[ExI] Warren Buffett is worried too and thinks Republicans are "asinine"

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Mon Oct 28 01:35:59 UTC 2013

On Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 5:53 AM, Omar Rahman <rahmans at me.com> wrote:

> This is a difference of opinion. It doesn't make you a bad person. It
> doesn't make me a good person to disagree. I simply believe that large more
> global organizations are less efficient than smaller more local
> organizations. The same people who want to raise the minimum wage are those
> who cry from the mountain tops to buy locally produced produce. Why is
> locally produced lettuce better than locally produced governance?
> You are conflating lettuce production and government when all know that
> the proper analogy from farming to government is pork production. This I
> will forgive you....once! =D

Except real farms never produce too much pork. You can never have enough

> Personally, about lettuce, I feel that is should be produced efficiently
> and in a manner that preserves my health. If some sort of lettuce could be
> produced more cheaply, assuming the same healthiness, even with the
> transportation costs of bringing it half way around the world I would
> assume that there is some sort of economic imbalance somewhere. Especially
> if I'm not living in a waterless desert.  My solution to this would be a
> global currency issued directly to the citizens on a per capita basis. I
> think this would go a long way to addressing economic imbalances.

Wow. You want to go to a one world government? That is exactly the opposite
of my idea of a good time.

> Local government IS better at local issues. However, my health care needs
> are determined by the conditions in my body and not my position of a map.

If you think it costs a lot to send a head of lettuce from Sonora to
Denver, you should try sending a dollar to Washington DC and back. A lot
more lettuce gets to Denver from Sonora than from Washington in this

> Isn't a group of local volunteers running a soup kitchen better than a
> distant bureaucracy in Washington DC? I sure think it is.
> You only know when you perform a side by side comparison.  The assumption
> by most 'pro-capitalist', 'anti-big-govenrment' people is that economies of
> scale work wonderfully for business but when applied to government they go
> into reverse.

Don't confuse me with the economies of scale people. Yes, it is better to
produce drywall by the boat full. (a very cool process, btw) But that
doesn't mean it has to be in the same company that produces car safety
seats (which don't work so well, but that's another story of government

My favorite industrialist is a fellow named Ricardo Semler. He divides his
companies whenever they get to big, amonst other things.

> I am having trouble understanding why you would simultaneously want a
> higher minimum wage AND be against jobs that will soon be computerized or
> robotised. Do you not understand that a raise of the minimum wage will
> increase the speed of such automation? It's very simple economics. If it
> costs me less to have a combine harvest my cotten than a bunch of Africans,
> then I'm going with the combine. If you make me pay the Africans $100 a day
> (in 1862 terms) then I'm going to go invent a combine. Fast.
> You seem to misunderstand me, if a job can be computerised then let it.
> The industrial revolution put weavers and knitters out of work, but....my
> wife is knitting me a scarf. A minimum wage is a very important social
> safety mechanism that prevents social inequality from growing too wide.

A minimum wage ensures that those who can't earn that much live off the
government dole.

> There you go making a point against your previous point again. Please try
> to think consistently. Yes, a corporation is like an AGI, in that it DOES
> NOT reflect the point of any individual. Then you turn it around and say
> that it DOES reflect the point of a megalomaniacal individual. Which way do
> you want it? I don't see how you can have both sides of this view. Try to
> see what I'm saying here.
> I'm saying that a billionaire/corporation/country is roughly analogous to
> an AGI and that it has some distributed capacity and it has a leader. Both
> at once. The leaders aren't necessarily megalomaniacal.


> Elon is the good guy in this example. My claim is that even good guys
> could do something bad. This hardly seems controversial.
Nope, not at all. but if they do enough bad things, they become bad guys...
sort of tautological.

> Too damn much emotion and fear in it.
> About emotion I would say that we need emotional development more than
> almost anything else. We aren't going to be able to get rid of our emotions
> and remain anything close to 'sane' or 'human'.

