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  1. Today
  2. The principle of least action is way older than QM. It's a general mathematical principle that can be used to model most dynamical systems (and isn't specific to QM). It's pretty much axiomatic. The path integral approach is a generalization of the action principle. One version of the least action principle can be derived from QM by taking the classical limit, but that's not general (for example, it doesn't include gravity or quantum field theory). It just gives back the action principle for the action you used to get the path integral formulation. No. You cannot prove that the least action principle applies to general relativity (or any undiscovered theories) just by knowing QM. You only know it's true through independent experimental observations/mathematical derivations.
  3. Yesterday
  4. There is no real connection. The uncertainty principle is a theorem about so called non-commuting observables in QM and a statistical relation between the outcomes of their associated observations. Noethers Theorem is about symmetry and theories expressed in the form of least action principles - which all fundamental current theories are. Why that is, is known for classical systems (it follows from QM) but why it is true in QM I do not think anyone really knows. It's just a very surprising result, so surprising it shocks many students when they first come across it. Thanks Bill
  5. The principle of least action it relies on is derived from QM by the path integral approach. Thanks Bill
  6. I wrote this poem "Is Love" yesterday 23 May 2020. The photo I took in 1992 on the bridge across the Tiber to Vatican City. The angels on the bridge were sculpted by Bernini, and one can see more of his tremendous works around town (at the Borghese, at Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, and at Piazza Navona).
  7. Last week
  8. Public speaking is a tool that can be important in various contexts. From a sales pitch to presentations and panels requiring productive engagement, making your case in a coherent and persuading way is essential for success. Especially for an aspiring intellectual and activist, being an effective and engaging communicator is crucial for fighting in the battle of ideas. On Sunday, May 24, we will be joined by an expert in public speaking who has communicated the ideas of Objectivism to audiences now numbering in the hundreds of thousands: Yaron Brook, chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute, author, and host of The Yaron Brook Show. Yaron will share his experience, give some tips on public speaking, and answer attendees’ questions. Where: Online. Join us by clicking on the Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89957177937. When: Sunday, May 24, 18:00 GMT+1, 13:00 EST, 10:00 PST
  9. This ship, this beautiful ship, was his. He knew her every line and point, every joint and joist, every nut and bolt. He knew the ship and they did not. She was the child of his mind. Did they actually think they could take her away from him by force?

    Phaethon, The Ship.

  10. I wanted to bring these two recent books by Objectivist intellectuals to the attention of the forum. I'll just quote the Amazon description for each, since I think they pretty much speak for themselves. America's Revolutionary Mind by Thompson "America's Revolutionary Mind is the first major reinterpretation of the American Revolution since the publication of Bernard Bailyn's The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution and Gordon S. Wood's The Creation of the American Republic. "The purpose of this book is twofold: first, to elucidate the logic, principles, and significance of the Declaration of Independence as the embodiment of the American mind; and, second, to shed light on what John Adams once called the "real American Revolution"; that is, the moral revolution that occurred in the minds of the people in the fifteen years before 1776. The Declaration is used here as an ideological road map by which to chart the intellectual and moral terrain traveled by American Revolutionaries as they searched for new moral principles to deal with the changed political circumstances of the 1760s and early 1770s. This volume identifies and analyzes the modes of reasoning, the patterns of thought, and the new moral and political principles that served American Revolutionaries first in their intellectual battle with Great Britain before 1776 and then in their attempt to create new Revolutionary societies after 1776. "The book reconstructs what amounts to a near-unified system of thought―what Thomas Jefferson called an “American mind” or what I call “America’s Revolutionary mind.” This American mind was, I argue, united in its fealty to a common philosophy that was expressed in the Declaration and launched with the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”" https://www.amazon.com/Americas-Revolutionary-Mind-Revolution-Declaration/dp/164177066X God Versus Nature: The Conflict Between Religion and Science in History by Seiler "Science is based on reason. Religion is based on faith. "Reason and faith are fundamentally incompatible, therefore science and religion must be incompatible. "Given this basic conflict, a close look at history reveals some puzzling facts: Science was born in a society that believed in many gods (Ancient Greece). Numerous scientific achievements were made in the very religious Islamic world. Modern science was born in a society dominated by Christianity (seventeenth-century Europe). Most scientists in history were religious. "How are we to make sense of these facts? How are we to relate them to the broader trajectory of the science/religion relationship from Ancient Greece to the present? "That is the subject of this book." https://www.amazon.com/God-Versus-Nature-Conflict-Religion-ebook/dp/B0857HQTYR/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=god+versus+nature&qid=1590163367&s=books&sr=1-1 I've read both, and (obviously) would recommend both.
