Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Conflicting Conclusions and therefore Conflict of Interest

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

4 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Irrationality doesn't only include force, so I don't understand your objection. But I'm also losing track of why you're talking about free markets here. Can you refresh my memory or clarify?

The idea that "no conflict of interest" exists means NONE of something and we are trying discover what that something is.

Using 2046's observation, whatever definition we discover has to work with her system, so I used her version of the free market. In a marxist system, without the concept of pricing, how do you determine what your ACTUAL deserved fair share is? You can't.

As Swig says, they are all inter-related Justice, Rights, Desert ... and interest. You can't have actual interest, when there is no actual Justice.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 163
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

I mean, you've been asked a few times exactly why you have a different view. You began the discussion by suggesting that Rand didn't understand the "common meaning", and/or was really only talking abo

You keep giving different versions of the same scenario. I keep asking each time why you think it is a conflict of interest, or phrased differently, which interests conflict.  At this point it'

ET, Thanks for bringing up this issue. I think of the conflicts of interests that brought on the American Civil War. Slavery was a crucial economic factor of production and profit in the Sou

Posted Images

4 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

The idea that "no conflict of interest" exists means NONE of something and we are trying discover what that something is.


"Free market" doesn't mean "a system of rational actors that do not initiate force". So what are you getting at? Rand didn't ever claim that the free market is always rational, and her writing doesn't imply it. (The quote earlier from Swig shows that Rand said she didn't think it was possible for anyone to really pursue their interests in a nonfree society. I think Rand is wrong on that point, the claim is too strong. Sometimes sub - interests are made impossible, but on an individual level, you should still be able to pursue your overall self-interest in the end. As for free societies , all she really said is that you don't have to deal with irrational people if you don't want to. Unless by nonfree society she meant a dictatorship, in which case I would agree).

The concept of pricing doesn't tell you what deserved fair share is either. It does if you buy into the labor theory of value that Adam Smith thinks about, but there is no such thing as an "actual price". You shouldn't use the concept pricing to help determine what objective value is. There is nothing in price except what a person believes it to be relative to someone else or to themselves. 

When "price" gets into "deserving", your thinking isn't grounded on anything different than what a Marxist would say about labor exploitation. In fact, you can determine the "actual deserved fair share", at least when price is the final arbiter of what is deserved. You think a Marxist doesn't think about what pricing is? It's how they say people are exploited. Although you might have a hard time imagining how Marxist can determine "actual price", but it's no different than them saying they can't imagine how you can determine "actual price" when you permit mere preferences in the marketplace. 

Or you take another path and say that since there is no such thing as an actual price. If everyone is rational, you still don't get the actual price, because they all value things differently for irrational reasons. I can value an iPhone at $50, and you can value an iPhone at $500, and this could be rational. Then because it's a market, if you offered me an iPhone for $250, I would buy it and sell it to someone else. It's not because I thought that $250 is closer to the "actual price", nor that the price is gradually moving to the "actual price". It's because I find more value this way, even though if you were in my position, you would keep it. A free market makes such decisions possible. But if we started talking about a raindance service you need to bring rain to your farm, rationality is really besides the point. A free market allows that, and it's not rational. 

Edited by Eiuol
Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

"Free market" doesn't mean "a system of rational actors that do not initiate force".

A free market is a system where rights are respected and trades are made voluntarily without initiation of force by anyone.

It is through this system, with rational actors, that you will see the good/ideal/best trades take place. And in such a system, an actual "good" can be determined. Once irrationality is mixed in with the system, be it in administering a free market (which means a semi to no free market), or with actors that are irrational and don't determine good trades, actual Desert cannot be determine. Pricing will not correspond to what you or they actually deserve.

39 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

The quote earlier from Swig shows that Rand said she didn't think it was possible for anyone to really pursue their interests in a nonfree society

The price you are willing to pay may include "taking unfair advantage of someone" or "being taken advantage of". It would be built into a non free market. 

Rational actors/traders would be a necessary ingredient in eliminating the "unfairness" in an economic system (in addition to the free market).

Think of three markets where initiation of force does not exist.

  1. Market A has both rational actors and rational administration.
  2. Market B has irrational administration and soon devolves into cronyism and so prices are skewed and people pursue things that they "should not".
  3. Market C has rational Administration but some irrational actors that sell stuff too cheap or hold for for unnecessarily too long unwilling to sell. The adaption by everyone will cause prices to be vastly different from Market A.

Market A is held as the standard of actual Desert, actual interest.

There is an inevitable disparity between what one ought to get vs. what one can get in a corrupt system. Sometimes you come ahead with more than you deserve and vice versa.

