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Comment author: Lumifer 22 May 2017 06:32:54PM 0 points [-]

Perhaps a starting questions should be: If you want to set apart a community, exactly which parts of the normal world do you want to exclude?

Comment author: Lumifer 22 May 2017 02:19:45AM *  0 points [-]

we would want to prevent, if at all possible, these issues from becoming more mainstream

Let's start with capabilities. Do you (or, more generally, the LW crowd) have the capability to significantly affect the mainstream perception of AI and its risk? If not (and I think not) then you're off to fantasy land and the wanderings of your imagination are not relevant to reality.

Comment author: cousin_it 21 May 2017 08:54:48PM *  0 points [-]

Even if you're willing to work, some job offers are objectively pretty bad (let's say it's a five hour commute, the work is hazardous, and the salary isn't enough for your food and medicine). Do you think people should die if they refuse such offers and better ones aren't available? I'd prefer to legally define what constitutes a "reasonable" job for a given person, and allow anyone to walk into a government office and receive either a reasonable job offer or a welfare check. If the market is good at providing reasonable jobs, as some libertarians seem to think, then the policy is cheap because the government clerk can just call up Mr Market.

Comment author: Lumifer 21 May 2017 11:05:09PM *  0 points [-]

Since we've had periods of almost full employment, it seems like almost everyone agrees to work if the job offers are good enough.

You are confused. Full employment is not defined as "everyone works". Full employment is defined as "everyone who's looking for work can find it". People who are not looking for work are not counted as unemployed.

For example, at the moment the US unemployment rate is 4.7%. But the employment-population ratio is only a bit above 60%. So 40% of the US population between 15 and 64 does not work. But the unemployment rate is below 5%.

legally define what constitutes a "reasonable" job for a given person

That's called "minimum wage", isn't it?

If the market is good at providing reasonable jobs

Nope.

The market is good at creating value and allocating resources in such a way as to maximize value produced. A job is a cost. You should prefer a lot of value and few jobs. That's what high productivity of labour means.

Comment author: cousin_it 21 May 2017 08:57:17AM *  0 points [-]

This kind of "stuff gets cheaper, everyone benefits" advocacy is why I wrote that comment to begin with. The free market can't be always pushing down the price of all goods (measured in other goods), that's a logical impossibility. There's no magic force acting on one conveniently chosen side of each transaction. Why isn't the same force pushing down the price of labor then, making labor cheap in terms of bread, instead of making bread cheap in terms of labor? Oh wait, maybe it is. Maybe all these forces are acting at once and going into weird feedback loops and there's no reason why the end result would be moral in any way. That's my point.

Comment author: Lumifer 21 May 2017 10:57:27PM 2 points [-]

The free market can't be always pushing down the price of all goods

You are looking at the wrong thing. Specifically, you're looking at exchange ratios ("prices") when you should be looking at how much value gets produced and how much human input/labour does that value need (aka "the productivity of labour").

Maybe all these forces are acting at once and going into weird feedback loops

Let me try again, in all caps. REALITY CHECK.

there's no reason why the end result would be moral in any way

That entirely depends on your morality.

Comment author: Vaniver 19 May 2017 09:16:59PM 0 points [-]

I also don't know about "everyone".

This is a component of the information conveyed by prices, which everyone is sensitive to.

Wealth distributions in societies tend to be power-law distributions and income is basically the first derivative of wealth.

Only for the rentier class. A fit of real-world income distributions to a combination of the Boltzmann-Gibbs for the bulk and then a power law for the top seems to perform better, because it separates the two classes.

Comment author: Lumifer 20 May 2017 02:53:42AM *  0 points [-]

This is a component of the information conveyed by prices, which everyone is sensitive to.

A price is a scalar, there isn't much information it can convey -- in simplified economics like what we are discussing, it just tells you where the intersection of the demand and the supply curves is. Even if you are a producer and can manipulate the prices to observe the shifts in demand, all you can find out is the approximate shape of the demand curve. There is no information about the total wealth of your customers in the price for common goods.

A fit of real-world income distributions to a combination of the Boltzmann-Gibbs for the bulk and then a power law for the top

An interesting paper, though it seems to suffer from a serious confusion between the map and the territory. I also wish it would show the fit of the distributions to the data and the errors. As it is, we have to peer at not-too-detailed graphs and I don't know if they are as convincing as the paper makes them out to be. In particular, to my eye the switching point between the two distributions in Fig. 2 isn't necessarily where the paper says it is.

Comment author: Viliam 19 May 2017 03:20:41PM 1 point [-]

It also happens when you have stuff to sell, but the folks who would normally buy it from you can't pay you enough to survive today, because they don't have anything to sell,

It seems unlikely that you would have a skillset which allows you to produce valuable stuff only for poor people, but you wouldn't be able to produce valuable stuff for anyone else.

Okay, thinking hard, I can make up some situations like that, for example that you are a skiled translator into some kind of indigenous language, where all speakers of the language are too poor to actually pay you for the translations (even if they would like reading them a lot). Or that your services are limited to your local area, e.g. you can provide accommodation for people, but there are only poor people living in that area, and zero tourists.

and the problem can start randomly and build on itself

Something like... million people living on an island, where most of them can provide some valuable service to their neighbors (but not to anyone outside the island), but some critical skill is missing on the whole island... like, all of them are genius teachers or movie producers, but none of them can grow food... so they are all going to starve, despite being so skilled that an average inhabitant of the island would be a rich person if they would be teleported into our society?