  11. Four Things Editor's Note: The Van Horns will be taking a much-needed and long-overdue break over the next week. Posting here will resume on June 1 or June 2. I will be intermittently reachable by email and may post on Twitter. 1. During the period social distancing, my son and daughter put their bunk beds to creative use by hosting each other for sleepovers, guest in the bottom bunk, of course. For a while there, I would occasionally hear them making elaborate swap deals with each other. Here is a picture of our garden. We are already close to usable tomatoes -- fried green, of course. (Own photo. Reproduction and use without attribution is permitted.) It has been a boon (and a great relief!) that they get along so well together. 2. One of said swap deals involved a timed period, of my son borrowing a cane my daughter uses for dress-up. As you might guess, a neutral third party by the name of Alexa was to keep track. I discovered this one day by overhearing part of a dispute: It was my daughter, mentioning that she had told Alexa to set a timer for whatever period it was. Sadly, I do not remember the exact wording, because the next thing we all heard was Alexa saying something like, "There are no timers set." After a moment, we all burst out laughing. 3. Some time ago, I believe I mentioned that I had been planning on planting a small vegetable garden with the kids. We did, a few weeks ago, and the whole time, the kids bickered over whose turn it was to help Daddy, whose spade was whose, what to name the plants, and so on. I almost regretted the whole thing, and doubted anyone had any fun. And so it came as an unexpected small delight when my daughter, during a video conference with her teacher, enthusiastically volunteered that her favorite thing for the past week was "planting crops with Daddy." 4. As I have mentioned before, my son has both a strong sense of order and a high degree of respect for checklists. This came in handy yesterday when he balked at me reminding him to put spaces between his words for a writing assignment. Earlier, I had been mildly surprised to see a checklist attached to the assignment, populated with things I figured my son already knew. Conveniently, one of those things was "finger spaces." Even more conveniently, it dawned on me to use the list itself to my advantage. As soon as I pointed to that on the checklist, he stopped bickering and simply did it. And, yes, I felt a little bit like I got one over on him: That bedtime list has not been the only time he has suggested I use a list! -- CAV P.S. I was able to write about three quarters of this post using the end-product of a "sanity project" I took up during this egalitarian mockery of the whole idea of quarantine -- a Linux virtual machine hosted on a pen drive. I ran it on a Dell netbook equivalent running Windows. I am pretty sure the difficulty I eventually encountered came from the virtualization layer, and that I could work around the problem if I had to. I fired the VM up again on my main computer -- where it runs much faster and without such hiccups -- to finish things up. Updates Today: Corrected a typo. Link to Original
  12. A Nerd's Guide to Bullet Journaling. In addition to the Franklin Planner software, writing in a journal can provide another avenue of concretizing one's thoughts in a less searchable form. I entered this in my Franklin Planner as a "Prioritized Daily Task", and applied four entrees from the Contact List. In the light of divergence from society that was established on the principle of individual rights, I also found myself pondering the passage from Atlas Shrugged. The paragraph is from Part One, Chapter IX: The Sacred And The Profane. They drove through small towns, through obscure side roads, through the kind of places they had not seen for years. She felt uneasiness at the sight of the towns. Days passed before she realized what it was that she missed most: a glimpse of fresh paint. The houses stood like men in unpressed suits, who had lost the desire to stand straight: the cornices were like sagging shoulders, the crooked porch steps like tom hem lines, the broken windows like patches, mended with clapboard. The people in the streets stared at the new car, not as one stares at a rare sight, but as if the glittering black shape were an impossible vision from another world. There were few vehicles in the streets and too many of them were horsedrawn. She had forgotten the literal shape and usage of horsepower; she did not like to see its return. The passage I was thinking of actually was the next paragraph, summed up by just how funny it wasn't. She did not laugh, that day at the grade crossing, when Rearden chuckled, pointing, and she saw the train of a small local railroad come tottering from behind a hill, drawn by an ancient locomotive that coughed black smoke through a tall stack. "Oh God, Hank, it's not funny!" When, and if, I go to look this information up, I'll have several ways to cross reference it and narrow it down—providing efficient computing methods are still made available to the plebeians.
