Nine experiments provide support for promiscuous condemnation: the general tendency to assume that ambiguous actions are immoral. Both cognitive and functional arguments support the idea of promiscuous condemnation. (
My question here is how do you arrive at a simple enough, yet generalisable policy?
Are you familiar with Richard Epstein's "Simple rules for a complex world"? He is advancing a similar argument in this book.
Ah, you are right. Oops!
Sadly, you are right here. I know the harsh truth but can not follow it just like almost everyone else. Any temporary reprieve from hell leads to a worse hell in the long run.
As Nick Land said, anything of value was baked in hell. Any attempt to stop people with harmful trait X from dying due to their X tends to make the X problem even worse in the long run. The most effective societies are those that are good at maximizing economic production by less useful people and then kill them when they are no longer useful.
Yes, it looks like something even worse than Nazi Germany but this is precisely what this screwed up universe selects for. Don't forget that this is what made Europe, Ashkenazis and East Asia strong. From both historical records and genetics we can find this bloody reality. Why are certain Y chromosome haplogroups such as R and O so widespread? Because of brutal conquests and often genocide & rape. Where exactly are children of poor English people in 1000? They are mostly dead. Non-first-borns of richer English replaced them and the meatgrinder continued to run. This was how Britain improved their human capital. Why is America much richer than South Africa? Because in America Anglo colonists largely got rid of natives. Why is Taiwan a lot more successful than the Philippines? Because Chinese settlers genocided Austronesians and basically made the island a small China.
That's how screwed up the universe is. Now let's examine your proposals. Any paternalistic policy intended to prevent people from harming themselves leads to more people with such tendencies surviving and lowers human capital in the long run. In this respect your well-intentioned policy proposals about gambling and drugs are evolutionarily similar to welfare.
"Improve living standards for living people and prevent any new human from being born. Why?"
That would slow down tech progress.
I simply support maximizing tech progress so that AGI can be fast tracked.
Life inherently sucks in this universe and it is good for it to be phased out. Improve living standards for living people and prevent any new human from being born. Why?
The universe is either theistic or non-theistic. In a theistic universe due to the supposed existence of thousands of deities worshipped by humans alone and who knows how many among aliens, almost everyone will get religion wrong and can not escape from unimaginable punishment by one or several deity/deities as a result.
In a non-theistic universe we get this cruel world in which a war of all against all takes place. Every commitment to cooperate essentially requires handicapping. The ability to destroy matters more than the ability to contribute. Cooperation evolved to a significant extant to make coordinated harm to others more effective. Do you really want to bring more humans into the world where they will harm others and will be harmed by others?
In a futarchy with a simple value function based on basic outcomes like population, health, and wealth, then voting on values but betting on beliefs would probably mostly legalize things like prostitution, gambling, recreational drugs, immigration, and big business. It would probably even let prisoners pick torture.
I wonder specifically about prostitution, gambling, and recreational drugs. Assume the futarchic system is smart enough to account for the fact that underground commerce is not normally counted in GDP. In the case of prostitution, futarchy would favor it, as it's trade and doesn't seriously harm the economic production capacities of either prostitute or client, so long as appropriate std regulations are in place. Gambling would be a different animal. It's economically useless activity which is based on the irrationality of the consumers, and it would depend on whether this irrational preference to play is taken into account. You could argue that it ought to be done, else almost any type of consumption could be dismissed as an "irrational preference." Even then, it would have to consider the ruinous effects on the productivity of gambling addicts, which would not be cancelled out by any increase in the productivity of gambling winners. The best policy IMO would be a paternalistic monopoly system, allow gamblers to buy "lotto tickets" where 10% of the money is taken to compensate winners and account for transaction costs, the gambler who loses can either get the 90% plus two years of interest back in two years or have it back immediately along with a two-year long ban on further participation in the scheme. This way, no gambler could suffer ruinous losses, the maximum any would lose would be 10% of what they could invest. You can think of ways around this by loaning the gambler money, but since gamblers tend to be very bad credit risks, you shouldn't expect many to try it.
