Thinks 386

David Chalmers: “I think what moves a lot of people is the idea that somehow if you were in a virtual world, it would all be fake, it would be an illusion. Maybe the are like video games: Nothing that happens there really matters; it’s just an escape from the issues in the real world. Whereas I think what happens in virtual worlds can, in principle, be very significant. You can build a meaningful life in a virtual world. We can get into deep social and political discussions and decisions about the shape of society in a virtual world. Rather than living in a video game, my analogy would be more like we’re moving to a new, uninhabited country and setting up a society. The issues will be somewhat different from the issues where we came from, but I wouldn’t consider that escapism. Also, I’m not saying abandon physical reality completely and go live in a virtual world. I think of the virtual world as a supplement to physical reality rather than a replacement, at least in any remotely short term.”

WSJ: “Freedom is the central component of the best problem-solving system ever devised…Free choice relies on persuasion. It recognizes that you are an important participant with key information, problem-solving abilities and rights. Any solution that is adopted, therefore, must be designed to help you and others. Coercion is used when persuasion has failed or is teetering in that direction—or when you are raw material for someone else’s grand plans, however ill-conceived. Authoritarian governmental approaches hamper problem-solving abilities. They typically involve one-size-fits-all solutions like travel bans and mask mandates. Once governments adopt coercive policies, power-hungry bureaucrats often spout an official party line and suppress dissent, no matter the evidence, and impose further sanctions to punish those who don’t fall in line. Once coercion is set in motion, it’s hard to backtrack.”

Nikolai Wenzel: “Capitalism is the world’s most effective anti-poverty program. From early capitalism in 1800 to today, world life expectancy has grown from 26 to 66 years. The world’s income per capita has increased by a factor of nine. Before 1800, everybody was poor. In 1820, 94% of humanity subsisted on less than $2 a day in today’s money. That fell to 37% in 1990 and less than 10% in 2015—all from the gradual incorporation of more people into freer markets. Heyne reminds us that “a compelling social vision will be one that both explains and inspires”—capitalism explains, but economists often forget to inspire. Conversely, the anti-capitalist mentality inspires, but fails to explain, based as it is “on a belief remarkably immune to either theory or evidence.” Of course, much more remains to be done. But the good news is that capitalism—when it’s tried —lifts hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. So why do we still see poverty, and school teachers who aren’t paid “enough?” Simply, because the world doesn’t have enough capitalism; too many are still excluded from markets.”

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.