bendini

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The best things are often free or cheap

I don't think there are any important caveats, and I also wouldn't expect there to be. The reason I wouldn't is that if the best things in life weren't cheap, it would mean that the best things in life are the things that require lots of highly skilled labour that can't be amortised across a large number of people.

When things are expensive and highly desired, market forces incentivise people to put a lot of effort into making those things less expensive, so the only things that tend to remain that way are:

A) Things where there are hard constraints on how much effort needs to be put into creating them. 

B) Things that derive a large part of their perceived value from being produced in a way that requires lots of bespoke highly skilled labour.

Things that are B are not the best things in life almost by definition, and so few tangible products in the modern world are A (as opposed to say, human relationships) that they are unlikely to coincide with the best things in life. 

Why Boston?

To clarify, I was thinking more about the overall effect of the weather on people. You are not indoors all the time, nor can you cover every square inch of your body with warm clothing. At least from my point of view, being outdoors in 20F wind in a winter coat is worse than 85F in shorts + t-shirt. I'm not disputing that air conditioning is more technologically complex than a fireplace, I just don't think it's a major factor.

Why Boston?

Ah, that makes more sense. I think if you'd posted this last year I would have assumed you were making an individual case, but the recent interest in moving the hub away from Berkeley made me think otherwise.

Why Boston?

From what I understand, the case for Boston is as follows:

A. Similar good things

  1. Boston has similar urban amenities of the SFBA (colleges, medicine, airport).
  2. Boston tolerates the rationalist kind of weirdness (queer and poly).
  3. Boston has lots of the activity groups rationalists enjoy (contra dance, kink).
  4. Boston has enough rationalists that it's possible to run weekly events and for people to have their own little friendship groups.
  5. Boston has plenty of buildings that are suitable for large grouphouses.
  6. Tech salaries in Boston are only 10-20% less than the SFBA. 

B. Similar bad things

  1. Boston has a very high cost of living ($2800/month for a 2 bed that's 30 minutes from downtown).
  2. Boston is within the US, so is at the mercy of US federal politics (i.e. revolution risk).
  3. Boston is within the US, so it has similarly insane healthcare costs.
  4. Boston has NIMBY housing policies that are unlikely to change.

C. Large/important improvements

  1. Boston has far less risk of earthquakes and wildfires.
  2. Boston has better non-car transport options. (Although it's unclear how it compares to NYC and how much worse it is than the best cities internationally.) 

D. Small/minor improvements 

  1. Boston is much less dependant on the software industry than the SFBA. (I'm unsure if this is important for rationalists, as most of them are software engineers so the main benefit for them is less social homogeneity in their non-rationalist friend groups.)
  2. Boston has a lot more elite schools per capita.
  3. Boston's architecture is similar to Europe.
  4. Boston skews younger than the SFBA (likely due to its elite universities).
  5. Boston has 4 distinct seasons.

E. Large drawbacks

  1. Boston has the same sky-high cost of living as the SFBA, but only a fraction of the startup scene.
  2. Boston has very cold winters.

F. Small drawbacks

  1. Boston has summers that are hot, humid and swarming with mosquitoes.
  2. Boston still has it's Puritan cultural prudishness.
  3. Boston has below average food culture. (Again, probably Puritan influence.)

G. Other differences

  1. Boston has the blunt communication style you find in Northeastern US cities.

 

I can see why some individuals would be better off in Boston, but looking at the bigger picture I can't see how this would be a suitable replacement for Berkeley. It has most of the downsides that people mention (e.g. cost of living, opposition to new housing) when they complain about Berkeley, but can't offer the rebuttal of "yes, but our institutions are already here". 

If someone can spell out the case for moving the main rationalist hub from Berkeley to Boston, I'd like to hear it, but from my perspective it seems like relocating to Boston would be squandering this one-time opportunity to put the hub in the global maxima.

The rationalist community's location problem

What about homeschooling? Many people within the community plan to homeschool their children, yet a quick google search indicates that homeschooling is illegal in all of Germany and you will be arrested if you attempt to do so. 

The rationalist community's location problem

Here's my incredibly detailed pitch for Manchester, UK. 

If anyone has feedback, you can reply here or comment on the article itself.

Construct a portfolio to profit from AI progress.

I've given this a strong downvote, but I'm writing a comment so the OP and passerby aren't confused why a long comment that provides relevant answers is (currently) sitting at -3 karma:

  1. Repeating the false but popular assertion that smart people can't outperform indexes without insider knowledge/huge amounts of luck.
  2. Conflating whether it's moral to invest in China with whether it is profitable.
  3. The suggestion that the asker should look into selling moonshine/other contraband. (This isn't a moral complaint, it's just bad advice. Starting a manufacturing business isn't a remotely suitable replacement for stock investing + the risk adjusted returns of such a business are very poor.)
Raemon's Shortform

I agree, but I also think there's a bit of a chicken and egg problem there too. Leaders fear that enforcing order will result in a mutiny, but if that fear is based on an accurate perception of what will happen, telling leadership to grow a pair is not going to fix it.

Raemon's Shortform

Thinking about my own experiences of seeing these bottlenecks in action, I don't think either is a subset of the other. It seems more like there's a ton of situations where the only way forward is for a few people to grow a spine and have the tough conversations, and an adjacent set of problems that need centralised competent leadership to solve, but it's in short supply for the usual economic reasons plus things like "rationalists won't defer authority to anyone they don't personally worship unless bribed with a salary".

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