Message Number: 540
From: Daniel Reeves <dreeves Æ>
Date: Sat, 28 Oct 2006 22:42:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: social welfare + fairness + knowledge
> How about "Ensuring that we have a stable and sustained habitat" ...

I would certainly include that under social welfare but it does point to 
one of the many tricky things about maximizing social welfare -- deciding 
how much to discount the future.  In Yootopia ( we have so 
far standardized on discounting the future at 5.375%, meaning that 
happiness now is twice as important as happiness 13 years from now. That 
sounds potentially environmentally dangerous but I don't think that such a 
discount rate implies an optimal strategy of, say, ignoring global 
warming.  After all, even heavily discounted, the massive disutility of 
environmental catastrophe will outweigh some short-term cost savings.

Meta-discussion:  yes, Uluc, that was worth the attention of 
improvetheworld.  Conjecture: once a thread has been started it's little 
burden to the group to have many people chime in with comments; to the 
contrary, it makes it more discussion-y.  Many different threads are what 
can become overwhelming.  Anyone disagree with that?  (uh-oh, it's a 
catch-22! if you disagree, you won't want to burden the group with a 
reply. :)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 29 Oct 2006 00:06:34 +0300 (EEST)
To: Daniel Reeves  
From: Uluc Saranli  
Subject: Re: social welfare + fairness + knowledge

How about "Ensuring that we have a stable and sustained habitat", as in keeping

our planet alive or looking for new ones if the need arises. Of course, you 
could lump that with social welfare, but somehow it seems a bit different.

Just a thought. You can decide whether it's worth the attention of 
improvetheworld or not.

- Uluc.

On Sat, 28 Oct 2006, Daniel Reeves wrote:

> Based on off-line discussion with my grandfather, I propose that there are 
> only three fundamental principles worth fighting for in human society:
>  1. Social Welfare
>  2. Fairness
>  3. The Search for Knowledge
> (This started with an argument about the parental retort "who says life's 
> supposed to be fair?")
>  (1 and 2 are distinct because if we're all equally miserable, that's
>  fair but not welfare maximizing.  Likewise, of the methods for dividing
>  a cake, for example, the method of "I get all of it" maximizes the sum
>  of our utilities, but we nonetheless prefer splitting it in half.)
> Is there a number 4?
> -- 
>  - -	search://"Daniel Reeves"