[FoRK] Temporary partial capitulation

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Mon Jun 30 14:56:41 PDT 2008

Stephen / Zee,

The problems with current tort law have exceeded the available  
bandwidth of this list. ;-)  In any case it's not likely to be a  
practical issue to attempt to address any time soon, as the lobby with  
the greatest vested interest in this matter --- the lawyers --- are  
unlikely to want or accept any change no matter how well-motivated.   
As usual with these things it will not be until the present situation  
degenerates further into crisis that the polity as a whole will feel  
compelled to address it;  and then, it will likely be addressed  
poorly, overcorrecting the superficial symptoms while failing to  
address the fundamental flaws.

My own interest in this lies in the bias I mentioned earlier --- the  
weak-hand bias and its many manifestations in our system of governance  
and political thought as a whole.  (The assumption of DMU, discussed  
earlier, and its use in motivating redistributivist or "welfare"  
economic policies is another manifestation of the weak-hand bias.)   
Human evolutionary psychology explains this bias well --- it stems  
from the helplessness of our young and the need to protect the weaker  
among our kin-group;  my concern is in identifying it where it has  
irrationally surfaced in our system and, perhaps coldly, evaluating  
its effect.  My suspicion, by no means proven, is that this bias is  
epidemic within our social environment and has the long-term negative  
impact of forcing constant mean-regression in many dimensions of  
interest to the species as a whole.

Given the lack of practicality in further discussion of this, I'll  
table my defense of my tort reform proposal for the time being.  It's  
clear that no proposal is in order until we agree on the problem.

I'll also merely note that this issue -wrt- tort (its efficiency vs.  
equity, its fairness, its proper goals, and so on) has been  
controversial at least a good part of the last century, with the  
dialogue entering the realm of academic economics and legal  
scholarship as early as Learned Hand, cf. U.S. v. Carroll Towing.

I'll leave the rest of the scholarship to the interested until such a  
time as I feel inspired to either dump a link-bomb, a model, or both  
on you.  You're probably safe for now as I'm rather pre-occupied with  
other things, perhaps contrary to appearance here today. ;-)


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