  13. I am having trouble processing the following news about Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who is being considered as a possible running mate for Joe Biden: Yeah, but did you think, first? (Image by Element5 Digital, via Unsplash, license.) In mid-April Whitmer issued an executive order that ultimately instructed many of the state's nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients. That put other residents in jeopardy, and may well have contributed to the high death rate in Michigan nursing homes. About a third of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have been at nursing homes, and the same is true in Michigan, according to some estimates -- although the state Department of Health and Human Services hasn't been able to offer concrete numbers. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had put in place a similar policy, but recently backtracked when it became evident the harm that was being done to the population most vulnerable to the virus -- the ill and elderly. Whitmer, by contrast, renewed her initial order when it expired last week, extending it with an identical mandate -- disregarding the concerns and advice of nursing home advocates and legislators.Yes. After it became clear that her order was almost certainly spreading the coronavirus through the most vulnerable demographic, she extended it for a week. She amended this directive afterwards, but I agree with the Detroit News that she should have ended it at once. The only thing more frightening than the prospect of this person being one of Joe Biden's heartbeats away from the Presidency is the fact that, as of today, Michiganders approve of her handling of the epidemic by a wide margin. What difference does it make if Whitmer is monumentally incompetent or malicious when so many voters more than match her in their degree of indifference or willful ignorance? -- CAV Link to Original
  14. I work outdoors in city parks. I wanted to do this for a long time, but it came handy during Covid. Before Covid I used to go to the public library to work, but now I can't do that. Once it got warmer in the Spring, I began going outside, with a table setup. I'm able to carry all this gear on a bicycle, or by car with a wagon cart for the last mile. Besides the gear, I take lunch with me and plenty of hot tea to keep me warm if it gets cold. (Working in a standing position is warmer.) The biggest challenge that remains is an unlimited and affordable LTE mobile plan. I have an article on Medium that documents it in more detail. It's linked from my homepage.
  15. I have learned a few good points from Charles Tew. I have particularly enjoyed his review of Jordan Peterson. Thanks, Charles.
  16. "That generation approached viruses with calm, rationality and intelligence" [Tucker] said. And character, too. 51 years since 1969 and what has changed? Two generations which gradually abandoned reason - and character virtues. Most, they've given up any idea of objective value. Those were people (my parents' generation) who had faced worse, having gone through a European war of doubtful outcome, and many the Cold War, unpredictable too. They had learned that "life must go on", wars or pandemics, and whatever comes they must protect the values they still had, for themselves, for we the children and later generations. Not as sacrifices to be made, although that's wrongly how every person would then have framed it, but as defending the greater values over the lesser. The post-modern devolution to skepticism, determinism, infantalism and a primacy of sensations has put paid to the rational "calm" (and benevolence to others and good humor). This global shutdown, an attempted suicide of man's life, is how present generations which have only known the soft life, repay our parents and grandparents their tough-minded resolve.
