species should be, as far as possible, from their perspective, not ours. For example, most humans don't even know complex microbial ecosystems exist, but I regard them as having a lot of value. Not so much that I won't clean my teeth for fear of disrupting my buccal microbiome, but enough to feel that we should put some effort into maintaining e.g. the diversity of soil habitats for microbes.

As for the mosquito example, I think I actually agree with you, the eradication of malarial mosquitoes would probably be a net positive, but I would still regard it as a significant loss, but probably less significant than not acting. I don't think it's something we should do lightly though - ecological intervention is notorious for leading to unforseen conseqences, and I think we might be close enough to an effective malaria vaccine that we might be better off pouring more money into that instead.

Mutex
Posts: 1386
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:32 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Mutex » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:14 pm UTC

Can tell Trump will be here in a couple of days, multiple literal black helicopters hovering over London.

User avatar
HES
Posts: 4873
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 7:13 pm UTC
Location: England

Re: Trump presidency

Postby HES » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:19 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:Can tell Trump will be here in a couple of days, multiple literal black helicopters hovering over London.

Who in their right mind let him come the same weekend as two major sporting events? We do not have enough police for this.
He/Him/His Image

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26264
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:29 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:If you post an opinion or fact, post a link you're using as evidence or that shaped your opinion.



It's been a few days .. or two weeks...since I've read this thread. And it'll be later on before I get a chance to go through what I've missed, so everyone's been remembering to cite their sources for all claims made, right?
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10240
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:25 pm UTC

And now, even the Feds have admitted that not all of the kidnappings were of foreigners.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:37 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:You say it's all economic decisions, but you don't specify over what term.


Yes, Republicans have, historically, not been super great at economic decisions. Arguing for an economic focus is very different from "let the republicans do what they will". 'cuz they'll talk a good game about low deficits and what not, but they don't generally follow through.

Trump's administration has, so far, done well. There's a certain amount of risk taking in his style, though, and he may kick over a hornets nest he can't handle.

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:...but a government is a fiscal entity in a manner somewhat different from a...
Government is not a fiscal entity. It is an entity that happens to use money (which it gets from its constituents), it's an entity that creates money (the means of exchange, and the platform of exchange) in order to accomplish its goals, but the purpose of government is not itself fiscal. Government isn't a business. It should not be run as one.


It isn't a business, but it's definitely a fiscal entity. These definitions are not the same.

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Clean air has value. Straight, dollars and cents value that can be quantified, where the joy at seeing your child is not the same kind of thing.
I think we're done here. There is no common ground.


If a father makes a decision to see his kid's baseball game because doing so makes him happy, no further justification is required.

If Trump makes a decision to have the government do a thing because doing so makes him happy, further justification is definitely required.

Make sense?

Quercus wrote:Spoilered for off-topic (sorry mods! I seem to be making a habit of this - I promise if it goes on much longer I'll move into a more appropriate thread)

Spoiler:
Your last question is a bit of a tricky one for me, it's akin to asking "what is the dollar value of a human life? how about someone who no-one likes? What about a petty criminal? A murderer?". I'm not saying that I treat individuals from other species as having equal value to individual humans (though some come pretty damn close - great apes and cetaceans in particular), but my sense of their value comes from the same empathic place as my sense of the value of human lives, so it's difficult to sensibly reduce it to a dollar value.

That said, I think that broadly I value several different things when looking at life, whether individuals, species or ecosystems, human or otherwise. I value complexity, diversity and uniqueness. I also value sentience, though that's a notoriously tricky one to pin down and I've mostly given up and just assume it roughly scales with complexity and doesn't have a sharp cut-off.

I also try to remember that life is highly interdependent in non-obvious ways, so there is value in treading lightly even when the foreseeable results of intervention seem positive.

One thing that I explicitly exclude from my assessment of value is how much humans like or even notice something. That just collapses back to valuing humans and their interests, and it's pretty core to my morality that life has value independent of humans, and that our assessment of value of, say, a species should be, as far as possible, from their perspective, not ours. For example, most humans don't even know complex microbial ecosystems exist, but I regard them as having a lot of value. Not so much that I won't clean my teeth for fear of disrupting my buccal microbiome, but enough to feel that we should put some effort into maintaining e.g. the diversity of soil habitats for microbes.

