Thought Overflow…Golda’s BlogIf memes are like genes, then having a conversation in which you share ideas and come up with new ones is like…?

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also published on mirror.xyz – but I think I’ll keep a copy here all the same. some of the thoughts evolved from the previous “minddump” draft…

The dismal science, also known as Economics, describes behavior as “rational” if maximizes personal satisfaction. Markets are held up as a tool for maximizing everyone’s satisfaction, yet they they inherently anonymize the participants, limiting the “rational” values that can be modeled. Behaviors based on principles or relationships are disregarded – yet non-transactional values that cannot be “bought” are central drivers for behavior in most humans that I care to associate with. I prefer to deal with people I know and trust, to work on things I care about, to buy products that were made in fair working conditions. I strongly want never to buy things that murderers profited from, yet today I often do so. An anonymized marketplace does not allow me to easily act “rationally” based on my actual values. A richer ecosystem of information would provide much higher utility, than the current common model of anonymized transactions.

In math, the shape of the universe follows from the axioms chosen. An assumption of scalar rationality in which all values are transactional and anonymizable is not wrong mathematically, it simply determines the shape of the universe described.

In science, we try to describe the observed shape of the world. Models and theories are tested by their ability to predict behavior in the real world. Hand-waving away large swaths of human motivation and observed behavior as “irrational” is a religious, not scientific approach.

In engineering, we try to shape the world. What shape do we want? For very clearly, tools that only allow anonymous transactions lead to a world in which everything is for sale.

The exciting thing in our time is not that we can automate markets, but that we can actualize language and intention. SBTs are a good starting point, that allow us to efficiently encode the values and relationships, the specific judgements and experiences that in fact drive our behavior.

I wrote more about this some time back: Can’t Buy Me Love: An Argument for Implementing Illiquidity which discusses encoding trust, changing cooperative structures and using earned tokens for governance, and offers computational models of love and corruption, among other things.

Sending these to a contact, made me want to pin them here as well:

A draft of an essay calling for more frameworks for stateless individuals: Citizen or Hostage

Started a framework for grassroots policy formation – Open Public Policy RFCs and wrote about it on medium – Taking Public Policy out of the Cathedral and into the Bazaar

Currently focusing on my WhatsCookin’ startup, demonstrating a working model of work-weighted corporate governance, and decentralized tech.

One of the key things to decentralize is trust. I do think we will need a feed of reputation assertions, simple description here – Open Reputation Feed

suppose there were a gene that made the bearer feel entitled to other people’s things.

would it spread?

And before pointing fingers, remember…the bearer would not think of them as other people’s, or that they were taking anything by their actions.

When doing a startup, you talk about it everywhere, with everyone. At least I do.

I went hiking today on a familiar trail; but the monsoons had changed things and I found myself going up and down the canyon looking for the turnoff.

A couple sitting on a rock seemed friendly – we started chatting. The man, older, was a theoretical physicist with strong opinions. He seemed sure where the trail should have been, that the monsoons had wiped it out.

He was also sure that I was a socialist, after I explained a bit about my ideas for work weighted shared governance. Then he expounded on why only top down models could possibly work given his experiences in Poland and Germany. I’m not sure what the woman thought as she couldn’t seem to get two words in edgewise. He seemed to conflate countries and companies, and to be arguing against many things I did not say.

I cannot prove yet that bottom up accountability can beat a top down authoritarian structure, so I cannot say with certainty that he was wrong in his assertions about corporate models. He definitely was wrong about the hiking trail, though. I found the turnoff five minutes up the canyon where it had always been, the trail not at all washed out. Perhaps a bit more experimentation, and less theoretical expounding, is called for after all.

Wrote a quick LTE this morning – I am such a Municipalism fan right now –
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In a small ray of hope during this contentious time, our city government seems to be genuinely responsive to the neighborhoods. A group of Rio Vista neighbors asked for the city’s help to restore the natural desert and block off wildcat trails; as a result, parts and rec staff brought us brush that they’ve trimmed in other parks and coordinated with a volunteer group of neighbors and civilian conservation core folks to distribute the brush according to a plan that will help restore the ecology.

And when the traffic stops that were used last time to help protect trails wound up scaring some horses, the city adapted and gave us low key wooden sawhorses instead. Its this – government responsiveness to regular people – that gives me hope.
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(posting this with a delay to see if the LTE makes it in first)

wrote this in response to a NYT op-ed calling for a grand strategy in American foreign policy:

Our grand strategy should be driven by our core principles: liberty and justice for all – not only for those who happen to live in America. If we can achieve that, the world will indeed be much safer, and more prosperous. Madison understood tyrants – the bill of rights is needed everywhere. Freedom of speech provides a corrective mechanism against corruption. Our grand strategy should be to support these rights universally. Whether that means we should act as a policeman, is a matter of tactics.

It seems so obvious to me, I don’t know why the democratic candidates and others are not saying this. Elizabeth Warren comes the closest, I think.

“I’ve made it not because I assimilated, or because I have a little bit of money, or because my voice be heard. I’ve made it because I can disagree with and question what America is really all about. I’ve made it because I can demand more from my country.”

— Julissa Arce, My American Dream, p 285

…not combined with good patterns/best practices not only pave the way to hell, the road is a bit bumpy.

in a hospital, the nurses not only desire not to kill patients, they check 3 times that the actions they take are correct

similarly best practices are important, esp when combined with power. Some of the greatest harm right now is coming from excessively powerful leaders who at one point had good intentions.

Not in the sense of correct or incorrect conclusions, but in the sense of when is an argument or discussion between two people actually a logical argument? Only if it takes place in a single axiomatic space. (which is rarely the case!) In order to actually have a logical argument, both people have to agree on a single space, or set of initial assumptions. Given the real world of complex inner spaces, this probably means that one person must enter the other’s space to explore it and look for inconsistencies and bring up real world data to explain. Which is why this sort of real argument is necessarily very intimate.

But the type that often occurs, where each person is talking from within their own space, is both illogical and frustrating.