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Sometimes conclusions and arguments get conflated, and I think this informs this three stage sequence w.r.t. the SCD.

Hayek and Mises made a very specific and fairly novel argument against socialism. A few people challenged that specific argument with other specific arguments. Today, nobody thinks socialism is efficient. A lot of people sloppily take that sequence of the Hayek-Mises argument and say "well everyone knows socialism doesn't work now but that's only because Mises and Hayek won the SCD".

This, I think, is a mistake and a conflation of the argument and the conclusion. Lot's of people have always noted that socialism could never work from lots of slightly different angles (although all based on the same premise). Hayek gave us a new way of making that argument, and as Hoppe notes (I believe in the QJAE) Hayek's approach itself was slightly different from Mises's. The obviousness of the failure of socialism now should not be confused with the final of these three stages of new ideas.

Look at Keynes in the 20s or Calvin Hoover (a prominent American Keynesian) in the 20s and 30s. They took it as obvious and broadly understood among economists (if not the general population) that socialism wasn't feasible. I was reading Essays in Persuasion the other day and it struck me that in some places Keynes didn't even both making an argument for that point - he simply asserted it. In making his case, Hoover even anticipated some of Hayek's arguments about the similarities of fascism and socialism. Perhaps a somewhat higher percentage of economists today accept it than at that time, but it was taken as "obvious" by large portions of the discipline regardless.

So what did Mises and Hayek do? They provided a new argument to reach that same conclusion that allowed for an extended and fruitful discussion of prices and also allowed the introduction of what we would call "information economics" today into the argument.

Other people would be better than me in tracing out whether the argument when through "ridicule" and "outrage". It seems to me it was OTHER issues that caused the most outrage that I'm aware of. I simply want to make the point that just because the conclusion of an argument is "obvious" it doesn't mean that nobody came to that conclusion before that particular argument was made. People can get to "obvious" through many routes.

In case the first sentence of my third paragraph is confusing - I DO think Mises and Hayek won the SCD. I just don't think that is the ultimate source of the obviousness of the failures of socialism. We weren't all proto-Langians before or during the SCD, in other words.

There have been some powerful critiques of group selection hypotheses in the past; I wonder if Wilson et al have solved this particular problem. In any case, I am rather confused by the author's suggestion that kin-selection theory has ever served to explain everything about the evolution of altruism. I have always understood it to be merely one pressure selecting for altruism -- perhaps it explains why organisms tend to be comparatively more altruistic toward relatives than non-relatives, but surely it was never meant to explain everything.

Even Wilson's counterexamples in the article seem odd. He claims to have found organisms highly related but not very altruistic and others not very related but highly altruistic. But surely the question is how altruistic they are to relatives compared to non-relatives.

I suppose this is the confusion that one gets by reading this type of article.

I'd be interested in someone's take here on Nowak's point about the importance of math.

Wilson is correct that kin selection theory cannot explain altruism among non-kin. Whether or not group selection is correct, the critics of it have to at least explain what their theories, to date, cannot. Group selection is currently the only game in town that does just that. Insofar as social bonds extend to non-kin (or at least those far enough away that it is unknown that they are kin), those social bonds have to be explained. Their presence is an indication that the good has indeed emerged in that species' evolution. I suspect that the cycle on this will go quicker than, say, the cycle for ABCT, which explains far more than the Keynesian alternative and doesn't set the economy back on the same bubble-burst track and bankrupt the government through its solutions. Few have political power to gain from Wilson's theory, though. That, sadly, matters.

Evolutionary survival depends on producing offspring which survive to propagate your genes, which involves a lot more than just personal survival with a lot of mating along the way. If altruism means defending your family and nurturing the young, this would be the most important factor in evolutionary success. Maybe the intellectual problem should be to account for the existence of selfishness, not altruism:)

One of the interesting effects of the Great Society programs of the '70s was to eliminate the role of the male breadwinner by handing that responsibility to the state, with huge impact on the intergrity of black families. In with the state, out with altruism and responsiblity of individuals.

The dichotomy between altruism and avarice, greed and generosity, are age-old arguments, and even our brightest scientists in biology or behavioral economics are not likely to resolve the dispute so long as they accept unthinkingly the pagan-era teaching that self-sacrifice is a virtue.

There is no such thing as "sacrifice" in nature. The partridge hen has no intention of being caught and eaten by the fox as she dupes him into chasing her rather than discovering her hatchlings. She fully intends to fly back to the nest to raise her young after she has lured the fox so far away he has lost interest. The Dawkins example of the honey ant is not actually 'sacrificing' itself for the betterment of her sisters by hanging from the roof of the hive to become a living jar. For all we know, becoming a jar is the highest valued occupation in the hive, after the egg-laying queen. And to attach some kind of nobility to such behavior is ideology, not science.

For at least four thousand years, the priesthood has taught us that sacrifice is noble. The sacrifice is now the core virtue in all four of the world's monotheisms, and if Jared Diamond is correct about the rise of the priestly class only after humanity began to assemble food surpluses, then the ideo/theology of sacrificial virtue is better explained as the deliberate attempt by the unarmed priestly class to assert their secondary control and dominace over the populace, "secondary" to the armed alpha male, the king, warlord, emperor.

The entire debate about altruism and avarice is an inheritance from our pagan past, one so successfully "framed" by the priesthood that we all--all of us--unthinkingly accept the "sacrifice" as something noble and virtuous in nature. It is not. The 'sacrifice,' at all times, represents a bestial bloodletting, and trying to make the concept to be natural, as a part of Nature, is to be blinded by ideo/theology. Only humans 'sacrifice.' Altruism and avarice are simply parts of bi-furcated human nature, and there is no nobility in Nature for either altruism or avarice. We humans made that up when we began to give our attention to unproductive proselytizing priests, desperate to find themselves some power over others in the shadow of the primary ruler.

Hindus today still 'sacrifice' animals to honor the dead human. Jews and Muslims revere Abraham's 'sacrifice'; Christians celebrate Easter, Christ's 'sacrifice.' After thousands of years, we now are thoroughly indoctrinated into believing sacrifice/altruism is a virtue...but that is not science; it's ideo/theology.

"then the ideo/theology of sacrificial virtue is better explained as the deliberate attempt by the unarmed priestly class to assert their secondary control and dominace over the populace"

Yes, civilization was all a plot!

"After thousands of years, we now are thoroughly indoctrinated into believing sacrifice/altruism is a virtue...but that is not science..."

Well, yes... since science is not in a position to comment on virtues. When you call sacrifice "a bestial bloodletting," we're supposed to believe that that conclusion IS scientific, Mr. Partridge-Hen-Mind-Reader?

Well, there is pretty strong evidence that punishing people for violating norms of altruism is hard-wired in our brains. Most studying these matters hypothesize that this stuff got in due to the "evolution of cooperation" during the long hunter-gatherer period of our ancestors wherin the ability to organize small groups for hunting and so on was presumably favorably selected for. And the classic example of "pure altruism" in humans is the soldier sacrificing himself quite suddenly to save his buddies. Maybe the hen "thinks" she will get home, but not in this case, and all this very likely predates the rise of organized religions.

The Science of Saturation Macroeconomics:

The Three Phases of New Ideas: Ridicule, Outrage, Obvious.

The qualitative for saturation macroeconomics is the Austrian Theory. The Austrian Theory under massive debt, overproduction, and overvaluation becomes the science of saturation macroeconomics.

The Wilshire 11 October 2007 high was prospectively predicted using this elegantly simple patterned science.

Many can sense that the global economy is at a nonlinear crossroads. An asset valuation collapse will occur that will result in near unanimity that QE 3,4,5 et. al. is reasonable (the only option to sustain the system).

The Great Silver Crash of 2011 26 May 2011: completion of the Second Fractal 16 Days Lower High

Both equities and Silver will crash starting Friday 27 May 2011. Both are following the same decay pattern.

Silver is useful because of the very defined fractal pattern of its 2x or 16 day second fractal of its 8 day base.

Observe the fractal pattern within the 16 day 2x pattern to its secondary high: 2/5/4 days and 2-/4/4 days its 26 May lower high.

An 8/16 day pattern was completed on 26 May 2011.

The 2x-2,5x 17 to 19-20 day crash begins.

Ridiculed or Ignored, Outrage, Obvious -- the problem is Hayek serves up many interrelated ideas and different parts of them have each of these reactions in overlapping ways and from different communities, changing across time.

Hayek's _Sensory Order_ was immediately hailed as outstanding, was never ridiculed, never caused outrage, but seemed mostly to stand above and beyond most research programs until various subdisciplines began to "catch up", e.g. Joaquin Fuster's neuroscientific research program.

Hayek's macroeconomics was deeply influential immediately -- e.g. inspiring Hicks' work and Harrod's development of Growth Theory, and providing the intertemporal dimension to the General Equalibrium construct.

Hayek work on the market as an information system was also immediately influential, setting off a whole literature on information economics via Lerner, Hurwicz, and others.

The odd thing is that Hayek's contributions were so at once so massive, so broad, and so deep, they could be at once Obvious, Outrageous, Ignored, and Ridiculed, all depending on the dimension considered, and by which subspecialty.

I've shown that selection over individuals can select for group properties in my Kuhn paper (no kin selection required).

The case of musk oxen expressing the group property of horns out circling with calves in the middle is an obvious potential example.

So is the spontaneous ordering of schooling fish adjusting their positions relative to one another creating group properies advantagous to the survival of each individual, relative to individuals who do not display the group property.

Arnold Plant & Ronald Coase & John Hicks testify that Hayek's _Prices & Production_ essays were an immediate sensation, and inspired all sorts of research.

Other, outsider & rival scientific research communities were the once who attacked and ridiculed and ignored and just plain failed to get Hayek's research program -- i.e. leftist Marshallians at Cambridge and leftist institutionalsit/Mitchellians at Harvard and elsewhere in America.

Barkley's point was well made by Bowles and Gintis with a wide range of evidence.

However the norm of reciprocity as they call it becomes fragile when about 25% of people cease to observe it, and I suspect the welfare states of the world are close to that tipping point.

The musk ox example cited by Greg has a nasty side to it. The circle defence was just fine against wolves but when hunters with guns turned up they had to shoot practically the whole herd to get a single beast (assuming they only wanted a single beast to eat) because the survivors refused to abandon the defence.

I think Friedman said the three stage process was like this but that the outrage stage was instead some grudging acknowledgement that there might be something in what was being said.

The obvious stage was also followed by a remark that "and I was thinking somewhat along these lines a few years ago"

The 4th stage is rewriting history as uncovered by tom sargent in Reactions to the Berkeley story

He noted that in ‘Changing Views about Stabilization Policy: a Historical Perspective.”, the Romers say that by 1970 the Fed had accepted the natural rate hypothesis and had appropriately modified its preferences by aiming to sustain unemployment at its best estimate of the natural rate of unemployment.

Sargent’s personal recollection was that the natural rate hypothesis was certainly not widely accepted among academics in the early 1970s.

He recalled debates about the topic with his colleagues at Penn and Minnesota were heated, with the older policy types in the department doubting the hypothesis well into the decade.

re: Gene's "Yes, civilization was all a plot!"


Well, the natural rate hypothesis suggests that sometimes there is a fourth stage, when an idea returns from being "obvious" to being "ridiculous."

a Duoist would have to explain, then, why it is that many birds will give out a warning chirp when there is danger nearby, thus attracting attention to themselves even as they warn all the other birds. They increase the likelihood that they will be eaten rather than one of the other birds they have warned.

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