As for the mosquito example, I think I actually agree with you, the eradication of malarial mosquitoes would probably be a net positive, but I would still regard it as a significant loss, but probably less significant than not acting. I don't think it's something we should do lightly though - ecological intervention is notorious for leading to unforseen conseqences, and I think we might be close enough to an effective malaria vaccine that we might be better off pouring more money into that instead.


Spoilered response, as biodiversity is getting a bit tangential to Trump, I agree.
Spoiler:
It's a hard question, but yeah, humans in practical fact don't value all animals equally. A puppy's going to generally be valued much more than a housefly. How many dollars people are willing to pay to save them is one way to assign a value, though even that's not perfect. There are at least some human life valuation numbers in use in some cases. It's necessary for some kinds of insurance/accident impact calculations, etc.

Vaccination is probably a fairly high value endevour overall. Specifics would depend on exact vaccine, but generally, once the R&D cost has been recouped, the marginal cost to vaccinate people is quite low compared to the cost of the disease. As a long term investment, I suspect vaccines generally score exceedingly well. The extinction option is just an example to compare tradeoffs, but you're probably right with regards to Malaria. There's other diseases as well, though. Zika, for instance.

Overall, though, you've got only about 6% of mosquitos that feed on humans, and only half of those species carry diseases or parasites that affect us. If we wanted to murder all of them, it'd be 100 distinct subspecies of mosquito. You can get *most* of the benefits by taking out around 30 subspecies, as some present a lot more risk than others. Mosquitos would lose 1% of their biodiversity overall, and you'd probably save around a million lives. Knock on effects would be minimal, as those specific mosquitos are not unique enough to have predators that only feed on them, so they're not super critical to the food chain. You might affect predator populations somewhat in areas where those species are common, but you shouldn't risk making anything else endangered. Depends a bit on specific method, though. Some of the genetic engineering strategies have a potential to accidentally wipe out additional subspecies if crossbreeding is occurring. That said, I'd still consider it a fair trade if mosquitos lost a full half of their genetic diversity, and that's maybe an order of magnitude above any realistic mishap.

Caution has value, and sure, we should definitely gather information first so we can be relatively confident in our analysis before making any such decision, but on a cost-effective basis, this'd present a fairly concrete, safe example in where we should diverge from current ecological strategies.

Sources for some of this info lest SecondTalon be displeased =): https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35408835 , https://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/25/opin ... death.html

User avatar
ucim
Posts: 6566
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:23 pm UTC
Location: The One True Thread

Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:27 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It isn't a business, but it's definitely a fiscal entity. These definitions are not the same.
Ok. Please define "fiscal entity" for me, so we can at least be on the same page.

Tyndmyr wrote:If a father makes a decision to see his kid's baseball game because doing so makes him happy, no further justification is required.

If Trump makes a decision to have the government do a thing because doing so makes him happy, further justification is definitely required.

Make sense?
Leadership is not about making the leader happy. And in any case, your statement was: "Clean air has value. Straight, dollars and cents value that can be quantified, where the joy at seeing your child is not the same kind of thing." I could quite easily state that the joy of seeing your child has straight dollars and cents value that can be quantified. I can even come up with a method of quantifying it. "How much would you pay to see your child again?" But perhaps that's not fair, and the question should be "How much would you pay to allow Fred to see his child again?"

I suppose we could put the two together. "How much would you pay to see Fred's child struggle to breathe polluted air? The more you pay, the less (or more!) polluted the air becomes!" We could even solve the immigration problem this way, and boost GDP at the same time.

I suspect even you would have some reservations about this though.

Clean air has value, but it's not "straight dollars and cents value that can be quantified". Clean air has a cost however, which is quantifiable.

The benefit isn't money, even though clean air helps us to make money (and save money!). Similarly, the benefit to seeing your child isn't money either, even though seeing your child probably helps his well-being, which will boost his future income, and help him choose your nursing home.

