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Author Topic: Has the 'Bitcoin Experiment' changed your political or economic views at all?  (Read 7565 times)
jgarzik
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December 08, 2012, 06:58:05 AM
 #101

Yes.  It proves there are way too many naive anarchists in the world.

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December 08, 2012, 08:13:57 AM
 #102

Yes.  It proves there are way too many naive anarchists in the world.


Yes.  One naïve anarchist is too many.  Bring him to me and I'll talk to him in order to help him be less naïve.

:-)

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December 08, 2012, 09:48:47 AM
 #103

So, how do you explain Austrians rejecting the intellectual authority of many 20th century economists? And if it is theology, what specific "holy" book do they rely on, and why do they keep insisting on using things like Supply/Demand/Quantity/Price graphs, or velocity of money calculations? Unless those things are faith-based too.

You are not getting it.

1) Scientists formulate a theory.
2) Based on the theory, they make predictions.
3) They then analyze real world data to see if it conforms to their predictions. If not, then go to step 1.

No theory is perfect. Science is just a recursive algorithm for refining our predictions about real world behavior. Theories never achieve perfection. They just improve incrementally over time.

Austrians say "the fact that economists can't make accurate predictions proves that we are right. We never claimed that our theories could produce testable hypotheses. Those guys with the testable hypotheses are the charlatans." Austrians are theologians. When a scientist meets an Austrian, the proper greeting is to dump a barrel of excrement on him or her. Austrians are not worthy of any respect whatsoever. They are the sworn enemies of science. The fact that they employ charts, graphs, and tables while spouting their theology just makes them all the more pernicious.

[Cunicula quakes with anger at the very thought of abandoning science for theology.]

In a Society in which there is no law, and in theory no compulsion, the only arbiter of behaviour is public opinion. But public opinion, because of the tremendous urge to conformity in gregarious animals, is less tolerant than any system of law. When human beings are governed by "thou shalt not", the individual can practise a certain amount of eccentricity: when they are supposedly governed by "love" or "reason", he is under continuous pressure to make him behave and think in exactly the same way as everyone else. - George Orwell
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December 08, 2012, 02:34:44 PM
 #104

The analogy between the difference between physics and mathematics; to Krugman and Austrian holds.
Praxeology is based upon the belief that some things cannot be adequately explained by trend fitting; as a trend only fits, until it doesn’t anymore.  Praxeology tries to explain the reasons behind why such actions take place; thus can make predictions what could happen in the future.

Austrian’s core is two-fold; it is based upon a set of philosophical axioms that don’t need to be empirically tested. (By definition you don’t need to test a philosophical axiom!)  The heart of the Austrian’s philosophy is that humans should enter in voluntary relationships; that the institutionalisation of aggressive violence is always bad; no-matter the said ‘productive’ outcomes of such a policy.  It is not a question if a society would be more or less economically efficient with such policies.  All policies that require aggressive violence are not even considered as available (said moral) options.

Austrian’s then take the second step to explain why, (not just philosophically), but economically, voluntary interaction leads to the economically most efficient society.  Thus is built upon philosophical axioms, and makes use of logic and reason.  None of this is REQUIRED to be empirically tested. Why.   The same reason why mathematics doesn’t need to be empirically tested: Proofs.

[Cunicula quakes with anger at the very thought of abandoning science for theology.]

Overall this has nothing to do with theology as that is the formal the study of God’s interaction with humanity and this world.  Theology is externally focused.  Philosophy is internally focused.

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December 08, 2012, 03:44:56 PM
 #105

Austrians say "the fact that economists can't make accurate predictions proves that we are right. We never claimed that our theories could produce testable hypotheses. Those guys with the testable hypotheses are the charlatans."

Huh? I guess we haven't had many Austrians on this board then, cause I've never seen anyone like that. Most of the arguments from those arguing against you have been of the type "If you do this, based on economic theories and logic, we would expect that to happen. And, what do you know, of you look at this part of the world, or this part of the economy, that's exactly what's happening!"
Let me know if you ever run into those Austrians you speak of.

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December 08, 2012, 03:56:15 PM
 #106

Ugh. Excuse me while I vomit for a while.

Philosophy is also based on faith-based axioms. While that is reprehensible, regular philosophers have an excuse for being jackasses. They study stuff which lacks any real world manifestation. So if you ask them, "why don't you take that to the data?" They can say "gee, we would really like to, but in our field there are no observable data at all."

