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Joe comments on Dunbar's Function - Less Wrong

27 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 31 December 2008 02:26AM

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Comment author: Joe 31 December 2008 03:44:22AM 1 point [-]

TGGP: with respect to migration, I always thought the idea was to immigrate to a land of "opportunity" -- that is, the attraction is that if you move to America (or wherever) you'll have more social AND economic mobility. I know immigrants (to my own country, Canada) who actually were quite despondent for a while after arriving here because, while their nominal income increased their relative social position took a serious dive (to stereotype, think of an Indian doctor working here as a code monkey).

It seems to me the phenomena Eliezer is describing are well illustrated by (my own experience in) academia. On the one hand people overspecialize to find a sufficiently small pond that they can be the big fish. On the other, the superstars I know best are extraordinarily competitive/driven and tend to think of the whole world as consisting of other high-achieving academics and assorted debris, thus reducing the "world" literally to a few hundred monkeyspheres in size.