I've become adept at navigating the bureaucracy of my public high school. I've dropped environmental science as an AP (because it was painfully slow and replete with busywork) and am now taking an "independent study" in government. I'm going to be using this mainly as a way to study environmental science at my own pace, but I also have to read and write some about standard political issues. the requirements of the independent study are pretty vague. In order to get approved, I've got to BS some reason why I should be granted an independent study. I'm obviously not going to speak plainly. I'll probably say something about my interests in seasteading, environmentalism, and education reform. What books do you recommend on the politics of these subjects given that it is the mindkiller? Also, the main focus is on environmentalism, not on education or seasteading. I've done a bit of research regarding seasteading, but there's not much that I know about
I was particularly interested in this point brought up in the seasteading book:
Let’s consider several different levels on which we could discuss politics:
· Policy. For example, a debate about whether to criminalize drug use, attempt to reduce the harm of use, or completely legalize it. What are the effects of each specific policy? Which does the most net good? Who is hurt, and who is helped?
· System. What types of policies does a specific political system tend to generate? For example, in a democracy, a special interest group can easily coordinate to influence legislation which benefits them, but costs everyone a little bit. If every consumer loses a dollar a year from a policy, it just isn’t worth anyone’s time to fight it. Hence we expect democracies to frequently produce policies which steal small amounts from many and give them to a few. And indeed, tariffs, farm subsidies, and bailouts, just to name a few, fit this model quite well. This type of argument is at a level of generality above any specific policy, and it can offer enormous insight at consistent errors made by current governments. But to fix those problems, we need to rise further yet.
· Meta-system. At the level we want, we think about the entire industry of government. What types of systems does it produce? How can it be changed to produce better systems (that is, systems which produce better policies)? What influences how well the governments of the world serve their citizens? How can we increase competition between governments? This level is the most abstract and the most complex, which can make it difficult to get a handle on, but if we can grasp that handle, it gives us the most leverage to change the world.
They also recommend a reading list:
Machinery of Freedom (David Friedman)
Game Theory and the Social Contract (Ken Binmore)
Mancur Olson - stuff
Myth of the Rational Voter (Bryan Caplan)
Economics In One Lesson (Henry Hazlitt) ?
In regards to environmentalism, I was thinking about focusing on the relationships between government funding for green businesses as green entrepreneurship is of interest to me. I'd probably have to talk about the Solyndra scandal at some point.
As a side note, if the requirements aren't too stringent and I can just write about whatever I feel like so long as it vaguely relates to politics (like in my independent study in psychology), I may just go meta and write about Americans Elect.
Edit: I do think that there is a difference between descriptive politics ( e.g.describing the workings of the EPA or a standard civics class) and and normative (woo liberatarians!). I'm more interested in descriptive politics.