False similarities, true nuisances of 2005q2

Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement

First quarter, 8 year refutation start. This post is about six months late.

Imperial Public License. Protection of growing industries within a jurisdiction is how that jurisdiction’s economy moves up the food chain, gains competitive advantage, develops. The GPL limits one means of protecting a budding software industry within a jurisdiction, and the beneficiaries are jurisdictions with dominant software industries. Jonathan Schwartz was right: the GPL is, perhaps inadvertently, a tool of U.S. economic imperialism.

Individual Rights Central Railroad. A site promoting a symbol that looked like a railroad logo, promoting the faulty idea that freedom is founded on individual rights:

The Individual-i symbol is not owned by any organization. There is no platform, no organizational structure, no meetings. This symbol is in the public domain: uncopyrighted, untrademarked, unowned. Anyone can use it for any purpose.

No trampling on the free speech or other rights of any individual there! Very self-consistent. But also self-refuting, in time. The site went down after only 4 years, cared for by nobody, as with all freedom founded on individual rights.

Really Offshoring. Even if working on a boat offshore a wealthy area were feasible (that part of the post is nearly self-refuting, admitting that boats are expensive), it would have a miniscule impact on talent utilization and wage equalization. Good local education dwarfs any effort to bring existing capital and labor geographically closer.

Evidence-free Policy. Policy does not get made without evidence, let alone delusionally. What’s delusional is me not looking at evidence indicating that outcomes I desire are not those of the majority. Poking fun at seemingly awry policies that repeatedly result in, e.g., cost overruns or incumbent protection, is the romance of the libertarian social engineer: demanding premature optimization of democracy.

Apartheid for Musicians. Perhaps visas should be easier to obtain for musicians — to the extent they were made difficult to obtain in order to keep USians free of foreign influence, they are outmoded. But generalizing this to a call for removing all national barriers to travel, live, and work is wildly uncalled for. USian workers, including musicians, do deserve to be protected from race-to-the-bottom competition, and difficult to obtain visas are a key mechanism of protection.

Manifesto for the Abolition of International Apartheid. The international system of states, borders, and movement restrictions is not Apartheid. Almost every person in the world is equal, in that they are born citizens of one state. Under Apartheid, non-whites denied citizenship in their birth state. The Apartheid regime tried to legitimize this by creating puppet states for non-whites to be citizens of. The international community of nations refused to recognize this scheme. There may be situations in which a population of one nation state is so oppressed by another nation state that the population of the former have effectively been stripped of their citizenship. This relation may bear some similarity to Apartheid, and one extreme solution would be to make the entire population of the oppressed state full citizens of the oppressor state. In his 2008 campaign for U.S. president, Toyama Koichi made a case for the United States having such an oppressor relation with the whole world, and thus the obligation to grant all rights as citizens. However, the proper solution is full independence, de jure and de facto, for the oppressed people’s state (watch the linked video to the end, and see that Koichi agrees). In no case however is there a call for any citizen of any state to claim citizenship rights in or travel to, live or work in, any other state, without restriction, nor is there any similarity of this general system to Apartheid.

Open the H1B Gates. The narrow industrial policy tweak of scrapping H-1B visa limits wished for by Bill Gates in no way supports generally removing restrictions on travel and work across borders. Shrink-wrap software development not leaving the U.S. for India and elsewhere shows just how little value could be obtained through the disruptive policy of scrapping H-1B visa limits, let alone removing all citizenship-based restrictions.

Public Goods Group Shopping and Kragen Sitaker on Dominant Assurance Contracts. Assurance contracts do fine for funding simple consumer products but have never addressed any political problems, and a handwaving assertion that many political problems can be thought of as public goods problems does not make it any more feasible for this to occur. The additional capital and mechanics required by dominant assurance contracts make them a merely cute idea.

Housing (Ad) Bubble. Distressed sales still needed to be advertised. (Pointers to data on how this actually turned out would be appreciated.)

Swiss Cheese Jesus. The theory that Jesus did not exist “has failed to convince the vast majority of scholars, who ‘regard it as effectively refuted’.” On quibbles with the film: it is entertainment, personal stories and exaggerated assertions are for the good.

Nothing has a URI, everything is available. Ensuring good permalinks to everything can be premature optimization, especially when paying customers always use other forms of navigation. Assassination references are never funny.

Public Goods Rent Seeking. “How can an artist make a full time living doing only art” is (one statement of) a public goods problem. The art produced is the public good, but we can’t ignore production costs. Further, more full-time artists enrich society in immeasurable ways; their existence is a massive public good.

Ugly metadata deployed. See Metadata is technical debt. Deployment as an ugly hack makes it an even more obvious no-brainer no-go. Also, the uselessness of license-filtered crawl-based search.

Betting Policy Consequences. Eventually could be longer than 8 years, but after that time betting markets are still of zero importance. That they have remained so in spite of probably being legally feasible in much of the world is particularly damning.

Typing International Apartheid. Cherry picks some sentiments that seem to align national borders with Apartheid, bypassing their fundamental dissimilarity. See Manifesto for the Abolition of International Apartheid refutation above.

Zocalo experiment. The zocalo (market) leads to nowhere. Self-refuting dead project. On the fantasy that virtual games would soon change youth perception of market and power failures — a carnival mirror reflection of the reality — thin, manufactured, fraudulent markets purely in service of entertainment centered around violence, power, intrigue, and get-rich quick schemes.

Aubrey de Grey at Stanford. We don’t need a formal prediction market to read the market’s collective wisdom about de Grey’s proposals: he has attracted negligible funding in the past 8 years.

Sort of open source economic models. Gratis access provides almost all of the value to be had from sharing of research data, publications, and software. Introducing someone sharing as such to copyright and copyright licenses is an attack on their time and sanity. There should be nuisance laws discouraging such hectoring.

Autonomous Liberalization. Independent reforms may in the short term produce more quantifiable gains than multilateral and regional agreements, but this is a penny-wise, pound-foolish analysis. Multilateral, regional, and global agreements (and this ought be generalized to all such agreements, not only trade) set the norms and expectations for all to strive toward, beyond mere agreement compliance, set the stage for further agreements, are more robust than self-directed reform which may be repealed at a whim, and develop crucial institutions of regional and global governance.

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  1. […] fell behind, doing refuting only posts from first and second quarters of 2005. My doubt about this enjoyable exercise is that it is too contrived. Many of the […]

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