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July 15th, 2013, 04:28 PM   #21
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Re: Utopia

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Originally Posted by CRGreathouse
Indeed. That's why I'd like to see a solution that does not rely on universal adherence. Perhaps you could have most people following this idealistic path, but surely there will always be Hitlers and Amins. If a method could be found that would stop crazies and the ill-incented with some not-too-huge majority (say, < 99%) that would be encouraging.
The problem is that you don't need to be warlike to support war. As an example, take current US foreign policy. We're currently running a torture camp in Guantanamo. Most Americans are opposed to torture. But people have their own lives and their own personal concerns. So you don't see 100 million people in the street every time the government does something they object to.

In fact the US government does a lot of things its citizens object to, but most people are simply too busy or too uninformed to do anything.

And of course the social and economic cost of "doing something" can be severe ... see Edward Snowden, for example.

The result is that throughout history, and most especially in contemporary US politics, the government can do whatever it wants with or without the support of the people. There's never going to be a mathematical theory of making humans behave better.

I truly question what is being proposed here and why this thread has any relevance to a math forum. Like I say, I'm often engaged in these kinds of conversations on political discussion forums. That's where this belongs. "How can we get universal whirled peas?" There is no mathematical theory of fixing human behavior that has any reality to it at all.
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July 15th, 2013, 04:33 PM   #22
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Re: Utopia

There are lots of theories that are mathematical and are based on making people behave better.

Again, everything adds up always, including the effects of medication. Would I be accurate if I say sometimes people get medication they should not? You betchya. Is this normally the case? I sure hope not... Statistically, most medications do what they are supposed to even if among other things. Who is to decide whether or not the medication is working?

Is there a mathematical solution to all problems?

That is the point of this thread.
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July 15th, 2013, 04:48 PM   #23
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Re: Utopia

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I despise violence...
Me too. We agree on something @krausebj0!

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Originally Posted by krausebj0
It was the responsibility of the citizens of Germany, along with the people of the world, to mutually agree not to kill each other. I realize that people will follow to insane ends with little explanation. Despite all of this, the Universe does not flinch. It continues doing simply what it does.
Hitler's Germany is such a great example of how good countries go bad. After WWI, Germany was financially ruined as a result of the harsh, punitive reparations that were imposed on it by the victors. When Hitler came to power (completely legally and as the result of a democratic process, it should never be forgotten) he started building up the military, promoting German pride, and improving the economy. Most Germans remained ignorant of the growing evil, and supported Hitler because things seemed to be getting a lot better. These were not evil people ... they were normal people noticing that their economy and their daily lives were improving under Hitler's leadership. (I'm not a historian, this is just my understanding).

Hitler started imposing his evil laws a little bit at a time. You know, a little surveillance here, a little "enhanced interrogation" there. No wait, that's what's happening in the US. But you see the point. Everyday people just operate their lives. You can't turn your life and your family's life upside down to right every wrong you see around you. Most of the time you just keep quiet and hope for the best.

So any theory of "making everyone behave rationally" has no relevance in the real world. Just follow the news. We find out that the government is spying on everyone's electronic communications; and instead of being outraged, we spend all our time asking if the leaker is a traitor and whether he should be prosecuted or just executed without trial.

The president of the US has a "kill list" that he reviews weekly, deciding which American citizen deserves assassination without due process. Why aren't Americans marching on the White House in outrage?

Why not start with that data point and ask yourself why this is all happening right here, right now, even as you and I have this conversation.

Anyway like I say, this is a ridiculous conversation to have on a math forum. This has nothing to do with bounded rationality; nor does the theory of bounded rationality have any bearing on the real world. The idea is that if people were only informed and rational, they'd do the right thing. But over and over throughout history, and even in this very moment, we see that people have more access to information than ever before; and most people are basically decent; and yet our government perpetrates great evil every day. And what do people say? "Well, the government know best. They're keeping us safe from the terrorists."

Grrrr. If there were a political subforum here, this conversation would make sense. As it is, I should leave it alone because in fact I do have a lot of political opinions, and they don't belong here. Other than to point out that decency, rationality, and knowledge do not seem to have any impact on the collective evil being done in our name.
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July 15th, 2013, 04:58 PM   #24
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Re: Utopia

I think we are on the same page. Models, axiomitization, and such.

Nothing much to consider here that hasn't been already I realize.

My contribution is that of a clown. Infinities are my cup of tea. I want to let everyone enjoy my work if they choose to... Better ask CRG though.

Let there be light.
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July 15th, 2013, 05:16 PM   #25
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Re: Utopia

Please lock this thread.

No more crazy talk for this bean counter.
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July 15th, 2013, 05:29 PM   #26
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Re: Utopia

Further discussion of game theory, social choice theory, bounded rationality, etc. is welcome here. Political discussion belongs (if anywhere) on Introductions and Other Topics.
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July 15th, 2013, 05:55 PM   #27
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Re: Utopia

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Further discussion of game theory, social choice theory, bounded rationality, etc. is welcome here. Political discussion belongs (if anywhere) on Introductions and Other Topics.
I agree. My apologies for getting carried away politically.

My point, though, is that even the idea of bounded rationality is inapplicable to the real world. Even full rationality is useless. I claim that fully rational actors possessed of all the facts will still make decisions that are locally correct but globally horrible.

In fact there's a more precise mathematical point to be made. If each actor in a system does the most rational thing in each instance; the global effect can still be irrational. This is a conclusion I've reached from studying current events all my life. You take a city council full of decent, salt-of-the-earth people; and collectively they will do the dumbest things.

Is there a name for this theory? The idea that each individual actor is locally rational; yet the global behavior is irrational. It's some kind of manifold analogy ... at each point it looks Euclidean, but globally it's not. At each point each individual's behavior is fully rational; yet the global result is not.
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July 15th, 2013, 06:37 PM   #28
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Re: Utopia

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Originally Posted by Maschke
I agree. My apologies for getting carried away politically.
Not a problem. We actually don't ban it here (like most other forums I frequent), it's just that it's off-topic on this board.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maschke
My point, though, is that even the idea of bounded rationality is inapplicable to the real world. Even full rationality is useless. I claim that fully rational actors possessed of all the facts will still make decisions that are locally correct but globally horrible.
Game theory is all about decisions that are locally correct (or, in the case of bounded rationality, 'nearly' correct) but which may have very bad consequences. (The Prisoner's Dilemma is the classic introductory example.)

In other words, this doesn't show that it's inapplicable at all -- just the reverse! This is an argument that it is very relevant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maschke
In fact there's a more precise mathematical point to be made. If each actor in a system does the most rational thing in each instance; the global effect can still be irrational.
Absolutely. In fact, this is frequently the case. An example from outside game theory (well, it can be studied in game theory but only obliquely) is the Tragedy of the Commons.

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Is there a name for this theory? The idea that each individual actor is locally rational; yet the global behavior is irrational.
Game Theory. The idea that actions have bad global behavior pervades the entire field. It's not a problem for it but its bread and butter!
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July 16th, 2013, 01:49 AM   #29
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Re: Utopia

Hi

I took a look at your thread and got puzzled when you said that everything can be enumerated. Doesn´t Goedel´s incompletude theorem (both parts) contradict this?
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July 16th, 2013, 06:45 AM   #30
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Re: Utopia

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I took a look at your thread and got puzzled when you said that everything can be enumerated. Doesn´t Goedel´s incompletude theorem (both parts) contradict this?
Yes.
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