February 17, 2014

Notes on Tangibility and Circularity (informal)

These notes are being cross-posted from Tumbld Thoughts. Some reflections on assorted readings. I and II are about tangibility, economic value, and cognitive bias. III is about circular reasoning and ideology. 

I. Tangibility and Bias: Production

This is my take on the idea [see 1,2] that land is a special form of capital which is non-reproducible and (under Western law) entirely privatizable. This suggest that production (or production that is most completely rewarded) is biased towards things that are private and tangible.

The graphic above shows various forms of production and how they size up on a continuum between private, tangible production and public, intangible production (given examples are ad hoc). The direction of change (or the fight against cultural bias) is noted with an arrow. In a future post, I will detail the consumption side of these continua.

Each axis of this schematic represents a potentially revolutionary tension in modern society, but like the tension between the ancien regime and the bourgeoisie did in the French Revolution.

II. Tangibility and Bias: Consumption

As promised, here is schematic demonstrating consumption on the tangibility, public-private continuum introduced in my previous post on production. Some notes on both schematics:

[A] "public" refers to what are traditionally public goods. In these examples, most examples are a mix of public and private. The relative position is a first-pass approximation at the ratio of that mix.

[B] "tangible" refers to the physical or easy-to-enclose objects (such as land or ingots of ore).

[C] "consumption" means to accept the value of (e.g. engage in a transaction to acquire) whatever it is you are consuming.

III. Circles in the Sands of the Mind

Circular logic all the way down. Is circular logic in the service of an iron-clad debating position [3] ultimately a sign of paranoia [4], or an intractable form of infinite regress [5]? Or is it a quasi-religion (e.g. a means to an end that cannot end) [6]? This reading list might help. Circular logic all the way down (this is not the answer to this question, I just like saying that)!

"The single biggest problem in communication logic is the illusion that it has taken place" -- Me and George Bernard Shaw


[1] Kaminska, I.   The tyranny of land. Dizzynomics, February 5 (2014).

[2] Smith, K.   Not all forms of wealth are equally pernicious. FT Alphaville, February 4 (2014).

[3] Lyngar, E.   Why I fled libertarianism -- and became a liberal. Salon, December 28 (2013).

[4] Sunstein, C.   How to Spot a Paranoid Libertarian. Bloomberg Opinion, January 30 (2014).

[6] Dunn, D.J.   Three reasons why market liberalism is a religion. David J. Dunn blog, October 23 (2012).

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