In Market B and C, actual conflict/disparity of actual interest/Desert  ... actually exists.

in Market A, the valuation is objectively the good valualuation, any conflict of interest is not actually going on. That is how I interpret her meaning right now.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Eiuol: There isn't intrinsic value in a free market (there isn't in the value of a product). A free market means you can get away pricing and buying and selling - whatever you can get away with. If a customer exists. (With the usual caveat against force). So you "get away with" charging for a rain dance, once or twice, it visibly does not work and eventually some rationality is instilled in the farmers, who refuse your further services. (Unless you guaranteed results, or money back, and then it is contractually binding and would be fraud when you didn't repay, so Justice is required). The slope you are entering leads to price controls, wage controls, anti-monopoly, and many other irrationalities like 'social justice'.

In a free society/free market individuals choose. And no one is protected from wrongful choices, which the justice of reality 'decides'.

Edited by whYNOT
Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, merjet said:

Still no definition of “conflict of interest.” None from Eiuol or Rand either.

 

How about: An interest is all actions and anything and everything, which one needs and selects to build and maintain a surviving, flourishing life?

Then a "conflict of interest" with rational others who do the same, pursuing their interests, is rendered impossible. There's plenty for everybody, in a sense. Given their rationality.

Edited by whYNOT
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, whYNOT said:

How about: An interest is all actions and anything and everything, which one needs and selects to build and maintain a surviving, flourishing life?

I like the direction you are going before you see me try to poke holes in.

I would say you have to include some element of "fairness" in there.

Two or more people have these "needs"/necessities. Where does the competition/conflict fit in? How do you eliminate the conflict of these needs? Or when does this conflict not exist at all.

In the face of scarcity, conflict of X does not exist.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, whYNOT said:

The slope you are entering leads to price controls, wage controls, anti-monopoly, and many other irrationalities like 'social justice'.

What slope? Everything I already wrote agrees with you. 

Unless you're referring to my typo. Which I just noticed now. It should be that if everyone is rational, they all value things for different rational reasons.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

I like the direction you are going before you see me try to poke holes in.

I would say you have to include some element of "fairness" in there.

Two or more people have these "needs"/necessities. Where does the competition/conflict fit in? How do you eliminate the conflict of these needs? Or when does this conflict not exist at all.

In the face of scarcity, conflict of X does not exist.

To reply in general, I start in the social area always from "To be free, man must be free from his brother". I have validated that principle to my satisfaction from observation, so completely it has become self-evident. Free from 'your brother', can and will be followed by "... to be able to embrace your brother" which was implicit, in my reckoning. The element of fairness to others (including an awareness - even 'sensitivity' (which is heightened consciousness) - is altogether in keeping with that expanded principle. You detect others' rational needs, actions, values ("interests") and virtues and will not negate them or go out of your way to conflict with them, instead often applaud them. When you happen to be 'in competition' - so to speak - reality judges who does best - not at destruction of the other, since coming off second in many spheres is still very good (all the better the free-er the society). The rational person knows this: he doesn't always "win"; beating others isn't his concern, confronting and employing reality is. And a temporary setback he takes as a learning curve.

Others must in justice receive (be the beneficiaries of) their deserved outcomes as one does, provided one is not involuntarily obliged to save anyone who fails or "deserves" to fail.

Over on the other side, "other people" are seen to be a threat as we know, resented for doing well and showing them up. There, the options are seen as either dog-eat-dog - or forced equality for all. Therefore, "Bring them down" is the altruist's/second hander's stock response to rational people. Altruism makes benevolence impossible, the lady said something like.

Scarcity will take more of a reply. Some economists explain that well.

Edited by whYNOT
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/6/2020 at 9:39 AM, 2046 said:

ET is correct to point out that a lot rides on what she means by those terms. And if you read the essay you see that she wants to say the "rational" understanding as she calls it takes more of the context (or sometimes she says "interrelated considerations") into consideration when considering their interest. ET asks does this require omniscience? Well gee if only there were some place where one could find out what she means. Perhaps she even lists out four kinds of context in the actual essay? Unfortunately we may never know.

The assumption is that she is correct in her observation/description. If she was mistaken, I would agree, we would never know what she meant. But if she is correct, then we should be able to determine what she meant.

Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

To reply in general, I start in the social area always from "To be free, man must be free from his brother".

I was hoping you would have expanded your definition to deal with the issues I brought up. Conflict of interest is about a conflict between 2 or more people. It is a conflict within a society. Getting your needs satisfied does not correspond to "conflict of interest".

Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Getting your needs satisfied does not correspond to "conflict of interest".