Austrians work in a domain with abundant data, but refuse to pay any attention to it. They say well, we assumed we were right and we don't need to find any evidence to support that. After all the fact that we are right follows directly from our axioms and axioms do not require empirical validation by definition. This is my main objection to Austrian economics. It is purposefully teleological. In science, teleology is avoided. For Austrians, teleology is worshiped. If you don't believe me go read the holy book linked to above.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleology#Teleology_and_science

Besides the complete rejection of empirics, Austrians also refuse to use mathematics. This is a big problem for them because economics typically gives rise to ambiguous predictions (i.e. there are multiple factors which offset one another and theory provides no prediction about which of these factors will be most important.) Thus, there is a need for quantification. However, Austrians reject quantification. Instead, they focus their attention on simplistic theoretical settings that do not produce ambiguity and therefore can be analyzed without mathematics. Not surprisingly, this leads to a simplistic world view where everything is seen in black and white terms.

Listen to the libertarians oversimplify things and paint everything in black & white terms on the forums. Austrian economics is partially to blame for their faulty thinking.


In a Society in which there is no law, and in theory no compulsion, the only arbiter of behaviour is public opinion. But public opinion, because of the tremendous urge to conformity in gregarious animals, is less tolerant than any system of law. When human beings are governed by "thou shalt not", the individual can practise a certain amount of eccentricity: when they are supposedly governed by "love" or "reason", he is under continuous pressure to make him behave and think in exactly the same way as everyone else. - George Orwell
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December 08, 2012, 03:58:47 PM
 #107

Austrians say "the fact that economists can't make accurate predictions proves that we are right. We never claimed that our theories could produce testable hypotheses. Those guys with the testable hypotheses are the charlatans."

Huh? I guess we haven't had many Austrians on this board then, cause I've never seen anyone like that. Most of the arguments from those arguing against you have been of the type "If you do this, based on economic theories and logic, we would expect that to happen. And, what do you know, of you look at this part of the world, or this part of the economy, that's exactly what's happening!"
Let me know if you ever run into those Austrians you speak of.

Go read the holy book to familiarize yourself with Austrian doctrine. You are speaking heresies and you don't even know it.

Austrian references to real world phenomena are selective. As in all pseudoscience, anything that conforms to their expectation is viewed as a confirmation of their theories. Anything that fails to conform is rejected as irrelevant. Accordingly, they do not require any weighing of evidence to support their beliefs.

Here is a joke about Austrians:

Q: How do you know you’re dealing with an Internet “Austrian”?

A: An Internet “Austrian” is someone who has correctly predicted FIFTEEN out of the last ZERO episodes of hyper-inflation.

Please go to betsofbitco.in and put some money on these predictions (i.e. bet on gold and gas prices rising please). I am currently taking BTC from Austrians. However, now that we are approaching the end of the year, my anti-hyperinflation bets are getting crowded out by opportunists. Since you are an Austrian, I feel it is your philosophical duty to contribute to my winnings. Help stack the odds very heavily in my favor again. [They still favor me, but I am greedy.]

In a Society in which there is no law, and in theory no compulsion, the only arbiter of behaviour is public opinion. But public opinion, because of the tremendous urge to conformity in gregarious animals, is less tolerant than any system of law. When human beings are governed by "thou shalt not", the individual can practise a certain amount of eccentricity: when they are supposedly governed by "love" or "reason", he is under continuous pressure to make him behave and think in exactly the same way as everyone else. - George Orwell
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December 08, 2012, 04:23:16 PM
 #108

Okay, a final difference. Economics attempts to be a positive science not a normative one. Austrian economics is normative, not positive.

i.e. Austrian economics makes silly moralistic statements about violence (see above; sounds like theology doesn't it?)

Positive economics takes issues like optimal labor coercion as its subject matter.

This is more important than it seems at first glance. Austrians see coercion as a black and white issue. Economists ask instead how can we duplicate the outcomes of a fully coercive labor arrangement through voluntary exchange. Once we show that this is possible, the notion of coercion can no longer be seen as a black and white issue. i.e. the outcomes associated with slavery can be duplicated through a decentralized market arrangement. If so, how can we both oppose slavery and support all forms of voluntary exchange? There seems to be a contradiction here. Either that or a bizarre moralistic view where we care only about the means through which objectives are achieved and not about consequenses. It is fine to have a slave, but you can't take him by force. You have to do it through a  clever series of market-based transactions.

