Self Selection

  • Politics,  Principal-Agent,  Self Selection

    Thoughts on the current state of the two party system

    As I put in my earlier conversation with Eric:

    Each party has no fixed position, but two definite constituencies:

    • The people who will vote for the party’s candidates
    • The people who will contribute money to the party

    For the Republicans the ideology of the median contributor is fairly close to the ideology of the median voter. For the Democrats, the median contributor seems to be farther left than the median voter. This pushes the party ever leftwards (and indirectly pushes the Republican’s leftwards as well).

    I suppose the question is: Is this an evolutionary stable strategy? Time will tell I suppose.

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  • Iraq,  Self Selection,  Tom Palmer

    More thoughts on the Iraqi insurgency

    Via Tom Palmer is this informative article “The Mystery of the Insurgency” which deals largely with the fact that the insurgents are concentrating on killing Iraqis in great numbers.

    To me this seems to be no mystery. Police states produce killers and gangsters and to a man with a hammer the world is made of nails. What else are they going to do but murder and crime?

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  • Decision Making,  Information,  Self Selection,  Tech

    Thoughts on Self Selection

    While picking some with JP this evening he brought up some new show on CNN that feature two people reading headlines from the blogosphere. Oddly enough the Daily Show on Comedy Central also had a piece on that as well.

    JP also said something to the effect that with all of our technology we aren’t any better informed. After some thought, here’s what I think about that.

    For the purposes of this post, there are three kinds of information

    • Identical Knowledge – this is information that is seen and believed identically. Example are Columbus landing in this hemisphere in 1492, Water boiling at 100 degrees Celsius, etc. Generally this is value neutral.
    • Shared Knowledge – Knowledge that is generally attached to a point of view or some moral value where two people can know basically the same facts but arrive at different conclusions. Examples are the designated hitter in baseball, politics, conspiracy theories, etc.
    • Personal Knowledge – this is knowledge that one person knows, but that other people in his or her social group do not. An example are highly specialized data that comes from hobbies or one’s job.

    I think that with the ever present technology Personal Knowledge has increased dramatically in relation to the other two types, giving the appearance that we all know less since Identical Knowledge (which is largely verifiable) is an ever smaller percentage of what people know.

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