Assorted links


2. "Academic average is over" ... Maybe, maybe not ... The study does not measure the quality of papers, just the quantity

What they do not measure is how much of the research was actually done by the Author. ¨Many of these prolific scientists are likely the heads of laboratories or research groups; they bring in funding, supervise research, and add their names to the numerous papers that result.¨ It is like the financial sector which skims a Percentage off the top from the sectors are actually productive and so have a higher incomes.

How many of those papers are actually read?

Even by all the authors?

If you ask the same question about the World Bank policy reports, the answer is: not many. "Nearly one-third of their PDF reports had never been downloaded, not even once."

Not sure if the same applies to the "top" authors though.

Wofgang Streeck is a very sharp guy. He is merely wrong. To keep this short, it will not be capitalism which changes much, but more likely democracy as we have known it. After all, the perverse outcomes he speaks of were all the result of consciously implemented policies, liked, on average, by us! The place where democracy has the best chance to survive in a form as we know it is the United States. The US political structure, far more than the European varieties, has a far better chance of renewing itself peacefully.

My response to Streeck: I miss communism. It was a great system for me, as long as other people got to experience it. but from where I stand, NZ might be the last place to hold onto democracy. Certainly not the US, with the cultural predilection for using guns to solve problems.

The only thing I miss from Soviet style communism is the space race.

After the fall of communism and the erstwhile USSR we in India miss the colourful, richly illustrated monthly propaganda material for an unbelievably low annual subscription. In particular, popular doctors are at a loss since the waiting rooms of their clinics used to be filled with this stuff to keep their patients patient during the long wait. The paper quality was so good that as kids we used to use it to cover our school notebooks and textbooks while grocers used to use it as packing material.

Or exactly the other way around.

@#5 - indeed, Streeck prints this howler: "The legitimacy of postwar democracy was based on the premise that states had a capacity to intervene in markets and correct their outcomes in the interest of citizens"

No Mr. Streeck, that is state SOCIALISM for you, and it's true the voters gobbled it up, but it's still socialism.

Yea they sure did gobble it up. That's why after the state regulated the banking sector in the 30's we went 60 years with out a financial crisis compared to before the 30's when we had one almost every decade. And the 30 years after we began removing those regulations we've had 2 financial crisis.
Gobbling up reality sounds like a good plan

TWO financial crises?

#4 - isn't this really just Pascal's Wager?

It's closer to Pascal's Mugging:'s_mugging

"Wolfgang Streeck on how capitalism will end"

According to the authors it presumably won't because no alternative exists. However, the really interesting points are the ones the author "neglects". Reading this article you would never learn that the left abandoned workers generations ago.

Read left-wing publications these days. The plight of workers is never a major theme. However, it's easy to find articles with titles like "Don’t Let the Doctor Do This to Your Newborn" ( What horrible crime are doctors guilty of? Telling parents that the baby is a boy or a girl...

You would also never learn that the left has unhesitating colluded, with the worst elements of corporate elite, to attack workers... and is proud of it. Take a look at the membership of the National Immigration Forum for a model of left-wing hypocrisy, duplicity, complicity, etc.

If the "left" isn't pro-workers then what do we label the "right" as?

The workers!

+10 well played sir.


"If the “left” isn’t pro-workers then what do we label the “right” as?"

No, is the easy answer. A few part of the right qualify for at least partial yes. Let me quote from someone who is now officially part of the "right".

Speaking last month before the Mechanicsville Tea Party, Brat tied Cantor to Wall Street and big business, whom he blamed partly for the financial crisis. “All the investment banks in the New York and D.C.—those guys should have gone to jail. Instead of going to jail, they went on Eric’s Rolodex, and they are sending him big checks,” he said. Brat echoed these charges in a radio interview. “The crooks up on Wall Street and some of the big banks—I’m pro business, I’m just talking about the crooks—they didn’t go to jail they are on Eric’s Rolodex,” he said.

Brat’s case against immigration reform was directed at big business as much as it was directed at the immigrants themselves. “They get cheap labor,” he said of big business, “but everyone in the 7th district gets cheap wages.” He accused Cantor of following business’s lead on immigration reform. “Eric is running on the Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable principles,” Brat told a Tea Party audience. “They want amnesty for illegal immigrants. They want them granted citizenship. And it’s in the millions—40 millions—coming in. If you add 40 million workers to our labor supply, what will happen to the wage rate for the average American?”

Funny link. The author takes pain to call the hypothetical baby"them" while calling the hypothetical obstetrician "him"

That's how you know he's the villain.

