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The economics of free choice

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abacus

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Aug 21, 2003, 9:13:52 PM8/21/03
to
"Jeff Utz" <kidsd...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<bi3cl6$b...@library2.airnews.net>...
> "abacus" <abacu...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:ce9f3a02.03082...@posting.google.com...
> > I'm sorry, I don't have time to compose a complete response to your
> > thoughtful post. My work load has just increased dramatically, so I'm
> > not as much time as previously to converse. However, I did want to
> > make a few commments.
> >
> > "fred & michele" <heal...@concentric.net> wrote in message
> news:<bi0l0i$3...@dispatch.concentric.net>...
> >
> > > I see both sides to the question of regulating substances like tobacco,
> > > alcohol, cocaine, even heroin. While the consequences of illness &
> > > addiction physically belong to the user, society as a whole *is*
> burdened
> > > by the financial cost of treatments for these consequences & lost
> > > productivity. It is a balance of freedom & cost to the public that
> probably
> > > satisfies few.
> >
> > I find the economic arguments for allowing individuals freedom of
> > choice to be very convincing. While it's not obvious at first glance,
> > the mathematics indicate that optimum good for society can only be
> > achieved by allowing individuals the ability to make those decisions
> > for themselves. Have you studied that aspect of it at all?
>
> I disagree. I mean, if left to my own devices, I would not pay taxes. I
> would go 100 mph on the highway. Landlords would increase their rent
> astronomically. Insiders at companies would sell stocks before they announce
> that they are going bankrupt.
>
> (...)
>
> Jeff

Ah, I see you haven't studied that aspect of it at all. Still, I
suppose I could have phrased it a bit better. Let me try again,

I find the mathematical analysis put forward by those espousing the
libertarian POV that free choice leads to the best overall outcome for
society as a whole more convincing than any argument I have heard for
supporting mandates and regulation of personal decisions like the ones
we've been discussing.

Albert Wagner

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Aug 21, 2003, 9:28:03 PM8/21/03
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On 21 Aug 2003 18:13:52 -0700
abacu...@yahoo.com (abacus) wrote:

> "Jeff Utz" <kidsd...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:<bi3cl6$b...@library2.airnews.net>...

<snip>


> > I disagree. I mean, if left to my own devices, I would not pay
> > taxes. I would go 100 mph on the highway. Landlords would increase
> > their rent astronomically. Insiders at companies would sell stocks
> > before they announce that they are going bankrupt.

> Ah, I see you haven't studied that aspect of it at all. Still, I


> suppose I could have phrased it a bit better. Let me try again,
>
> I find the mathematical analysis put forward by those espousing the
> libertarian POV that free choice leads to the best overall outcome for
> society as a whole more convincing than any argument I have heard for
> supporting mandates and regulation of personal decisions like the ones
> we've been discussing.

Perhaps the problem is that you have been swayed by a "mathematical
analysis" rather than a study of human nature. Free choice means just
what it says. Choose to cooperate or not. I've never heard a valid
libertarian argument for how to deal with those that choose not to
cooperate, other than "shoot them."


Jeff Utz

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Aug 21, 2003, 10:23:41 PM8/21/03
to

What about people who are making choices without all the knowledge? I mean,
without any knowledge of whether vaccines work or not, why would one get the
vaccines? What about people who have poor knowledge of vaccines, like people
who read and believe the antivaccine web sites without realizing the
antivacs don't have a clue?

What about cases where the person can gain from everyone's losses? For
example, say I own land next to a nature preserve. Perhaps the best use of
the land for the population would be for me to donate the land to the nature
preserve. However, the best use of the land for my own benefit is putting up
a mini-mall with restaurants, gas station, food store, etc. Now, what you
expect me to do?

This is not an abstract concept. It has been faced over and over again when
one gains by using resources even the population at large is better off is
those resources are conserved. It is seen areas where people are best off
conserving water and not letting particular areas be farmland. Needless to
say, the people who are doing the farming would rather it be used for
farming.

There is another mathematical argument for mandates. There is a mathematical
puzzle called the "prisoner's dilemma." In the prisoner's dilemma, the
prisoner who squeals on other prisoners comes out ahead, but, on average,
prisoners come out ahead if no one squeals. The strategy that comes out on
top is the society (prisoners) mandating that no one squeal. If one squeals,
they squeal on him. Tit-for-tat. You can find out more about this in
Scientific American magazine.

Another example of mandates is paying highway and road taxes. If it were not
for this mandate to pay for taxes, who do you think would build and maintain
roads? I am sorry, but I would like to see this mathematical analysis. I
suspect that it is just fancy math that obfuscates the issue.

Jeff


abacus

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Aug 22, 2003, 10:51:19 AM8/22/03
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"CBI" <00...@mindspring.com> wrote in message news:<qff1b.9646$B8....@newsread2.news.atl.earthlink.net>...

> "abacus" <abacu...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:ce9f3a02.03082...@posting.google.com...
> >
> > I find the economic arguments for allowing individuals freedom of
> > choice to be very convincing. While it's not obvious at first glance,
> > the mathematics indicate that optimum good for society can only be
> > achieved by allowing individuals the ability to make those decisions
> > for themselves. Have you studied that aspect of it at all?
>
> The mathenatical models only work if the individuals are making accurate
> assessmentsa of what id good for them. If you get a good number of people
> making bad decisions they go right out the window.

Whereas, here we have a man who has read about that aspect, but didn't
understand it.

> > The problem here is that individuals who choose to accept risks
> > voluntarily are not given the option of doing so with the penalty of
> > having to pay the price on their own. I'm not sure how to deal with
> > this particular problem, but I'd like to hear others' ideas.
>
> I have no problem with people assuming risks and then paying the price on
> their own. When a parent is making the decision for the child it is the
> child who pays the price.

