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DavidV

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Everything posted by DavidV

  1. In order to become a Medical Doctor licensed to practice medicine, you must first get a four-year bachelors degree, which often need not have anything to do with medicine. Furthermore, the four years of medical school need not teach you anything at all about the specialty you intend to practice, as that is learned during the residency and fellowship. Basically, the medical certification system wastes eight of the most productive years of a young person's life before they are allowed to work...

  2. If corruption is the pursuit of money and power for personal gain by political means, then it is a mistake to see corruption as a deviation from some imagined ideal political system. Corruption IS the political process, as it is the only activity which politics incentivizes is the pursuit of political authority and rent seeking behaviors. There is no non-corrupt, non-arbitrary rational method to allocate stolen loot outside of the market price system. The intention of political actors is...

  3. Human values are individual and subjective, but in modern society, money is a used as a proxy of value, in both the market and the political system. We can speak of the aspirational, world-changing dreams of both entrepreneurs and politicians, but it is money which gives their values power to act. In this way, we can see the politics and the market as mirroring each other, driven by the same self-organizing principles of individual value maximization. Many people see the political and the economic spheres as collaborative, with each making up for the gaps of the other. There is a fundamental difference between the market and the political process however: The market system is driven by the pricing mechanism and therefore selects for maximization of consumer value. The political system is driven by the electoral-bureaucratic process, and therefore selects for the maximization of political influence. To succeed in the market, entrepreneurs must reorganize labor and capital and delivery sufficient value to consumers to cover their expenses. Politicians must reorganize labor and capital in a way that maximizes their power to redirect assets from those engaged in profit-making activity (which includes every market participant) to actions which maximize the support the support of their funding base. The crucial point is that this has nothing to with intention – the capitalist may be malicious and the politician benevolent, but to the extent that they are successful in their respective spheres, they must respond to incentives. The market process incentivizes the satisfaction of consumer values, whereas the political process incentivizes the redirection of values from the voluntary sphere or consumer choices, to the involuntary sphere of political authority. Thus, though they are closely linked, the market and the political arena are linked directly in opposition to each other: politics feeds off the market, and cannot grow independently, as it has no capacity for independent existence. A society which forbids the market, or redirects too much market value towards the political realm quickly loses the power for political action as well. The firm exists solely for its own sake, but the State exists at the mercy of the market from which it gains its power. Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TruthJusticeAndTheAmericanWay/~3/0bUJZTIYEjA/
  4. I went for a walk today. During my walk, I took just under 600 raw photos. It used my most of my camera battery, but only 8GB, or 1/4th of my memory card. It should take me under 1 hour to review and edit the photos. I will probably share 1 to 3 of the photos I took. Can you imagine how this would have worked in the old days? It would be impossible for all but an elite few professionals, with their own labs and a team of assistants.

  5. Social network survey #2 regarding Intellectual Property - "like" if you agree: 1: The need for property rights arises from the possibility of conflict over scarce resources. Non-scare resources such as ideas not scare, since sharing an idea does not take it away from any other holder of that idea. Treating ideas as property by granting intellectual monopolies creates scarcity where it had not existed before. "Intellectual property" is a redistribution of the rights of tangible property o...

  6. Quick survey of my social network: A tax is an involuntary, coercive confiscation of property, and therefore is theft and a violation of property rights. All forms of taxation should be abolished entirely, immediately, and permanently. Services currently paid by taxation should be instead be funded by the voluntary consent of individual consumers. "Like" if you agree.

