Dave Lindbergh


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The Rise and Fall of American Growth: A summary

See https://www.amazon.com/Where-My-Flying-Car-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07F6SD34R (Where is my Flying Car?, J. Storrs Hall) on this - I find his take on it dead-on.

Hall says growth in energy use per capita flatlined, and that happened mostly because established industries rigged the system to keep themselves on top, and stifled new technologies in a snarl of red tape and regulation. (For the greater good, of course. </snark>)

I think about half of Gordon's policy RXs are wise, the other half deeply unwise. To the extent public policy has anything to do with growth (a lot, I think) it seems pretty clear US policy circa 1930 (just before the New Deal) worked a lot better than US policy circa 1970.

Whatever pain reverting to public policy circa 1930 would entail seems to be outweighed by the vast increase in per-capita wealth. Several studies have estimated per capita GDP at 3x to 4x what it is today, if the earlier policies had been kept in place.

Every policy proposal needs to be compared to the status quo and not to some utopian ideal.

It seems likely that a well-designed UBI would be vastly more efficient than our existing hodgepodge of welfare and other subsidies for the poor. It would eliminate the overhead of figuring out who should receive them and limiting fraud, and eliminate the disincentives to productivity that we have in place now. Neither is a small gain.

A UBI might also go some way toward settling our vast political bifurcation, by making people feel the world is a bit more "fair".

An increase in entrepreneurial activity would be nice, but doesn't drive the case for UBI.

Highly recommended: https://www.amazon.com/Our-Hands-Replace-Welfare-State/dp/1442260718/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=in+our+hands&qid=1601063375&s=books&sr=1-1 

Should some variant of longtermism identify as a religion?

Religion is symbiotic to humans - that's how it has persisted for millennia, despite being factually mistaken about many important things. Some of us get along fine without it, but we seem to be a minority.

It would be great to have something honest to fill the niche taken by religion, including community, moral guidance, and making people feel better about their lives. I would be willing to donate some money toward the project.

Most religions involve an afterlife - without that the "religion niche" may not be filled. One truthful way to offer this might be to talk about quantum immortality - if the MWI is correct and we can only experience worlds in which we survive, then subjectively (only!) we may each perceive ourselves to be immortal. Cryonics is another option here.

Ideas about destiny and duty seem to play important roles in religions. I suggest something along the lines of "spreading the light of life and intelligence thruout the universe". Frank Tipler has written a lot about this - mostly nonsense in my opinion, but we could take his vision of the Omega Point not as inevitable, but as a goal we (intelligence in the universe) have a duty to accomplish.

That seems to fit pretty well with long-termism, however defined. We could take it as our project realize Tipler's dream - to colonize the universe with intelligence, to make the universe an ever-better place to live.

The principle of no non-Apologies

"I'm sorry" is often used as an expression of sympathy - no relation to any apology.

Them: "My mom got cancer"

You: "I'm so sorry!"

(sorry for them, not sorry for anything you did)

Book Review: Narconomics

To the degree that that cocaine business (like any honest business) creates value, there's some truth in that. But most of the value is in the high that the customers get when they consume it - it doesn't create much *economic* value. Except to whatever extent the cocaine makes users more productive (it's a stimulant, as is caffeine).

But the "subsidy" mostly comes from other inner-city residents - for the most part, they're the customers (obviously some outsiders come into town to buy, but I suspect that's a small fraction of the business). So it's a zero-sum transaction within the inner city, except (as said) for the hedons of pleasure experienced by the end-users.

I think the costs of the drug war (fear, crime, overdoses, toxic side-effects of adulterants, incarceration, destroyed families, etc. - all of which overwhelmingly fall on inner-city poor people) far exceed any "subsidy" to the inner city.

I suspect a stronger argument could be made that the drug war is a key element of the institutional structures that keep the underclass down. Supposedly (from those who were there) Nixon's War on Drugs was intended to make life harder for blacks: https://www.forbes.com/sites/eriksherman/2016/03/23/nixons-drug-war-an-excuse-to-lock-up-blacks-and-protesters-continues/#5feee3f542c8 https://www.drugpolicy.org/press-release/2016/03/top-adviser-richard-nixon-admitted-war-drugs-was-policy-tool-go-after-anti https://www.vox.com/2016/3/29/11325750/nixon-war-on-drugs https://www.cnn.com/2016/03/23/politics/john-ehrlichman-richard-nixon-drug-war-blacks-hippie/index.html

Book Review: Narconomics

Cocaine is a stimulant, so wouldn't that make users *more* productive?

And if it were legal, it would be cheap, so no "crimes to get their next hit". Despite heavy taxation, the (significant) social harm from alcohol and tobacco doesn't come from crime.

COVID-19 - a good or bad time for extended travel?

Life is risk. Go.

Just be prepared - financially and in terms of other commitments - to be delayed by quarantine, etc.

If giving unsolicited feedback was a social norm, what feedback would you often give?

"You are spending more money than you can afford.

This will result in unnecessary stress and misery in your life.

You will be happier in the long run if you reduce your standard of living to a level that's easily sustainable for you and put the remainder of your money into a substantial financial buffer for yourself."

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