Take for example highly unequal societies such as the Caribbean islands following the abolition of slavery. If you can't coerce a slave using violence, how can you assure that he will work as a slave? The free market solution is to sabotage his outside options. As an alternative to working as your de-facto slave, he might choose to work as a subsistence farmer. This cannot be allowed. To prevent this, you purchase all available irrigation necessary for subsistence farming. The planter may not be able to force the freeman to sell his land, but he can deprive him of the ability to survive by farming it. The ex-slave while nominally free must work for the planter or starve. This is what Austrians call voluntary exchange.

In a Society in which there is no law, and in theory no compulsion, the only arbiter of behaviour is public opinion. But public opinion, because of the tremendous urge to conformity in gregarious animals, is less tolerant than any system of law. When human beings are governed by "thou shalt not", the individual can practise a certain amount of eccentricity: when they are supposedly governed by "love" or "reason", he is under continuous pressure to make him behave and think in exactly the same way as everyone else. - George Orwell
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December 08, 2012, 06:38:05 PM
 #109

From what I have read in quotations, cunticula is waging a lie/sophism based campaign to discredit Austrian economics (note not refute, but discredit).that tells you he is obviously dishonest and acting in bad faith. And offtopic too. Why don't we just ignore that troll and his off topic ramblings, and go back to discussing the original topic?  Thanks.

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December 08, 2012, 06:51:50 PM
 #110

Yes, most definitely bitcoin changed the way I think about many things and educated me about a whole lot of topics.

It might also turn me into some kind of a radical... but not quite yet.

"One thing that rather troubles me is that most people's standard for determining that some viewpoint, claim, etc., is "cooky," "insane," etc., is not by how far it departs from reality, but rather, how far a departure it is from the status quo.

Even things which most people correctly dismiss as nuttery, are not dismissed for the right reasons; they are always dismissed only because it is a radical departure from the establishment line, not because it is a radical departure from reality.

No wonder people who embrace a respect for persons, non-aggression, and therefore, oppose the existence of government on moral and practical grounds, are dismissed as nuts. The world is a place of primarily violent crackpots who accuse the reasonable of insanity, and yet people wonder why much of the world is such a horrible place."


Maktub...
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December 08, 2012, 07:18:03 PM
 #111

Yes, most definitely bitcoin changed the way I think about many things and educated me about a whole lot of topics.

It might also turn me into some kind of a radical... but not quite yet.

"One thing that rather troubles me is that most people's standard for determining that some viewpoint, claim, etc., is "cooky," "insane," etc., is not by how far it departs from reality, but rather, how far a departure it is from the status quo.

Even things which most people correctly dismiss as nuttery, are not dismissed for the right reasons; they are always dismissed only because it is a radical departure from the establishment line, not because it is a radical departure from reality.

No wonder people who embrace a respect for persons, non-aggression, and therefore, oppose the existence of government on moral and practical grounds, are dismissed as nuts. The world is a place of primarily violent crackpots who accuse the reasonable of insanity, and yet people wonder why much of the world is such a horrible place."



Exactly.

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December 08, 2012, 09:41:36 PM
 #112

From what I have read in quotations, cunticula is waging a lie/sophism based campaign to discredit Austrian economics (note not refute, but discredit).that tells you he is obviously dishonest and acting in bad faith. And offtopic too. Why don't we just ignore that troll and his off topic ramblings, and go back to discussing the original topic?  Thanks.

It does sound like he's building straw men. I don't know what I would call myself (Austrian or not), nor anyone else who self identified as AnCap, but none of them seem to fit cunicula's description. Maybe he just need an enemy to rail against, or needs to justify his extreme dislike of anyone he doesn't fundamentally agree with, so he makes up these boogeymen to parade in public and fight against.

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December 08, 2012, 10:25:33 PM
 #113

needs to justify his extreme dislike of anyone he doesn't fundamentally agree with, so he makes up these boogeymen to parade in public and fight against.

I think this is the reason.

A sociopathic individual is a person who is perfectly able to identify emotions in others, but incapable of sympathizing with those emotions himself.  This makes him an especially effective predator, since his unique mental constitution enables him to play others like a fiddle, manipulating and profiting (financially or psychically) from them, by pushing their emotional buttons.  Examples of sociopathy abound -- from the not-so-intelligent sociopath who scams old ladies out of their retirement money, to the extremely intelligent sociopath who scams workers via inflation.

