[FoRK] Time Asymmetry of Government: Terminal Stage Approaching

Jim Whitehead ejw at cs.ucsc.edu
Fri May 28 08:09:05 PDT 2010

> Re: Jim's comments...
>> What seems to be new in Ridley's book is the attempt to manufacture of a
>> sense of urgency about the problem. However, as the Wikipedia page
>> shows, these are old problems.
> Straw Man Variant #1:  redefine argument to something easily refuted...
> The post, if not Ridley's book, makes a more general case that should be neither controversial nor surprising:  "nothing (human) lasts forever."  This is particularly well-supported with respect to governments;  none last, and the bigger they are the harder they fall.

I agree that no human institution lasts forever. But, Ridley's book, 
from what I understand, is making a stronger argument: no governmental 
institution lasts forever *and* the end is near for our government. I 
was addressing my comments to the more controversial part, that the end 
is near. I don't buy it.

> Straw Man Variant #2:  find some data and claim that it refutes an argument other than the one being made, whether or not it is sufficient even for that purpose.

The original article said, "But…governments gradually employ more and 
more ambitious elites who capture a greater and greater share of the 
society’s income..."

I used GDP as a proxy for "society's income" and government spending as 
a proxy for "capturing share".

Where does this reasoning break down?

- Jim

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