воскресенье, 24 октября 2021 г.

The market economy and reputation

  In market conditions, the larger the firm, the more profitable for it is to take care of its reputation. One-day firms, in particular, can only be small. It turns out that it is often beneficial for small firms to merge into large ones, but in practice this rarely happens for a number of reasons. However, there is another way: a large aggregator firm that provides quality control of the work of many small firms, providing them with a collective reputation. An example of such an aggregator is Uber, which has brought together small taxi drivers, providing them with a kind of collective reputation.
  I believe it would be a great good if there were Uber analogues for nannies, housekeepers, repairmen, electricians, etc. Such a company would take a share of the earnings of these nannies and housekeepers, and in return, check the quality of their work, and fire those who did not perform well. There is a kind of paradox here - it is beneficial for an individual nanny to have her work checked with the possibility of dismissal in case of poor quality of work, since those nannies who pass the selection will have a good reputation, and this is very beneficial for them. As an example, I can cite ordinary taxi services: if there are many complaints about a driver, the service fires him, despite the fact that he brought it money.
  If there is an analogue of Uber for nannies, it will solve the problem of fertility in Western countries, as well as the problem of “Idiocracy”, since people will be able to combine education, career, and childbirth (parents will outsource parenting to a good nanny).
  Further, I propose a new concept: “socially useful commercial advertisement”. This is a commercial advertisement that is useful and beneficial for three parties: the advertiser, the media that hosts it, and the end consumer. The principle of this advertisement is essentially based on the same “taxi principle” described above - to terminate the contract with unscrupulous advertisers for the sake of collective reputation.
  Suppose there is a firm that makes cereal breads; these breads are good for health, and the company knows about it. Further, this company offers some media to place an advertisement, and offers to conduct a study (expertise) on the impact of these breads on health. Because expertise is expensive, the firm also pays relatively large sums of money for it. Here again the mentioned principle comes up - not always “those who pay the piper call the tune”. For the media, if it is large enough, reputation is more important than this money, therefore it is interested in conducting an honest examination; in other words, money is received for the examination, but not for its result. And this is already beneficial to end consumers.
  It can be assumed that many bloggers ask themselves similar questions when they advertise. Obviously, it is more profitable for a blogger to advertise a relatively high-quality product than a low-quality one.

Friendship vs sectarianism

 I have developed a rather ambiguous attitude towards friendship. On the one hand, such qualities as honesty, kindness, adequacy, etc. help make friends (or rather keep them). But at the same time, there is an opposite tendency: educated and intelligent people, on average, are more lonely than ordinary people. Arthur Schopenhauer wrote about this.

Friendship needs common interests. For a large number of people, such interests can be football, beer gatherings, fishing, etc. For intelligent people, such things are often not very suitable.

The problem of lack of communication is not common among the sectarians. I think people join sects not because their faith in itself makes someone happy; the reason is much more prosaic (although the sectarians themselves are not aware of it) - sects help people to unite, to acquire connections. In a sect, a person can find a wife / husband, rent or lease an apartment, etc. Since it is necessary to have large issues (“snakes in one’s head”) to join a sect, it turns out that large issues make a person more successful and adaptable.

The general idea of this post can be expressed as follows: for friendship, people need common goals and hobbies, but the lower a person's level of critical thinking, the easier it is for him to end up with all sorts of erroneous goals or unhelpful hobbies, thanks to which he will unite with those like him.

Schopenhauer wrote:

Nothing betrays less knowledge of humanity than to suppose that, if a man has a great many friends, it is a proof of merit and intrinsic value: as though men gave their friendship according to value and merit! as though they were not, rather, just like dogs, which love the person that pats them and gives them bits of meat, and never trouble themselves about anything else! The man who understands how to pat his fellows best, though they be the nastiest brutes, — that’s the man who has many friends.

It is the converse that is true. Men of great intellectual worth, or, still more, men of genius, can have only very few friends; for their clear eye soon discovers all defects, and their sense of rectitude is always being outraged afresh by the extent and the horror of them.

A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.

To live alone is the fate of all great souls


понедельник, 13 сентября 2021 г.

Social lifts in big politics

 I am a supporter of democracy, but with one important caveat: I am not satisfied with the lack of efficiency in modern democracies of the West. Western countries now have too many problems, and local politicians, as a rule, do not even try to voice these problems.

