Incentives

  • Underappreciated flaw in centralization —> selection effects
    • Devon Eriksen:
      • And then you have the third and smallest category, which is sort of the people who come from this tradition of the power brokers of the 20th century. These are people who will happily burn down Western civilization in order to be king of the ashes that remain. I think that there's a little bit of panic on the part of people who have traditionally wielded soft power from behind the scenes. The 20th century was the century of totalitarianism and it became that way through the technological state of humanity at that point. Your major communications avenues of the 20th century were radio and television.
        Well, these were very expensive to produce, and so they automatically were one-to-many media. You sit in your living room and you watch your television and you listen to your radio and there's one person selected by someone with the money to do all this who is pontificating at you. And so it was very easy for people with wealth and power to control the narrative. And now we have the internet, which is a many-to-many communications medium, and you'll have individual websites like Reddit where it's sort of run by communists and they censor everything, but that's not the internet. The internet is okay if you don't like that, you can go to some other site, some other protocol, some other means of communication. People can route around censorship, route around official narratives and talk to each other. And now it's no longer so easy to control the message. So I think what we're seeing is a lot of panic, a lot of "we don't control public opinion in the way that we used to."
        They had the power to control the narrative through administrative means for so long, they lost the ability to persuasively argue their case, that atrophied. And so now they have to lie, they have to distort, and they have to censor the opposition.
        The institutions were structured in such a way as to motivate and incentivize corruption. This process took a while to occur because when you centralize a lot of power in one place, for example, in three major media networks that controlled all the television in the seventies and eighties, it's going to attract a certain type of person who is highly motivated to use that for personal ends and to monetize it. Many people focus on the idea that we just have these corrupt individuals who are damaging our institutions and we just need to remove them. I see it as we centralized our institutions too much in the first place because that's what the technology supported.
    • A person with centralized power is supposed to plan society, but no one has a monopoly on good ideas. We all have mostly stupid ideas and a few good ones. The way that free minds and free markets work is that we all go out and implement our ideas, and most of us fail. A few of our ideas happen to be good, and those succeed, and then everybody imitates them. So, I would say, go pursue your own ideas. Don't assume they won't work. If you have an idea that you think will work, try it. And if you see someone else who has an idea that is working, imitate them.