All of Generallyer's Comments + Replies

Announcing the Alignment of Complex Systems Research Group

Multiscale agency, self-misalignment, and ecological basins of attraction? This sounds really excellent and targets a lot of the conceptual holes I worry about in existing approaches. I look forward to the work that comes out of this!!

I was reminded of a couple different resources you may or may not already be aware of.

For 'vertical' game theory, check out Jules' Hedges work on open/compositional games. https://arxiv.org/search/cs?searchtype=author&query=Hedges%2C+J

For aggregative alignment, there's an interesting literature on the topology of social c... (read more)

On Stateless Societies

I suspect you'd enjoy The Dawn Of Everything, an anarchist-tinged anthropological survey of the different nonlinear paths stateless societies and state formation have taken. Or, well, it discusses a wide range of related topics, with lots of creativity and decent enough rigor. I haven't finished yet.

I do agree that states can be seen as a game-theoretic trap, though. Once you have some centralized social violence or institutional monopoly on power, for a huge range of goals the easiest way to achieve them becomes "get the state/king/local bigwig on your si... (read more)

2Martin Sustrik7mo
I believe the book is rather fresh, haven't read it yet. But reading Graeber was always fun and thought-provoking, I've even exchanged few emails with him back when it was still possible. On the rigor side though I am not that convinced :)
Working With Monsters

The claim that scissor statements are dangerous is itself a scissor statement: I think it's obviously false, and will fight you over it. Social interaction is not that brittle. It is important to notice the key ruptures between people's values/beliefs. Disagreements do matter, in ways that sometimes rightly prevent cooperation.

World population is ~2^33, so 33 independent scissor statements would set you frothing in total war of everyone against everyone. Except people are able to fluidly navigate much, much higher levels of difference and complexity than t... (read more)

7johnswentworth1y
I agree with this. The intended message is not that cooperation is always the right choice, but that monstrous morals alone should not be enough to rule out cooperation. Fighting is still sometimes the best choice.
Taking money seriously

I expect you already know this, but, the role of activists is not the same as the role of experts, and that's okay. You will never know everything relevant to the situation you're hoping to intervene in. Even if you did, institutions ignore their own environmental experts all the time. Usually, you aren't there as some sort of policy consultant, you're there to pressure their interests into alignment with yours. Even if you have zero clue what other constraints they are balancing, it can still be reasonable to loudly voice your problems; you are yourself o... (read more)

3dominicq2y
I totally agree with "activists are one of the constraints". And while getting more knowledge can give you greater legitimacy, there's also significant opportunity cost here. Like, in certain eco-activism circles, you have to specialize. You need to learn skills, and the specialization is even more granular than someone from the outside might expect. Example: there's a lot of training involved in preparing and releasing banners, or in organizing peaceful demonstrations. You simply don't have time to learn about the subject matter in depth, because you have to practice your knots, or social engineer your way onto a roof. Doubly so if you have work and family to balance alongside! I could maybe write about this as well. Anyway, great observation and analysis, thanks!