"Left-wing" publications continue to talk a lot about labor. Cf. "The New Left Review," "Jacobin," even "N+1." (Or obvious things, like, say "Labor Notes" or "Left Business Observer"). "Slate" is hardly a "left-wing" publication.

You can no-true-scotsman all you want but surely slate reaches more readers, by orders of magnitude, than those other publications. Although if you read the comments to that article, you'll see it's a bridge too far even for the slaters.

4. These people who believe this universe may be a simulation: how is that any different from believing a god may have created it?

There was a movie made kind of about this called the "The Thirteenth Floor" it was rather good.
To answer your question it depends on what you define as "god". If the world is a simulation then something has to have created the entity that made the simulation meaning that that entity is not "god" but just a being who has found a way to be like a god.
I believe some people theorize that eventually the whole universe as will end and all things in it will be destroyed meaning that the being running the simulator will eventually be destroyed. So if god can be destroyed is it really a god?

In my observation, one such differences lies on the spectrum of human exceptionalism. A Christian-style God who knows each of us, watches us always, and loves us unconditionally, couldn't be further from an infinite series of Universe-simulation iterations in which we are datum in one Universe that is itself datum among many.

But it has a lot in common with deism.

do you have a point, dirk?

My point is that Richard Dawkins needs to go after these people with that big fly-swatter of his.

#5 - The internet and computerization will probably be the main driver of the end to Capitalism; their ability to allow information to flow quickly and freely has already and will probably continue to make it even harder for corporations to monetize/get profits from innovation/inventions. This means that government/cooperative actions will become more and more a driver of economic growth and well being, be in through government mandated monopolies/patents or public goods projects. Already expansion of some public goods programs have much higher returns then what the private sector could get, ranging from pollution clean up/reduction, pre-school, disaster prevention, science, the Manufacturing extension partnership etc etc.
Computerization on the other hand might begin replacing mangers and the capitalist class; the evidence being that tone corporation that now has a computer on its board. The easy access to information will also make the ruling manger class less required as their "special knowledge" becomes widespread to everyone.

"[Computer's] ability to allow information to flow quickly... make it even harder for corporations to monetize...inventions. This means... government... will become a driver of economic growth... through government mandated monopolies/patents."

And how, pray tell, will government monetize it's monopolies and patents in an era of quickly flowing information? I guess that's the point at which the government starts breaking bones and cracking skulls?

All governments need to do to expand their "profit/revenue" is to expand the economy; they don't need to monetize innovation to expand because an expanding economy automatically does that because of governments ability to tax and/or print money.
But do go on telling us how taxes are the same as killing people you sure sound intelligent and not one bit like a lunatic conspiracy theorist.

You said that capitalism as we know it will die because of internet piracy, but that the government will use patents to protect it's own intellectual property after the corporations die. Tell me, how will these patents be enforced?

government/cooperative actions will become more and more a driver of economic growth and well being

Once again, North Korea is ahead of the curve!

A voluntary cooperative action is called a corporation. But I'm not sure that's what you had in mind when you mentioned the "manger ruling class."

How would you know anything about North korea? You thought they had a total equal distribution of income until I pointed out that they had one of the most unequal distributions in the world.
But I noticed you added nothing to the discussion and didn't even address anything that was posted I guess expecting you to be at least semi-intelligent was being too optimistic.

6. Eras of mood affiliation seem to coincide with eras of inequality.

I found it interesting that the article talked about following the "taylor rule" but didn't provide us with the information on economic growth during times when the rule was followed and times when it wasn't. Given that under Democratic presidents economic growth has been higher then under Republican ones and that under Democratic presidents the rule was followed less one could conclude that not following the taylor rule is better for economic growth. Though i wonder what the data actually says not just about following the rule but on time periods were interest rates were lower and higher.

Given the inclusion of the concept of short and long term, one could just as easily point out that economic effects are delayed. I suppose the point is that your statistic, by itself, is completely worthless. Remember, this is not Huffington Post, I suspect that your demagoguery will receive many less cheerleaders here.

I see so your argument is, "high economic growth causes low economic growth because I say so" perhaps the problem isn't that I have cheerleaders but that you're ignoring evidence because it doesn't adhere to your ideology.

No, my point is that if policy A is enacted today, the effects of it may not be felt for the exact amount of time known as "the long-term". So no, the problem isn't that I'm ignoring evidence, but that your evidence doesn't prove what you think it does.

So your argument is "economic growth was highest under policy a and lowest under policy b, however the reason policy b had lower growth was because of policy a."
Have any more mental gymnastics for us?

