F

Friso

22 karmaJoined

Posts
1

Sorted by New

Comments
4

Thank you so much for your comment! I think this is roughly the view I held before writing this post, although you did it better than I could have.

There are two issues that come to mind.

  1. Is it not also the case that these social democracies and their welfare states benefit from, and perhaps even rely on for their high standard of living, the suffering of others? Whether that's suffering of others in the past (colonialism), present (think horrendous labor standards at the bottom of Western supply chains), or future (extractivism/general profit over planet markets often effectively take welfare from the future's poor and give it to the present's rich). Finland would be much poorer if it were not part of a larger global market in which a lot of the existing wealth was accrued via oppression. Bottom line: if it is the case that social democracies with high standards of living can exist only by distributing fairly among its citizens wealth which was partly created unfairly (even if not directly by the Finns but by someone else and then paid for by Finns, e.g. cobalt mining in Congo), then it's not clear to me that a world in which every country becomes like Finland is just. And perhaps it is not even possible, in that the extraction of resources necessary to give the entire world a standard of living similar to that of European social democracies may well be unsustainable (e.g. it seems very unlikely 88% of the world could own an electric car as is the case in Norway).
  2. If we retroactively apply the idea that radically different system would have to exist and be superior according to your value system, we seemingly miss out on most of the world's great cases of moral progress. Athenian democracy, the abolishment of slavery, the introduction of voting rights for women, perhaps most cases of great moral progress came at the expense of a status quo for which much more evidence was available. Could you not make the case that a similar move would be necessary to end what we might call global apartheid? 

I don't feel like you are taking my question head-on.

I'm asking you to envision something that could convince you about systems other than capitalism. Just saying successful experiments and well-based arguments feels like you are evading my question a little. Especially because it is not clear how such an experiment could succeed (as in, what result are you're looking for?), or what kind of arguments would be convincing. What if a more just world would require that we end the state of global inequality, and that simply requires lowering the standard of living in much of the Global North? Or if justice requires that we end the extraction of much of the planet's resources? I assume an experiment that tells you some people might need to become much worse off for justice to occur will not convince you. 

I also don't understand why that would mostly mean Chicago school. To change your mind on capitalism, you need a specific school to change their mind first? And not some school, but one that was 1) explicitly set up to defend laissez-faire capitalism, 2) largely relies on simplifying assumptions we simply know to be false (rational choice, perfect markets, etc.), 3) is incredibly controversial even for many mainstream economists (e.g. even Paul Krugman called it "the product of a Dark Age of macroeconomics in which hard-won knowledge has been forgotten") and for environmentalists especially?

I was mostly thinking of high quality empirical work (RCTs and the like) and fields that study/mostly operate within the status quo (orthodox economics, psychology).

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely acknowledge that EAs engage in abstract philosophical discussions, but aren’t these generally on how the status quo might become much worse (AI, XR) rather than how the status quo could be changed to make things better?

It might very well be true that even the status quo is so incredibly tough to study that it will take most of our efforts. But that seems like quite a biased way to study truth, no?