In short: a sociopath gets your money (or your obedience) by manipulating and threatening you with misery or pain, and he is not affected by his behavior being evil.  If you didn't obey and someone killed, caged or ruined you for your disobedience, the sociopath will have no problem shrugging that off and blaming you, the victim.  That's the fundamental kind of person that the sociopath is.

There is, however, one situation that will push the sociopath's buttons: someone unmasking him.  Someone unmasking a sociopath -- revealing a sociopath for what he really is -- is a threat to the sociopath's profit and control over his victims.  Understandably -- in the sense that you and I can comprehend the behavior of a lion or any other predatorial beast -- the sociopath usually reacts to this threat by attempting to viciously destroy, defame, discredit and nullify the "enemy" (and the enemy's sensibilizing influence) over his victims.

As we saw before, the whole range of sociopathic stratagems to suppress humanity are available to the sociopath -- ranging from telling your Auntie Tilly that you want her dead (so you're out of the picture and he can continue sponging off her savings), to having you "suicided" for blowing the lid off on a corruption scandal.  Somewhere along this spectrum rests the common practice of sabotaging online conversations with lies and insults, as you no doubt have witnessed here; this is not directly violent behavior, but it's clearly antisocial behavior just like all other sociopathic behaviors are.

Since Austrian economics does unmask sociopathic individuals who parasitize society, it would stand to reason that cunticula -- sociopath himself -- would attempt to viciously defame and discredit Austrian economists and their contributions to human knowledge.

That's why he attacks me, that's why he attacks you, that's why he attacks so many other people here.  His goal is to suppress what you have to say about the sociopathic system he supports, but he can't really intimidate you because you're online; thus he attacks what you say and your character; this is also why he doesn't use the ignore list -- he needs to know what his "enemies" are saying so he can sabotage their participation.  Thank God I don't have to know him in person, cos otherwise I'd have to deal with the real possibility of an angry little man constantly yelling at me to shut up, possibly being violent in order to get me to shut up.

This is my humble analysis of what you've witnessed so far.

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December 09, 2012, 12:47:27 AM
 #114

Ugh. Excuse me while I vomit for a while.

Philosophy is also based on faith-based axioms. While that is reprehensible, regular philosophers have an excuse for being jackasses. They study stuff which lacks any real world manifestation. So if you ask them, "why don't you take that to the data?" They can say "gee, we would really like to, but in our field there are no observable data at all."

Firstly, I'm sorry that presenting such ideas makes you ill.  As I'm quite healthy; I can only make the assumption that you, cunicula, are sick.

See, this is why you have such a problem with 'libertarians' is that they reject the core of your argument on moral grounds.  They unmask you as a sociopath.

You hold a fundamentally incompatible premise:
“Aggressive violence is reasonable if it leads to better economic outcomes.”

While an Austrian would hold:
“No economic outcome is reasonable if it makes use of institutionalised aggressive violence”

Since you don’t believe in the non-aggression principle; you show that you don’t restrict yourself to moral thinking.  That you believe that any means is justified by the end.
Being moral is an end in itself. There is no requirement for an economic reason. The philosophy that such an action is moral is enough.

Austrians (and libertarians) do not believe that the end justifies the means!  They believe that how you get to an outcome is critically important.  They want to create a environment that is healthy, so that good and healthy fruit can be grown.

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December 09, 2012, 02:35:20 AM
 #115

Ugh. Excuse me while I vomit for a while.

Philosophy is also based on faith-based axioms. While that is reprehensible, regular philosophers have an excuse for being jackasses. They study stuff which lacks any real world manifestation. So if you ask them, "why don't you take that to the data?" They can say "gee, we would really like to, but in our field there are no observable data at all."

Firstly, I'm sorry that presenting such ideas makes you ill.  As I'm quite healthy; I can only make the assumption that you, cunicula, are sick.

See, this is why you have such a problem with 'libertarians' is that they reject the core of your argument on moral grounds.  They unmask you as a sociopath.

You hold a fundamentally incompatible premise:
“Aggressive violence is reasonable if it leads to better economic outcomes.”

