Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bryan Caplan — The Evidence of Altruism

The logic of collective action versus the free rider problem. Take that, economic liberalism.
Each of these stories appeals to self-interest, but economists almost uniformly reject them as absurd. Why? Because they ignore another beloved economic insight: the logic of collective action. When actors have a small effect on big social outcomes, and their only incentive to act is the big outcome itself, selfishness urges them to stand down, twiddle their thumbs, free ride, and yawn "Let someone else do it."
The Evidence of Altruism
Bryan Caplan | Professor of Economics at George Mason University, research fellow at the Mercatus Center, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute.

Bryan Caplan is a Libertarian (anarcho-capitalist). But see his Why I Am Not an Austrian Economist.

Apparently, some Libertarians (right libertarians) get it about the logic of collective action and the free rider problem that arises from economic liberalism based on self-interest (rational pursuit of maximum utility).

On the other hand, all left libertarians get this, as well as social democrats and heterodox economics of the left — which is why they are on the left. Caplan links to the Wikipedia article on the logic of collective action, which is chiefly about the book of that title by Mancur Olson. What it fails to mention is Nobel laureate in economics Elinor Ostrom's collective action and social development. See her paper, Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms.

Oh, and contrary to Libertarian assumptions to the contrary, some people are actually motivated by altruism. Moreover, this is the normal path of human development toward self-actualization and unfolding human potential.

Altruism one manifestation of spiritual maturity. Caplan seems to think that his explanation is comprehensive, whereas it is only partial. Just as humans develop physically, emotionally and intellectually, they are also capable of developing spiritually, that is, the the direction of greater universality as the boundary of individuality recedes toward the horizon of wholeness.

Spiritually immature people imagine that altruism means giving up individual desire, choice and action, which kill one's individuality, one's sense of personal self, that to which one relates everything, which is what one is. However, the opposite is the case. As one grows spiritually through actualizing one's potential as a human being, one becomes more fulfilled, more complete, and happier. As Aristotle observed in Book One of Nichomachean Ethics, happiness or well-being (eudaimonia) is the by-product of excellence (arete). This is consistent with the perennial teaching of those to whom humanity looks to as sages about the spiritual path and the progressive realization of inherent potential. To miss this is to miss what is truly important in life.


Matt Franko said...

Tom here is Paul on this:

"By no means are you still to be walking according as those of the nations also are walking, in the vanity of their mind,
18 their comprehension being darkened, being estranged from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the callousness of their hearts,
19 who, being past feeling, in greed give themselves up with wantonness to all uncleanness as a vocation." Eph 4:17

OK there is a lot in here... take them in order but not in order of causality:

1. Vanity (conditional)
2. a darkened comprehension (RESULT)
3. ignorance (causal)
4. callousness (causal)
5. past feeling (conditional)
6. greed (conditional)
7. vocation (conditional)

OK so the conditional attributes are vanity, no feeling, greed, and doing it as a vocation...

The causes are ignorance and callousness...

The result is 'a darkened comprehension'...

We can see this darkened comprehension manifest in these people all the time... they end up not even being able to do simple mathematical arithmetic it gets sooooo bad for them...

"their comprehension being darkened" is thus:

eskotismenoi (HAVING-been-DARKenED)

tE (to-THE)

dianoia (THRU-MIND/comprehension)

So its: "Having been darkened to the through-mind"... OMG...

Which I can see how Roger's neuro-physiological research results confirm this (listen to Rogers podcast with Mike, to me, at the one point its like they are literally discussing this verse from Ephesians..)... the electrical synapses and the proper cognitive connections get SHUT DOWN ('darkened' from Paul here...the circuit goes 'dark'....)....

(Tom, these people are totally fucked...)

But we may have more to work with here as we know certain conditions and causes that lead to this cognitive impairment with these people...

We either have to Judo these conditions with the actual morons or perhaps just reach out to people who are not suffering under these conditions/causes... could be a strategy to work out here...

Probably only about 1,000 of us currently able to witness this form of "eskotismenoi tE dianoia" imo...


Tom Hickey said...

'He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, that they might not see with the eyes, and understand with the heart, and turn back, and I might heal them;'

John 12:40
Young's Literal Translation

"Be not led astray; God is not mocked; for what a man may sow -- that also he shall reap,"

Galatians 6:7
Young's Literal Translation