  7. Those who oppose minor and perhaps reasonable expansions to the power of the government on the grounds that that power will inevitably be expanded abused are not necessarily committing the fallacy of the slippery slope. Extensive precedent has shown that once any task is institutionalized in a government agency, it will forever have a lobby which is dedicated to expanding its purview and budget. No matter how rigidly and narrowly the original mission is defined, the continuing employment and power of the bureaucrats responsible for it becomes an end in itself. Perhaps one of the simplest examples of this is the list of United States Federal Agencies. Operating independently of market constraints, the bureaucrat has no obligation to prove his efficacy or any continuing need for his services, nor any need to balance the value of the service he provides against the cost. He works tirelessly to find new crises which must brought under his control or to worsen (usually by means of perverse economic incentives) the very problem he is tasked with solving. In the aggregate, the mass of bureaucrats in any given society work subvert the energy of the remaining productive people until civilization disintegrates into hyperinflation and bankruptcy. Their intentions may initially be purely benign, but their work requires ever greater degrees of evasion and mass brainwashing as they search for victims and enemies in ever wider circles of society. No matter how trivial the problem to the solved, once a political solution is attempted, the issue can only be expected to become worse and more expensive. Can you think of a single instance when a bureaucracy resolved the issue it was tasked with solving and fired itself? It should be noted that this trend also manifests in large corporations, whenever it becomes so large and vertically integrated that individual departments are able to operate outside the pressure of the market and thus outside the pricing mechanism as a means of valuing services. Fortunately, the wealth destruction of corporations in a free economy is limited by its revenue, and it need not exhaust the entire wealth of a society in order to it collapse. Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TruthJusticeAndTheAmericanWay/~3/DeTK4uSqKrg/
  8. Hello, My web host is threatening to kick me (that is, us) out because my account has too many files (over 200,000). One issue is that there are too many attachments for this forum. Over the last 10+ years and many upgrades, we've accumulated some orphan files it seems. I would like to clean them up, but it make cause broken attachments if I delete the wrong ones. However I don't suppose it's reasonable for everyone to review all the files they've uploaded over 10 1/2 years. I'm open to suggestions.
  9. Those who oppose minor and perhaps reasonable expansions to the power of the government on the grounds that that power will inevitably be expanded abused are not necessarily committing the fallacy of the slippery slope. Extensive precedent has shown that once any task is institutionalized in a government agency, it will forever have a lobby which is dedicated to expanding its purview and budget. No matter how rigidly and narrowly the original mission is defined, the continuing employment and power of the bureaucrats responsible for it becomes an end in itself. Perhaps one of the simplest examples of this is the list of United States Federal Agencies. Operating independently of market constraints, the bureaucrat has no obligation to prove his efficacy or any continuing need for his services, nor any need to balance the value of the service he provides against the cost. He works tirelessly to find new crises which must brought under his control or to worsen (usually by means of perverse economic incentives) the very problem he is tasked with solving. In the aggregate, the mass of bureaucrats in any given society work subvert the energy of the remaining productive people until civilization disintegrates into hyperinflation and bankruptcy. Their intentions may initially be purely benign, but their work requires ever greater degrees of evasion and mass brainwashing as they search for victims and enemies in ever wider circles of society. No matter how trivial the problem to the solved, once a political solution is attempted, the issue can only be expected to become worse and more expensive. Can you think of a single instance when a bureaucracy resolved the issue it was tasked with solving and fired itself? It should be noted that this trend also manifests in large corporations, whenever it becomes so large and vertically integrated that individual departments are able to operate outside the pressure of the market and thus outside the pricing mechanism as a means of valuing services. Fortunately, the wealth destruction of corporations in a free economy is limited by its revenue, and it need not exhaust the entire wealth of a society in order to it collapse. Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TruthJusticeAndTheAmericanWay/~3/DeTK4uSqKrg/
  10. DavidV

    How do I Register to the Wiki?

    By the way, I just updated the Wiki to the very latest version: http://wiki.objectivismonline.net/index.php?title=Special:Version
  11. DavidV

    How do I Register to the Wiki?

    Good point. Thanks. I have updated the front page with instructions.
  12. The forum software has been updated. Let me know if you find any issues.
  13. DavidV

