4Joined Aug 2017


Co-Creation of the Library of Effective Altruism [Information Design] (1/2)

I would much recommend Thomas Schelling’s book: The Strategy of Conflict. This nobel-prize winning economist describes game theory around nuclear deterrence. “Original, and providing a way forward, but unfortunately not yet developed further,” says Daniel Ellsberg, in e.g. 80.000 interview, author of the here-included Doomsday Machine. Next to this topic, this book makes an excellent introduction into relevant and cutting edge game theory, with relevance in (the improvement of) all of our interactions.

Co-Creation of the Library of Effective Altruism [Information Design] (1/2)

Great initiative!! I hope it gains traction. As for the selection of books, I miss and would like to see more books on evolutionary thought, which can e.g. teach us about human nature, the nature of the natural world as well as teach us something on the design of systems. For example, this can yield evolutionary economics, wherein our actual human nature reveals a deep rationality distinct from traditional notions of rationality, and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can be replaced and updated. I just finished Douglas T. Kenrick’s book Sex, Murder and the Meaning of Life (subtitle: a psychologist investigates how evolution, cognition and complexity are revolutionizing our view of human nature) in which these two points are raised. Furthermore, epistemic rationality requires worldview consistency and thus scientific consilience, also necessitating evolutionary thinking, among the integration of other sciences. In general I would like to see more books on integrating perspectives, as for example illustrated in David Deutsch’ books.

Growth and the case against randomista development

I saw this post included in a discussion of the book Doughnut Economics, seemingly to argue in favor of GDP as a goal, and against, for example, Raworth's Doughnut (model from the just-mentioned book). I have the following two problems with GDP as a goal, and I think Raworth's Doughnut or a variation thereof is better. 1) The arguments used here in favor of GDP as a goal are statistical in nature, going for associations instead of understanding. This is dangerous, a point that Lawrence Krauss likes to make often, and David Deutsch makes in Fabric of Reality, or at 15 minutes into his TED Talk on the same topic: For example, an increase in oil spills and/or child labor is/are also positively correlated with a growth in GDP, but are presumably not positive. 2) To echo an argument Sam Harris makes on religious texts: even if they do good, they can likely be better, and then to prevent editing, prevents improvements and opportunities to mitigate harm. In conclusion, we need to go beyond statistics, towards understanding, GDP. And then (by analogy with the second problem with GDP as a goal / argument against GDP as a goal) we need to gradually improve this measure and our goal, for example taking inspiration from the Doughnut model from Doughnut economics, but at a minimum by for example not positively valuing oil spills.