I’ve just finished reading a 1980 book Advice Among Masters: The Ideal in Slave Management in the Old South, which mostly quotes US slave owners from the mid 1800s writing on how to manage slaves. I really
"[W]hile dominant groups tend to justify their rules in terms of helping, they are actually more trying to display their dominance." This is an apothegm to be cherished!
In your book you try to side-step the consciousness debate of ems. But I don't think you can completely side-step that debate. At the very least you are assuming ems are treated as if they have agency. If ems are treated as if they are just an algorithm (like I treat Siri or Google Maps), then this analysis is beside the point.
Efficiency is relative. The modern professional military is extremely efficient compared to the pre-modern military. Virtually none of us die of pestilence on campaign, for example. Invasions cause less collateral damage to the invaded country, and launching an invasion is less often financially ruinous to the aggressor.
It is worth keeping in mind that the purpose of the military is to maintain effectiveness in extremely adverse circumstances. Efficiency only applies insofar as it means "effectiveness over time."
I would be very interested to see a tabula rasa treatment of an efficiency-based foreign policy organization, though.
As I understand it, many of the abolitionists were not motivated solely by concerns about Africans and even shared their contemporaries' views about the relative merits of dark-skinned people. However, they realized the being a slaveholder entails power over others that leads to corruption of the powerful. The genome of African-Americans is a reflection of this.
It's slavery. Why is this any surprise?
they’d less accept local rules if they learned of more lenient rules nearby
Just like members of the owner's household might complain if they learned that even slaves enjoy more freedom than they do. Enforcing rules on slaves may have been more about upholding rules within the owner's community than about benefits to the slaves.
I was wondering how long it would take to misinterpret that passage. It took longer than I expected.Being able to understand a perspective from inside someone else's head is a sign of one's humanity, not one's lack of it.
Slaves resented being beaten, and the many rules seem to be the main cause.
You somehow forget that slaveowners writing about their practices are engaged in signaling. At the least, their accounts should be balanced against those of the slaves. I've never heard the complaint from former slaves that they resented the numerous regulations foremost.
I think Robin's assessment is the first time I've ever heard the military termed "efficient."
You're ignoring "from this perspective," a perspective he goes on to reject.
> I really like reading ordinary people describe their to-me-strange worlds in their own words, and hope to do more of it.My suggestion: Xenophons Anabasis.https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...I also had this feeling when reading these at the same time reasonable and fantastic description - in their own words - of real life of free soldiers and the obstacles in a hostile world.
"And strong punishments are needed to make it work. Spare the rod, and spoil the child, conscript, or slave. From this perspective, US south slave must have led decent lives overall, and we should be glad that improving tech is making it easier for modern governments to get involved in the details of our lives."
Robin Hanson is such a disgusting sociopath; I hope one day he gets the suffering he so desperately wishes on others. The violence people like him deserve is not even compatible with the laws of physics.
"Productive" for whom?
Apologies if this is obvious to the point of being unhelpful, but when I think of people speaking of their own circumstances in their own words, Working by Studs Terkel pops in my head.
It may not necessarily be a strange world, but you definitely see the voices of individuals coming through the text.