    Forum software updated

    The forum software has been updated. Let me know if you find any issues.
  14. In the natural world, we can attempt understanding, but not judgement. We can ask why the lion hunts the antelope, but not whether it is right or wrong. We can feel pity for the prey, but we know that while the antelope must die for the lion to live, neither can be said to be more deserving of life. They act as they must to survive, and to judge their method of survival is as irrational as criticizing the earth for going around the sun. But with human action, it is different. Humans have the power to choose their way of life, and so affect their existence for better of worse. As fellow humans, we can observe the choices of others, understand their consequences, and apply the lessons to guide our own actions. And so, every human action that we observe has the potential for judgement: does this choice improve or worsen the actor’s life, and how would affect mine? Some people tend to judge without understanding, by following their emotions or someone else’s edicts. Others attempt to understand without judging, viewing other humans as another kind of wildlife, and themselves as the indifferent observer. Both habits lead to disaster if pursued consistently. As mortal animals, our time and resources are limited, and so we must learn from others actions which mistakes and people to avoid, and which habits and people to value. Understanding must come first; if we judge without understanding, we fail to use our primary means of survival (our mind) and enslave ourselves to whomever’s moral edicts we happen to hear first. We must attempt understanding far more often than we judge because obtaining the evidence needed to form a conclusion is never a certainty. The person who refuses to judge is just as much a slave to the moral edits of others as he who judges without understanding, as neither develops the ability to form his own opinions, and so both fall victim to the first preacher of right and wrong. As mortal beings, our way of life requires that we understand both the facts of nature and the facts and consequences of human action. When it comes to human choices, we must keep in mind that every action and every man-made thing carries the possibility and responsibility of moral judgment. Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TruthJusticeAndTheAmericanWay/~3/A9LM23Hz4_I/
  15. The FAA requires that China submit to TSA regulations for it to allow planes from China to land in the USA. So when we left China, the *asked* us "are you carrying any bottles of water?" None of that nonsense of remove clothes, laptops, shoes, etc. When we got to the USA, we had to go through security again. The conveyor belt dropped Sarah's Vaio laptop and cracked the case. The moral of the story: buy Apple laptops if you fly in the USA.

  16. I have a have a stock of laptop and old desktop memory, so if you want free/cheap (I have 1, 2, 4, 8 GB of DDR1,2,3 SIMM and DIMM) upgrade for your laptop or really old computer and live in San Antonio, Austin, or Dallas, please comment within 12 hours and I will bring it with me.

  17. I was mobbed by old ladies in the store today (as usual). They kept asking me if Sophie is really three months old, as she is very advanced for her age. My Chinese is crap, but I understood when they asked 吃奶妈妈 ("Does she eat mom's milk?") Few women breastfeed in China, especially among those who can afford Western formula, but it seems some still recognize its advantages.

  18. I remember watching a news program on TBN, a Christian broadcasting network. If I remember correctly, the format was that the news anchors would present some story from world or national news. Then Jerry Falwell, a famous televangelist would give his opinion on it. At the time, I thought it must be a dream job -- basically, he got paid to rant about whatever he wanted every night, while other people did all the research work and (supposedly) factual reporting. Whatever the topic, he alway...

  19. Advice to photographers and videographers: Unless you are taking photos for legal evidence, or to hand them off for processing to someone else, you are an artist, and should treat your work accordingly. Even if your goal is only to document an event, to take a photo, you must choose the subject, time, and composition of every shot. That means you are choosing the message you wish to convey, regardless of how the viewer may interpret it. Don't shirk your responsibility as artist by dumping...

  20. I went for a walk in Lujiazui today on my way home....

  21. Re. my earlier post on restriction of copiers in Soviet Russia: "Senator Leland Yee wants 3d printers to be regulated, licensed, and the owners background checked" http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2013/05/08/sen-leland-yee-proposes-regulations-on-3-d-printers-after-gun-test/

  22. I had a technical issue I could not figure out. Normally I use Google to find either product documentation or people with similar issues. When the direct approach failed, so I tried the brute-force method: keep restating the problem in different ways. Some searches provided me with additional keywords to try. After about 20-30 searches, I found someone a close enough description of the issue, and the solution.

  23. "Observe the intensity, the austere, the unsmiling seriousness with which an infant watches the world around him. If you ever find, in an adult, that degree of seriousness about reality, you will have found a great man." - Ayn Rand

  24. FYI: I'll be in the USA - May 29 to June 12.

  25. "The task of weaning various people and groups from the national nipple will not be easy. The sound of whines, bawls, screams and invective will fill the air as the agony of withdrawal pangs finds voice." --Linda Bowles

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