Streeck and Schmitter were among the core neo-marxist texts on the state and capitalism which we were copiously fed (in photocopy form, remember the photocopy?) when I was a student in the 1980s. And we devoured their sweet-smelling intoxicating poisons. Their talk then just like now was about “worsening disorders for which no cure is at hand: declining growth, oligarchy, starvation of the public sphere, corruption and international anarchy”. It was so exciting.

Anyone who has read my work will know I too am worried about capitalism’s future, and my analysis is inevitably a bit marxist in so far as (like Weber and Schumpeter) it is consciously or subconsciously defined in opposition to marxism. However unlike the ageing marxist mob I see the pleasant future in a restoration of the neoliberal dynamic which ran out of steam and has since been kept out of sight drowning below water level by the comeback of the knockabout Keynesians kids.

So I’m very pleased to read the following passage in Streeck’s book 'Buying Time' on which the New Left Review article, linked to by Tyler -- thank you -- is based:

“Max Weber, like Schumpeter and others after him, feared that substantive justice, driven by ‘the bureaucracy’ and its socialist supporters, would gradually superimpose itself on the formal justice of the market, eventually resulting in the downfall of capitalism and the freedom of the bourgeois individual associated with a capitalist economic order. The neoliberal turn we have witnessed since the 1970s has REMOVED this danger for the foreseeable future.” (my emphasis)

Also see

Good. Thank you then to the Chilean Chicago Boys, Thatcher, and then Reagan (not to mention the heroic ideologues on whose writings these neoliberal programs were based). All we need now in order to put the Weberian-Schumpeterian capitalist engine back on the road, therefore, is A Return To The Neoliberal Turn. Bring it on asap...

If Knausgaard's sales are as low as reported here, I have a prediction: he will hit the lecture circuit. As Vonnegut said, a writer can make more money giving a crummy speech at a half-broke college than writing the greatest short story ever written.

Yeah, but he can write the short story in his pajamas sitting at his desk drinking a beer. Even a half-broke college will expect him to dress up, shave, and travel to the location. Hardly seems worth it.

It's obviously been a long time since you've been to college.

#4. LessWrong gets credit for intellectual honesty, but sometimes they sound like Medieval Scholastics with too much time on their hands.

6. I've really lost all hope. That's why I favor hyperlocal government. Let everyone get everything they think they want. The laboratories of democracy are the only way they'll learn.,36484/

We have that. Notice how Conservative and republican states have 30% lower GDP per person, the most poverty, crime, etc etc.

e.g. those bastions of coservatism, Detroit and Chicago.

I did not finish the Capitalism piece, though I probably will at some point. What strikes me, though, is how resilient the system has proven itself, both nationally and internationally. Economically, we have not had any replay of the Great Depression. The Health Care Cost curve is, for now, bent. Tax revenues have increased and sequestration held, producing some rather significant deficit increases (and austerity has NOT delayed recovery significantly). We have exhibited much, much, MUCH greater political discipline than I imagined.

In the long-term, well, we might have a return to solid productivity growth (we really don't know yet, but there was a solid trend in the 90s and the early 00s). Solar is really becoming cost-competitive, wide-scale fracking might avert some of the oil shortages (even with though US reserves have been down-marked significantly after that gas reserve in California was re-evaluated).

Internationally, Europe has NOT fallen apart. Greece and Spain have NOT become dictatorships. India has not tested new nuclear weapons in decades. Pakistan has not collapsed to the Taliban. The border disputes in Asia have not spilled into open conflict or even close to it, and neither did the 2008 Georgia crisis, the Lithuania cyber-attacks, or the Crimean annexation.

The world has proven REMARKABLY resilient, rather than brittle.


The most powerful word in the perma-doomer's arsenal

#4 - The Roko's Basilisk story is... skewed, to put it mildly, and the reporter did not contact me at all before posting it---he seems to be relying on the version of the story put forth by RationalWiki, a poorly named wiki for unskilled skeptics who originally got together to mock homeopathy, and then decided to also go around mocking who goes around talking about probability theory because they think we think we're smarter than them. (They're certainly correct now, but it didn't have to be that way.) For comparison, here's what RationalWiki has to say about effective altruism, which is also mostly lies:

The actual story behind why I yelled at Roko and then deleted his post is that I was (a) aghast that anyone who'd thought they'd invented an idea that would expose other people to eternal torture would then promptly post it to a public Internet forum (b) aware of what happens to people with OCD tendencies when you tell them not to think of something (and a lot of people like that hang out on, which has a lot of non-neurotypicals, and shame on you if you think it's fun to sneer at that), and (c) worried about someone eventually managing to improve the Bad Idea into something that would actually work, once the general idea was out there. Roko's original idea does not actually work. Even if the entire idea was correct in broad outline and any number of possible defeaters did not come into play, I'm pretty sure you would need to know more technical details of the hypothetical evil AI than anyone on Earth including me knows (Roko's Basilisk actually does resemble the Necronomicon in that sense; granting all other hypotheses, you would still need fairly detailed knowledge of Cthulhu before Cthulhu starts trying to eat your soul). But I'm now reasonably worried that if anyone ever does manage to invent a meme such that it would give a future machine intelligence a convergent instrumental incentive to hurt whatever person had that belief or thought, someone will, in fact, promptly post it to the Internet, because people apparently are just that stupid.