I never said emotions were all bad... Just that decisions based entirely on
emotions like fear lead to large militaries and other poor decisions.

> An interesting video about the 'psychopath test':
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUsGDVOCLVQ

I've seen that. While I'm not a psychopath (and I don't say that lightly, I
have good friends who are), I have enough psychopathic tendencies to

> I would also oppose a war on Cuteness.
> Traitor!

Tough. Most war is bad. I am however totally in favor of the Jihad against
Barney the Purple Dinosaur. http://www.jihad.net/ (was
alt.barney.dinosaur.die.die.die back in the good old days of usenet)

> The only war I am in favor of at the moment is the war against bloated
> government. It's like a large tumor growing in the belly of the world's
> nations. It will eventually kill the hosts.
> General agreement that government spending must be periodically
> cut/adjusted.

It will be, but if it isn't done voluntarily, it could be VERY painful.
Make the sequester look like a little grey cloud in comparison to the
Katrina that could result.

> Cancer is in a way a good analogy not just because of the 'uncontrolled
> growth' aspect, but also from the 'treatment aspect'.


Current treatment for cancer is unfortunately very drastic. Generally we
> cut something off, or we take poison into our systems in hopes that the
> less fit cancer cells will die. If we have a foot that has cancer we might
> consider an amputation to prevent the spear. We however can't take that
> approach with our head or heart. The systemic poisons we take fairly often
> end up killing the patient.
> I would make the analogy that not all spending cuts are equal. Don't cut
> the 'heart' out of our institutions.

The government has no business being in the heart business. They should be
in the business of maintaining our freedom and safety and leave the rest up
to private citizens. Americans are so generous of their own volition that
nobody would go hungry.

> I would also make the point that government itself isn't the 'cancer' it's
> the patient. There are some who think, as Reagan did, that 'government is
> the problem'; that is a fundamental disagreement for me.

Agree to disagree. Government IS a big part of the problem, along with big
corporations, and big religions.

> If, and I'll admit it's a big IF, you accept the notion that countries are
> 'mostly analog AIs', how would you rate the US on the 'friendly' scale?
> Psychotic? Delusional?
> Totally bat shit crazy. Much worse than the TEA party. One can easily make
> the case that the US as a nation has Borderline Personality Disorder,
> Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Paranoid Personality Disorder,
> Antisocial Personality Disorder and many others. Of course, most other
> nations are also bat shit crazy. That's why I want smaller, more localized
> government, because if you can reach your fingers around the neck of the
> crazy ass hole that's making the rules, he's going to make better rules
> (usually).
> In a sense I agree with you; we need appropriately scaled institutions to
> deal with each other.

The only large institution that I think we need is the military. It may be
a little too large, but it does need to be monolithic to be functional.

> You think states are better because they are roughly speaking 1/50th the
> size of the Federal government in the US. Well, that's going towards 2
> orders of magnitude better! Problem solved?

No, but it does give us 50 different experimental labs in democracy, and
that will let us learn what works, and what doesn't. I think that's a
better approach. And what works in one place might not work in another. I'm
against Common Core for that reason. Though most who are against it want to
sneak religion back into school... sigh.

> No, because (I put my Canadian hat on for a second...a toque if you must
> know.) we evil Canadians are massing  on your northern border in
> preparation for a permanent spring break. We're going to carve you up state
> by state in our drive towards Florida as part of our doctrine 'of blatantly
> obvious need for sunny days destiny'.

80% of Canadians live within 50 miles of the US border. Huddled there for
warmth, no doubt. The only thing I fear less than a Canadian invasion is a
French invasion.

> Does anyone know of a reference towards a type of bureaucratic structure
> that incorporates an idea of a series of appropriately scaled institutions
> for dealing with each other? The obvious example is a military model but
> I'm thinking of a democratic institution.

The Internet. Anarchy in action. It's nearly perfect.