My argument all along.

Life, knowledge, values, wealth, is not a zero-sum game.

One's needs aren't taken from others' needs nor lost to others' needs, each gains in what's ultimately, a trade of minds. Rational. Benevolent.

Did someone, somewhere, just eat MY food and breathe MY oxygen?! And think MY thoughts? Irrational. Conflict.

 

Edited by whYNOT
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/7/2020 at 9:33 PM, 2046 said:

ET or others can clarify what his/their questions may be. But I take it we're discussing Rand's chapter 4 of VOS. And since she isn't talking about financial conflicts, principal-agent conflicts, conflicts of opinion or conclusion, then those things won't help us understand her thesis, and thus makes evaluating it impossible. She uses "interest" unequivocally to describe the scope of one's good or wellbeing in life. We know this because she uses the term "interest" in a specific way throughout her writing, especially in the introduction to that very same book. It may be, for example, that there could be "financial conflicts of interest" and not a conflict "amongst rational men" in Rand's sense. Or it may be that there are conflicts of good-interests, but not conflicts of opinion-interests. Merely raising the question will not do. You have to show your work. And obviously this is not a paper and no one is trying to write a dissertation on here. But just as a paper differs from a dissertation, yet still follows the requirements of good reasoning, so a forum post differs from a paper, but still must follow the requirements of good philosophy writing. So while one would not be expected to reproduce a paper, the form or structure of the method or approach should be the same.

You see, I don't have formal philosophy education and I don't follow it in an academic way. I am simply trying to apply the knowledge, but I don't understand it so I've mentioned it in this forum hoping that someone does understand it and can explain it to me.

If it is permanently unintelligible, then it implies it does not make sense, meaning it will never make sense. But is that what you are saying? 

She uses "interest" unequivocally to describe the scope of one's good or wellbeing in life. 

I assume scope means "space or opportunity for unhampered motion, activity, or thought".

Which if we "spell it out", interest ends up meaning, "opportunity/non-interference in acting toward flourishing".

So a conflict in this case, would be interference in one's activity (by others), which to me ends up meaning infringement of rights.

So "no conflict of interest", would mean no infringement of rights as in rational people would not infringe on rights (in principle).

I would assume that all rational people would want "rights".

Link to post
Share on other sites

Me: "Still no definition of “conflict of interest.” None from Eiuol or Rand either."

8 hours ago, whYNOT said:

How about: An interest is all actions and anything and everything, which one needs and selects to build and maintain a surviving, flourishing life?

Then a "conflict of interest" with rational others who do the same, pursuing their interests, is rendered impossible. There's plenty for everybody, in a sense. Given their rationality.

Huh? David Kelley’s six rules for definitions are here.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

I assume scope means "space or opportunity for unhampered motion, activity, or thought".

Scope, as in context. The scope here being the actions relevant to an individual's well-being. Interest as what is actually good for the individual's well-being. So it includes non-initiation of force, but also so much more.

I'm answering this because it applies to your reply to me.

14 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

There is an inevitable disparity between what one ought to get vs. what one can get in a corrupt system. Sometimes you come ahead with more than you deserve and vice versa.

I'm saying there is always an inevitable disparity, even in market A - even assuming every single person is rational in that market. That is, if you claim that there is a price that one can pay, versus an actual price that needs to be discovered, I'm claiming that there will always be a disparity between these two. Prices will always conflict. 

Why isn't it a matter of people discovering the real price, if I'm saying that conflicts of interest go away when it's a matter of people discovering their real interests? Because the scope of your interests applies in the same way as other people, because all people ultimately should work towards rational self-interest. Price, on the other hand, is a way to explain the way people value things differently. It's supposed to be different for everyone. Because it's different for everyone, it will conflict for everyone. The actual price is all the prices. $50 and $250 and $500 for the hypothetical iPhone. 

It sounds like you're trying to integrate free markets and that there are no conflicts of interest among rational men. Free markets are not good because they eliminate conflicts of interest. Free markets are not good because they allow you to find the actual price. Rather, free markets are good because they allow us to have all sorts of little conflicts with rational people (including different prices people think something is worth), and allow us to choose the ways we interact with irrationality if at all. All varieties of prices, on their own, are completely fine morally speaking. If you ask what you deserve, price is only a tiny portion. Kind of like if you say a brand of potato chips is overpriced, you aren't saying you're not getting what you deserve, but that the price doesn't match how much value you get out of those potato chips. That kind of conflict is expected. If you asked what is in your interest, what you deserve is only one portion. 