Not everything can be reduced to 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.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26529
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:35 pm UTC

I can't speak for SecondTalon, but I suspect that when he talked about citations it was more for claims like "the value of clean air can be measured in USD" than "Republicans have more babies".
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: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:43 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It isn't a business, but it's definitely a fiscal entity. These definitions are not the same.
Ok. Please define "fiscal entity" for me, so we can at least be on the same page.


If you're being formal about it, the term would be accounting entity, but the point here is that a government isn't a person. It's *like* a person in some respects, but...it's akin to the whole "a corporation is not a person". For some purposes, it is convenient to treat them as one. But not the sort of purpose in which a person feels joy at seeing their child do things.

That just doesn't translate to business or government.

Businesses, governments, charities are all usually organizations for financial reasons, not because they are a natural entity.

Tyndmyr wrote:If a father makes a decision to see his kid's baseball game because doing so makes him happy, no further justification is required.

If Trump makes a decision to have the government do a thing because doing so makes him happy, further justification is definitely required.

Make sense?
Leadership is not about making the leader happy. And in any case, your statement was: "Clean air has value. Straight, dollars and cents value that can be quantified, where the joy at seeing your child is not the same kind of thing." I could quite easily state that the joy of seeing your child has straight dollars and cents value that can be quantified. I can even come up with a method of quantifying it. "How much would you pay to see your child again?" But perhaps that's not fair, and the question should be "How much would you pay to allow Fred to see his child again?"


You could, I suppose, put a recreational price on a father seeing his child. I am not sure what purpose this would serve. We don't generally need to bill people for seeing their children.

I suppose we could put the two together. "How much would you pay to see Fred's child struggle to breathe polluted air? The more you pay, the less (or more!) polluted the air becomes!" We could even solve the immigration problem this way, and boost GDP at the same time.

I suspect even you would have some reservations about this though.


Unfortunately, those are very subjective valuations, and they're derived from little more than opinions.

Clean air has value, but it's not "straight dollars and cents value that can be quantified". Clean air has a cost however, which is quantifiable.


Why not? More lead in the air can be directly attributed to all sorts of health issues. Those issues have costs associated with them. Higher particulate level, same same.

The air being clean has actual value aside from subjective valuations. Look at China, they're growing their economy, but one of the costs they are paying to do so is in terms of air quality, and you certainly can measure that*. It's reached a point where it's slowing growth right now, and it indicates a possible misstep on their part.

*https://www.cnbc.com/id/100878150

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26529
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:09 pm UTC

That you can assign specific costs to dirty air doesn't imply that you can assign a dollar value to clean air.

Unless you do something like the potential-energy convention, where clean air has a value of $0 and dirty air has a value of whatever its health and environmental consequences cost.
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: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:14 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:That you can assign specific costs to dirty air doesn't imply that you can assign a dollar value to clean air.

Unless you do something like the potential-energy convention, where clean air has a value of $0 and dirty air has a value of whatever its health and environmental consequences cost.


That's essentially the valuation used here, yeah. The delta between clean and dirty air consists of the costs imposed by the latter.

User avatar
ucim
Posts: 6566
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:23 pm UTC
Location: The One True Thread

Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:42 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:If you're being formal about it, the term would be accounting entity, but the point here is that a government isn't a person.
I agree. Neither governments nor corporations are people, although letally they have some of the rights associated with that status.

The phrase "fiscal entity" however specifically implies a monetary orientation. Corporations fill the bill; they are designed to make a profit. That is their purpose. However, it is most assuredly not the purpose of government to "make a profit". Government's basic purpose is to... well, govern. That is, to control (to some extent) its constituents, protect them from one another, and protect them all from the outside. In addition, it exists to fostesr the general welfare of its constituents. That's kind of the additive inverse of protection from evil - they go hand in hand. Appropriate limits on what we should expect from government are a matter of reasonable disagreement, but "making a profit" is clearly outside of this scope.

Government is different from corporations, just like corporations are different from people.

