Edward P. Könings

Research in game theory and other dark arts of rationality

Wiki Contributions


I think your remarks are good, but I would like to add a few more critical points as an economist. First, the RGDP is a measure that captures more of the "supply side" of an economy, so it addresses issues related to the total factor productivity of an economy. In the case of Japan, as previously noted by Prescott and Hayashi in their article on the crisis of the Japanese economy in the 1990s, there is a major problem of productivity that affects the capacity for real growth. To the surprise of people who grew up with the myth of Japanese efficiency, Japan has been the economy with the lowest labor productivity among the G7 economies for over 50 years. There is a big problem with respect to lifetime employment, difficulties with union reforms, diseconomies of scale and an extremely low number of startups. A recent research by BOJ researchers indicates that the Japanese economy has serious problems of capital accumulation and low productivity of its main companies (which have practically become cyberpunk megacorps paralyzed by the lack of incentives for innovation).

In this scenario, it is very unlikely that there will be a real positive change in the picture of real economic growth for Japan. Eliezer could advocate whatever monetary policy he wanted, but he would still probably be wrong, because the solution would be more through microeconomic reform. Perhaps an analysis from the point of view of new-classical macroeconomics is more fruitful than an analysis from the market monetarism paradigm.

Ohh yes, that was exactly one of my ideas when formulating this post. An AI alignment has to be designed in such a way as not to consider that society can be understood as a concrete / monolithic concept, but as an abstract one.

The consequences of an AI trying to improve society (as in the case of an agent-type AI) through a social indifference curve could be disastrous (perhaps a Skynet-level scenario...).

An alignment must be done through coordination between individuals. However, this seems to me to be an extremely difficult thing to do.

I - But would an analysis as sub-agents be better than an analysis as if they were the true agents? And why would they be subagents? Who would be the main causal agent?

II - Conclusions drawn from an analysis of utility theory through methodological individualism. 

But if individuals are not the basic fragments (the units to which we can most reduce our analysis), then what?

In my view, we would start to enter into psychobiological investigations of how, for example, genes make choices. However, if we were to reduce it to that level, as David Friedman rightly observed, the conclusions would be the same...

The problem is that a holistic abstraction like "the society" is less effective in describing a picture closer to reality than the ideal type of methodological individualism ("the individual"). Reducing it to this fundamental fragment is much better at describing the processes that actually occur in so-called social phenomena.

And yes, Democracy is the system that best captures this notion that it is not possible to achieve a total improvement of the society.

It is certainly possible that there are ways to improve the situation of more than one person, given that non-zero-sum games exist. The problem, as noted by Elinor Ostrom in her analysis of the governance of the commons (Ostrom 1990, ch 5), is that increasing social complexity (e.g. bringing more agents with different preferences into the game) makes alignment between players less and less likely.