True. But there are risks involved with every choice. When the
government makes the decision, it is still the child who pays the
price. Who is more likely to make better decisions about an
individual child?

> > > Once again the question arises over whether the people whose money pays
> for
> > > the consequences of the individual's choice is entitled to any input.
> Or
> > > are they expected to simply pull out their wallets & pony up the $$$$?
> >
> > The main concern that I have with this particular argument is that it
> > applies quite well to lots of other behaviors - like smoking tobacco,
> > eating too much, not exercising, etc. Do you really want to open the
> > door to having society exert legal control over those behaviors
> > because they are *footing the bills* for health problems caused by
> > obesity and smoking? Can you think of a logical way to differentiate
> > between what behaviors it's reasonable to control by such laws and
> > what behaviors it is not?
>
> I agree with you and that is why I find the arguments about hospital bills
> and EMS etc to be weak in reagrds to seatbelt laws and helmets. There are
> just too many other closely releated examples that we cannot legislate and
> no way to distinguish them. I think one useful distinction is when your
> decision directly affects other people. Not wearing yuor own seatbelt may
> not affect others directly but failure to restrain or force the use of
> helmets in your kids will directly affect them. Similarly, the decision not
> to vaccinate has direct effects on the others around them.

> > I'm not sure that a compromise regarding rules that affect everyone is
> > going to be possible between folks like JG and Jeff. I'm currently
> > pondering the feasibility for people to choose what laws they wish to
> > live under such as depicted in "Snow Crash" by Neil Stephenson (I
> > think I spelled that right).
>
> I once had a lawyer tell me that a good compromise leaves both sides a
> little dissatisfied.

Roger Schlafly

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Aug 22, 2003, 5:30:50 PM8/22/03
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"abacus" <abacu...@yahoo.com> wrote

> Whereas, here we have a man who has read about that aspect, but didn't
> understand it.

No surprise -- CBI is an innumerate.

> > When a parent is making the decision for the child it is the
> > child who pays the price.
> True. But there are risks involved with every choice. When the
> government makes the decision, it is still the child who pays the
> price. Who is more likely to make better decisions about an
> individual child?

The parents. Physicians sometimes have trouble with the concept
because they are trained in a very authoritarian manner.


Jeff Utz

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Aug 22, 2003, 5:53:30 PM8/22/03
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"Roger Schlafly" <rog...@mindspring.com> wrote in message
news:vYv1b.2795$z22.46...@twister1.starband.net...

> "abacus" <abacu...@yahoo.com> wrote
> > Whereas, here we have a man who has read about that aspect, but didn't
> > understand it.
>
> No surprise -- CBI is an innumerate.

Really? What has CBI ever said about math that is incorrect? And who was it
who said that the rotavirus vaccine caused a statistically significant
increase in the rate of intussecption, but was unable to tell us the name of
the statistical test?

> > > When a parent is making the decision for the child it is the
> > > child who pays the price.
> > True. But there are risks involved with every choice. When the
> > government makes the decision, it is still the child who pays the
> > price. Who is more likely to make better decisions about an
> > individual child?
>
> The parents. Physicians sometimes have trouble with the concept
> because they are trained in a very authoritarian manner.

Really. Can you show us data that show that parents make better decisions
about vaccinations than doctors?


Tsu Dho Nimh

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Aug 22, 2003, 7:06:34 PM8/22/03
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abacu...@yahoo.com (abacus) wrote:


>> The mathenatical models only work if the individuals are making accurate
>> assessmentsa of what id good for them. If you get a good number of people
>> making bad decisions they go right out the window.

Thyre is absolutely no way anyone has time or knowledge to
research all the options and pick the best one.

Tsu

--
To doubt everything or to believe everything
are two equally convenient solutions; both
dispense with the necessity of reflection.
- Jules Henri Poincaré

Jeff Utz

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Aug 22, 2003, 7:30:48 PM8/22/03
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"Tsu Dho Nimh" <tsudh...@lumbercartel.com> wrote in message
news:pj7dkvkc4nj5ujuko...@4ax.com...

> abacu...@yahoo.com (abacus) wrote:
>
>
> >> The mathenatical models only work if the individuals are making
accurate
> >> assessmentsa of what id good for them. If you get a good number of
people
> >> making bad decisions they go right out the window.
>
> Thyre is absolutely no way anyone has time or knowledge to
> research all the options and pick the best one.

Correct. A group of experts in a particular field, most of whom are
physicians who have a well-rounded knwoledge of physiology and pathology and
most of whom are experts in the field of vaccines or immunology or
infectious disease would be able to make better decisions than lay people.

Just like I would expect a laywer to be able to make better legal decisions
than I would.

Jeff

D. C. Sessions

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Aug 23, 2003, 12:30:12 AM8/23/03
to

> True. But there are risks involved with every choice. When the
> government makes the decision, it is still the child who pays the
> price. Who is more likely to make better decisions about an
> individual child?

Those with the best information. In areas where individual
variations are significant *AND* those variations are apparent
to people close to them, that would be parents (a good example
is educational direction.)

Immunology doesn't fit either criterion.

--
| Microsoft: "A reputation for releasing inferior software will make |
| it more difficult for a software vendor to induce customers to pay |
| for new products or new versions of existing products." |
end

Robert Vienneau

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Aug 23, 2003, 6:02:24 AM8/23/03
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In article <ce9f3a02.03082...@posting.google.com>,
abacu...@yahoo.com (abacus) wrote:

> > > I find the economic arguments for allowing individuals freedom of
> > > choice to be very convincing. While it's not obvious at first
> > > glance,
> > > the mathematics indicate that optimum good for society can only be
> > > achieved by allowing individuals the ability to make those decisions
> > > for themselves. Have you studied that aspect of it at all?