Edited by Eiuol
Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

I'm saying there is always an inevitable disparity, even in market A - even assuming every single person is rational in that market. That is, if you claim that there is a price that one can pay, versus an actual price that needs to be discovered, I'm claiming that there will always be a disparity between these two. Prices will always conflict. 

But a legitimate free market, one where rights are respected, justice applied, is the fairest possible market.

Yes, in the real world, rational people don't know everything and in their limited context could make a deal that is worse than if they had been omniscient.

Knowing that "there is no better way" to come up with a fair price, rational people would and should find the prices as "good/fair/moral" prices. Unless, you know how people can come up with the "perfect price".

Then when you say disparity, you are saying disparity between "the perfect/omniscient price" vs "the free market/human-contextual price" and I am holding the human-contextual price as "the good", vs. your formulation would amount to "the impossible".

Your assessment of the interest you would be obtaining, based on the price you would be paying should prevent a conflict with another in a rational market. "It should". It was in fact a fair deal.

In other words, you get a fair price in a fair market. So what would be there to have a conflict about?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another way of looking at it might be "What form of society does not create victims? Or actual sacrifices?"

A conflict of interest that won't be fixed/addressed/healed is going to produce a victim.

Rational men address these conflicts (rationality) preventing victims.

But I see a problem with that formulation in that it implies "conflict of interest" can exist in the first place (to be dealt with). Most of us seem to want it to have a specifier like "big" or "long term" or "essential" conflicts of interest.

I believe Rand said "Rational Men Would do the right thing". I suspect the fundamental recurring problem we have with her statement is "It is not guaranteed".

As far as dual definitions goes, I understood it to mean multiple definitions that fit different contexts, but describing the same thing. It is actually the same single referent with a different identified contexts. If that is true, it is not limited to "dual".

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, merjet said:

Me: "Still no definition of “conflict of interest.” None from Eiuol or Rand either."

Huh? David Kelley’s six rules for definitions are here.

Not necessarily adherent to the six rules link, but a readily available one from Merriam-Webster. The first known usage is stated to have been in 1860.

  • : a conflict between the private interests and the official responsibilities of a person in a position of trust
  • formal : a problem caused by having official responsibilities that involve things that might be helpful or harmful to you

legal definition:

  • 1 : a conflict between the private interests and the official or professional responsibilities of a person in a position of trust
  • 2 : a conflict between competing duties (as in an attorney's representation of clients with adverse interests)
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

But a legitimate free market, one where rights are respected, justice applied, is the fairest possible market.

Don't you see? I said that even assuming everyone is rational (respects rights, applies justice, all that good stuff), there will be price disparities. And the disparities aren't from irrationality. It's beside the point anyway, because we were talking about free markets in general (where people can fail to be rational). You're trying to understand what Rand means by no conflict of interest among rational people in the wrong way, it's not going to make sense this way. Rand never did argue that free markets are good because they eliminate conflicts of interest. Yes, free markets have the most efficient way of determining different prices, but that efficiency is achieved because you're able to work within the full context of pursuing your rational self-interest and not hinder anyone else's pursuit of rational self-interest, while also being able to conflict with rational people on price. You've tried to connect price and interest and desert, but it actually makes things more confusing.

1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

Then when you say disparity, you are saying disparity between "the perfect/omniscient price" vs "the free market/human-contextual price" and I am holding the human-contextual price as "the good", vs. your formulation would amount to "the impossible".

My contention is that you are implicitly holding the belief that a "perfect price" exists. Only the "contextual price" exists. There is always a surface of a conflict among all such prices. Such a conflict doesn't disappear either on both ends of the deal if both people are rational. To simplify this even more: it just ain't a big deal to disagree about price. It ain't even a big deal to disagree about what a company should do next. We are still able to pursue our rational self-interest. (I'm saying ain't to really emphasize how not a big deal it is for your self-interest). 

2 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

So what would be there to have a conflict about?

Nothing more than price differences. Like I said, imagine but assume we are both being rational, I valued an iPhone and $50, and you valued it at $500. There is a measurable conflict of $450. You wouldn't then say "but since we are rational people, we work together to find the closest price possible to the perfect price, which we work out to be $250." I still price the value of the iPhone at $50, you still price the value the iPhone at $500. The conflict still exists, even if I agreed to buy the iPhone from you for $250. I'm being careful with my words here. Fortunately, our interests still don't conflict in this circumstance. In a non-free market, our interest might conflict, such as adding a price control, or forbidding the resale of iPhones, or giving you a subsidy for selling iPhones at a discount to the suggested retail price. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, dream_weaver said:

Not necessarily adherent to the six rules link, but a readily available one from Merriam-Webster. The first known usage is stated to have been in 1860.

