Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Tragedy

Once upon a time
On a network long ago
Academics and scholars,
Scientists and intellectuals
Discussed logic and theology
Pondered science and philosophy
With civility and decorum
And a semblance of respect for others.

Then the Great Unwashed Masses showed up and fucked everything up.

The End

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Personality Types

Consider a continuum of personality:

A.  People that will "be good" regardless of laws
B.  People that will "be good" because it's the law
C.  People that will "be good" in fear of the law
D.  People that will "be good" because cost-benefit suggests they should
E.  People that will "be bad" because cost-benefit suggests they should
F.  People that will "be bad" because they don't fear the law
G.  People that will "be bad" because they oppose the law
H.  People that will "be bad" because they don't consider the law

Problems with the world:
  • If Rule of Law is diminished, people from (C) and (D) will shift to (E) and (F)
  • If laws are oppressive, irrational or misguided, people will shift from (B) to (G)
  • If people are not taught from an early age to be (A) or (B), they will probably end up (H)
It's interesting to consider the causes that would put people in each category.  Yes, a lot of people end up in (H) because they Just Don't Think, but I'm sure there's a pretty wide distribution across all categories.

More importantly, laws are somewhat ineffective at changing behavior, and weak or selective enforcement makes it even worse.


Regulation only works when it's more profitable to follow the regulations than to break them.

Over-regulation simply encourages regulations to be broken.

Is there something similar to a Laffer curve for Amount of Regulation vs. Compliance?

Under-regulation can be equally devastating, but where is the point of peak compliance with regulation?

Alternatively, how else can we encourage powerful and influential people to just stop being dicks?