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BIG NUDGING
Karl Arnold Belser
8 March 2017




I have pointed out in this blog that in many cases central control can have severe unwanted consequences largely because not every public policy is appropriate for certain groups of people. See my post The Macro Economics Problem.

One example is that dictating that the US food producers use corn syrup (fructose) instead of cane sugar (sucrose) has indirectly caused the obesity epidemic in the United States. See my post Fructose May Harm You. The government is still in denial of this fact because of the influence (bribery) from the corn lobby and food producers.

Another example is that many US citizens have an IQ less than 100.
See my post Comments on Intelligence. The automated and artificial intelligent economy is going to require even higher intelligence for workers. See The Disrupters about how Silicon Valley is intent on eliminating many low level jobs.  What has happened to these low IQ people? The criminal justice system has created a group of second class citizens by convicting them of victimless crimes. They have further eliminated the discovery process of what these people might do by requiring very high minimum wages.  Many of these people will never be able to command a high wage.  Further the common core insists that everyone be educated to a level of sophistication that is' required for many professions and which is beyond the capability of these low IQ people. Poorly considered public policy implemented by faceless bureaucrats has caused this situation. 

There are many more examples, but the bottom line is that in many cases the government is exceeding it mandate to only enforce life, liberty and property that the Constitution requires. I do think that the government might tax everyone for infrastructure that is  used by everyone, that is the commons. These include water, roads, electricity, clean air, disease control, a stable money, public works to prevent flooding, open spaces that everyone might enjoy, and health standards. I think that it is unjust to give any group of people preferential treatment by gender, race, religion or skin color. But there should be a flat  playing field on an individual basis. I think that every woman should have the right to determine individually whether or not shoe wants to give girth.. I think also that individual parents should decide how they want their children educated.

After reading the Libertarian Reader by David Boaz I would say that I like many of the libertarian ideas. The excess regulation and government promises that can't be kept may at some point result in a monumental crisis, which of course is the reason I am writing this blog.

I am writing this post because of the serious threat that Big Nudging poses to democracy. I touched on this occurrence in my post Truthiness.  The Scientific American article Will Democracy Survive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence clearly spells out the central control threat without giving a good method for avoiding the occurrence. In short it is possible to nudge people into political conformity without their knowledge. Please read the Scientific American article because I do not want to repeat the entire discussion here.

There is a story on the Internet in the article The Data That Turned The World Upside Down that suggests that Donald Trump, Brexit and possibly other world leaders were elected by Big Nudging. The company Cambridge Analytica apparently used big data from Facebook and other sources to make profiles of groups of people in states that were close to swinging Republican. They targeted subtle ads that might make the reader want to vote against  one candidate or for another. Who exactly does the nudging? Who will know what is best without a competition of ideas? And is this really democracy?

See the video Sheep Dog Trials. Is this what the world wants?

I have complained in the past in my post Humanities Education in Decline that most people are so ignorant about how the world got to the present high level of civilization that they could easily be nudged into political compliance.  My post Stanford+Connects shows just how badly the education has been damaged at Stanford , my alma mater. I ask the rhetorical question Can there be democracy under these conditions, when people are profoundly ignorant , not skeptical and lazy in their thinking?

Next I ask the question Given this situation of ignorance how might the world evolve?

I don't see how the US society can retrench from the paternalism of the welfare state. This is especially true because the United States is currently taking the humanitarian point of view that all life is worth saving as part of its social contract with the people despite the fact that these universal welfare promises are unlikely to be kept. They are too expensive given that maybe half the current jobs are going to disappear to automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence. They will be too expensive given that the United States will shortly have less than two people working for every three citizens. Will these workers accept being essentially slaves? Or will the people on the dole become essentially surfs in a feudal age. I don't know. 

I note that the article You Realize The Universal Basic Income is Feudalism, Right shows how feudalism might occur. It suggests a future similar to that of  present day Venezuela in which price controls have resulted in forced labor to produce food.
See my post Minimum Basic Income in which I elaborate on the advantages of a basic income versus what the US has today. I do not however deal with the veiled question Why does everyone deserve to be supported if they are not contributing to society?

I am thinking about these issues in order to have a prepared mind for possible outcomes in the uncertain future.
    
Last updated March 18, 2017
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