I think it would keep harsh laws against most drugs and adopt harsh penalties and perhaps even prohibition on alcohol, which contrary to common misconception did reduce consumption and alcoholism-induced deaths significantly. Yes, it resulted in a few deaths from tainted moonshine, but these were a drop in the bucket compared to the many deaths which would have occurred had alcoholics been able to buy their poison cheaply and legally. Since even relatively benign drugs like marijuana provide an alternative to participation in the workforce, this provides another reason you expect futarchy to ban them.
"I can't wait till we win the war on terror and there are no more terrorists, just like we won the war on drugs and you can't buy drugs anymore..."
You could say the same about almost any kind of criminal behavior.
Torture is already widely accepted and unofficially present. Not sure what "moral degradation" could still happen that we haven't already reached. An anti-torture norm would have been useful, but it's not a stable equilibrium because people will free-ride on the norm and everybody wants their enemies to suffer. I no longer see instrumental or reciprocal value in defending it.
I really hate humans for inventing the very idea of heresy. Well, guess what? It's not even really a human-specific problem. Social species are full of cruel and deceitful assholes. The universe is cruel as hell. That's not really news any more..
This reminds me of Paul Graham's essay, "What You Can't Say" (http://www.paulgraham.com/s.... Excerpt:
"If the anti-yellowists seem to be getting out of hand and you want to fight back, there are ways to do it without getting yourself accused of being a yellowist. Like skirmishers in an ancient army, you want to avoid directly engaging the main body of the enemy's troops. Better to harass them with arrows from a distance.
One way to do this is to ratchet the debate up one level of abstraction. If you argue against censorship in general, you can avoid being accused of whatever heresy is contained in the book or film that someone is trying to censor.Y ou can attack labels with meta-labels: labels that refer to the use of labels to prevent discussion. The spread of the term "political correctness" meant the beginning of the end of political correctness, because it enabled one to attack the phenomenon as a whole without being accused of any of the specific heresies it sought to suppress."
Graham's "ratchet up the level of abstraction" and your "simpler policy spaces with fewer degrees of freedom" seem to take us out of near mode and put us into far mode. Is this a general way of overcoming bias?
That may be a plausible interpretation of what Rendall says in the sentences preceding the one I quoted. The quoted sentence, though, clearly compares torture (B) to an alternative (C), and condemns it as cruel on the basis of that comparison. So I stand by my claim that it is an instance of the argument I described.
That isn't how I read the argument. It seemed to me that Rendall was arguing directly that there are powerful externalities to B, so A > A + B.
For example, if we allow torture in prisons, that inevitably means that there will be a profession of torturers, on a scale much larger than that currently supported by national defense. There will be specialized firms providing it as a service. There will be innovation in the inflicting-pain-for-money space. High school kids will have torturer show up in the same job compatibility lists that show police, prison guard, and bail bondsman. We'd probably call it something nicer like Incarceration Reduction Engineer though.
A second example: we want people to regulate what industries do, but sometimes people from that industry are the only ones who know about it, and so we must tolerate a revolving door mechanism despite the conflicts of interest. I think it is reasonable to say that we assign doctors to a significantly higher ethical level than we do people who work at banks. Doctors are also the people best positioned to profit from this torture boom, since they have a good balance of theory and know-how regarding human suffering. This destroys the ethical reputation of the medical profession if anything more than a negligible fraction of them work with the pain industry.
I expect it would still be worth it overall, but I think there's additional items to evaluate.
These days, exile is a lot less effective than it would have been four hundred years ago - it's not that difficult to commit crimes against people in one country while living in another. (Just ask any Russian hacker or Latin American drug lord.) It is also of questionable deterrent value.
Permitting torture as an option might have an indirect effect of making prison conditions worse.
If torture is cheaper to administer than prison (and it seems it would be), then the state has an incentive to make the prison option less attractive.