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Your example only works if both majority and subgroup are otherwise equal (i.e. subgroup does same quality/amount of work for the same wage). In real life conflicts of this type, the subgroup will generally work for lower wages, thus lowering average wage and reducing income of the majority.

I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Most often two of these qualities come together. The officers who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Those who are stupid and lazy make up around 90% of every army in the world, and they can be used for routine work. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!

Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord

"Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed."

C. S. Lewis "The Magician's Nephew"

Alternatively, after sobering up, Mimi might decide that experiencing heroine high makes her life so much more fulfilling, that the much shortened life expectancy of a heroine addict doesn't seems to be a fair price to pay for it.

As usual it is all up to personal definition of utility.

The reason irrationality "wins" for the "many people" you mention is that they re-define winning in hindsight when things don't work out.

Does it really matter if the definition of winning shifts, as long as you still experience the warm fuzzies? I think for some people it doesn't. Quoting Eliezer's OB post If satisfying your intuitions is more important to you than money, do whatever the heck you want. Drop the money over Niagara falls. Blow it all on expensive champagne. Set fire to your hair. Whatever. If the largest utility you care about is the utility of feeling good about your decision, then any decision that feels good is the right one.


It doesn't show correctly in either Google Docs or Open Office. Sadly, vote down.

I think I would agree partially with both of you. If I assume that there is no information at all .5 is a good choice. Once a bead of any color is pulled out, I can start making guesses on a potential number of beads in the jar from the relative volumes of the jar and the bead, so if I know that there is a finite number of potential colors, I might take a guess as to what the probability of any particular color distribution is. Once a red bead is pulled, I might adjust probability that Omega is not screwing with me etc.

I guess, this is what comes out of writing in a hurry. The way it came out, I am an arrogant ass, who only reads what others have to say to see if it relates to something he, himself wants to say. I found most articles on both OB and LW to be enlightening and some to be a major revelation. The way I view the world changed in a significant way in the past 6 months and in a large part this was due to reading OB/LW and trying to read up on philosophy, math, physics etc. to better understand what people on OB and LW are saying. The topics I am contemplating writing about are concept of "deserving" in relation to utilitarianism and everyday Prisoner's Dilemma type situations and how they differentiate from classical definition of PD.

Edited: and I can definitely manage better grammar

  • Handle: mitechka
  • Name: Dmitriy Kropivnitskiy
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Age: 35
  • Education: 2 years of college (major chemistry)
  • Occupation: Systems Administrator

About a year ago, I have found Eliezer''s article about cognitive biases and from there googled my way to OB. My interest in rationality lies primarily in learning to make better decisions and better understanding of "how the world works". So far I am mostly reading OB and LW trying to see if topics I would like to write about have already been covered or actually are worth writing about.

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