The math says exactly the opposite.

"A bad nomenclature (Pareto-optimum) in the literature, together
with much carelessness in textbooks, often misleads people into
thinking that there is some theorem which claims that a
competitive equilibrium is socially optimal. There is no such
claim...

...For instance, there are many accounts to be found that a
free-trade equilibrium is Pareto-efficient for the world as a
whole. Very rarely do these textbooks spell out completely
and precisely what is required to reach this result, in
particular, absence of increasing returns and a complete set
of Arrow-Debreu markets. If these assumptions were stated and
discussed, they might be less inclined to declare free trade
'optimal'".
-- Frank Hahn, "General Equilibrium Theory", in "The Crisis
in Economic Theory". Basic Books, 1981.

"Hahn, in The Notion of Equilibrium in Economics (1973), argues
that Arrow-Debreu equilibria have a negative usefulness, because
they help us understand what the world would have to look like
in order for certain contentions to be acceptable, e.g. that
real economies are Pareto-efficient: he argues that Arrow-Debreu
theory shows that in order to obtain Paretian efficiency there
ought to exist complete contingent intertemporal markets, and
thus - since these markets do not exist - the claim that real
economies are Pareto-efficient is falsified. This argument is
far from fully convincing; but even conceding to Arrow-Debreu
theory some ngative usefulness of this kind, the really
important question remains totally unanswered: how do real
economies work?"
-- Fabio Petri, "Professor Hahn on the 'Neo-Ricardian'
Criticism of Neoclassical Economics", in "Value,
Distribution and Capital: Essays in Honour of
Pierangelo Garegnani". Routledge, 1999.

Vaccinations have an important dimension of non-excludability
and externalities. So, if one wanted to be guided by "the
mathematics", one who understood "the mathematics" woould
not have written in this context what "abacus" writes above
(assuming I have the context right).

--
Try http://csf.colorado.edu/pkt/pktauthors/Vienneau.Robert/Bukharin.html
To solve Linear Programs: .../LPSolver.html
r c A game: .../Keynes.html
v s a Whether strength of body or of mind, or wisdom, or
i m p virtue, are found in proportion to the power or wealth
e a e of a man is a question fit perhaps to be discussed by
n e . slaves in the hearing of their masters, but highly
@ r c m unbecoming to reasonable and free men in search of
d o the truth. -- Rousseau

abacus

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Aug 23, 2003, 10:18:05 AM8/23/03
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"Jeff Utz" <kidsd...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<bi68uk$l...@library2.airnews.net>...

> "Tsu Dho Nimh" <tsudh...@lumbercartel.com> wrote in message
> news:pj7dkvkc4nj5ujuko...@4ax.com...
> > abacu...@yahoo.com (abacus) wrote:
> >
> >
> > >> The mathenatical models only work if the individuals are making
> accurate
> > >> assessmentsa of what id good for them. If you get a good number of
> people
> > >> making bad decisions they go right out the window.
> >
> > Thyre is absolutely no way anyone has time or knowledge to
> > research all the options and pick the best one.
>
> Correct. A group of experts in a particular field, most of whom are
> physicians who have a well-rounded knwoledge of physiology and pathology and
> most of whom are experts in the field of vaccines or immunology or
> infectious disease would be able to make better decisions than lay people.
>
> Just like I would expect a laywer to be able to make better legal decisions
> than I would.
>
> Jeff

If your lawyer was also reaping significant rewards from doing
business with the party that was opposing you, you wouldn't be able to
trust his judgement because while he might have superior knowledge he
also might NOT have your best interests as his primary goal in making
those decisions. Likewise, we have a similar problem with the bias of
the experts who are making vaccine policy recommendations. In the
end, I trust the people who are most likely to have the best interests
of the child at heart more than I do experts in the field.

abacus

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Aug 23, 2003, 10:19:33 AM8/23/03
to
Robert Vienneau <rv...@see.sig.com> wrote in message news:<rvien-0DDFB2....@news.dreamscape.com>...

> In article <ce9f3a02.03082...@posting.google.com>,
> abacu...@yahoo.com (abacus) wrote:
>
> > > > I find the economic arguments for allowing individuals freedom of
> > > > choice to be very convincing. While it's not obvious at first
> > > > glance,
> > > > the mathematics indicate that optimum good for society can only be
> > > > achieved by allowing individuals the ability to make those decisions
> > > > for themselves. Have you studied that aspect of it at all?
>
> The math says exactly the opposite.

Given your reputation with those on this newsgroup whom I respect, I
must conclude that I am on the right tract. Thanks.

Jonah Thomas

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Aug 23, 2003, 10:52:53 AM8/23/03
to
abacus wrote:

> If your lawyer was also reaping significant rewards from doing
> business with the party that was opposing you, you wouldn't be able to
> trust his judgement because while he might have superior knowledge he
> also might NOT have your best interests as his primary goal in making
> those decisions. Likewise, we have a similar problem with the bias of
> the experts who are making vaccine policy recommendations. In the
> end, I trust the people who are most likely to have the best interests
> of the child at heart more than I do experts in the field.

This is a serious problem. Expertise is not enough and good will is not
enough. Unless you can find one person that you are sure has both, your
results will be quite uncertain.

