I’m always interested in knowing why people disagree with me, but recognize that people have limited motivation to expend the effort to explain to me why I am wrong in a way I can understand.

In case that helps make it take less effort, I am permanently committed to Crocker’s rules.

Also, the LW user artifex0 is a different person.


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Trillions of dollars in lost economic growth just seems like hyperbole. There’s some lost growth from stickiness and unemployment but of course the costs aren’t trillions of dollars.

They did in fact not go far enough. Japanese GNI per capita growth from 2013 to 2021 was 1.02%. The prescription would be something like 4%.

I disagree total working hours have decreased. The number of average weekly hours per person from 1950 to 2000 has been “roughly constant”. Work weeks are shorter but there are more people working.

As an example to explain why, I predict (with 80% probability) that there will be a five-year shortening in the median on the general AI question at some point in the next three years. And I also predict (with 85% probability) that there will be a five-year lengthening at some point in the next three years.

Both of these things have happened. The community prediction was June 28, 2036 at one time in July 2022, July 30, 2043 in September 2022 and is March 13, 2038 now. So there has been a five-year shortening and a five-year lengthening.

Even voting online takes more than five minutes in total.

Anyway, I’d rather sell my votes for money. I believe you can find thousands of people, current non-voters, who would vote for whatever you want them to, if you paid them only a little more than the value of their time.

If the value of voting is really in the expected benefits (according to your own values) of good political outcomes brought forth through voting, and these expected benefits really are greater than the time costs and other costs of voting, shouldn’t paying people with lower value of their time to vote the way you want be much more widespread?

You might not be able to verify that they did vote the way you wanted, or that they wouldn’t have voted that way otherwise, but, still, unless the ratio is only a little greater than one, it seems it should be much more widespread?

If however the value of voting is expressive, or it comes in a package in which you adapt your identity to get the benefits of membership in some social club, that explains why there are so many people who don’t vote and why the ones who do don’t seem interested in buying their votes. And it also explains why the things people vote for are so awful.

Voting takes much more than five minutes and if you think otherwise you haven’t added up all the lost time. And determining how you should vote if you want to vote for things that lead to good outcomes requires extremely more than five minutes.

The only real connection seems to be wanting to do math on on how good things are?

Yes, to me utilitarian ethical theories do seem usually more interested in formalizing things. That is probably part of their appeal. Moral philosophy is confusing, so people seek to formalize it in the hope of understanding things better (that’s the good reason to do it, at least; often the motivation is instead academic, or signaling, or obfuscation). Consider Tyler Cowen’s review of Derek Parfit’s arguments in On What Matters:

Parfit at great length discusses optimific principles, namely which specifications of rule consequentialism and Kantian obligations can succeed, given strategic behavior, collective action problems, non-linearities, and other tricks of the trade. The Kantian might feel that the turf is already making too many concessions to the consequentialists, but my concern differs. I am frustrated with this very long and very central part of the book, which cries out for formalization or at the very least citations to formalized game theory.

If you’re analyzing a claim such as — “It is wrong to act in some way unless everyone could rationally will it to be true that everyone believes such acts to be morally permitted” (p.20) — words cannot bring you very far, and I write this as a not-very-mathematically-formal economist.

Parfit is operating in the territory of solution concepts and game-theoretic equilibrium refinements, but with nary a nod in their direction. By the end of his lengthy and indeed exhausting discussions, I do not feel I am up to where game theory was in 1990.

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