In short term, this certainly can happen, especially if the situation can change overnight. Like, yesterday, there were hundred specialized food producers, but by miracle, all of them were killed by a lightning during the night. To make it sound more likely, all of them were at the same place (the annual food-producer conference), and something exploded there and killed them all.

But... I don't see how any other economical system would deal with the fact that, no matter how you distribute the money, there is not going to be any food in the island anyway. With free market, at least now all professors and movie producers see the opportunity to become millionaires overnight if they succeed to reinvent e.g. the lost art of picking fruit. Even if they would be great movie producers, but quite lousy fruit pickers.

(Actually, such situation would be made worse by an unfree market, for example if the government of the island would insist that the wannabe professor-becoming-fruit-picker is legally not allowed to pick fruit because he doesn't have a diploma from Fruit Picking University; and any attempt to illegally do the job he is not qualified for would get him arrested.)

Now, let's assume that the island actually is okay, able to grow its own food, etc. It's just that the money flow happens to be hopelessly unidirectional. No one outside the island wants to buy anything from the island. (Let's suppose they are not interested in your stuff, and you can't gain customers even for trying to sell really cheaply, because the costs of ship fuel will still make everything more expensive than anyone is willing to pay for.) On the other hand, people on the island sometimes buy something from the outside, e.g. because they cannot produce their own iPhones. Thus, money only ever goes out of the island, but never in. The island is constantly losing its global PageRank, ahem, money reserve. What happens now?

If I understand it correctly, the standard market outcome will be that -- assuming the island uses its own currency -- the exchange rate will gradually approach "1 out-of-island currency = infinity island currency". The people on the island will stop being able to buy stuff from outside, because it will become astronomically expensive for them.

Yet, within the island, people will be able to sell to each other, because both sides will pay using island currency. And there will be things to sell, for example the locally grown food. No one will be able to buy iPhones anymore, and that sucks, but the island will still be not worse than if the rest of the world would simply stop existing.

And if someone comes from the outside, and uses their infinitely valuable out-of-island money to buy the local food, then the assumption of unidirectional flow of money is no longer true; we now have money flow in both directions.

Etc, economics 101.

However, one possible solution for "people who have nothing to sell" is generally known as Basic Income. Not universally accepted, of course, but it is a way to make sure everyone can buy stuff, at the cost of doing relatively small damage to the economy. By relatively small I mean, of course entrepreneurs will complain about higher tax rate, but as far as I know, they usually complain much more about regulation, bureaucracy, or unpredictability; and Basic Income doesn't create a lot of these compared with the usual government interventions.

Essentially, Basic Income + market profit seems like a plausible approximation of our model of terminal + instrumental value, when we assign approximately the same terminal value to each human (expressed as Basic Income), and more instrumental value to people doing useful stuff to others (express as the market profit).

Comment author: Lumifer 19 May 2017 04:09:45PM *  0 points [-]

one possible solution for "people who have nothing to sell" is generally known as Basic Income

A solution for "people who have nothing to sell" is generally known as welfare. It exists in all the developed world and consumes large fractions of government budgets.

Basic income is more of a solution for people who are capable of, but don't want to make something to sell.

Comment author: Thomas 19 May 2017 07:04:38AM 6 points [-]

This is not a good argumentation, at all. "It use to be fine, until I was offended by that".

It was never really fine. At first, the politics were pretty much prohibited as a "mindkiller", this was the rule of the game here. Then the standard PC views became accepted, as a kind of a default. Then some reactionaries put their views on a display and shortly after went away.

Now, the unspoken norm is to not go too far away from the PC platform, again?

Comment author: Lumifer 19 May 2017 03:40:32PM 1 point [-]

Now, the unspoken norm is to not go too far away from the PC platform, again?

No.

I'm quite far from the PC platform and I don't have any issues (that penetrate through my very thick skin, anyway :-D).

Comment author: Error 19 May 2017 12:45:27AM 0 points [-]

I'm searching for a quote. It goes something like this:

"In nearly every contest there comes a point where one competitor has decided that they are going to lose. Sometimes it's near the end; sometimes it's right at the start. After that point, everything they do will be aimed at bringing that result to pass."

And then continues in that vein for a bit. I don't have the wording close enough to correct for Google to get me what I'm looking for, though. And I could swear I've seen it quoted here before. Does someone else remember the source?

Comment author: Lumifer 19 May 2017 03:06:22AM 4 points [-]

This?

Except in a very few matches, usually with world-class performers, there is a point in every match (and in some cases it's right at the beginning) when the loser decides he's going to lose. And after that, everything he does will be aimed at providing an explanation of why he will have lost. He may throw himself at the ball (so he will be able to say he's done his best against a superior opponent). He may dispute calls (so he will be able to say he's been robbed). He may swear at himself and throw his racket (so he can say it was apparent all along he wasn't in top form). His energies go not into winning but into producing an explanation, an excuse, a justification for losing.

C. TERRY WARNER, Bonds That Make Us Free

Comment author: cousin_it 18 May 2017 05:07:01PM 0 points [-]

Across all time.

Comment author: Lumifer 18 May 2017 05:14:46PM 0 points [-]

What does that mean?

Comment author: cousin_it 18 May 2017 03:58:00PM *  0 points [-]

For me morality is mostly about maximizing average or total utility, not giving value to providers of value recursively.

Comment author: Lumifer 18 May 2017 04:13:22PM 0 points [-]

Maximizing in the short term or in the long term?

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