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kebko: " Much of investing is earning rents on uncertainty, so that if you're even slightly skilled at picking the right uncertainties, you can make huge returns."

The last year has demonstrated that it is not always trivial to differentiate between earning rent on uncertainty and running a variation on the martingale.

IMO, a fair amount of the profit in the highest flying risk arbitrage schemes is based on leveraging with the bankruptcy put.

If I am allowed to run martingales with an exposure of 5-10 times my actual capital, I will make me and everyone who invests with me some very high and consistent returns most of the time. But when the returns go bad, they go devastatingly bad. This is pretty much what happened in large segments of the financial markets over the last 20 years. 20% across the board drops in housing prices was the casino cutting us off before we could double down again.

Eliezer Y: The fact that it's taken over the comments is not as good as I hoped, but neither was the reaction as bad as I feared.

Heh, well, I will (perhaps?) make the reaction worse. It is interesting what people choose to use as an example of what would be "shocking" but possibly/arguably better. I will note that this choice (non-consensual sex) is guaranteed to make a lot of women uncomfortable to the point where they may, pretty justifiably, have difficulty responding in an unemotional, bayesian manner to it as a purely hypothetical premise. But I don't see your typical white male geek having quite the same problem, even if it is still shocking to us.

I'm pretty sure it would be possible to find a premise where it would work the opposite way (women would be shocked, but mostly capable of discussing the ramifications as rationally as humans tend to, while men would have a lot of difficulty holding even to that weak standard), but oddly, I've seen a few of these ventures on blogs (I don't mean to imply that this is the whole point of your story, which is very interesting, and I look forward to the next installments), yet I've never seen a guy come up with such a suggestion when the time comes to hypothetically discuss things that might shock people horribly. Just a thought.

I'm not saying that I think you should make it your business to be avowedly feminist, but it might be useful to observe the difference in reactions, and it's worth considering the ways in which your (and other reader's) gender influences their response to that part of this story. I see that no identified women have commented in this part of the discussion yet. Of course, there are few enough regular female identified commenters here that it could be random.