Reneging prosocially by Duncan Sabien

by philip_b1 min read18th Jun 20195 comments

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Coordination / Cooperation
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A good post about reneging on agreements, acting when the other person reneges on you, and making agreements.

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I mostly agree with this framing and advice. I'd add "be honest about your strength of commitment". If there's a 30% chance you'll won't follow through (for whatever reason), don't say "I'll be there", say "I'll try", or "I hope I can make it" or (amongs nerds) "70% of future probability weight has me there".

Reneging does impose cost on your partners - they invested something in the thing. If you can help them decide what level of investment is appropriate, do so.

An important piece on "how to be meta-cooperative", which feels like a key question of group rationality.

(If this enters the review phase I'd want Duncan to be more formally involved. I think link posts should be eligible if they came from 'within the nearby ecosystem')

This is a fantastic piece.

I have doubts about

If I loan you an item ostensibly for a month, and regret it, I will do significantly less damage asking you to return it in a week than asking you to return it immediately.

So, a good samaritan Alice gave her friend John an item for some time, then she realized she wants to use the item herself. It's already the case that only John is getting something out of this agreement, so why should Alice take on additional costs of waiting another week?

Edit: unless John actually gave Alice money for borrowing her item. IMO people should pay each other money for various acts that provide value much more often than the do.

That is covered in the article. Alice should take on that cost to reduce the cost to John, demonstrating that she takes seriously the commitment she has broken rather than just scrapping it the moment it did not suit her.

IMO people should pay each other money for various acts that provide value much more often than the do.

Within a social circle, non-denominated performance of favours is the usual method, the magnitudes involved decreasing with distance, although never quite to zero. That way of doing things is the social fabric.

I do not ask money for giving a stranger in the street directions to where he wants to go.