Monthly Archives: May 2019

The workers who will lose their jobs under Medicare for All – People’s World

Had a good discussion with a friend the other night about Medicare for All, and played the devil’s advocate.  One of my bugbears is the speed of the transition from the mess we have now to the new plan; it seems it would necessarily involve laying off millions of insurance analysts, data entry people in hospitals and clinics, middle managers, all the paper-pushers who make up a large proportion of the medical care establishment, which is itself nearly 20% of the economy by GDP.

A good article on exactly this:

Source: The workers who will lose their jobs under Medicare for All – People’s World

As usual, it’s not the end goal that is destabilizing, it’s the sudden transition.  Just like the automation wave that’s happening now.

Knock Down the House

Go watch this documentary, it’s good. Primarily about Brand New Congress and it’s brethren, and the story of four of the candidates they pushed for the 2018 mid-terms. My friend Dave Winer likes it, too. I particularly liked the scene in NYC where the incumbent didn’t show up for a tiny town hall, probably because he was focused on national politics and sort of forgot who he was in Washington to represent.

I joined Brand New Congress way back, after Trump won. They solicit suggestions from their members for 100 or so possible candidates, no particular party affiliation but all regular schmoes agreeing not to take big money for their run (this is key), then they winnow the field down to 30 or so candidates and provide the organization required to make these first-timers competitive. In 2016, they won 8 or 9 House seats from the 30-odd they contested, including the AOC upset in Queens.

They’re going around again right now, looking for nominations. Go check them out here.

Making a radio a streaming device

Dave Winer has a radio he loves, and wants to enable it for streaming. He’s thinking maybe a Bluetooth radio to replace it, but Bluetooth audio isn’t that great.

This is exactly the scenario the Google Chromecast Audio was invented for. Unfortunately, they just discontinued it. But if you can find one on EBay, Dave, you can keep using your Sangean radio and open it up to the wonderful world of web audio.

Incidentally: I’d post this as a comment to his blog post, but his blog requires that I have a Twitter account, which I don’t have by choice …

More about Trust

I’ve been reflecting on how useless government sanctions have turned out to be in influencing behavior. I think it’s because they’re effectively forever; until the sanctioned meet some criteria of change, we will just keep the sanctions on.

Some years ago, it was shown that Tit-For-Tat was a winning strategy to harness cooperation from unknown parties. Trust by default, a short but sharp punishment for betrayal, and a reversion to trust. I think this probably works with people, too, because we are more sensitive to change than to steady state, so the punishment is most effective immediately, and wears into a sullen resentment over time. You don’t punish a kid’s staying out too late by banning them from going out until they’ve proved they’re worthy of a reprieve, you punish them with a short but severe cost and then go back to the trust position. So this is a way to regain trust.

It’s clear that cooperation is evolutionarily adaptive on the group level, too. Trust-by-default leads to better outcomes. So tit-for-tat would seem to be the right way to deal with betrayal, because it encourages trust-by-default. How do we deal rationally with repeated betrayal?