By Arnold Kling
Will Wilkinson and Robin Hanson have at it. When Tyler Cowen says “self-recommending,” does that mean he recommends it without watching it?
Anyway, a few issues.
1. Hanson says that people have a propensity to disagree, just to be contrary. Do you agree? How do we explain conformity?
2. Hanson says that the expected return from being cryonically frozen is positive. If it works, the benefits are high, and the probability of it working is greater than zero. Yet few people sign up for it. I think that we are afraid of looking weird if we sign up for it.
3. Hanson and Wilkinson discuss instinctive status-seeking vs. conscious status-seeking. This brings up an issue. If you learn to recognize that certain behavior is designed to raise a man’s status, should you engage in that behavior more (because you want status), or less (because you see that it serves no useful social purpose)?
4. A central point in the Mike Munger podcast is that having a city take over bus service does not eliminate individual motivation. Hanson and Wilkinson describe as idealists people who believe that individualistic motivation can be overcome. Are idealists themselves unusually unselfish, or are they just naive? Are cynics who believe in individualistic motivation particularly selfish, or are they just as public-spirited, but more realistic? The Hanson-Wilkinson discussion broaches the subject, but does not do carry it very far.