This has certainly be a harsh lesson for me on how the Streisand effect works in real life, what other people don't perceive as immediately obvious, just how willing people are to believe that the tribal odd guy is secretly a raving lunatic, and the overwhelming power of a narrative that people are in some sense expecting to hear. It is now very clear that this idea only had any power at all because I appeared to take it seriously (and then because trolls from the Pit of Endless Hate that is the Internet decided to spread further lies about the narrative, and because other people who enjoy a good sneer were eager to believe those lies), but that itself was something I failed to realize in advance.

If it won't work then how is it dangerous?

Or, why is being neuro-atypical this Roko person's problem?

Or was it just better posted at creepypasta?

Should someone trying to be rational avoid reading anything which mentions Roko's Basilisk, if he's not sure what it is already? He just knows that it's an interesting idea which might increase his possibility of being damned to eternal torture the more he finds out about it... but he really wants to know...

Or some other idea with another name, coming by the same premise?

So LessWrongers are really touchy people, eh ?

And by "touchy" I mean "crazy".

No. We should try you telling us why.

So ... then why didn't you just say that the first time around, instead of the seemingly off-the-deep-end post that the author quoted?

Alright, that effective altruism link you just posted made my opinion of rational wiki plummet a tiny bit faster than a sun-diving comet.

Are you suggesting that, for the protection of the neuroatypical, we should not discuss the longstanding belief that there is a Hell? Not discuss gruesome news stories or show horror movies? Not teach children about the Holocaust?

Just wondering.

I've collected all of the comments (that I am aware of) by Yudkowsky on the topic here.

RationalWiki is a Wiki, that anyone can edit.

If you suspect that there are inaccuracies in an article, fix the article, or bring it up on the talk page. We will happily clarify any article to conform to the arguments that you make to defend.

Also, note: RationalWiki wasn't started to mock homeopathy, it was started to make make blunt comment on the content of Conservapedia. And RationalWiki isn't about being rational, it's about Rational-ISM... which is the notion that nothing is worth believing in unless it is strongly indicated by evidence.

I'll bring up my example of the Gorilla here... for the longest time, Gorilla were cryptozoology... local stories of a "half man, half ape". Now, Rationalism dictates that one withhold belief in such a thing until there was actual evidence. It doesn't matter that Gorillas ACTUALLY EXISTED at that time. There was no evidence to support them, and thus no Justification for True Belief, which means NO KNOWLEDGE.

Less Wrong seems more concerned with philosophical arguments, and valid arguments. This process has a place in the world. However, it fails at Rationalism, because you have to attack the premises of your argument, otherwise you never know if a valid argument is true. (I shouldn't have to explain that a valid argument is only true as long as its premises are true.)

Additionally, "(c) worried about someone eventually managing to improve the Bad Idea into something that would actually work, once the general idea was out there." Deleting information from the internet will never prevent others from knowing about it. (Look at the whole "right to be forgotten" deal in Europe... people are just writing articles about how the person has had webpages removed from the search index... thus adding to the search index.) And, RationalWiki believes in "the best disinfectant is light"... talk about a topic, expose its weaknesses, and if it turns out that Roko's Basilisk is supported by evidence, and argument... well then, it most certainly should be followed.

But Roko's Basilisk is just another Pascal's Wager... and just as unconvincing an argument as the one that has been handedly refuted for N centuries, where N > 1...

I guess I'm not smart enough for it to bother me.

5. "if history proves me wrong, I will at least be in good company."

What are Alex's wise words? A bet is a tax on bullshit.

#5...We spend so much time in our culture worrying about Dystopia, Armageddon, etc., that we're too frightened to move much in any direction. We'll be here, more or less, for a very long time

#4. I've heard this fantasy before…it's called "hell." Dante "knew" quite a lot about it, 700 years ago.

A Greek chorus of historical figures, including Leonardo da Vinci and 19th-century politician Giuseppe
Garibaldi, add rueful comment on the characters and their troubles while arguing about Italy's
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There are several cinema news website which update the photos and videos of the wedding.

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