  17. (And Other Heretical Realms) Do you remember, back in the good old days, that whenever the subjects of socialized medicine or socialism came up, you could practically bet the farm on Sweden being held up -- incorrectly -- as an example of those ideas working? I do, too. And -- if life and liberty weren't at stake -- I'd find it quite amusing that now, whenever the subject of Sweden comes up at all, it is framed in such a way as to frighten us from following its once-unimpeachable example. This is, of course, because that nation stands almost alone among civilized, developed countries, as having chosen not to "lock down" in order to control the course of the coronavirus epidemic within its borders. Writing about Sweden's sane response to the pandemic, Michael Fumento raises a couple more issues pertinent to the discussion. One of these issues, which I believe I heard during a podcast I can no longer find (and featuring Yaron Brook, Alex Epstein, or both), is that Sweden's policy decisions were not based on the pursuit of herd immunity. While we're on the subject of Iceland, finding an image for this post was a real treat. Go here and start scrolling to see what I mean. (Image by Tim Trad, via Unsplash, license.) This is not invoking the ... issue of "herd immunity," which many advocates of the "Swedish model" (including Sweden's own ambassador to the U.S.) have proffered, but is one that Tegnell has explicitly rejected for Sweden or any other country. [Chief Epidemiologist Anders] Tegnell speaks, instead, of "some immunity," meaning perhaps 20-25%. Herd immunity requires extremely high proportions of a population protected by vaccination, for example 85 -- 90% to prevent transmission of mumps. [original links omitted, one link added]So, no, Sweden hasn't been acting as if the virus doesn't exist, let alone aiding its spread, as the incorrect framing of its program of voluntary social distancing and minimal government intervention would imply. Second, Fumento draws several comparisons between Sweden and some other countries, incidentally mentioning a few other nations which have also not locked down -- and have not seen their medical facilities overwhelmed with Corona patients. Sweden isn't the only European country that didn't lock down. Iceland didn't either, and can point to a minuscule death rate/per 100,000 population of 2.83. "We have taken a middle of the road approach, rather than lockdown," reports Kari Stefansson, founder and CEO of deCODE, an Icelandic subsidiary of U.S. biotech company Amgen. "Elementary schools, childcare and stores are still open, for example, but we have banned gatherings of more than 20 people and closed theatres and concert halls." ... (Don't be deceived: There's no inherent advantage to having a small population in a tiny geographic area. The European microstates of Andorra and San Marino locked down and yet have extremely high per-capita death rates. As for any island effect, Ireland's death rate is ten times that of Iceland's.) [links omitted, bold added]]I might add that neither Sweden nor Iceland are warm, a factor I've heard some use to dismiss the apparent success Florida and Texas have had controlling their epidemics with less severe or lasting lockdowns. But back to the roll-call of international honor: Fumento also lists Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong as polities that have escaped Armageddon without locking down. This is not to say that the propriety of mass indefinite home detention is purely a scientific matter: It is not. But it should give everyone pause to consider the fact that so many proponents of this policy claim disease control as their motive, while pretending that there is no need to admit of any evidence to the contrary, let alone consider it. -- CAV Link to Original
  18. As it has turned out, the US reached this mortality number in only two months, rather than the predicted four months. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On US public action, there is some good historical perspective here. Excerpts
  19. https://click.exct.stansberryresearch.com/?qs=3a6639a59d95647b616ebcfa51a4e914ad24a543e37ab41ffccf69a12a051e6af56ae2a8420a1d0c03f02dab2f2ae3c83e03b7258d15a085
  20. I was happy to learn yesterday that the Pacific Legal Foundation has written a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom and other officials on behalf of art gallery owners Quent and Linda Cordair, who have defied a statewide lockdown by reopening their doors. The letter is just over six pages long, but I highly recommend reading it for the many very good philosophical, legal, and historical issues it raises in regard to the irrational policies so many officials have pursued since the epidemic gained steam. Too many have, like Newsom, continued these policies well past the point that a reasonable person could see them as wrong, but at least motivated by panic or genuine concern. Here is just one passage: Image by Tingey Injury Law Firm, via Unsplash, license. The State must act in accordance with due process While the government may adopt laws to protect public health, its power is not unlimited. Even during a pandemic, the State and County must abide by constitutional limits. As one federal court has ruled, the government may legislate to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, but "it does not at all follow that every statute enacted ostensibly for the promotion of these ends is to be accepted as a legitimate exertion of the police powers of the state." And the United States Supreme Court has held that a community's power to "protect itself against an epidemic" might be exercised "in such an arbitrary, unreasonable manner, or might go so far beyond what was reasonably required for the safety of the public, as to authorize or compel the courts to interfere for the protection of such persons." Together, principles of due process and equal protection ensure that laws are a rational means for achieving legitimate ends rather than arbitrary restrictions on personal liberties. Due process requires laws to have a means-ends fit, while equal protection ensures that similarly situated people are not treated differently without a legitimate reason. In the context of public health, these principles "guard against the risk that governmental action may be grounded in popular myths, irrational fears, or noxious fallacies rather than well-founded science." In other words, due process and equal protection ensure that the government's actions are designed to protect people and not merely to control them. [notes omitted, bold after subtitle added]Knowing that good people at the Pacific Legal Foundation are on the case is cause for relief and optimism, and not just on behalf of the Cordairs. State and local governments almost everywhere have displayed a disgraceful and disconcerting appetite for improper and intrusive power over the last few months. We are all Cordairs, now. -- CAV Link to Original
