Brazilian legal philosopher, financial supervisor, and GWWC Pledger

Topic Contributions


Potatoes: A Critical Review

I wonder if there's anything similar for  the Great Famine of 1876 (I don't think so; it looks like it didn't affect the global North very much, and governments remained stable).

Potatoes: A Critical Review

This is wonderful the way it is, but perhaps it could be developed into an amazing top post. Allfed would like it.
Suggestion of a catchy title: "Blame the Springtime of Nations on the Incas"

Potatoes: A Critical Review

Take that, people who say "muzak and potatoes" as if it was a bad thing.

Ramiro's Shortform

Might"A Beacon in the Galaxy" be our new "Three-body problem" (by Cixin Liu)

This paper proposes to transmit an "updated Arecibo-like" message to a star cluster near the galaxy’s center, a  "selected region of the Milky Way which has been proposed as the most likely for life to have developed". 
Caleb Schwarf summarizes the issue here.  Even if we set aside the possibility of conflict, maybe discussions on Space Governance should include how we might communicate with other types of intelligent life, like "at least don't mention that we kill animals".

What We Owe the Past

Thanks for the post. Following along with the other comments, I think this community sometimes overemphasizes the utilitarian case for longtermism (that, even if sound, may be unpersuasive for non-utilitarians), and often neglects the possibility of basing it on a theory of intergenerational cooperation / justice (something that, in my opinion, is underdeveloped among contractualist political philosophers). That's why I think this discussion is quite relevant, and I commend you for bringing it up.
I agree with Justin's comment that acausal trade might be a good way  to frame the relationship between agents through different time slices... but you need something even weaker than that - instead of framing it as a cooperation between two agents, think about a chain of cooperation and add backward induction: if 27!Austin finds out he'll not comply with 17!Austin commitments, he'll have strong evidence that 37!Austin won't comply with his commitments, too - which threatens plans lasting more than a decade. And this is not such a weird reasoning: individuals often ponder if they will follow their own plans (or if they will change their minds, or be driven away by temptation...), and some financial structures depend on analogous "continuing commitments" (think about long-term debt and pension funds).

(actually, I suspect acausal trade might have stronger implications than what most people here would feel comfortable with... because it may take you to something very close to a universalization principle akin to a Kantian categorical imperative - but hey, Parfit has already convinced me we're all "climbing the same mountain")

Virtue signaling is sometimes the best or the only metric we have

From a rationalist point of view, the truth is the most important thing, so virtue signaling is bad because it's (suspected to be) dishonest

It's a good way of framing it (if by "rationalist" you mean something like the avg member of LW). I think the problem in this description is that we often emphasize so much the need of being aware of one's own biases that we picture ourselves as "lonely reasoners" - neglecting, e.g., the frequent necessity  to communicate one is something like a reliable cooperator. 

Virtue signaling is sometimes the best or the only metric we have

Thanks for the post. However, I find it weird that this actually has to be written down and be made explicit.

(or perhaps I spent too much time thinking about credit scoring)

Against immortality?

Thanks for pointing out this small elephant in the room. I think that, even if we could solve problems like the "ossification of values" (idk, maybe psychodelics, or some special therapy) or the possibility of immortal tyrants, the underlying problem is that some types of power (like wealth) accumulate with time... as usual, I think SMBC summarizes it in just one panel: https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/social-longevity

In "Three worlds collide", the rationalist character makes it clear for the captain of the ship that the latter has to make the important decisions, because it's not up to the elders, but to the young, to command. I don't think this necessarily applies to our current societies, but I can see why it makes sense in contexts with extreme longevity. Unfortunately, it looks like we think it might be easier to solve senescence than intergenerational cooperation.

Ramiro's Shortform

Is inequality neglected in EA?

I am inclined to answer "no," because I've seen the subject pop in some discussions on economics in this Forum... on the other hand, I've also seen some EAs disregard matters of economic distribution as secondary - if not an obstacle to economic progress. I remember seeing this subject figure in some critiques to the movement or mentioned en passant when the subject is billionaires' philanthropy. Anyway, I'd like to document and share here some of my impressions resulting from a 30min search on the subject.

My attention was recently drawn to the matter thanks to this survey showing a consensus in IGF Forum (from *before* the pandemic – though the results were just released this week) that inequality of income and wealth is a danger to capitalism and to democracy. It fits CORE's survey among students on "what is the most pressing problem economists should address". Though it is evidence of the importance of the matter, it also suggests that it's not neglected.

CORE - the most pressing problems for economists, according to its students

Of course, inequality is particularly relevant to studying and fighting poverty - as shown in this post from GWWC' Hazell and Holmes. However, the subject probably impacts the trajectory of our societies, as this kind of neglected GPI working paper / forum post argues that “we have instrumental reason to reduce economic inequality based on its intertemporal effects in the short, medium and the very long term” […] “because greater inequality could increase existential risk".

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