  I would like more people to discuss this question - is it possible to improve modern democracy? The main goal is whether it is possible to build social and political institutions so that smart people often come to power in a democracy.
  My idea is that participatory budgeting is needed: a system in which citizens of a country vote via the Internet on how to distribute the budget money. With such a system, ministers will be able to collect funding for their departments through the participatory budgeting portal, which means that they (ministers) will be less dependent on the president  / prime minister and more on the population. Accordingly, rarer will there be a situation when the president / prime minister will alienate a too outstanding minister from power as a possible competitor for himself.
  The second point is that with participatory budgeting, people and organizations that brought a smart person to power will be able to make money on this. Suppose a party is created that declares its goal to find and promote people with outstanding qualities who will become good leaders. Having made a certain person president, such a party will be able to collect its own reward through participatory budgeting: the more this president becomes popular, the more the party will earn. I.e.,  theoretically, under such a system, finding and promoting an outstanding person will become a kind of business for party members.
  If we assume that big money gives politicians the opportunity to come to power, then participatory budgeting can turn this to the benefit of society: a good politician will be able to make big money on popularity and real achievements (only with a time delay - first spend, and only then earn).

вторник, 25 мая 2021 г.

About democracy

 I live in Russia, and many people around me call themselves opponents of democracy. Their logic is simple - we can live pretty well without democracy. I will prove that there are holes in this logic.

Currently in the world there are quite prosperous monarchical countries - Jordan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, etc. But these monarchies are very different from the ancient monarchies - Eastern despotism. This is explained by the fact that in modern monarchies, which are adjacent to democracies, the authorities must be good, otherwise they will be overthrown. In civilizations that did not know what democracy in general was, there was such an oppression of the upper classes to the lower classes that it is scary for the reader.

When an authoritarian (for example, a monarchy) state is in the neighborhood of democracy, the authorities in it are afraid of revolution and therefore cannot afford to exploit the population too much. They understand that if the population lives worse than in the neighboring democracy, it will arrange a revolution and change the government to a democratic one. In other words, democracies exert an “ennobling” effect on neighboring authoritarian ones. Despite this impact, these authoritarian countries often pose a military threat to them.

Ancient Macedonia was more civilized than ancient Persia, despite the fact that both of these states were monarchies. This is explained by the fact that Macedonia bordered on Greece with its democratic traditions.

Another example from history is Germany in the first half of the 20th century. Germany was an authoritarian country in the neighborhood of democratic France and England, and these countries exerted an “ennobling” influence on it; thanks to the English and French revolutions, in 20th century Germany there was no serfdom and other vestiges of the Middle Ages. And despite this influence, Germany posed a military threat to England and France.

One more example is the confrontation between medieval Muscovy and the Novgorod Republic. When the Novgorod Republic existed, the peasants both in it and in the Muscovy were relatively free. But after the conquest of Novgorod by Moscow, a gradual enslavement of the peasants began, which reached its peak under Peter the Great.

If democracy in the world is discredited, then the world will slide into the second Middle Ages, and this possibility frightens me very much now. The likelihood of such a scenario will be higher if in current confrontation between Russia and Ukraine the latter is defeated.

среда, 7 апреля 2021 г.

Why people do not change their views

 Each person, when he/she is engaged in self-education, selects for himself such sources of information, which contain information that fits into his/her worldview. If he/she is an atheist, he/she reads books about evolution; if he/she is a believer, he/she reads books about Christian wonders; if he/she is for the Democrats, he/she visits the media of the Democrats, if for the Republicans - the media of the Republicans, respectively. The information that does not fit into his/her worldview causes unpleasant feelings for him/her - cognitive dissonance; and to avoid these unpleasant feelings, he/she usually denies this information - declares it a fake, “photoshop”, or he forgets it.

I believe that education makes a person more dogmatic, because the modern education system only provides knowledge that fits into the overall picture (at least I see such a situation in Russia).

We can conditionally say that the worldview is formed by the books that were accidentally read in the first place (or other sources of information).

There is an observation that believers are less likely to read the Bible than atheists. This is due to the fact that atheists consider the Bible to be a set of fairy tales, and accordingly reading it does not cause cognitive dissonance in them; believers find facts in the Bible that do not fit into their picture of the world, this causes them cognitive dissonance and they stop reading.

It seems that this phenomenon has been intensified in the past few years. Roughly speaking, previously a person used to watch the news to get new information, but now he watches the news to get the confirmation of his point of view.

It can be said that a smart person is the one who is not afraid of cognitive dissonance, or, more precisely, is ready to endure it until a new understanding comes (at a deeper level of knowledge).