[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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