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Comment author: Flinter 17 January 2017 05:13:37PM 0 points [-]

Yes it is isn't it. It is also widely criticized. What Nash explains is that Keynesianism is simply an advance opaque form of bolshevik communism. It's an excuse to sell the public bad money under the label "good" money". Nash explains that we can view it as it has a missing axiom:

I think there is a good analogy to mathematical theories like, for example, “class field theory”. In mathematics a set of axioms can be taken as a foundation and then an area for theoretical study is brought into being. For example, if one set of axioms is specified and accepted we have the theory of rings while if another set of axioms is the foundation we have the theory of Moufang loops.

So, from a critical point of view, the theory of macro-economics of the Keynesians is like the theory of plane geometry without the axiom of Euclid that was classically called the “parallel postulate”. (It is an interesting fact in the history of science that there was a time, before the nineteenth century, when mathematicians were speculating that this axiom or postulate was not necessary, that it should be derivable from the others.

So I feel that the macroeconomics of the Keynesians is comparable to a scientific study of a mathematical area which is carried out with an insufficient set of axioms. And the result is analogous to the situation in plane geometry, the plane does not need to be really flat and the area within a circle can expand hyperbolically as a function of the radius rather than merely with the square of the radius. (This picture suggests the pattern of inflation that can result in a country, over extended time periods, when there is continually a certain amount of gradual inflation.)

The axiom is effectively that our currency system should be arranged for a different result:

The missing axiom is simply an accepted axiom that the money being put into circulation by the central authorities should be so handled as to maintain, over long terms of time, a stable value.

People (these days) are trying to postulate and theorize about how we can idealize our money, or in other words, how can we design the perfect money. Nash (and Hayek) points out that perfect money is FREE from such design, and so its actually an logical absurd pursuit.

This is what Keynesians are doing with the argument "There is no better way but clear and admitted sanity".

Nash proposes a money: " …intrinsically free of “inflationary decadence”..a true “gold standard”, but the proposed basis for that was not the proposal of a linkage to gold"

But it is not by design per se.

He says everyone is Keynesians even post-Keynesians, can we understand that?

Also James Miller. I got in trouble from the community for saying that its silly that a game theory professor could never have heard of 20 years of Nash's works, especially his lifes passion, that is wholly and perfectly related to game theory. Do you think thats wrong of me to suggest?

Comment author: korin43 17 January 2017 07:19:08PM 0 points [-]

Maybe I've missed something, but why should we all agree that stability of value is a the most important feature of money? I could imagine a number of different views (for example, deflationary money is useful if you want to incentivize savings, and inflationary money is useful to incentivize spending).

Comment author: Flinter 17 January 2017 04:44:24PM 0 points [-]

You figure that is the extent of John Nash's argument he spent 20 years defining for us? And you just defeat it in a sentence:

But don't we already have a global currency market?

Do you know who John Nash is? He is the guy that it took 40 years for us to recognize the significance of his works. Do you think maybe the significance has simply gone over your head?

Comment author: korin43 17 January 2017 07:12:34PM 2 points [-]

Yes, I think the significance has gone over my head. That's why I asked the question rather than making an assertion.

Comment author: Flinter 17 January 2017 04:02:38AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: korin43 17 January 2017 04:00:34PM 1 point [-]

The argument here seems to be that if currencies were freely tradable on a market, they would all converge to an optimal currency. But don't we already have a global currency market?

Comment author: gwern 05 January 2017 09:23:24PM 8 points [-]

Isn't this just the St Petersburg paradox?

Comment author: korin43 05 January 2017 09:32:48PM *  3 points [-]

The Wikipedia page has a discussion of solutions. The simplest one seems to be "this paradox relies on having infinite time and playing against a casino with infinite money". If you assume the casino "only" has more money than anyone in the world, the expected value is not that impressive.

See also the Martingale betting system), which relies on the gambler having infinite money.

Comment author: niceguyanon 04 January 2017 06:21:25PM 3 points [-]

They have confirmed it is AlphaGo.

Comment author: korin43 04 January 2017 06:55:37PM 2 points [-]


Comment author: paulfchristiano 31 December 2016 05:25:59PM *  6 points [-]

I agree that GiveWell does high-quality research and identifies effective giving opportunities, and that donors can do reasonably well by deferring to their recommendations. I think it is not at all crazy to suspect that you can do better, and I do not personally give to GiveWell recommended charities. Note for example that Holden also does not donate exclusively to GiveWell charities, and indeed is generally supportive of using either lotteries or delegation to trusted individuals.

  1. GiveWell does not purport to solve the general problem of "where should EA's give money." They purport to evaluate one kind of intervention: "programs that have been studied rigorously and ideally repeatedly, and whose benefits we can reasonably expect to generalize to large populations, though there are limits to the generalizability of any study results. The set of programs fitting this description is relatively limited, and mostly found in the category of health interventions" (here)

  2. The situation isn't "you think for X hours, and the more hours you think the better the opportunities you can find, which you can then spend arbitrarily large amounts of money on." You need to do thinking in order to identify opportunities to do good, which can accept a certain amount of money. In order to have identify a better donation opportunity than GiveWell, one does not have to do more work than GiveWell / delegate to someone who has done more work.