Roger Schlafly

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Aug 23, 2003, 3:07:27 PM8/23/03
to
"Jonah Thomas" <j2th...@cavtel.net> wrote

> > those decisions. Likewise, we have a similar problem with the bias of
> > the experts who are making vaccine policy recommendations. In the
> > end, I trust the people who are most likely to have the best interests
> > of the child at heart more than I do experts in the field.
> This is a serious problem. Expertise is not enough and good will is not
> enough. Unless you can find one person that you are sure has both, your
> results will be quite uncertain.

You may not find such a person. The best solution is to let the
parents decide, and let them use the best available info.


Roger Schlafly

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Aug 23, 2003, 3:25:57 PM8/23/03
to
"Robert Vienneau" <rv...@see.sig.com> wrote

> The math says exactly the opposite.

No, it doesn't. You've posted some quotes to the effect that
the real world deviates somewhat from the economic models.
Of course it does. Nevertheless, individual free choice nearly
always gives a better result than planned economies. Both theory
and practice prove it.

> Vaccinations have an important dimension of non-excludability
> and externalities. So, if one wanted to be guided by "the

> mathematics", ...

The conclusion is still that individual free choice works best.


Robert Vienneau

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Aug 23, 2003, 3:44:54 PM8/23/03
to

> Robert Vienneau <rv...@see.sig.com> wrote in message
> news:<rvien-0DDFB2....@news.dreamscape.com>...
> > In article <ce9f3a02.03082...@posting.google.com>,
> > abacu...@yahoo.com (abacus) wrote:

> > > > > I find the economic arguments for allowing individuals freedom of
> > > > > choice to be very convincing. While it's not obvious at first
> > > > > glance,
> > > > > the mathematics indicate that optimum good for society can only
> > > > > be
> > > > > achieved by allowing individuals the ability to make those
> > > > > decisions
> > > > > for themselves. Have you studied that aspect of it at all?

> > The math says exactly the opposite.

> Given your reputation with those on this newsgroup whom I respect, I
> must conclude that I am on the right tract. Thanks

It would be in vain to ask "abacus" what he is talking about. How
could my "reputation" change whether or not Debreu (1959) proves
the first and second Welfare theorems in a model with complete
contingent intertemporal markets? What does my "reputation" have
to do with whether or not one obtains some benefit if one's
neighbors are vaccinated?

"A bad nomenclature (Pareto-optimum) in the literature, together
with much carelessness in textbooks, often misleads people into
thinking that there is some theorem which claims that a
competitive equilibrium is socially optimal. There is no such
claim...

...For instance, there are many accounts to be found that a
free-trade equilibrium is Pareto-efficient for the world as a
whole. Very rarely do these textbooks spell out completely
and precisely what is required to reach this result, in
particular, absence of increasing returns and a complete set
of Arrow-Debreu markets. If these assumptions were stated and
discussed, they might be less inclined to declare free trade
'optimal'".
-- Frank Hahn, "General Equilibrium Theory", in "The Crisis
in Economic Theory". Basic Books, 1981.

--

David Wright

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Aug 23, 2003, 3:53:07 PM8/23/03
to
In article <8YO1b.2934$qp3.49...@twister1.starband.net>,

That second half is the real killer -- the idea that all parents will
go out an use the "best available info." Instead, they might
unwittingly use something like your lamentable "FAQ" and conclude that
they, like you, should find flimsy excuses for not vaccinating their
own kids, then pray that everyone else *does* vaccinate, thus allowing
them to be the same sort of parasite you are.

-- David Wright :: alphabeta at prodigy.net
These are my opinions only, but they're almost always correct.
"If I have not seen as far as others, it is because giants
were standing on my shoulders." (Hal Abelson, MIT)

Eric Bohlman

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Aug 23, 2003, 4:10:32 PM8/23/03
to
wri...@clam.prodigy.net (David Wright) wrote in
news:DCP1b.811$OF3...@newssvr33.news.prodigy.com:

>>You may not find such a person. The best solution is to let the
>>parents decide, and let them use the best available info.
>
> That second half is the real killer -- the idea that all parents will
> go out an use the "best available info." Instead, they might
> unwittingly use something like your lamentable "FAQ" and conclude that
> they, like you, should find flimsy excuses for not vaccinating their
> own kids, then pray that everyone else *does* vaccinate, thus allowing
> them to be the same sort of parasite you are.

Even if they've got the best of intentions, the fact is that parents tend
to deal with potential risks to their children emotionally rather than
rationally. Protecting one's children was an important function long
before the cerebral cortex evolved much, so it tends to be a midbrain
function. That's why, for example, one of the classic propaganda
techniques for stirring up hatred against a group is to claim that they
pose a threat to children; it gets parents to think emotionally rather
than rationally. In the absence of complete knowledge, parents will go
with whatever is the most emotionally compelling. And all too often that
means going with whoever has the best salesmanship. Plus, we all have a
built-in bias that causes us to perceive the risk of doing something as
greater than it actually is, and the risk of not doing something as less
than it actually is.

Roger Schlafly

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Aug 23, 2003, 4:36:44 PM8/23/03
to
"Eric Bohlman" <eboh...@earthlink.net> wrote

> than rationally. In the absence of complete knowledge, parents will go
> with whatever is the most emotionally compelling. And all too often that
> means going with whoever has the best salesmanship. Plus, we all have a

So parents hear emotional arguments for and against vaccines.
They also hear emotional arguments about where to live, what
to eat, whom to vote for, etc. They still manage to make reasonable
decisions.


Eric Bohlman

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Aug 23, 2003, 4:48:35 PM8/23/03
to
"Roger Schlafly" <rog...@mindspring.com> wrote in
news:SfQ1b.2951$414.49...@twister1.starband.net:

But those latter arguments don't have to do with their children's *safety*,
which is where the limbic system tends to override the cortex far more than
in matters of residence, eating, or politics. The latter decisions don't
involve balancing competing *fears*.

