Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rationality Link

I don't have anything much to say, and nothing in the news jumped out at me, so here's something from the LessWrong archive:

The first few paragraphs are a mess, but then it gets better:

There's this thing called "Ricardo's Law of Comparative Advantage".  There's this idea called "professional specialization".  There's this notion of "economies of scale".  There's this concept of "gains from trade".  The whole reason why we have money is to realize the tremendous gains possible from each of us doing what we do best.

This is what grownups do.  This is what you do when you want something to actually get done.  You use money to employ full-time specialists.


To the extent that individuals fail to grasp this principle on a gut level, they may think that the use of money is somehow optional in the pursuit of things that merely seem morally desirable - as opposed to tasks like feeding ourselves, whose desirability seems to be treated oddly differently.  This factor may be sufficient by itself to prevent us from pursuing our collective common interest in groups larger than 40 people.

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