  21. Earlier
  22. Yeah, market prices really only identify what can be purchased. I think that wages are more about compensation and incentive psychologically speaking. Compensation and incentive are connected to an exchange of values: compensation for what the person is doing compared to what they would have been doing, incentive for continuing to work for you and continuing to trade with you. Assuming the person is doing the job as specified and doing it well, it's a good idea as an employer to be magnanimous as an incentive. The employer would become a desirable trading partner. If I were the employer, I would desire to allow them to have a certain kind of lifestyle, so I need to get some sense of market prices in real estate and food, with compensation as a baseline, and incentive as any money above that. There are other things to consider for rational value exchange, but as far as wages, I think this is enough. And of course, if people want to forgo a rational procedure, okay. Immoral, but that's their problem. And I hope they would not be in business long, because it has a negative impact on the market as a whole. You're right about the difficulty of figuring out what a dollar is worth in terms of time. The fact that the dollar is not linked to anything only makes this problem worse. Unsolvable even; not computable if you like information science terms like I do. So yeah, some commodity should be the basis, whether that something is gold, or something digital like computation power in a computer (which cryptocurrency aims to do). The best I can do given fiat currency is get some sense of the way people spend their money, despite how arbitrary the basis to it is. Sort of like how I know that many books on Amazon are often $10, but Barnes & Noble often sells the same books at $15. I won't be able to objectively determine the worth of a dollar to me, but at least I can get a sense of more and less and what I could get with that $10.
  23. One of my favorite business writers, "Evil HR Lady" Suzanne Lucas, has long been one of my go-tos for advice on working from home. She has been doing so herself for years, and yet has the business knowledge that her pen name implies. This combination of experience and perspective practically makes her required reading on that subject, and that goes double now. This is because she sees this situation from the eyes of both workers and managers at once. If many businessmen now at least better tolerate the idea of people working from home, some see dollar signs and have become a little too eager to go all in. This is where Lucas comes in, as we can see from two of her recent columns on the subject. As usual, she has things to say for employer and employee, but I think employers are more in need of advice by this time. For example, in a piece at AIHR, Lucas notes that "It's okay to hate working from home," and reminds bosses that, "Not everyone lives in four bedroom houses." Working from home has gotten pretty old pretty fast for lots of people, and even for those of us who liked it before the pandemic, it's not so great now: The in-home commute has its hazards, too. (Image by Markus Spiske, via Unsplash, license.) All of this doesn't mean I'm not a champion for working at home. I am! I love it. Or at least, I did love it, and I'll love it again when my children go back to school, and my favorite cafés re-open. But, if you have found that you hate working from home, there's not something wrong with you. If you're a business owner that is tempted to go to a 100 percent remote model, think about how that move will impact your business and your employees. It may be fantastic. It may not be. Talk with people before you make final decisions. [bold added]All I can add to that might be to do a thought experiment about what remote working would be like after we reach herd immunity. The upside of this being a way to avoid illness would obviously go. On top of that, while some would be able to thrive again, others might find that they lack the discipline to work away from an office. Lucas underscores this point in another piece at Inc., where she helps bosses realize that every apparent new advantage of this situation comes with tradeoffs they may not be aware of: I had a boss once for whom everything was an emergency. She would often call me at 4:30 and say, "[Super important executive] needs this report tonight!" At first, I stayed late and did the reports, and noticed that the emailed reports remained unopened for days. Then I got smart. She would tell me it was an emergency, and I would then call the executive's admin and say, "I understand Jane needs XYJ report. When does she need that?" The response was never tonight. Frequently, it was many days or even a week away. I would then pack up my things and go home, and do it the next day. But I had the advantage of a long tenure and a good relationship with tons of people within the company. Your employees may not have that. Don't use the word emergency unless it truly is one. And keep in mind what a real emergency is. That varies from business to business, but not everybody who says they want something immediately actually needs it immediately. A little pushback can be a good thing for maintaining healthy boundaries.I like how Lucas reminds bosses about boundaries, while also giving employees of clueless or indifferent bosses an idea for how to work around them. (Elsewhere, she offers the following admonition: "Don't reward people who are constantly working -- they are going to burn out. Instead, tell them to take a break.") If statewide closures were a blunt response to the pandemic, permanently making every office worker remote would be equally ham-handed. If there is anything the pandemic should have taught us by now, it's that one-size-fits-all, top-down initiatives are problems disguised as solutions. -- CAV Link to Original
  24. I'm not going to presume to speak for anyone else here, but there is definitely a lack of clarity and objectively concrete precision thus far in this thread on this particular matter. In the economy of the U.S.A. today, what would you claim a dollar to be? Presumably an hour is 1/24 of a sunrise to sunrise at the equator. A circular argument would set a dollar at 4 minutes, per such a claim. By interjecting market prices (including real estate and food) only allows the extrapolation to identify how many minutes does it take to purchase a particular real estate or item of food. One of my earlier remarks on this forum cited the thought that fiat currency was theft. I was asked to substantiate the claim. In retrospect, the claim was too abstract to sum up in a 'simple response'. Would you make the argument for a dollar being based on a commodity standpoint? Would the commodity you choose be a metaphysically based material?