D. C. Sessions

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Aug 23, 2003, 4:35:58 PM8/23/03
to
In <Xns93E09B9DB91e...@130.133.1.4>, Eric Bohlman wrote:

> Even if they've got the best of intentions, the fact is that parents tend
> to deal with potential risks to their children emotionally rather than
> rationally. Protecting one's children was an important function long
> before the cerebral cortex evolved much, so it tends to be a midbrain
> function. That's why, for example, one of the classic propaganda
> techniques for stirring up hatred against a group is to claim that they
> pose a threat to children; it gets parents to think emotionally rather
> than rationally. In the absence of complete knowledge, parents will go
> with whatever is the most emotionally compelling. And all too often that
> means going with whoever has the best salesmanship. Plus, we all have a
> built-in bias that causes us to perceive the risk of doing something as
> greater than it actually is, and the risk of not doing something as less
> than it actually is.

Keep in mind that that emotional response also tends to heavily
color how we weigh facts, so that even those (very) few in
posession of "complete facts [1]" won't necessarily come to
objectively justifiable conclusions.

Considering the amount of effort and expertise that goes into
making usable sense of those "complete facts," it's very
telling that anyone would seriously propose that each and
every parent take the time to master them before making
life-and-death decisions about their children.

[1] Rog has often complained that researchers haven't forwarded
him their complete datasets, including personal identifying
details. Free, of course.

jonah thomas

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Aug 23, 2003, 7:22:13 PM8/23/03
to

I tend to agree with you. Since parents have a direct stake in their
children, the result is at least that when they mess up they get a lot
of the consequences themselves. "Think of it as evolution in action."

Perhaps it would be even better, for children who're 8 years old or
older, to let the children themselves make the best informed choice they
can. By the same logic that says the parents have the child's best
interest at heart, we can say that the children themselves definitely
have their best interest at heart.

If we admit that we don't really know about long-term consequences of
things like vaccines, then it would follow that for the society as a
whole it's wrong to force people to get vaccinated. Better to prevent a
random half of the people from getting vaccinated, until we get enough
data to actually see what's happening. If half-vaccinated is not enough
to prevent occasional outbreaks among the unvaccinated half then we'd
get more data about the nature of the disease also, which is definitely
a good thing. If, over a generation or two, the advantages of
vaccination when half the population is vaccinated are obvious, then we
could gradually increase the percentage who are allowed access to
vaccines up to say 95%.

Rue The Day

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Aug 23, 2003, 9:33:12 PM8/23/03
to
Robert Vienneau <rv...@see.sig.com> wrote in message news:<rvien-BD7116....@news.dreamscape.com>...

You're wasting your time arguing with someone who understands neither
the math nor the economic theory underlying his belief. It's pretty
clear that abacus read somewhere that a free market always produces
the optimal outcome under all conditions, and now he's just repeating
it mindlessly without understanding why.

CBI

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Aug 23, 2003, 9:39:33 PM8/23/03
to

"abacus" <abacu...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:ce9f3a02.03082...@posting.google.com...
> >
> > I have no problem with people assuming risks and then paying the price
on
> > their own. When a parent is making the decision for the child it is the
> > child who pays the price.
>
> True. But there are risks involved with every choice. When the
> government makes the decision, it is still the child who pays the
> price. Who is more likely to make better decisions about an
> individual child?

In many cases the parent. In some cases the government. Especially so in
cases where there really isn't a legitimate decision to make. This is not
such an unusual concept. We all accept that there are things we do not grant
the parent the right to decide in regard to the raising of the child (abuse,
basic care like feeding, education, etc). We are really only discussing
where to draw the line, not whether to draw it.

--
CBI, MD


CBI

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Aug 23, 2003, 9:41:21 PM8/23/03
to
"Roger Schlafly" <rog...@mindspring.com> wrote in message
news:vYv1b.2795$z22.46...@twister1.starband.net...

> "abacus" <abacu...@yahoo.com> wrote
> > Whereas, here we have a man who has read about that aspect, but didn't
> > understand it.
>
> No surprise -- CBI is an innumerate.

This comming from the mathematician who doesn't understand basic logic or
statistics.

--
CBI, MD


CBI

unread,
Aug 23, 2003, 9:42:28 PM8/23/03
to

"Tsu Dho Nimh" <tsudh...@lumbercartel.com> wrote in message
news:pj7dkvkc4nj5ujuko...@4ax.com...
> abacu...@yahoo.com (abacus) wrote:
>
>
> >> The mathenatical models only work if the individuals are making
accurate
> >> assessmentsa of what id good for them. If you get a good number of
people
> >> making bad decisions they go right out the window.
>
> Thyre is absolutely no way anyone has time or knowledge to
> research all the options and pick the best one.

.....on every subject (except Rog and JG, of course).

--
CBI, MD


CBI

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Aug 23, 2003, 9:46:36 PM8/23/03
to

"David Wright" <wri...@clam.prodigy.net> wrote in message
news:DCP1b.811$OF3...@newssvr33.news.prodigy.com...

> In article <8YO1b.2934$qp3.49...@twister1.starband.net>,
> Roger Schlafly <rog...@mindspring.com> wrote:
> >
> >You may not find such a person. The best solution is to let the
> >parents decide, and let them use the best available info.
>
> That second half is the real killer -- the idea that all parents will
> go out an use the "best available info." Instead, they might
> unwittingly use something like your lamentable "FAQ" and conclude that
> they, like you, should find flimsy excuses for not vaccinating their
> own kids, then pray that everyone else *does* vaccinate, thus allowing
> them to be the same sort of parasite you are.

