Politics is a zero sum game in which you spend 500 billion dollars to no avail except for forcing your opponent to spend 510 to win. Millions if people are already trying to win this zero sum game already. Might as well ask "why not just win the World Series of poker, then use that money to fund Miri?"

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I don't think this is true in most political contexts. Political activity is often positive-sum or negative-sum.

People do make compromises that improve total utility. Special interests demanding special handling aren't always wrong -- sometimes they do have special concerns that can be met cheaply, and that ought to be.

Conversely, political process can be negative sum. It sometimes results in inefficiencies -- either rent-seeking or awkward half-measures that produce less utility than if one faction had total control.

-2Lumifer7yPolitics is not a game at all, never mind zero-sum. Politics is the acquisition and exercise of power in a society. I am also not sure that LW is against involvement in politics. LW doesn't like to discuss politics for well-known reasons. On the other hand, skills of most people on LW and skills necessary to succeed in politics are... not well-matched.
0mwengler7yIf politics is a zero sum game, why are some political entities so incredibly more productive than others? Do you think US politics has NOTHING to do with US GDP?

More "Stupid" Questions

by NancyLebovitz 1 min read31st Jul 2013498 comments


This is a thread where people can ask questions that they would ordinarily feel embarrassed for not knowing the answer to. The previous "stupid" questions thread went to over 800 comments in two and a half weeks, so I think it's time for a new one.