The main justification offered for government is coordination – that governments help us to coordinate. Yes, many suspect that governments exist primarily to perpetuate and enrich themselves and their controllers at the expense of others. But defenders counter that governments are uniquely able to produce net benefits via coordination, and have historically often realized this potential.
I think it would be wasteful if after I died they just threw me away rather than having one last good meal with me.
His point is that people’s obscure preferences for art create scarcity, and we wouldn’t need search and multiplication technology; we’d just all listen to the same government-sponsored radio station because we’d all have the same preferences.But... we already have search and multiplication technology, and we use it every day anyway. Why would we want a radio station instead? I think the effect here really is about numbers. If you have 1.5 billion people connected to the net, to share everything they create, even fringe interests are filled with abundance. An example is pornography and rule 34; no matter what outlandish interest you may have, I'm pretty sure there's not only porn of it, but there's probably more porn of it than you could find time to consume. Maybe I missed the point, but I really see the promised golden age of digital post-scarcity here. And the potential isn't even maximized yet; there are still billions of potential artists and users who're not yet connected.
One area of coordination might be a four-day working week of nine-hour days. Oddly, it seems to have been Henry Ford, not government, who introduced the two-day weekend.
In Robin's view, the long-tail is the problem. His point is that people's obscure preferences for art create scarcity, and we wouldn't need search and multiplication technology; we'd just all listen to the same government-sponsored radio station because we'd all have the same preferences.
It's a relatively crazy viewpoint, but one thing I think he's right about is that technology won't fully solve the problem of art scarcity.
A cynical example of hansonian cooperation: Hansonian cynicism implies rational voters should coordinate to cannibalize our population.
First, if you no longer agree with an essay you wrote in 2002, then you are forgiven.
If one substitutes animals for humans in the above essay and one also has a coordination policy where old humans are eaten during older age, one can accrue vast savings which can be applied to increasing the total human population. If there is no greater good than human existence, surely creating more lives via cost savings is morally good. Sure, once has to sacrifice some lives so others may live, but think of all the new lives that will be created!
Now, it isn't obvious at what exact age or sickness level we should cannibalize our elderly. Future technology could push back the date to hundreds or thousands of years. That isn't the point!
The point is that meat eating is moral and if we could collaborate more (via agreeing what is or is not moral) we would all be able to see that cannibalism would lead to more human lives via vast healthcare savings.
We all need to agree to having more children at a younger age since people are food for the young. Granted, we would need to supplement our diet with other kinds of food.
Meat tastes good...what more is there to say or try to justify? I personally eat meat on a daily basis because I like it and if we could coordinate better, if we were truly rational voters, than we could eat our elderly and use that money to make more babies. I don't see any flaws here. Life has nearly infinite value. Is there any better investment? Potentially future people are real people.
Personally, I do eat meat and I do it simply because it tastes good. And I don't eat the elderly because they want to live. The truth is, its simply too hard to be morally consistent and its much easier to say moral words.
But Robin's view that there is a problem implies that there is scarcity, and I tried to bring in the concept of the long tail, combined with the internet as an efficient search and multiplication technology, to argue that we're closer to a state of post-scarcity in music (and other digital art).
I think Robin defines the "genre sharing problem" to mean we'd be better off if there were fewer genres of art, since there would then be more resources devoted to each. He's correct that the internet does not resolve this "problem".
As Fnord suggests, this conflicts strongly with individuals' preference for a variety of artistic genres, and the natural tendency towards more, not fewer genres, via innovation. If anything, the co-ordination government provides, should be to sponsor unusual genres, which they often do. See Salem's point about Welsh below.
Why would you expect nations to coordinate these things with other nations? The gain in coordination that nations provide is primarily limited to coordination within the jurisdiction of a single nation.
If coordination were easy, there would be no need for nations in the first place. Coordinating between nations (in the absence of an effective world government) is no easier than coordinating between people in the absence of an effective government. In fact, it's significantly harder, because 1) nations aren't a perfect mechanism for coordinating between citizens, and 2) many evolved features than enhance coordination between humans don't help in coordination between nations.
Perhaps a global government could produce net gains by facilitating more coordination, but governments do "enrich...their controllers at the expense of others", in addition to providing coordination gains, so a balance is needed. And even if net utility would be greater under a world government, there are significant costs and risks associated with CREATING a government where none existed before.
Agent Q != voters. Agent Q == politicians & advocates.
Gotta defend Julia. You asked why these co-ordinations don't exist; she replied that they once did; that they worked terribly, to the point we have highly-negatively-charged labels for them; and that we no longer try to implement them as a result. That's a pretty strong response.
Government's ability to facilitate coordination doesn't have to perfect in order for it to exist.
TANSTAAFL? Great gains entail great costs and it is by no means apparent even the net is a gain much less a net gain to everyone. If there were such gains, the gainers should be offering to compensate the rest but we see next to no such offers leading most to believe they don't exist.
I always thought the main justification was resolution of conflict of interest. One couldn't trust particular private parties with defense of the nation or being an insurer of last resort.
There is big money to be made from global warming, so it was explained. If there wasn't money to be made from it, it wouldn't be explained.
In most cases, keeping things vague and unexplained allows government insiders to exploit the system, so its no surprise things remain that way.
"Or… one could let the market decide?"LOL!! You don't seriously expect that an economist would think the market is a valuable institution, right?
Anyway this post is another example of thinking of humans as equal and interchangeable tabula rasa rational autobots. Which they are not. But they don't teach that at the physics or economics department.
In general, I really like this post, and these seem like good responses. I don't think that global warming is sensibly understood as the government informing voters of a problem though. More like political activists doing so.
Consider the large amount of dis-co-ordination governments engage in. For example, the UK government encouraging the use of the Welsh language.