All? How about even a few? If a person with a graduate level degree who has
done extensive research* can't get it right what chance does an auto
mechanic without the interest to do the research have?

--
CBI, MD

* Assuming that reading The Eagle Forum counts as extensive research.


CBI

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Aug 23, 2003, 9:53:52 PM8/23/03
to
"jonah thomas" <j2th...@cavtel.net> wrote in message
news:3F47F725...@cavtel.net...

> If we admit that we don't really know about long-term consequences of
> things like vaccines, then it would follow that for the society as a
> whole it's wrong to force people to get vaccinated.

Huh? Most of the vaccines we are using have been around for decades.

> Better to prevent a
> random half of the people from getting vaccinated, until we get enough
> data to actually see what's happening. If half-vaccinated is not enough
> to prevent occasional outbreaks among the unvaccinated half then we'd
> get more data about the nature of the disease also, which is definitely
> a good thing.

We already have that data. We saw plenty of the natural history of the
diseases and we know that for most of the vaccines we need coverage of about
90% or greater to prevent outbreaks.

--
CBI, MD


jonah thomas

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Aug 24, 2003, 1:59:10 AM8/24/03
to
CBI wrote:
> "jonah thomas" <j2th...@cavtel.net> wrote

>>If we admit that we don't really know about long-term consequences of
>>things like vaccines, then it would follow that for the society as a
>>whole it's wrong to force people to get vaccinated.

> Huh? Most of the vaccines we are using have been around for decades.

Yes, but we don't really have adequate control groups.

>>Better to prevent a
>>random half of the people from getting vaccinated, until we get enough
>>data to actually see what's happening. If half-vaccinated is not enough
>>to prevent occasional outbreaks among the unvaccinated half then we'd
>>get more data about the nature of the disease also, which is definitely
>>a good thing.

> We already have that data. We saw plenty of the natural history of the
> diseases and we know that for most of the vaccines we need coverage of about
> 90% or greater to prevent outbreaks.

Yes, so if we did make it illegal for a random half of the population to
get vaccinated we *would* have outbreaks in the unvaccinated half.
Within 2 generations the risks on either side should become obvious to
everybody. While it would be politically better to let people who
didn't want to be vaccinated but could, switch places with people who
did want to be vaccinated but couldn't, that would mess up the study
because they'd differ in nonrandom ways.


I guess it's impractical to do large-scale testing. Too bad.

Robert Vienneau

unread,
Aug 24, 2003, 2:18:55 AM8/24/03
to
In article <vdP1b.2941$pu3.49...@twister1.starband.net>, "Roger
Schlafly" <rog...@mindspring.com> wrote:

> "Robert Vienneau" <rv...@see.sig.com> wrote
> > The math says exactly the opposite.

> No, it doesn't. You've posted some quotes to the effect that
> the real world deviates somewhat from the economic models.

I have not posted any quotes suggesting that existing deviations
from the assumptions of certain models (for example, the
non-existence of some markets) have a neglible effect on the
conclusions. In fact, a good reader of those texts who understands
the math referred to would infer nearly the opposite.

> Of course it does. Nevertheless, individual free choice nearly
> always gives a better result than planned economies. Both theory
> and practice prove it.

False dichotomy.

"Attempts to generalize simple family's or related families'
habit formation to large-group polities - a la utopian
experimental cults or in the Lenin-Stalin and Mao pattern
have not hitherto succeeded in organizing production with
approximate Pareto-Optimality efficiency features. Gradual
evolution toward near laissez-faire market mechanism
responding to individual's self-interest, history suggests
and advanced economic theory second guesses, will incur
areas of market failure and will generate and perpetuate
considerable degrees of economic and political inequalities.
Just as there is no asymptotic communist utopia, neither is
an asymptotic laissez-faire utopia."
-- Paul A. Samuelson, "A Modern Post-Mortem on Bohm's
Capital Theory: Its Vital Normative Flaw Shared by
Pre-Sraffian Mainstream Capital Theory". Journal of
the History of Economic Thought. 2001.



> > Vaccinations have an important dimension of non-excludability
> > and externalities. So, if one wanted to be guided by "the
> > mathematics", ...

> The conclusion is still that individual free choice works best.

No indication is provided that such a conclusion reflects any
such guidance.

David Wright

unread,
Aug 24, 2003, 2:45:39 AM8/24/03
to
In article <0OU1b.5013$8i2....@newsread2.news.atl.earthlink.net>,

Exactly. The idea that everyone will go out and have the time and
materials and intelligence to research every issue is idiotic -- but
that doesn't stop people like Roger from insisting that it's true.

>* Assuming that reading The Eagle Forum counts as extensive research.

Now, now -- at least the Eagle Forum is against the horrid USA PATRIOT
act.

Roger Schlafly

unread,
Aug 24, 2003, 4:19:09 AM8/24/03
to
"jonah thomas" <j2th...@cavtel.net> wrote

> I guess it's impractical to do large-scale testing. Too bad.

We could simply give people free choice. If large numbers of
people are skeptical about vaccines and refuse them, then we
could compare the vaccinated kids to the unvaccinated kids.
Not as good as a random sample, but better than nothing. If
the experience results in a consensus, so much the better.


