All of Tiago Santos's Comments + Replies

The Bioethicists are (Mostly) Alright

That makes sense, and I agree they are not totally without blame. But I think their role in building the flawed system (the vetocracy, the fear of litigation) is very limited, as is their capacity to unilaterally change those problems which affect societies in general.

The Bioethicists are (Mostly) Alright

"so pleading that the institutional dynamics are the real problem just means blaming immoral mazes rather than the participants who are building and reinforcing them, instead of fighting it."

I don't follow. We should blame the participants even though we realize the institutions cause the flawed behavior? I don't think this has a good track record. Seems like an argument similar to blaming corporate greed for rising prices.

My suggestion is we invest more in the optimal design of collective decision making institutions.

If the participants as a class first built and still reinforce the flawed system, yes, we assign a small part of the blame for the system on them.
The effective altruist case for parliamentarism

Thanks. Yes, you are right that there are some differences like you said, and they can have some importance my point should have been more nuanced. To paraphrase/quote from memory author Huey Li (who wrote a great book related to this theme, "Dividing the Rulers"), constitutions can affect cultures in years, cultures will affect constitutions in centuries.

Also, I'm not sure I would attach that much weight to that story for a general sense of how unsatisfied the Romanians are with the level of corruption in their country. And with respect to property rights... (read more)

The effective altruist case for parliamentarism

In addition to Magnus' points, I don't think the cultural argument does it. It is much less well specified. Some people take issue that I define parliamentarism in the book as "executive subordination to the legislature" as too vague (I think it is clear enough, naturally). But if that is risking being too vague, culture is far more. In a sense,  culture has globalized dramatically around the world - language, art, form of dress, food, family size, etc. You will probably argue that those are not the aspects that matter, but then shouldn't it be the cl... (read more)

3G Gordon Worley III8mo
Thanks for your reply. Helps make a case that parliaments do something above and beyond the culture/tradition in which they are situated. That said, I do want to respond to one thing you said: Up until 2 days ago I likely would have shared this sentiment, but I was talking with someone who grew up in Romania and as he put it some of these are not so obvious. For example, although corruption was rampant, no one thought of it that way. Instead it was framed as a gifting custom and seen as normal to provide gifts to those providing services to you (doctors, teachers, government officials, etc.) because you want to show your respect and ensure good service. No one thought of this as bribery, so it seemed like they were already low corruption. And it's easy to imagine folks balking at the idea that it is corruption; how dare, they might say, you come in and disturb our local gift giving tradition! That makes it quite easy for me to imagine similar stories for things like trust, property rights, etc.: a local equilibrium can become justified and then no one will think a thing is undesirable, or even necessarily realize that something undesirable is going on (in fact, locally it seems quite desirable!).
The effective altruist case for parliamentarism

Thanks, Magnus. You're right, the argument involves many more elements which I did not explore in the post. I really like your summary and would invite all others to read the book (which is pretty short, and available for free as a pdf at