  • : a conflict between the private interests and the official responsibilities of a person in a position of trust
  • formal : a problem caused by having official responsibilities that involve things that might be helpful or harmful to you

legal definition:

  • 1 : a conflict between the private interests and the official or professional responsibilities of a person in a position of trust
  • 2 : a conflict between competing duties (as in an attorney's representation of clients with adverse interests)

The dictionary definition you cited is the kind of conflict of interest I referred to in my first post on this thread (post, Wikipedia). Since some very rational people could be insurance claims adjusters, purchasing agents, financial advisors, lawyers, etc. as described in the Wikipedia article, it is clear that there could be conflicts of interest of that kind among those very rational people.

The definition of ‘conflict of interest’ I solicited from whYNOT and Eiuol was their stipulative definition of ‘conflict of interest’ which allegedly, according to Ayn Rand’s essay, does not and cannot exist among rational people.

Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Don't you see? I said that even assuming everyone is rational (respects rights, applies justice, all that good stuff), there will be price disparities.

Price disparities with "what"?

46 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

My contention is that you are implicitly holding the belief that a "perfect price" exists. Only the "contextual price" exists. There is always a surface of a conflict among all such prices.

When two people are haggling, I assume you would agree that "that is not the conflict we are talking about" (some may say that is a conflict).

I am saying if the haggling, the competition was fair, then the price arrived at is fair. It is as fair as possible. That is as good as it gets.

If the process is not fair, or if the actors are not rational, you could get a price that is NOT as fair as it gets. That is the best price I am talking about. That is why I rely on a free market to support the ACTUALLY fair/good/proper/moral/correct price.

The "good/best" price can't be determined without such a fair process going on. And any calculation about the good price, or interest has to assume this ideal environment.

So people who believe in Marxism, or Monarchy etc. don't have the ability to calculate an actual interest, and actual price, and actual determination of who deserves what.
 

Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

I would argue that subjective interest is where "something is needed or wanted but not necessarily deserved".

Otherwise, how would you distinguish between "interest" and "actual interest"?

That's the thing with the principle of two definitions: both would be actual interests. You have to distinguish them through context and description.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

That is why I rely on a free market to support the ACTUALLY fair/good/proper/moral/correct price.

There is no such thing as the correct price! $50 is just as correct as $500. The free market can't tell you which is morally proper, although it does provide a general view of how people on average value something. You wouldn't say that the average price of something in a market is the closest you will get to the fair price.  

1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

Price disparities with "what"?

It should be clear from my example, but the disparity between two prices of any good or service. 

Edited by Eiuol
Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

There is no such thing as the correct price! $50 is just as correct as $500.

Are you saying value or valuation is unidentifiable? As if the "objective" value of something does not exist? Indeterminable? Unknowable?

I'm suspecting you have a misunderstanding about the nature of a free market. If so, think of a fair market, a just market. I say this because it seems like you are ultimately saying that a free market is not a fair market.

If so, the conflict of interest is inevitable. Rand's "No conflict of interest" could never be the truth. Is that what you are arguing?

Conflict of interest can only be avoided/eliminated if there is such a thing as a fair "interest" (ultimately meaning what you deserve objectively).

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/12/2020 at 12:39 PM, Easy Truth said:

The idea that "no conflict of interest" exists means NONE of something and we are trying discover what that something is.

Rand writes: "Only an irrationalist ... exists in a perpetual conflict of 'interests.' Not only do his alleged interests clash with those of other men, but they clash also with one another." (VOS, p. 58)

1. Perhaps Rand did not believe that the clashing "interests" were actual interests. Here she put the word in scare quotes and then said "alleged interests." So maybe the conflict is with something else, something she thought people mistake for an interest.

2. Who are these "other men" with interests that clash with the irrational man's "interests"? Are they rational or irrational, and does it matter? If rational men, does that mean their interests are actual ones? Can rational people have alleged interests? And if the "other men" are also irrational, does that mean none of them have actual interests? 

 

4 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

As far as dual definitions goes, I understood it to mean multiple definitions that fit different contexts, but describing the same thing. It is actually the same single referent with a different identified contexts. If that is true, it is not limited to "dual".

The definitions don't describe a single referent. They describe a class of referents.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

The definitions don't describe a single referent. They describe a class of referents.

Yes, a "single" class of referents. What was pointing out as referent was the same/single concept that the multiple definitions refer to. One single concept with multiple definitions. (which I have also asked why "dual", not multiple)

In other words, multiple definitions can't mean there are multiple concepts too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...