  25. "It's just a basic benchmark measure of living a basic life in a Western country (which can help determine what kind of wage you want to pay). I'm not so worried about the exact $15, but I think a living wage, whatever an economist determines that to be, is a good measure for estimating what I would like to pay full-time employees who do very basic labor." Many times I said the employer should offer a job based on the value he gets from the work performed. My claim is that below a certain point, an employer is failing to rationally appreciate the value he gets from the work performed. Absolutely. The only thing it has to do with is how I would like to compensate the person for the work they perform in such a way that they would like to continue working. This is poetic license. This is not what is meant by living wage in this discussion, is not at all how the terms have been defined. If you change the meaning of the terms as I have used them, it will sound like I'm saying something completely different. I'm not sure if you're acting in bad faith, or you honestly missed how we defined what I mean by living wage. I already said minimum-wage laws are immoral, so I don't know what you're talking about. I really don't. Minimum-wage laws should not exist. Minimum-wage laws are bad. I don't like minimum-wage laws. Yup! Earn that $15. How does this contradict anything I wrote? I think anyone performing a full-time job well has earned $15 an hour by rational standards. Really it's just sounding like you told me that I am irrational for saying that as an employer, I want to pay them $15 an hour. I know you didn't intend this, but you ended up undermining your own argument that an employer should pay the value they believe they received. I value the work at $15 an hour. You've been telling me that I shouldn't value the work at $15 an hour. If you think I'm rational to value their work at $15 an hour, you agree with me in principle, at least that my standards are worthwhile. If you think I am not rational to value their work at $15 an hour, then you should make that argument. If you think I am not rational to believe in minimum-wage laws, then you haven't read anything I wrote.
  26. By what standard? Who decides? What kind of life? You sir, think you can put the cart before the horse. Like all mystics you aim to make the sustenance of life, the effect, cause of the wages earned, the cause. But this is backwards. Wages make life possible and determine the scope and scale of that life. You think it is moral for an employee to demand a wage to live a life better than he can attain by his level of work and you think it immoral for an employer to offer a job based on the value he gets from the work performed because that value might not be enough to support the lifestyle demanded by the potential employee. No. The worker trains and then aims to provide valuable work at the best rate he can get. He reaps what he is willing to invest in himself during training and the diligence of effort and skill he brings to his chosen craft, in a market where that work only has so much value to those willing to pay for it. The scope and scale of his life thereafter follows as the effect caused by what he is able to earn. What kind of life he can live in no way has any causative effect on the value of that work to the employer in the context of that employer’s business. The employee’s wage, WHATEVER it is, IS his living wage IF he aims to live and he had better live within those means until he can retrain or do better with the skills he already has. How much would an honest self sufficient man unwilling to take any handouts be able to work per hour and still survive? Take a small apartment at the outskirts of public transit near a modest city and live with five roommates, if you have to. Train to do better, work 60 hours a week. Is that too much work for someone who clearly needs to get their sh!t together? Not by a long shot. What about the leisure time, youtube, social media, and video games some are so accustomed to? Those are luxuries requiring free time, which is a reward for work done and must be earned. In fact I’d go on to say that even too many quite well off people are pulled into idleness and could in fact be spending much more time being productive in their lives. Your $15 per hour, so-called minimum, is a socialist propped up, lazy entitled spoiled infantile adult, expectation that has no basis in reality for any self-respecting hard working person. Like absolutely everything else traded in a free market, work is worth the value it provides to the party buying it in the context for which it is being purchased. “Living wage“? Wages make life possible. Live the life your wages can support and if you want more from life offer more or make more of yourself to EARN that life.
