Sunday, September 25, 2005

Question

At the end of the test it asks you if you could pass one law what would it be.
Chose to say
I would dictate that... all the countries of the world would be merged into a single country with a utilitarian constitution.

Why?

Well...

1) I am an utililitarian in the manner to which I am referring and thus it is a bit of a catch all. So why one single country? Well I think the earth is facing a number of threats in the future.
The first is one the neo conservatives recognize
1) The threat of rogue groups in control of high powered weapons.
The next is one noticed by the far left
2) The threat of extremly effective capitalist strategies that in a sense consume themselves - i.e. the threat of a "race to the bottom" where tax rates incomes and services drop towards zero or negative externalities such as pollution or negative strategies such as threats and blackmail.

It depends on how he future turns out but some of these are very serious dangers that may require collective action and if so the potential to take that action should be there. the only way to do that properly is to have a single government.

But also note that my interpretation of utilitarian is quite different to that of other what I would call “naive utilitarians” I take into account all the possible consequences. Therefore in many situations I support capitalism because it works in the long run – not doing the foolish thing of only maximizing utility at any particular instant with no regard for the long run or the incentives that you create. If given the appropriate evidence I would outright support libertarianism or outright communism (depending on what the evidence proved) I however doubt it would indicate either of those.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is your claim to "I take into account all the possible consequences" not just as naive? How do you know what ALL the consequences are?

9:53 PM  
Blogger Genius said...

> How do you know what ALL the consequences are?

Let’s say I play a game against you. Maybe the game is Rugby for example. If I was a libertarian I might follow a philosophy like "I will always run towards the opposition goal line" if I was a communist I might follow a philosophy such as "I will always tackle anyone who runs fast".

These strategies may work sometimes and after any game saying "I will run towards the goal line faster" sounds like a reasonable strategy.

A "naive utilitarian" might say “will do whatever it takes to get the ball slightly closer to the opposition goal line"

This seems even better, but is still a pretty mindless strategy.

I on the other hand would work with all the knowledge I have at my disposal to determine a real strategy for winning the game. Things like "holding onto the ball when I am one point ahead" and "getting it to my kicker to kick goals." taking into account everything I can predict.

Also - in general, I think that the world is fairly predictable. We just get confuses when we have not done enough analysis or when we seek certainty amongst probabilistic events when it is only the probabilities that we need to know.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

I think you've inadvertently answered my question. The original "I take into account all the possible consequences" is now "with all the knowledge I have at my disposal". The latter is believable - the former was a fantasy. Also, I'm not convinced a single world government is the best solution to the problems we face. Wouldn't that be putting all our eggs in one basket? Would you really be comfortable putting your life in the hands of a group like the tribes with flags at the UN? I wouldn't be - that's for sure!

6:42 PM  
Blogger Genius said...

> I think you've inadvertently answered my question.

not really "inadvertently" but I'll just chalk it up to nitpicking !

> Wouldn't that be putting all our eggs in one basket?

If half the earth goes to hell in a handbasket wont the other half be in trouble also?

> Would you really be comfortable putting your life in the hands of a group like the tribes with flags at the UN? I wouldn't be - that's for sure!

No - that is the problem of course. I certainly dont propose just surrendering to the UN.
the fact that a single government might be good doesn't change the fact that there could be all sorts of bad things about it for example those that make the UN such a clumsy organization.

11:37 PM  

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