Yosarian T


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I do really like this essay. It's generally a good idea, and there are a lot of situations where I would find this idea useful.

One thing I want to dive into a little bit here is this:


Fine, to be wholly frank, I do tend to see the indignant reaction "How dare you price that in money!" as a sign that somebody was brought up generally economically illiterate. 

I do think there are things, especially in terms of social interactions and between friends, that really shouldn't have a price on them, because they're things that only make sense if they're already net-positive actions that make everyone happy without money being exchanged, and once you're paying someone you create uncertainty about that.  If I invite you to come to a party, I want you to come if you want to come and not come if you don't, I really wouldn't be interested if the only way for both of us to be cheerful about you coming to my party would happen if one of us gave money to the other for the privilege. There are ways around it (if I have a bunch of people over and they want to chip in for pizza or whatever I certainly wouldn't be offended), but for the most part I only want those kind of things to happen if everyone involved has a cheerful price of zero, otherwise it's not as much fun.

You can extend that to a lot of other minor favors in a friendships; many of them may be something that is most optimal if it's something that makes us both happy without money, and once one of us is paying the other for it, it can change the dynamic in a way that isn't great. I would never say "how dare you price that in money" because I would never find the suggestion offensive, but there are times when I do think involving money makes it less optimal than it could be.

That being said, I do really like your "cheerful price" idea, especially in cases where someone is doing something for me that they would otherwise expect to get paid for (like asking a friend who's a professional photographer if they want to take photos for an event I'm holding.)   

In an economy where the relative wealth of rich and poor people is constant, poor people and rich people both have consumption equal to their income.

Don't rich people tend to die with a significant portion of their lifetime income unspent, while poor people don't?

I think there's a wide range of scenarios where narrow ai make certain companies more profitable and replaces a lot of jobs and maybe changes society as much as the industrial revolution did, without tipping over into recursive self improvement of that type. Or at least not right away.

I agree with this, but a counterpoint is that it's very hard for people to change longstanding habits and behaviors at all, and sometimes a major internal update is a good moment to make significant behavior changes because that's the only time most people can manage major behavioral changes at all.

Yeah, this correct. Also, I think "I'm fine" generally literally true in the narrow sense, since it's literally true that, for example, I am not in urgent need of medical attention at this moment.

If I was literally bleeding to death and someone asked my how I was and I said "I'm fine", people would take that to be a falsehood in some sense. But if I'm physically healthy but emotionally upset, and someone asked me how I was and I said "fine", people don't consider that a lie, because it isn't one, in the narrowest sense; I am "fine" in one sense of the word.

Which is also why it so often becomes the default answer, because it's almost never a lie, in at least the very narrow "wizard's rule" sense.

This essay and sequence has really helped me put into words why I love the current school I teach at, even though it objectivly should be a mess in a lot of ways. (Students with a low socioeconomic status, high violence rate in the neighborhood, underfunded, physical school building that is literally falling apart, etc). Nonetheless it has a much better culture than most other schools I've taught at, in ways that both students and teachers are aware of, and it's a lot more effective at actually teaching students than even much more well-off schools.

-The principal and school culture strongly selects for people who don't have the kind of political behavior.

-Instead, this school heavily selects for hiring quirky people with unusual styles who have "soul in the game" (IE: who actually care about what they're doing and about their students and have a deep belief that it's important, people who would continue to teach even if there was no pressure to do so and if it was easier to not teach).

-Unusual or unique classroom management and teaching styles are strongly encouraged, so long as they appear to be successful. People who are both personally and professionally non-conformist in appearance, lifestyle, and dress are rewarded for it.

-While this isn't immune to Goodhart's Law (nothing is), this type of behaviors seems unusually hard and expensive to fake compared to actually being a quirky individual with their own philosophy of teaching and soul in the game, and tends to be mostly incompatible with most maze-like behavior.

-The school principal and administration fairly regularly makes a show of defying the irrational maze-behavior of higher levels of the school district bureaucracy in order to do what's right for the students, to such a degree that much of the staff is worried he's going to get himself fired and even tries to encourage him to play the game a little more so he doesn't. Nonetheless that attitude really sets the tone for the school.