Response to "Rebuttal, kind of."


Hmmm, how do you evaluate how corrupt a state is?

Civil rights, school quality, crime rates.

These (or at least, the latter two) seem to correlate more with wealth than with corruption. My primary example of a corrupt state is where the same couple of contractors seem to get all the contracts, and they always just happen to run over budget and take years longer than planned. And the tolls always seem higher than before, but you're not quite sure where the money's going.

This is how corruption in NYC works, as described in "The Power Broker": it's somewhat shielded from the public eye, but the public suffers, because the entire government fails to deliver on its promises. "Regular people" are much more able to take action relating to school quality than relating to e.g. public works, partly because (a) structures such a PTAs exist to provide access, and because (b) the incentives are more direct.

So, I don't fully disagree: these are all signs of corruption. But I feel like they fail to directly capture what I consider the most egregious cases.

If you're ever in the Midwest outside of Chicago/Omaha during election season, turn on the most popular local news channel. Wait for the advertisements. Blatant lies under the guise of free speech about political candidates is all you'll see, and trust me - not civil ones. Very good at perspective-turning, and usually are so bad that there'll be rows of them fighting and saying the previous one was a lie. As much as "Mass Media" seems like the worst thing, it's by far the local channels that do worse. Simply banning political advertisements would fix a substantial amount.

I haven't been, so thanks for the anecdote. I think banning political advertisements is a great idea.

Here's "the theory" which doesn't seem to match reality anymore: people exist within communities, where local coordination mechanisms exist to elevate community members as political candidates, who can rise up the political hierarchy as they develop skills and connections and are recognized. To cite The Power Broker again, you can see this happening in the rise of various NYC governors.

This breaks down because we no longer have the sort of tight-knit social structures required for a real community validation. People are spread out and isolated, to the point where they need to rely on advertisements rather than personal connections to make political decisions. The absurdity of the whole situation makes me think we need larger solutions. But banning political ads would be a decent band-aid.

Majority rule fails with lack of scale. This is why the State system is a bad thing; with a lack of scale all that happens is that a few bad actors can ruin everything permanently.

Interestingly, I apply this same criticism to Majority rule at scale: at least at a local level there's a greater possibility of exit, whereas if everything's centralized then screwed by a bad actor, what choice do you have?

This problem might be countered with resetting and reforming each state from the average of the Union as a whole every decade, though I'm not sure there's a feasible way of achieving that.

A decade is too short, but I do think that the current state configurations don't represent meaningful bodies in any capacity. In Judaism (an old legal code!) there is the concept of the Jubilee Year, where all prisoners, slaves, debts, etc. would be released every 50 years. This seems like a more correct timescale for a "reset".

"Inalienable rights" are good.

No one really can agree on what those are

Ah, I was referring to them in an abstract sense: one way to "fix" majority rule is by guaranteeing certain rights to everyone, in order to avoid situations where a small majority screws things for the large minority. I agree that the state of "inalienable rights" in the US is fairly broken.

the economic field (along with any belief of "rationalist" thought occuring in the real world) tends to ignore cultural aspects of what's rational

Agreed fully, this is my main complaint with economics, is that it, in almost all cases, operates with a specific philosophical target in mind that I often fundamentally disagree with. Hence, I discount much of economics, or at least the models they've developed thus far. Still waiting for someone to prove me wrong (I got into a fight with Tao about this a while ago that was never resolved).