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Comment author: Lumifer 21 December 2015 10:24:48PM 4 points [-]

If anyone is trying to tell you it’s not complicated, be very, very suspicious

-- Tyler Cowen

Comment author: VoiceOfRa 23 December 2015 03:08:10AM 3 points [-]

I'd be even more suspicious of someone telling me that it's not that simple.

Comment author: Lumifer 22 December 2015 10:28:14PM 2 points [-]

How much do you trust economic data released by the Chinese government?

Not much.

If you want to explore further, I recommend this, for example this post.

Comment author: VoiceOfRa 23 December 2015 03:04:43AM 8 points [-]

One interesting point, not expanded up on, is this:

One writer chalks this concern up to a bunch of “conspiracy theor(ies)”.

Balding dismisses this by citing Premier Li Keqiang, but I think this objection illustrates a deeper problem with the way the phrase "conspiracy theory" is used. It's frequently used to dismiss any suggestion that someone in authority is behaving badly regardless of whether an actual conspiracy would be required.

Let's look at what it would take for Chinese economic data to be bad. The data is gathered by the central government by delegating gathering the data to appropriate individual branches, by province, industry, etc. So what happens if someone at that level decides to fudge with the data for whatever reason (possibly to make his province and/or industry look better). The aggregate data will be wrong. And that's just one person on one level. In reality, of course, there are many levels in the hierarchy and many corrupt people in all of them.

In response to comment by [deleted] on Open thread, Dec. 21 - Dec. 27, 2015
Comment author: ChristianKl 21 December 2015 11:35:14AM 1 point [-]

Elon Musk cites first principle thinking in physics as a key to identifying neglected market opportunities. Can someone give me an example of how it may work in that application?

Recently moridinamael wrote about diswashers: As a pampered modern person, the worst part of my life is washing dishes. (Or, rinsing dishes and loading the dish washer.) How long before I can buy a robot to automate this for me?

If you reason from first principles then there's nothing stopping a device in which you input a pile of disher and that afterwards sorts them into the cupboard from existing. Especially with the recent advances in machine vision and google opensourcing Tensor flow.

Another nonautomated kitchen task is cutting vegetables. There no good reason why a robot shouldn't cut vegetables as well as humans.

Comment author: VoiceOfRa 23 December 2015 02:26:32AM 1 point [-]

Recently moridinamael wrote about diswashers: As a pampered modern person, the worst part of my life is washing dishes. (Or, rinsing dishes and loading the dish washer.) How long before I can buy a robot to automate this for me?

Imagine what it was like before the dishwasher.

Comment author: ChristianKl 15 December 2015 09:40:54PM *  0 points [-]

Money (AKA the free market economy) is a way of allocating resources efficiency. The alternative - a command economy - is where some central agent decides how resources should be allocated.

Command hierachies are only one alternative to markets. Tribes and networks are two other forms.

Wikipedia for example creates a lot of value with being structured as a network.

Comment author: VoiceOfRa 23 December 2015 01:47:36AM *  0 points [-]

Wikipedia for example creates a lot of value with being structured as a network.

Which fails completely when the subject is in any way political or controversial. And by fail completely, I mean produces articles which anti-correlate with reality.

Comment author: WhyAsk 18 December 2015 04:45:21PM 0 points [-]

So we are locked into a stable, nowhere-near-optimum equilibrium. :(

Comment author: VoiceOfRa 19 December 2015 02:23:57AM 0 points [-]

It's not stable. The problems I mentioned are getting worse.

Comment author: VoiceOfRa 17 December 2015 11:58:06PM -1 points [-]

Do you support or oppose the government suing tobacco companies to recover health care costs caused by tobacco use?

Do you support or oppose the government suing pro-immigration organizations to recover social service and law enforcement costs caused by the higher propensity of immigrants to commit crimes and be in need of social services?

Comment author: Lumifer 17 December 2015 03:34:56AM *  -1 points [-]

Informationally equivalent = plays a role in the flow of information within the system that is equivalent to the role of money in the flow of information within economy.

Merely writing a word in bold all caps does not grant it magical powers.

Surely it does -- it magically made you pay attention to it :-P

Comment author: VoiceOfRa 17 December 2015 07:46:23PM 2 points [-]

Informationally equivalent = plays a role in the flow of information within the system that is equivalent to the role of money in the flow of information within economy.

Ok, I don't see how that applied to the examples in question unless you expand the meaning of "equivalent" so broadly that it becomes meaningless.

Comment author: [deleted] 17 December 2015 07:15:31PM -2 points [-]

What is an example of 'legitimate abuse'?

In response to comment by [deleted] on Open thread, December 7-13, 2015
Comment author: VoiceOfRa 17 December 2015 07:43:27PM *  2 points [-]

This for example.

Comment author: mwengler 16 December 2015 04:17:44PM 2 points [-]

My vote for most valuable insight applying as much to natural fitness as to economic behavior it is this:

The most important part of the environment is the humans and what they are doing. If I and my merry band of 100 or 1000 or even 1000000 or even 1000000000 tribe members are contemplating how we should supply ourselves with food, shelter, weapons, entertainment, & c., we should first, foremost, and with great care look to use what is already developed, invented, and produced by the rest of the world. You were concerned about warlords having trouble extracting or refining oil, but you stumbled upon the reasonable assumption that obviously the Toyotas are going to come from Japan and don't need to be produced by the warlords.

Even in the US, about the single most effective source of new cool stuff yet to grace the surface of the earth, we drive Toyotas. And BMW, Mercedes, Fiat, Volvo, Hyundai etc. We get wine, cheese, movies, etc. from everywhere else. In some self-fulfilling sense, we import about as much as we export.

Could we go it alone? Sure. We'd probably be about 90% poorer. You can quibble over whether we'd only be 20% poorer or 95% poorer, but if you at all immerse yourself in a study of where stuff comes from, the expense of inventing vs copying, the benefits of mass production and massive specialization, you will absolutely unavoidably get the sign of the effect right.

Comment author: VoiceOfRa 17 December 2015 02:50:05AM 2 points [-]

My point is that in the "whole world adopts anarchy" scenario the warlords wouldn't be able to use trucks. Heck, without the NGOs' money they probably wouldn't be able to use trucks.

Comment author: Lumifer 16 December 2015 03:46:49PM -1 points [-]

You're not paying attention. Let me try again: INFORMATIONALLY equivalent. Do you understand what the INFORMATIONAL role of money is?

Besides, "resource" and "currency" are not mutually exclusive. Until relatively recently currency (e.g. gold coins) had intrinsic value and so was a "resource".

Comment author: VoiceOfRa 17 December 2015 02:47:05AM *  2 points [-]

Could you define what you mean by "informationally equivalent"? Merely writing a word in bold all caps does not grant it magical powers.

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