Re: One humanity, all in the same boat

From: Peter C. McCluskey (
Date: Fri Feb 01 2002 - 10:13:01 MST (Chris Hibbert) writes:
>I'm not sure what you're trying to say motivates those who oppose
>change. Do you mean that they expect the average affect of some
>change to be negative, or that they expect particular people to be
>negatively affected? (I think we agree that particular people will
>often be negatively affected.)

 I meant that the effects on particular people are their main motivation.

>Clearly there are some opponents with each view. Since you suggest
>attacking luddites as selfish, you must believe that the general
>affect of (particular) changes is positive. Do you think the
>luddites understand this?

 No, it is normal for people's opinions to be biased by their self-interest,
and the evidence for the positive effects is generally not compelling
enough to offset those biases. They see us as similarly biased.

> Or is the point that the general public
>can be convinced that the general affect is positive enough that the
>particular harms can be offset or neglected?

 My main hope is that we can reduce the frequency with which the public
gets fooled into treating self-interested policies as altruistic policies.
Convincing the public that they don't know what the net effects are will
often be more practical than convincing them that the net effects are positive.

>Every time I think about the negative externalities that "Luxury
>Fever" discussed, it looks like they only affect those who buy
>into the comparative scale of wealth. I don't see that I've done
>something extraordinary in order to feel immune to this competition,
>so it looks to me like an externality that anyone can opt out of.

 I see signs that people who are relatively wealthy, or who have succeeded
at some other form of status competition, can opt out. I don't know how to
tell how hard it is for people with low status can opt out.
 I presume there are some important benefits to encouraging people to choose
to care about the kinds of status they are most likely to achieve, rather
than feeling pressure to use the most popular measures of status.

Peter McCluskey          | Free Jon Johansen! | 

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