  3. By thinking longer, you could identify a different delegation strategy, rather than finding an object level recommendation. You aren't improving on GiveWell's research, just on your current view that GiveWell is the right person to defer to. There are many people who have spent much longer than you thinking about where to give, and at a minimum you are picking one of them. Having large piles of money and being thoughtful about where to give it is the kind of situation that (for example) makes it possible for GiveWell to get started, and it seems somewhat perverse to celebrate GiveWell while placing no value on the conditions that allow it to come to exist.

  4. In a normal world, the easiest recommendations to notice/verify/follow would receive the most attention, and so all else equal you might get higher returns by looking for recommendations that are harder.

  5. If you think GiveWell recommended charities are the best intervention, then you should be pretty much risk neutral over the scale of $100k or even $1M. So the cost is relatively low (perhaps mostly my 0.5% haircut) and you would have to be pretty confident in your view (despite the fact that many thoughtful people disagree) in order to make it worthless.

  6. The point of lotteries is not to have fun or prove that we are clever, it is to use money well.

Comment author: korin43 02 January 2017 01:00:14AM *  2 points [-]

I think my answer to all of this is: that sounds great but wouldn't it be better if it wasn't random?

If you have the skills and interest to do charity evaluation, why wait to win the lottery when you could join or start a charity evaluator? If you need money, running a fundraiser seems better than hoping to win the lottery.

If you think you're likely to find a better meta charity than GiveWell, it seems better to just do that research now and write a blog post to make other people aware your results, rather than the more convoluted method of writing blog posts to convince people to join a lottery and then hoping to win.

And if you aren't very interested in charity research, why join a donor lottery that picks the decider at random when you could join one where it's always the most competent member (100% of the time, GiveWell gets to decide how to allocate the donation)?

Comment author: Benquo 31 December 2016 05:42:49AM *  3 points [-]

I was reluctant to reply to this because it seemed like a comment on the general concept of donor lotteries, but not a comment on the actual post, which specifically responds to several points made in this comment. But one of my housemates mentioned that they felt the need to reply - so hopefully if I write this people will at least see that the main claims here have been addressed, and not spend their own time on this.

This is a pretty bold claim:

Keep in mind that much of the low-hanging analysis from a bog-standard EA's perspective has already been performed by GiveWell, and you can't really expect to meaningfully improve on their estimates.

It's only relevant if you're so confident in it that you don't feel the need to do any double-checking - that the right amount of research to do is zero or nearly zero. I find it pretty implausible that a strategy that involves negligible research time manages to avoid simply having money extracted from it by whoever's best at marketing. If GiveWell donors largely aren't checking whether GiveWell's recommendations are reasonable, this is good reason to suspect that GiveWell's donors aren't buying what they mean to buy.

Once you're spending even a modest amount of time doing research, something like a donor lottery should be appealing for small amounts. As I wrote in the post, the lottery can be net-positive even with no additional research because you simply save whatever time you'd have spent on research, if you don't win the lottery. For more on this, you might try reading the section titled "Diminishing marginal costs".

The objection of value misalignment with other donors ("might donate it to the KKK") should already be priced in if you're not trying to double-count impact. The point of a donor lottery is to buy variance, if you think there are returns to scale for your giving. Coordinating between multiple donors just saves on transaction costs. For more on this, you might try reading the section titled "Lotteries, double-counting, and shared values".

If you don't care about the impact of your charitable giving, such that research that improves its impact doesn't seem to further your interests ("a bunch of research that has low value to me to make a decision"), then I'm pretty confused about why you think you're anything like the target market for this.

Comment author: korin43 31 December 2016 02:24:57PM *  3 points [-]

I'm not OP, but I have similar feelings about GiveWell. They have 19 full-time employees (at least 8 which are researchers). I am one person with a full-time non-research non-charity job. Assume I spend 40 hours on this if I win (around a month of free time). Running the numbers, I expect GiveWell to be able to spend at least 400x more time on this, and I expect their work to be far more productive because they wouldn't be running themselves ragged with (effectively) two jobs, and the average GiveWell researcher already has more than a year of experience doing this and the connections that it comes with.

Regarding the target audience, I feel like the kinds of people who would enjoy doing this should either apply for a job at GiveWell, or start a new charity evaluator. If you think you can do better than they can, why rely a lottery victory to prove it?

Comment author: korin43 31 December 2016 01:06:52PM 0 points [-]

"It's an internal disagreement, (CFAR calls it a double crux.) and it has a solution."

I thought double crux was a technique to resolve disagreements by finding pieces of evidence that you disagree on.

Comment author: korin43 21 December 2016 02:24:51PM 2 points [-]

How do you show the AI the difference between "cheating" and "figuring out the solution we wouldn't think of"?

Comment author: korin43 07 December 2016 06:55:12PM *  2 points [-]

I've been trying to put into words why this article is so strange, and I think I figured it out. Peter Singer is making a logical argument, but the author is arguing that making Singer's argument is immoral. Neither of them realize that the author is arguing one meta-level up, so they're just talking past each-other.

I think the author's argument is basically that Singer is making a lot of assumptions that don't apply in the real world, and if people accept the argument, they are likely to mistakenly believe that it applies to the real world. For example, politicians are unlikely to understand the difference between "in a perfect world, disabled people should be able to get assistance killing themselves" and "it should be legal to assist disabled people in killing themselves". At first I was annoyed by the author not understanding logic (like how they brag about making an emotional argument to philosophy students), but now I'm even more annoyed by philosophers not realizing that "in a perfect world" arguments can have bad real-world effects.

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