Roger Schlafly

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Aug 24, 2003, 4:33:40 AM8/24/03
to
"Robert Vienneau" <rv...@see.sig.com> wrote

> > No, it doesn't. You've posted some quotes to the effect that
> > the real world deviates somewhat from the economic models.
> " Just as there is no asymptotic communist utopia, neither is
> an asymptotic laissez-faire utopia."
> -- Paul A. Samuelson, "A Modern Post-Mortem on Bohm's

You like to quote leftist economists who are ideologically
opposed to free markets. What is your point?


jonah thomas

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Aug 24, 2003, 4:48:15 AM8/24/03
to

One trouble with that approach is that when enough people do get
vaccinated it tends to protect the ones that don't, too.

So they are exempt from whatever risks there are to the vaccine and they
get the benefits of the others who do take those risks.

It's vaguely similar to saying that we should give people free choice
about whether to pay taxes or not.

On the other side, an imperfect vaccine can stop epidemics if it's given
universally. If it cuts the chance of infection from 10% per exposure
to 1% per exposure, that might be enough that the disease dies out
instead of spreading explosively. But when there are enough
unvaccinated people present to have the epidemic anyway then many of the
vaccinated would get sick too.

So it isn't just a matter of individual choice and individual
consequences. You benefit if I get vaccinated, I may suffer if you
don't. Once we get it established how many people must be vaccinated to
stop an epidemic, then it makes some sense to make sure that many people
get vaccinated. We have a technology that can stop epidemics, it's
worth a lot to stop them, and free choice is beside the point until we
get a better technology.

Here are some more vague analogies:

You don't give every dutchman his share of the dike and tell him it's
his own free choice whether to maintain it.

Once when I was in grad school I lived in housing that had very very bad
mosquitoes. Any time I went outside hundreds of mosquitoes went after
me, and when I went inside five or six would get in with me. After
awhile I went into the tiny fenced back hard and found some big garbage
cans full of liquid with many thousands of mosquitoes breeding in them.
I emptied them. Hurray! The problem would soon be over! That night
I mentioned it to the guy in the next apartment. He got mad. "My
angelfish depend on those mosquitoes! How are they going to eat if you
kill their food?" I figure, if he kept the tanks screened and stuck his
own arm in there to be bitten it would be OK. But he had no right to
grow hundreds of thousands of mosquitoes and release them to bite
whoever they found. How he lives that doesn't affect me is his choice.
When he makes me itch he's got to answer to me.

When we know how many vaccinations it takes to stop an epidemic, and we
know that the vaccinations are mostly harmless, then it's OK to let a
few people slip by provided it isn't too many. It isn't acceptable to
let too many people have free choice, if they choose wrong.

Roger Schlafly

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Aug 24, 2003, 6:21:09 AM8/24/03
to
"jonah thomas" <j2th...@cavtel.net> wrote

> When we know how many vaccinations it takes to stop an epidemic, and we
> know that the vaccinations are mostly harmless, then it's OK to let a
> few people slip by provided it isn't too many. It isn't acceptable to
> let too many people have free choice, if they choose wrong.

Suppose it takes a 90% vaccination rate to stop a measles epidemic,
and under free choice 95% get vaccinated, and under mandatory
vaccination 99% get vaccinated. Then what would you say?

It is possible to construct hypothetical scenarios in which it seems
like people need to be forcibly vaccinated for their own good.
But where are the examples involving real world diseases today?
I haven't heard any.


Jonah Thomas

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Aug 24, 2003, 9:14:45 AM8/24/03
to
Roger Schlafly wrote:
> "jonah thomas" <j2th...@cavtel.net> wrote

>>When we know how many vaccinations it takes to stop an epidemic, and we
>>know that the vaccinations are mostly harmless, then it's OK to let a
>>few people slip by provided it isn't too many. It isn't acceptable to
>>let too many people have free choice, if they choose wrong.

> Suppose it takes a 90% vaccination rate to stop a measles epidemic,
> and under free choice 95% get vaccinated, and under mandatory
> vaccination 99% get vaccinated. Then what would you say?

Then I'd tend to say let the 1% slip by. Probably more than that slip
by by accident now. It's very hard for a whole society of americans to
do anything at better than 99% efficiency.

> It is possible to construct hypothetical scenarios in which it seems
> like people need to be forcibly vaccinated for their own good.
> But where are the examples involving real world diseases today?
> I haven't heard any.

We're discussing hypothetical examples, aren't we?

Jonah Thomas

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Aug 24, 2003, 9:22:38 AM8/24/03
to

You're assuming these are economists who're opposed to free markets
because their ideology demands it, rather than economists who don't
universally recommend free markets because their research fails to
support the ideology that free markets are universally ideal.

I note that actual markets almost always include a "market-maker" to
improve their efficiency. This is clear empirical evidence that
unregulated markets do not work well. It's an open question what kind
of regulation is best.

Rue The Day

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Aug 24, 2003, 10:59:48 AM8/24/03
to
"Roger Schlafly" <rog...@mindspring.com> wrote in message news:<Lk02b.3039$hO3.52...@twister1.starband.net>...

> "jonah thomas" <j2th...@cavtel.net> wrote
> > When we know how many vaccinations it takes to stop an epidemic, and we
> > know that the vaccinations are mostly harmless, then it's OK to let a
> > few people slip by provided it isn't too many. It isn't acceptable to
> > let too many people have free choice, if they choose wrong.
>
> Suppose it takes a 90% vaccination rate to stop a measles epidemic,
> and under free choice 95% get vaccinated, and under mandatory
> vaccination 99% get vaccinated. Then what would you say?

And what if, under free choice, only 85% were vaccinated?

> It is possible to construct hypothetical scenarios in which it seems
> like people need to be forcibly vaccinated for their own good.
> But where are the examples involving real world diseases today?
> I haven't heard any.

