Is that true? Isn't at least one clear difference that it's difficult to stop engaging in a bias, but heuristics are easier to set aside? For example, if I think jobs in a particular field are difficult to come by, that's a heuristic, and if I have reason to believe otherwise (perhaps I know a particular hiring agent and know that they'll give me a fair interview), I'll discard it temporarily. On the other hand, if I have a bias that a field is hard to break into, maybe I'll rationalize that even with my contact giving me a fair hearing it can't work. It's not impossible to decide to act against a bias, but it's harder not to overcorrect.
He cites the observation that socialized firms have not taken over the economy. That's clearly true and clearly relevant. Your response was that you'd already explained why socialized firms might not take over even if they were productive. What were those reasons again? Reviewing your post, it looks like it might be the difficulty of gaining investment and brain drain from the most productive workers leaving, but both of those reasons would be strong arguments against socialization. Rose Wrist's ideas for gaining investment anyway are interesting, but until socialized firms actually do raise enough funding to compete, saying that they theoretically maybe can sounds remarkably hollow.
The point of evidence is to see things that are more likely under one hypothesis than another. In the world where socialized firms are better, I do not expect to see them failing to take over. In the world where they are not, I do expect that it's possible to generate arbitrarily long lists of pro-socialism citations.
The strength of a case depends on the strength of the evidence, not on the number of citations!
The specific handwave I'm referring to is Amartya Sen's.
"In the case of the free rider hypothesis, these 'rational fools' act based on such a narrow conception of self-interest that they don't take into account the obviously damaging long-term consequences of their behavior, both to the firm and ultimately to themselves. Normal, reasonable people - who are different to rational economic man - are usually happy to put efforts into a collective endeavor that will deliver benefits for them in the long run, even if that means foregoing some short-term gains."
This sounds like it would predict that people reliably cooperate on prisoner's dilemmas, and pick stag in stag hunts. In reality, of course, that's not a thing! Cooperation exists, but tends to require coordination mechanisms. Worse, it sounds like it's advocating an incoherent decision theory. While there are certainly times where it's wise to make a choice that isn't the best in the most narrow, myopic possible sense (Newcomb's problem is the obvious example, or superrationality dynamics), that's very different than putting efforts into collective endeavor in the hopes of collective success.
The evidence you cite is interesting, though Lao Mein's evidence suggests it isn't a slam dunk. But Sen is committing a fallacy here, and the same fallacy as was often used in support of socialist regimes. As such, it's a valid answer to tailcalled's question.
Surely the good or bad effects of socialism are a function of policy? Whether or not a policy arises democratically and/or revolutionarily does not change the policy itself. This is a striking non-sequitur.
The Scandinavian countries are indeed pretty good places to live. This likely has nothing to do whatsoever with democracy per se, but with the fact that the Scandinavian model does not regulate to anything resembling more strongly socialist nations, despite the fact that they famously have a large welfare system. There is no casual mechanism whereby voting for a leader would make the policies of that leader better-though obviously a leader that harmed the people in legible-to-them ways might get voted out! But that would be democracy changing policy, not democracy making a given policy better. As a real-world test case, consider the Maduro regime in Venezuela. While his democratic bona fides are somewhat questionable (there are people who think he stole his election from Juan Guaido), he certainly had enough popular support to be a serious candidate. And that did not prevent his policies from having predictably impoverishing results on Venezuela.
Hence the charitable reading that the OP might be calling for a different version of socialism that might conceivably be beneficial. My point isn’t that there’s zero chance that he’s right; my point is that there’s no way to say “hey, let’s do this thing that’s superficially similar to catastrophic policies” without it either not conveying useful information, or that useful information requiring a long political debate to hash out. And that’s not appropriate for the “Politics is the mind-killer, let’s improve our rationality on easier cases” forum. I’d welcome the post and subsequent debate on e.g. a Scott Alexander forum or comment section. But this isn’t the place for it.
On the one hand, that's literally true. On the other, I feel like the connotations are dangerous. Existential risk is one of the worst possible things, and nearly anything is better than slightly increasing it. However, we should be careful that that mindset doesn't lead us into Pascal's Muggings and/or burnout. We certainly aren't likely to be able to fight existential risk if it drives us insane!
I strongly suspect that it's not self-sacrificing researchers who will solve alignment and bring us safely through the current crisis, but ones who are able to address the situation calmly and without freaking out, even though freaking out seems potentially justified.
Wouldn't it be relevant in that someone could recognize unproductive, toxic dynamics in their concerns about AI risk as per your point (if I understand you correctly), decide to process trauma first and then get stuck in the same sorts of traps? While "I'm traumatized and need to fix it before I can do anything" may not sound as flashy as "My light cone is in danger from unaligned, high-powered AI and I need to fix that before I can do anything", it's just as capable of paralyzing a person, and I speak both from my own past mistakes and from those of multiple friends.
If being rude is spending social capital, does that suggest that we ought to be at least a little rude? Capital that can’t be spent is no capital at all. (At least for some forms of capital.) On the other hand, should we be thinking about politeness more like trust, which is in some ways the opposite of expendable resources: typically, the best play with trust is to maintain it indefinitely?