While an Austrian would hold:
“No economic outcome is reasonable if it makes use of institutionalised aggressive violence”

Since you don’t believe in the non-aggression principle; you show that you don’t restrict yourself to moral thinking.  That you believe that any means is justified by the end.
Being moral is an end in itself. There is no requirement for an economic reason. The philosophy that such an action is moral is enough.

Austrians (and libertarians) do not believe that the end justifies the means!  They believe that how you get to an outcome is critically important.  They want to create a environment that is healthy, so that good and healthy fruit can be grown.

Yes, I prefer to think for myself rather than restrict myself to your so-called 'moral thinking'. I don't agree with your "axiom" that the "morality" of the means used should be given infinite weight. I don't even agree with your categorization of means into moral and immoral. I would prefer to think freely rather than encumber myself with dogmatic restrictions. My morality is different from yours. It does not admit a God. It does not admit a Natural Law that acts as a stand-in for God. It depends only on my own sentiments and feelings.

That is why I compare you to a theologian. You are telling me what to think. You are telling me what you think is moral and immoral, and you expect me to agree with you.  If I disagree with your axioms, then you call me a sociopath. The theologian would call me a heretic. The theologian speaks of forbidden fruit. You speak of healthy and unhealthy fruit. To me they are just fruit. I hate you both passionately.

Though it does not justify my conclusions, it is worth noting that my concept morality is close to that of Adam Smith and thus to the original foundations of economics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Theory_of_Moral_Sentiments Austrians introduced gross perversions into what was once a sound concept of morality. Some people can't resist contaminating everything with theology.

In a Society in which there is no law, and in theory no compulsion, the only arbiter of behaviour is public opinion. But public opinion, because of the tremendous urge to conformity in gregarious animals, is less tolerant than any system of law. When human beings are governed by "thou shalt not", the individual can practise a certain amount of eccentricity: when they are supposedly governed by "love" or "reason", he is under continuous pressure to make him behave and think in exactly the same way as everyone else. - George Orwell
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December 09, 2012, 02:42:59 AM
 #116

Using Bitcoin is helping me learn to manage my money, and has given me interest in economics and cryptography.

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December 09, 2012, 02:50:44 AM
 #117

That is why I compare you to a theologian. You are telling me what to think. You are telling me what you think is moral and immoral, and you expect me to agree with you.  If I disagree with your axioms, then you call me a sociopath. The theologian would call me a heretic. The theologian speaks of forbidden fruit. You speak of healthy and unhealthy fruit. To me they are just fruit. I hate you both passionately.

I am simply stating what I believe.
I regard anyone who would accept aggressive violence as moral as a sociopath.

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December 09, 2012, 02:54:03 AM
 #118

That is why I compare you to a theologian. You are telling me what to think. You are telling me what you think is moral and immoral, and you expect me to agree with you.  If I disagree with your axioms, then you call me a sociopath. The theologian would call me a heretic. The theologian speaks of forbidden fruit. You speak of healthy and unhealthy fruit. To me they are just fruit. I hate you both passionately.

I am simply stating what I believe.
I regard anyone who would accept aggressive violence as moral as a sociopath.
K, then. I regard anyone who would presume to decide for others what is moral and immoral as a theologian.

In a Society in which there is no law, and in theory no compulsion, the only arbiter of behaviour is public opinion. But public opinion, because of the tremendous urge to conformity in gregarious animals, is less tolerant than any system of law. When human beings are governed by "thou shalt not", the individual can practise a certain amount of eccentricity: when they are supposedly governed by "love" or "reason", he is under continuous pressure to make him behave and think in exactly the same way as everyone else. - George Orwell
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December 09, 2012, 03:35:35 AM
 #119

That is why I compare you to a theologian. You are telling me what to think. You are telling me what you think is moral and immoral, and you expect me to agree with you.  If I disagree with your axioms, then you call me a sociopath. The theologian would call me a heretic. The theologian speaks of forbidden fruit. You speak of healthy and unhealthy fruit. To me they are just fruit. I hate you both passionately.

I am simply stating what I believe.
I regard anyone who would accept aggressive violence as moral as a sociopath.

Are you all convinced yet that cunicula is a sociopath, masquerading as a "freethinker"?

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December 09, 2012, 03:51:07 AM
 #120

I am simply stating what I believe.
I regard anyone who would accept aggressive violence as moral as a sociopath.

violence is essential to life. To try to 'educate' or 'socialize' it away is utter folly. You have a fear response for a reason, you have a rage response for a reason. Both act as safety valves on different situations.

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