You haven't heard any, because the government (in the US at least)
requires children to be vaccinated in order to be admitted into
school.

abacus

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Aug 24, 2003, 1:05:28 PM8/24/03
to
Jonah Thomas <j2th...@cavtel.net> wrote in message news:<3F48BC1E...@cavtel.net>...

I'm not sure who is claiming that free markets are universally ideal.
The work I've found convincing shows that free markets can be expected
to perform better than non-free markets. Could you cite the
empirical evidence you are referring to? This is an area I find of
interest. Thanks.

Roger Schlafly

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Aug 24, 2003, 1:20:07 PM8/24/03
to
"Rue The Day" <ruet...@outgun.com> wrote

> > It is possible to construct hypothetical scenarios in which it seems
> > like people need to be forcibly vaccinated for their own good.
> > But where are the examples involving real world diseases today?
> > I haven't heard any.
> You haven't heard any, because the government (in the US at least)
> requires children to be vaccinated in order to be admitted into
> school.

Many countries in Europe and elsewhere do not have mandatory
vaccination. Furthermore, some US states are very liberal about
granting exemptions, while others are not. This experience has
shown that mandatory vaccination is not necessary to maintain
vaccination levels that are sufficiently high to prevent epidemics.


Roger Schlafly

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Aug 24, 2003, 1:35:55 PM8/24/03
to
"Jonah Thomas" <j2th...@cavtel.net> wrote

> > You like to quote leftist economists who are ideologically
> > opposed to free markets. What is your point?
> You're assuming these are economists who're opposed to free markets
> because their ideology demands it, rather than economists who don't

His web site promotes Keynes, Marx, Engels, and Galbraith.
Pulling some out-of-context quotes denouncing free markets
does not impress me very much. They are widely discredited
as economists, and their political views are nutty.

> I note that actual markets almost always include a "market-maker" to
> improve their efficiency. This is clear empirical evidence that
> unregulated markets do not work well. It's an open question what kind
> of regulation is best.

Why don't you visit some regulated economies, and let me know if you
find one that works as well as having free markets?


jonah thomas

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Aug 24, 2003, 2:12:15 PM8/24/03
to
Roger Schlafly wrote:
> "Jonah Thomas" <j2th...@cavtel.net> wrote

>>I note that actual markets almost always include a "market-maker" to


>>improve their efficiency. This is clear empirical evidence that
>>unregulated markets do not work well. It's an open question what kind
>>of regulation is best.

> Why don't you visit some regulated economies, and let me know if you
> find one that works as well as having free markets?

I've been satisfied by reading that many forms of strict regulation get
in the way.

Would you point me to an unregulated economy to compare against? I
haven't had much luck at finding one so far.

ro...@telus.net

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Aug 24, 2003, 2:18:21 PM8/24/03
to

Appropriately enough, there have been some recent news reports that
inadequate voluntary vaccination rates for, IIRC, measles in the UK
had resulted in significant epidemics.

-- Roy L

ro...@telus.net

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Aug 24, 2003, 2:24:53 PM8/24/03
to
On Sat, 23 Aug 2003 20:36:44 GMT, "Roger Schlafly"
<rog...@mindspring.com> wrote:

>So parents hear emotional arguments for and against vaccines.
>They also hear emotional arguments about where to live, what
>to eat, whom to vote for, etc. They still manage to make reasonable
>decisions.

Reasonable in the opinion of one who is, apparently, less than fully
reasonable himself...

I would not call eating decisions that result in a 40% obesity rate
reasonable. I would not call voting decisions that elect
self-evidently corrupt and incompetent candidates reasonable.

-- Roy L

ro...@telus.net

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Aug 24, 2003, 2:30:07 PM8/24/03
to
On Sat, 23 Aug 2003 19:22:13 -0400, jonah thomas <j2th...@cavtel.net>
wrote:

>If we admit that we don't really know about long-term consequences of
>things like vaccines, then it would follow that for the society as a
>whole it's wrong to force people to get vaccinated. Better to prevent a
>random half of the people from getting vaccinated, until we get enough
>data to actually see what's happening. If half-vaccinated is not enough
>to prevent occasional outbreaks among the unvaccinated half then we'd
>get more data about the nature of the disease also, which is definitely
>a good thing. If, over a generation or two, the advantages of
>vaccination when half the population is vaccinated are obvious, then we
>could gradually increase the percentage who are allowed access to
>vaccines up to say 95%.

The problem here is that the experiment is not really controlled. The
vaccines change from year to year as better ones are developed. And
some of the problems with vaccines have been blamed on a preservative
used to keep the vaccines stable so they can be stored for a longer
period of time, rather than the vaccination per se.

-- Roy L

Jeff

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Aug 24, 2003, 5:21:30 PM8/24/03
to

"Roger Schlafly" <rog...@mindspring.com> wrote in message
news:vdP1b.2941$pu3.49...@twister1.starband.net...

> "Robert Vienneau" <rv...@see.sig.com> wrote
> > The math says exactly the opposite.
>
> No, it doesn't. You've posted some quotes to the effect that
> the real world deviates somewhat from the economic models.
> Of course it does. Nevertheless, individual free choice nearly
> always gives a better result than planned economies. Both theory
> and practice prove it.

Right. How about showing us the papers that support this view? Can you
explain how highways, bridges, electrical systems and sewer systems would
get built without government intervention?

> > Vaccinations have an important dimension of non-excludability
> > and externalities. So, if one wanted to be guided by "the
> > mathematics", ...
>
> The conclusion is still that individual free choice works best.

Again, support your conclusion.

Jeff


Jeff

unread,
Aug 24, 2003, 5:23:12 PM8/24/03