23 April, 2022

Scarcity Truthers


We fret about how hard we work and what tools we use when our organizations routinely refuse to adopt simple best practices due to not-invented-here syndrome or other similar biases. This is the reason so many underperforming companies have a miraculous turnaround after a change in management, even though the new management team is much less knowledgeable than the old management team – they will improve the situation simply by making the obvious changes that the previous management team refused to accept. This is also why skilled salespeople are so important even for products that seemingly should sell themselves; there is a natural resistance to anything new in an organization.

And for all of the benefits that a small dose of self-deception can have for our mental health, it should go without saying that many of the problems we have in our personal lives are because we live in denial of certain important truths, and we can experience a major turnaround the moment we manage to accept them.

We can be optimistic that the abundance agenda will eventually make some headway, if only because society cannot long tolerate too much artificial scarcity. However, it is human psychology that is at the root of our problems with artificial scarcity, and history suggests that that is a problem we can never fully solve.

20 April, 2022

They Know How Journalism Works! They’re Just Against It!


It’s more like they need people to just randomly trust whatever bullshit feels right, to get them to fall for scams and believe propaganda. In the grandest dreams of the pathetic people doing most of the unpaid work, the end game is the eradication of “deviance” from public life. And that is a real threat that the people opposing this should take more seriously. Upstairs from them are the people whose job it is to make sure old people set up recurring payments. Upstairs from them, the goal is that no one finds the boss’s shell companies or offshore accounts. The mission is mainly to prevent, stigmatize, and delegitimize the discovery and confirmation and dissemination of information about how a few people got their money, where they keep it, and what they do with it—like spending it on subsidizing bigotry about trans people and getting gay teachers fired.

16 April, 2022

Building Trust Across the Political Divide


Perhaps hardest of all, a profound integrity is required for this kind of bridge-building. Most organizations of all varieties handle conflict poorly, from management on down. Integrity here means practicing internally what you teach externally. It takes the shape of concentric circles: using fairness and welcome to carry yourself through internal conflict, loving your team through interpersonal conflicts, and teaching others to love one another through conflict with those they barely know.

The good news is that conflict that is channelled in a healthy direction is one of the most powerful forces for good we have at our disposal. It puts us in touch with our deep moral roots, and brings out the differences between us that, when combined productively, can create genuine dynamism. It produces a powerful sense of freedom, acceptance, and the bracing pleasure that comes with growth. In a word, it is the progenitor of flourishing, for both the bridge-builders and the world they seek to mend.

14 April, 2022


There are two alternative ideas as to what is “fair.” One notion of fairness is an idea of symmetry: each party must be equally able to translate statewide vote share into seats. For instance, if two parties each net exactly half the votes, symmetry requires that they each are awarded half the seats. Despite its intuitive appeal, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that this idea of fairness as symmetry is “based on a norm that does not exist in our electoral system.”

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania proposed a different notion of fairness: the seat outcome is “neutral” if it is similar to the outcome we would expect if the electoral institutions were designed without considering partisan considerations. A redistricting map is “fair” under this second notion if it leads to neutral seat outcomes.

11 April, 2022



Those who oppose regulation of social media generally focus on the legitimate concern that government-mandated content restrictions will, in practice, devolve into censorship. But the main problem with social media is not that some people post fake or toxic stuff; it’s that fake and outrage-inducing content can now attain a level of reach and influence that was not possible before 2009.