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Re: [ontolog-forum] Self Interest Ontology

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2011 01:07:56 -0700
Message-id: <98C1A01748084351BEDC4557CA6C4D51@Gateway>

Dear John,


Comments below,




Rich Cooper


Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com

9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2


John F. Sowa wrote:


On 9/5/2011 7:58 PM, Rich Cooper wrote:

> I think that trying to distinguish between awareness (Doug's word)

> or consciousness (your word) and more automatic or instinctual

> reactions, is not observable.


I very rarely talk about consciousness, and I'm sure that I did

not mention it in this thread. 


You are correct – you didn’t say that.  That post was a response to Pat’s; he is the one who was trying to make a decision between whether self interest is a conscious or a unconscious motivator.  So the word “you” in that clipping was addressed back to Pat, not to you John. 


A great deal (probably the most

important aspects) of behavior are not based on conscious decisions.

In fact, much of the psychological research shows that conscious

explanations of a decision tend to be rationalizations for

instinctive reactions.  Bismarck made that point more bluntly:


    "Every man has two reasons, a good one and the real one."


I like the quote.  I have heard it before, but wasn’t aware that it came from Bismarck.  Thanks for the note. 


The point I have been emphasizing is that self interest cannot

be separated from a very large number of other psychological and

sociological issues. 


It can’t be separated EASILY or ACCURATELY, but it can be separated statistically by well designed polls and well designed analyses of the results of polls.  For example, how people change their opinion before and after a significant event shows how much that event affected their self interest as perceived by the pollees. 


One point that many people have observed

is that happiness is one of the most important aspects of

self interest -- immediately after the minimum requirements

of food, clothing, and shelter.


And many people have also noted that happiness depends critically

on social interactions.  (Note that solitary confinement is one

of the most unpleasant punishments in prisons.)


Agreed that social interactions are an important part of MOST people’s perceived happiness, but there are hermits and others who prefer solace for long periods of time. 


There are many other issues, but the main point is that you can't

take one aspect of psychology or sociology and develop an adequate

theory without relating it to all or nearly all other aspects.


I don’t you have made that point; you haven’t addressed the statistical analysis of polls, historic events, economics, or business processes such as traffic analysis of customer actions versus environmental cues in the retail space.  Those things have been well studied and are getting a lot more funding because they work.  Your ex employer (IBM) is presently conducting seminars on what they call Business Analytics which purport to statistically study such phenomenon where it can be measured in commercial activities. 



> But as I also said to Rich, all the observations indicate that

> Herbert Hoover's approach was a total failure, and the methods

> by Roosevelt and Truman led to the unprecedented level of prosperity

> from the late 1940s through the 1960s.



> Clearly we disagree on this; that shows that there is subjectivity

> in the observation process...


I was not discussing subjective issues. I was citing historical events.


You mean you were citing historical events as read and accepted by you, who were reading and accepting the subjective judgments of people you agree with.  Remember Bismarck’s quote; you were seeing and believing what you wanted to see and believe, and it had nothing to do with objective reality.  It was filtered by your own past experiences that led you to be receptive to the position that Roosevelt did good instead of what he really did. 


All the evidence shows that the worst possible way to handle

a recession is to cut government spending.  That is what HH did

in the period from 1929 to 1932, and it created the greatest

depression of all time.


HH made mistakes, and cutting spending at that particular time was one of them, as I find the same history documented by economists such as Milton Friedman whose work you are loathe to accept, again due to your own experience and subjective focus. 


The full recovery from the Great Depression wasn't complete until

the spending on WW II, which required a far greater amount of deficit

financing than at any period in US history.  What Roosevelt did during

that period was to PRINT MONEY.  It caused some inflation, but that

was compensated by the greatest economic boom ever.  After the war,

there was a recession in 1945, which was countered by MORE SPENDING on the GI Bill of Rights (which sent a very large number of veterans to college) and by the huge loans to Europe for the Marshall Plan.


Those decisions enabled the US to have the best educated work force

(in terms of percentages of college graduates) on the planet, and

they also led to the greatest period of prosperity in US history.


That is history.  The interpretation I cited is the consensus of

nearly every economist on the planet (except, perhaps, for those at

the right-wing think tanks).


If you can find any evidence to counter that interpretation, I would

love to see it.  And by evidence, I mean historical *facts*, not

slogans or editorials.


No, you have it backward.  Roosevelt kept the depression going from 1932 until 1941 when it was ended by massive spending on war materiel, by training soldiers in the electronics technologies underlying military hardware of that ware, and by bringing millions of women (Rosie the riveter, remember her?).  After the war, the rest of the globe was in ruble, especially Europe and Asia, which were forced to purchase their goods and services from the only industrialized country to escape the destruction – the USRoosevelt had nothing to do with the recover.  You should remember that he died in office long before the war ended. 


If you want counter evidence, consider the link at

http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/the-great-depression-according-to-milton-friedman/ which describes how Bernanke specifically apologized to Friedman and said “you were right; we made it worse”.  Here is a snippet from that link:


Few events in U.S. history can rival the Great Depression for its impact. The period from 1929 to 1941 saw fundamental changes in the landscape of American politics and economics, including such monumental events as America ‘s going off the gold standard and the founding of Social Security. It was a watershed for the growth of the federal government.

The Great Depression created a widespread misconception that market economies are inherently unstable and must be managed by the government to avoid large macreconomic fluctuations, that is, business cycles. This view persists to this day despite the more than 40 years since Milton Friedman and Anna Jacobson Schwartz showed convincingly that the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies were largely to blame for the severity of the Great Depression. In 2002 Ben Bernanke (then a Federal Reserve governor, today the chairman of the Board of Governors) made this startling admission in a speech given in honor of Friedman’s 90th birthday: “I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression, you’re right. We did it. We’re very sorry.”


JS:> That is history.  The interpretation I cited is the consensus of

nearly every economist on the planet (except, perhaps, for those at

the right-wing think tanks).


No, that is history the way you chose to perceive it, in part because the left wing politicians and the need for the public to believe that their government would save them from the Nazis and the Emperor made them susceptible to believing it that way.  What you typecast as “right wing economists” and “the concensus of nearly every economist on the planet (except, perhaps, for those at the right-wing think tanks) shows that you have believed the propaganda of the few left wingers who have both a good economics background and an inclination to study the data. 


If you can find any evidence to counter that interpretation, I would

love to see it.  And by evidence, I mean historical *facts*, not

slogans or editorials.


I just gave you evidence; read it and think carefully about it before you immediately reject it due to your previous bias.  Your view of history is very distorted by those social factors which led to the propaganda during the war, to the growth of government through special interests, and through your refusal to consider the opposite point of view seriously.  Not that I blame you for that misconception; the social fabric of the last sixty years has been distorted by those events ever since. 


Do you consider Bernanke a right-wing think tank economist?  How about his predecessor who believed the same way, and talked in obscure economics to congress to avoid being called out on his views, which were unpopular with politicians devoted to expanding government further.  Both parties got us into the debt situation we now face, starting with Reagan, slightly ameliorated by Clinton (not at his own desire – remember his health care fiasco?  The Republican led congress left him no choice but to make the deficit smaller until he actually had a surplus), and later devastated by two trillion in Bush Jrs wars and by four trillion more (so far) by Obama’s ill advised stimulus plan that didn’t work.   




But I suggest we not continue debating this issue; it isn’t important to the Self Interest Ontology, and its clear that neither you nor I will convince each other given our subjective experiences. 


Let’s move on instead of rehashing this over and over. 




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