Tyndmyr wrote:Businesses, governments, charities are all usually organizations for financial reasons, not because they are a natural entity.
No. They organize for the same reason a tribe organizes for the hunt. Cooperation makes it easier to achieve one's goals, and allows for bigger goals to be reached. Money is not the reason, except insofar as money is one of the most flexible tools we have.

Tyndmyr wrote:Unfortunately, those are very subjective valuations, and they're derived from little more than opinions.
They would become objective, hard cash valuations if you put the scheme into practice. Clean air, likewise, has a very subjective valuation. Anything that makes people happy or miserable does. This goes for music, theater, weather, freedom, and purple mountain's majesty.

Tyndmyr wrote:The delta between clean and dirty air consists of the costs imposed by the latter.
That's the wrong way to value clean air. It ignores all the actual benefits of breathing.

Thought experiment for you - suppose I proposed to give you a dose of Xarthian. It causes join pain, burning in the eyes, and difficulty breathing. Because of this, you would have a harder time at work leading to lower salary, would have to pay doctor bills, and {lots of other financial stuff}. But I worked all that out, and will pay you, in installments, for all of those costs. On my panopticon, I show you the two futures, and you are convinced that financially, they are identical.

Why wouldn't you let me inject you with this drug?

Could it be that there is more than cold, hard, money involved?

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
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26264
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:01 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:I can't speak for SecondTalon, but I suspect that when he talked about citations it was more for claims like "the value of clean air can be measured in USD" than "Republicans have more babies".

Both of those need citations.

"Republicans having more babies disgusts me as they are unfit parents because they are Republican" is an opinion that's not really backable by any fact, so there's nothing you can really cite there.

Basically, if it can be proven by a "Did that person actually say that?" or "Is that number a factual number" then it needs a citation.

If it's a "Does the person typing that really think that?" then it doesn't need one.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10240
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:04 pm UTC


User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26529
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:07 pm UTC

My point was that Tyndmyr also cited the baby thing already, even though it's the sort of thing most of us would have already assumed, but not the "clean air has a dollar value" thing.
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
Sableagle
Ormurinn's Alt
Posts: 1901
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2015 4:26 pm UTC
Location: The wrong side of the mirror
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Sableagle » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:36 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:If you're being formal about it, the term would be accounting entity, but the point here is that a government isn't a person. It's *like* a person in some respects, but...it's akin to the whole "a corporation is not a person". For some purposes, it is convenient to treat them as one. But not the sort of purpose in which a person feels joy at seeing their child do things.


Image
Oh, Willie McBride, it was all done in vain.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:46 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:If you're being formal about it, the term would be accounting entity, but the point here is that a government isn't a person.
I agree. Neither governments nor corporations are people, although letally they have some of the rights associated with that status.

The phrase "fiscal entity" however specifically implies a monetary orientation. Corporations fill the bill; they are designed to make a profit. That is their purpose. However, it is most assuredly not the purpose of government to "make a profit". Government's basic purpose is to... well, govern. That is, to control (to some extent) its constituents, protect them from one another, and protect them all from the outside. In addition, it exists to fostesr the general welfare of its constituents. That's kind of the additive inverse of protection from evil - they go hand in hand. Appropriate limits on what we should expect from government are a matter of reasonable disagreement, but "making a profit" is clearly outside of this scope.

Government is different from corporations, just like corporations are different from people.


It's a different organism, yeah, but it plays in the same ecosphere. I'm not sure I agree wholly as to the purposes. For instance, 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.

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. However, the government's choices affect the economy in many regards, and I think it's reasonable for those responsibilities to extent to not fucking up the economy. Society ought to stay productive and profitable, not government as such.

Tyndmyr wrote:Businesses, governments, charities are all usually organizations for financial reasons, not because they are a natural entity.
No. They organize for the same reason a tribe organizes for the hunt. Cooperation makes it easier to achieve one's goals, and allows for bigger goals to be reached. Money is not the reason, except insofar as money is one of the most flexible tools we have.


I've never gotten a job because I had a deep and abiding need to join the Best Buy tribe. I've gotten jobs because I want a paycheck.

Tyndmyr wrote:The delta between clean and dirty air consists of the costs imposed by the latter.
That's the wrong way to value clean air. It ignores all the actual benefits of breathing.