  27. Then that would be arbitrary! There would be no basis for the employer to offer $10 an hour, other than perhaps that it "felt right". If there is a basis, it should be rational. To be rational, one must do some kind of research or investigation into wages, such as what people expect, the value of your currency, everything that goes into determining the worth of something. Not only does this put you into a better position for negotiation, you are also better able to sensibly judge people and their value to you. I'm not saying anything about finding out what the market price is, this is all about finding the price you want to pay. We can't assume that the market price is unassailably rational. There are boom and bust cycles within capitalism and expected by Austrian economists. Someone more economically well read can add more details here. Whatever the more intimate details of that are, generally speaking, the fact that there is a boom and bust cycle shows that within capitalism there is room for error caused by innocent mistakes, and outright irrationality. I don't know what you mean. Maybe my next paragraph will clarify. If you're talking about spiritual values like DW mentioned, these are not subjective (based on how things feel). These are examples of irrelevant details that would not affect your calculation of what you determine the value of their labor to be. You seem to be mixing up so what I mean by determining what a living wage is, with determining the wage I would like to pay (or the wage that the employee wants). Living wage can only be determined by observation of transactions, as you were saying. The next step the rational employer should take when thinking about how they value their employees is figure out their other objectives, like employee retention, creative output, employee satisfaction, and so on. Force, not at all. Immoral, definitely. * I'm realizing now that one thing might be a little confusing. When I say "value" in this discussion, I'm referring to individual determinations about what something or someone is worth. When I say "market price", I'm referring to some kind of average about the monetary price people pay for something or for labor. A living wage would be based on several different market prices, including real estate and food.
  28. Let us say that another employer offers a job at 10 dollars an hour and some do accept and work is completed. (He might have gone up to 15 dollars an hour but there were takers). This is where a transaction has occurred, in reality. No research, no guessing. That was the price at that moment. Are you saying that some research somewhere is going to counter that determination? Based on what again? You only give examples of your sense, opinion, feeling and some appeal to authority. For some reason that is far more valid than the market price. Furthermore, that research that you talk about, has to be based on actual transactions that have been recorded i.e. market price. You can record their blood pressure, their other bodily reactions like brain waves etc. to determine what price should want. But ultimately, there is no way to determine price but via observation of transactions (voluntary decisions) that actually happen.
  29. I don't think so, but I think this goes into an entirely different discussion about how to act with certainty. The value of contextual approaches to knowledge is that they make it possible to act with absolute certainty, while leaving the probabilistic stuff as irrelevant. In effect, any action you take should be done with certainty. If your actions are not taken with certainty, then you didn't take enough time to evaluate or appreciate the situation. If you can't really know what your tactics will do, and you're never quite sure what will happen, sure, then any negotiation tactic you use is no more or less moral than another. Not only that, but you would not be a good negotiator. I know you aren't saying that you can't know anything at all, so my idea is that you are still leaving too much room for guessing and uncertainty. Why do you keep bringing this up when I already told you I think minimum-wage laws are immoral? The quickest way I can reply to this part is that it doesn't seem like you are thinking of academic research in the right way. Many variables are taken into account, including the ones you mentioned. Some are left out because they are determined to be nonessential. Making such a calculation is not normative on its own. The calculation would be descriptive of how people live in the US. You could argue that the calculation is done incorrectly, or left out an important variable, but you couldn't say that the calculation is arbitrary. For the sake of our discussion, I'm suggesting that the minimum worth of a full-time employee (if the employer determines worth in a rational way) is what it would cost them to live a basic life here in the US. Pretending for a minute that I'm an employer: I've determined (through research and whatever else) that a basic life in the US is a good and reasonable benchmark for figuring out the worth of my full-time low skill labor employees. Some of my employees might say they only need $10 per hour, but I still really think their labor is worth $15 an hour by rational standards. That's what I value their work at, it's not intrinsic value. So, I offer them $15 an hour right off the bat. There is no rational reason that someone would negotiate a lower wage for themselves, unless they really felt that they were worth less than $15 an hour. In fact, if an employee reacted like "oh, you don't have to do that, I'm not that good of an employee!", I would insist that they take $15 an hour. In my mind, they would be giving into altruistic pressure that they have been taught. I wouldn't want employees thinking that way at my company.
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