> Almost every president has raised spending in dollar amounts, but when you
> couple that with tax cuts you get exactly the debt explosion that you would
> expect rather than the 'golden shower' of the trickle down economics we
> were promised.
> I feel the golden shower running down my back everytime Washington pisses
> on me.
> So it's not just me then? I mean being the unfortunate pissee not the
> pisser....

It's all about consent my friend, and I didn't consent to being pissed on
by the government.

> Don't know enough Canadian politics to comment, though I know enough to
> know that they use Conservative and Liberal differently than they are
> defined in the USA. Very confusing that.
> Well, roughly speaking Conservatives = Republicans and Liberals =
> Democrats.

That's not what I got out of it when I talked to people up there. That's
roughly true here though.

> The whole thing makes more sense from the perspective of Hawks and Doves.
> The Hawks want oversized militaries and are prone to the use of force and
> political violence to get this. The Doves want a whole laundry list of
> things and need to cut spending in 'defence' to get them.

In America we are way past that. I think it is more of the anarchists vs.
the bureaucrats. Defense spending or no defense spending just doesn't make
any difference anymore. We spend so much on social security, medicare,
medicaid and interest on the debt, that the rest of it just doesn't matter
a lick.

> I agree. The military-industrial complex is another large dysfunctional
> organization. The banking system is yet another. The Bank of American Fork
> is one of the best run banks in the nation. Why? Probably because they are
> not large.
> We agree that the system as a whole is dysfunctional. However, the
> military-undustrial complex and the banking system aren't dysfunctional
> they are functioning EXACTLY as the generals, military suppliers, and the
> bankers want.

The banking system is dysfunctional. I doubt anyone wanted the housing
bubble to go boom the way it did.

> I disagree with you slightly here. When Obama put forth his idea of the
> sequester, he thought the Republicans would fold before taking money away
> from defense. Guess what? It backfired on him because the Tea Party thought
> it more important to reduce spending than fund defense. I would say that is
> evidence against your proposition.
> There was a moment in one of the most recent Republican Presidential
> primary debates where they were asked if they would accept even a 10:1
> ratio of cuts to tax increases. They all signified that they would not.
> This sort of inflexibility, largely due to Grover Norquist's pledge (which
> is somehow help more solemn than their pledge to serve the American
> people), is not conducive to shared bi-partisan governance.

Nobody in Washington takes any pledge seriously.

> Handful of beans? Health Care represents 18% of the US economy. How is that
> a handful of beans? I am convinced that the long term plan is for Obamacare
> to morph into a single payer system. Doing what they are doing now (so
> badly) is the way forward to a single payer system. If we get there, Zeus
> protect us!
> Health care is some large, you say 18%, part of the economy. The funding
> for Obamacare is what is being discussed. That funding pales to
> insignificance when compared to Military and Spy funding.
I want numbers. And Obamacare is just getting started, it will get WAY more

> Then perhaps they are bad at math? Bad to the point where they don't know
> which number is larger than another?

Hard numbers are difficult to come by, at least the media never puts them
in front of us.

> You said:
> We need a more mammalian
> government that balances risks and reactions to risk in a more
> mathematically correct way.
> Well, Defence is larger than Obamacare.

For the moment. Again, numbers please?

> Interestingly Medicare and Medicaid are BIGGER than Defence and the
> opportunity to reform those seems to be gone. A good article about the
> comparisons between Obamacare and the Canadian system is:
> http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/obamacare-vs-canada-five-key-differences/article14657740/
> In a lot of ways I think the answer was for the US to emulate the Canadian
> system more rather than less. The cost side of the equation has been left
> firmly in the grip of the Hospital corporations, Insurance industry, and
> medical guilds.

Omar, America will soon enough have a system similar to Canada's. Obamacare
is an enormous cluster fuck designed to implode so that we have to go to a
single payer system. Just wait for the boom.

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