Looking at costs is very similar to looking at benefits. You can structure the question as breathing dirty air as the default, and breathing clean air as a benefit, and run the numbers that way, but in either case, your delta ought to look similar.

Thought experiment for you - suppose I proposed to give you a dose of Xarthian. It causes join pain, burning in the eyes, and difficulty breathing. Because of this, you would have a harder time at work leading to lower salary, would have to pay doctor bills, and {lots of other financial stuff}. But I worked all that out, and will pay you, in installments, for all of those costs. On my panopticon, I show you the two futures, and you are convinced that financially, they are identical.

Why wouldn't you let me inject you with this drug?

Could it be that there is more than cold, hard, money involved?


Personally, I don't need the money enough to embrace misery. There are people who can and do take experimental drugs for money, though. I imagine there are many people who would rather deal with pain than whatever they do for money now, and would accept the drug for some given quantity of cash. Provided you have accurately captured all of the tradeoffs, you should have no trouble finding someone for your hypothetical scenario.

If you find absolutely nobody willing to accept it, that would be a clue that you may have misvalued the costs. It seems that you may be assuming that not all costs can be measured in dollars? What sort of cost would be immune to this measurement?

gmalivuk wrote:My point was that Tyndmyr also cited the baby thing already, even though it's the sort of thing most of us would have already assumed, but not the "clean air has a dollar value" thing.


The latter seemed fairly obvious, but there's a source for it fairly recently in the thread once it became clear that it was contested.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26529
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:04 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Businesses, governments, charities are all usually organizations for financial reasons, not because they are a natural entity.
No. They organize for the same reason a tribe organizes for the hunt. Cooperation makes it easier to achieve one's goals, and allows for bigger goals to be reached. Money is not the reason, except insofar as money is one of the most flexible tools we have.
I've never gotten a job because I had a deep and abiding need to join the Best Buy tribe. I've gotten jobs because I want a paycheck.
Many businesses do organize to make money, because that's their goal.

However, your employment there has nothing much to do with why Best Buy exists. People also work for governments and charities to get a paycheck, but that doesn't mean making money is the reason governments and charities exist.
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: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:41 pm UTC

The purpose of Best Buy, or most other businesses, is to make profit. It's not really about providing a tribe. That bit is a counter-argument to the tribal aspect put forth earlier. A few businesses might invoke some sort of tribal sentiment, but I don't think most do, and I certainly don't think it's their primary function.

Charities exist to channel resources to a cause or causes. This largely ends up being a financial affair, and one can rate how well they're performing by various financial metrics. This measurement isn't central to the above discussion, but in some respects, it does mirror government a bit. The point isn't profit, but finding efficient ways to achieve end results still matters, so in practice, they have to concern themselves with financial matters.

Profit's only one bit of finance.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26529
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:46 pm UTC

Are you intentionally ignoring the point or did you legitimately miss it?

ucim said tribes organize for the hunt because cooperation makes goals easier to achieve. You may disagree that that's actually the reason tribes hunt together, but ucim never said businesses, governments, and charities organize so people can feel part of a tribe, just so their members can more easily achieve their goals.
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
Soupspoon
You have done something you shouldn't. Or are about to.
Posts: 3665
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:00 pm UTC
Location: 53-1

Re: Trump presidency

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:02 am UTC

I find the tweet that says…
Billions of additional dollars are being spent by NATO countries since my visit last year, at my request, but it isn’t nearly enough. U.S. spends too much. Europe’s borders are BAD! Pipeline dollars to Russia are not acceptable!

…to be yet another of the "I know you are, but what am I?!?" deflections, given the actual dollars likely gone to Russia for a pipeline (even if it wasn't Russian steel, I think that still counts as a citation that monies went to oligarchs of a certain flavour).

Bizarro facts: when you Tweet at odd hours to accuse others of things that you are obviously guilty of (corruption, lyin', low-IQ, failing in business, relying on foreigners to swing votes…). If he suddenly accused Hillary of taking fertility drugs I'd seriously expect Trump to be showing (more) signs of a pregnancy bump within a few months.


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests