Choose a topic

.. Cognition
General Artificial Intelligence
Observing My Experience

.. HUM
A Mind

Culture is Ordinary

AI and Art
Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Excellence is a Plateau
Is this picture real?
NonFungible Tokens
Public Art
Tearing Down Statues
What is Art?
Working With Reality

Artificial Intelligence and the Collingridge Dilemma.
Bird Brains
Bounded Rationality
Competence Without Comprehension
Consciousness is More Like Fame Than Television
Developmental Processes
Emergence and Cognition
Gender dysphoria
I Lost My Knife
Incomplete Information and Stories
Intelligence and Motivation
Is free will an illusion?
Natural Law
Necessary Illusions
On Affordances
Pencil and Paper
Post Phenomenology
Reflective Equilibrium
Return of the Law of Forms
Shifting Meanings
Structures of Understanding
Taking Things on Faith
The Hard Problem
The I Love You Gesture
The Imagined Order
The Phenomenology of Swim Bladders.
Thinking about medical procedures
Thinking About Risk
Underdetermination and Redundancy
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
What Does Google Know?
What is going on?

A Country Is Not Like A Company
Alternate ideas lying around waiting for disaster
Blood and Money
Can Capitalism Survive?
Do Our Minds Own Our Bodies?
Everyday Communism
Invisible Hand
Job Creators
Job Destroyers
Money and Value
Money is Different
National Accounts
Necessary Production
Paper Wealth
Post Capitalist Society
Profit Motive Fails
Rentier Capitalism
Social Wealth vs Surplus Value
Spending Money Into Existence
The Metaphysics of Money
The Ontology of Debt
Thinking about Money
Wealth is What Money Buys

Blowing Up Pipelines

Absolute Knowledge
I do not know everything
Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
Rethinking Knowledge
Rethinking Knowledge
Semiotics and Body Language
The Curious Ineffectiveness of Facts
The Past and the Future.
Uncertainty and Unpredictability
Whatever happened to The Truth?

Body Plans
Competition and Cooperation
Dr Malthus would be pleased
Error Correction
Evolution Defended
Evolution is not Religion
Evolution of Cars
Forces of Nature
Is Natural Selection Obsolete?
Politics and Evolution
The Evolution of Purpose.
The Problem with Natural Selection.
The Source of Bad Behavior
Thinking about Tails
Why Does a Leopard Have Spots?

Free Speech in the age of Twitter
Freedom and Badness
Freedom and Morality
Freedom From and Freedom To
Freedom in the Age of Convoys
Libertarian Coercion

10 Views of Landscape
Affect and Effect
I pay rent.
Listening to Corn
The Reform vs Revolution Paradox
What is Public Schooling For?

Levels of Abstraction
Levels of Abstraction and Minds
What is a newspaper?

As Much As Possible
Zipfs Law

Emotional Plague
Memes: Imitated Behavior.
The Problem with Memes
What is a replicator?

Beyond Rules Based Morality
Freedom and Morality
Moral Realism.
What do we owe animals?


Maps and Territories
Metaphysics Without Absolutes
Philosophy Buds
Sincerely Held Beliefs
Sorites Paradox
Stereoscopic Vision and The Hard Problem
The Gorilla in the Room of Science
The Purpose of Science
What is Going On?

If It Walks Like a Duck
Right Wing Freedom
The Sovereign Citizen
Tyranny of the Majority


Constructed Life
Correlation Wins
Quack Doctors
The Great Shattering
The Material Space
Thinking about Interconnection
Too Small to See
Watching Pigeons
Weirdness in Physics

A Job
A society needs a government.
Babies and Bathwater
Belly of the Beast
Cultural Appropriation
Drag Story Tellers
Family Values
Governance and Power
Griefers and Misinformation and Disinformation
I Distrust the News
Inclusion and Christmas
Its a Free Country
Life Extension
Moral Decline
Open Society and Falsification
Parents, Children, and Community
Rethinking Rights
Rules in a Knife Fight?
Sex and Gender
Should We Go to Mars?
Social vs Individual Responsibility.
Society and The State
Society evolved
Spheres of Influence
The Care and Feeding of Free Speech
The Collingridge Dilemma
The Common Good
The Dual Meaning of Power
The Homeless
The Problem with Hedonism
The Rule of Law.
Thoughts on Justice
To the Moon
Trial by jury
Virtue Signalling
We Live in the Present
What is to be said?
What made freedom a bad word?
Why is there a shortage of nurses?
Work - Productive, Useful, Worthless, and Bad.

Implications of Very Productive Technology
Modest Proposal
Problems with Universal Basic Income
Tormenting Unlucky People
Why there are oligarchs

Paper Wealth


Recently Elon Musk proposed to buy Twitter in a hostile takeover. The man is the richest in the world now (so they say) and is worth $250 billion and so it seems he could easily pay the $44billion he was offering it seemed at first.
But then it gets complicated. Musk doesn't have $250 billion in cash. He owns stocks in various companies that were worth that much at the time of offering - so he'd need to convert those to cash to do the deal. That is; he's worth a lot in terms of speculative paper but doesn't have nearly that much as spendable money.
So he has to either sell his stocks to raise the cash or he has to borrow money using the stocks as collateral. If he tries to sell $44 billion worth of stocks then the price will fall so doing that would cause the value of his holdings to plummet I'm sure he can figure it out.

It's a thing I see all the time in the news. A stock market decline is described in terms of wiping out wealth.
And for stock market speculators this can have serious consequences. After all, they have borrowed money using stocks as collateral. When the value of the assets that are collateral falls then lenders demand more collateral from the borrowers. This can lead to a vicious cycle that bankrupts the speculator. It's a fairly common occurrence. Speculators like to pose as 'risk takers' who are entitled to their rewards and often enough the risk bites them.

A naive view of stocks is that they are shares in a company that entitle the owners to a share of the profit. That is, each year the company gives each shareholder a dividend that is a share of the profits that the company made.
But that doesn't really work.
In general it takes 20 or 30 years for the dividends on a stock to repay the purchase price. That doesn't sound very satisfactory and wouldn't draw investors.
What draws investors is the hope that once they buy a stock then the _price of the stock_ will increase over time and they can then cash out at a profit.

Notice the disconnect here between wealth as the stuff a society produces and financial or financial wealth. People get rich speculating on stocks in companies that don't produce anything. 20 years ago we had the .com speculative bust. These days we have bitcoin.

The media presents the stock market as a measure of the health of the economy. I think that that's a distraction from the actual case.
A healthy economy is one that provides the material and social resources that a society needs to prosper. There are measures of that (like the Capabilities Approach) that don't look at stock prices at all.

The banking system stands somewhat apart from stocks It's based on lending money to those who need it at interest. But for many technical reasons that has become a crazy system.
You'd think that a bank would be lending money that it takes in as deposits. It's more complex than that. A bank can (these days) lend out 10 times as much money as it has in deposits in it's accounts. And it can increase the amount it can lend by borrowing money and then it can make loans for up to 10 times that amount too. And this has evolved into a system of very short term loans - like even overnight. The loans just get rolled over - a new one repays the old one
This system is very complex and prone to breakdown.
But again you get this system where paper wealth magnifies a lot - but that is not directly connected to the society's ability to produce the material wealth we need to survive.

I understand that this system just grew willy nilly because it could in an evolutionary sense. The complexity of our economic system makes no more sense than the complexity of the biological world.

But I think economics is way simpler than biological ecosystems. Simple enough that we could actually figure out a better way. I have many thoughts about that and think it's possible.
I look at ideas like the universal basic income and the capabilities approach and modern monetary theory. I think we could use our robotic capabilities to make all we need in a society where most people don't work in factories - singing and dancing and study and building might become the normal way of life.

The problem is political of course. None of my ideas would work unless democracy is reformed a lot so it isn't so polarized and irrational,

What do you think

Star I present regular philosophy discussions in a virtual reality called Second Life. I set a topic and people come as avatars and sit around a virtual table to discuss it. Each week I write a short essay to set the topic. I show a selection of them here.

I've been thinking and reading about philosophy for a long time but I'm mostly self taught. That is I've had the good fortune to read what interests me rather than follow a course of study. That has it's limits of course but advantages. It doesn't cost as much and is fun too.

My interests are things like evolution and cognition and social issues and economics and science in general.