Monday, 9 December 2013

Is Mike Munger stupider than Roberto Unger?

(Edit- Mike Munger,  has posted a link to this post on his blog. )

Not yet.
Give him time.
He's a few years younger, than Unger, hasn't yet held high office and teaches at Duke, not Harvard.
You are wrong. The correct answer is a resounding 'Yes'!
Coz he's a Math guy- but a totally crap Math guy- and he is illiterate, ignorant and totally and irrevocably shite.
Munger mongered this mischievous nonsense in a blog post from December 2013- 

PlayPump: Somebody Ought to Do Something!

In 2005, NPR reporter Amy Costello described a new technology: the “PlayPump,” which looks like a child’s merry-go-round but which also pumps water from the ground. When the children play, some water is brought to the surface, meaning that women who had had to walk several kilometers for water could now get water from a tap. It seemed like a terrific solution; ten minutes walking around the pump saved 30 minutes to an hour walking each way—to get water from the river.

But when Costello followed up, five years later, things hadn’t turned out very well. In her words
I uncovered an array of problems with the way the technology had been implemented on the ground and I was dismayed to discover that the promise of the PlayPump had fallen woefully short.
During my reporting trip for the follow-up story, I traveled to Mozambique, where I met women who had been without their own supply of clean drinking water for months, because their PlayPump had broken down and had never been repaired or replaced. As I sat in the sand with those women, hearing their stories of anger and frustration, I felt partly responsible for their plight. After all, it was my initial glowing report that had helped to catapult the technology on to an international stage where it received millions of dollars in additional financing.
As a result of this experience, I have come to realize that we need to ask hard questions about seemingly good ideas. We should look closely and more critically at celebrated social entrepreneurs and the programs they spawn across the globe. I want to follow up on promising technologies and see what happened to them five, ten years down the road. I imagine we’ll discover that many ideas that appear simple and “good” on the surface, are actually not simple at all and are likely fraught with moral and ethical complexities.
It turns out that returning aid workers asked why no one had fixed the pump. The people of the town said that they were waiting for the government to do it. They were angry because they were sick and weak, because no one would help them. Far from lifting them up, the “aid” had only left them more dependent on others, less able to care for themselves.
If a society, any society, comes to believe that citizens have no power to fix things, and that we have to wait on the government, we all become sick, weak, and angry. Those people in Mozambique could have worked together and fixed that pump. But they have been taught since birth, since their grandparents’ birth, to think of themselves as children in a “family” headed by the State.

Get ‘er Done

In 1831 French historian and politician Alexis de Tocqueville published Democracy in America, a memoir of his travels in the United States. It could have been called How Americans Get Things Done. Tocqueville marveled at how Americans worked together privately to solve civic problems. 
He was no fan of majority rule. The problem with political democracy, he said, is that citizens are isolated and “enfeebled.” They can do hardly anything by themselves, and they can’t force others to help them. He admired the American solution to this problem: Organize into private groups, and leave government out of it. As Tocqueville put it:
They all, therefore, become powerless if they do not learn voluntarily to help one another. If men living in democratic countries had no right and no inclination to associate for political purposes, their independence would be in great jeopardy, but they might long preserve their wealth and their cultivation: whereas if they never acquired the habit of forming associations in ordinary life, civilization itself would be endangered.
When libertarians seem to be “against” everything, this is what we are worried about. If citizens ignored politics, things wouldn’t be so bad. But we are worried that our excessive focus on politics will cause us to ignore society and each other. If we fail to connect as social beings in complex reciprocal exchange relations, modern “democratic” life becomes anomic and mean, just as Tocqueville foresaw. 
That—that—is what we are for: voluntary associations, in all their richness and bewildering complexity. 
If you want to go out and persuade some people to work with you, and all voluntarily work for the benefit of each, then that is libertarian social change. If someone wants to opt out and form a different association, they are free to do so. And that’s a good thing because you get diverse experimentation in problem solving.
(Read more:

Is Munger right? Did the people of Mozambique fuck up coz they trusted and loved their Govt. so much and had no fucking initiative or community spirit?
No. Munger is telling stupid lies.
The scheme he is talking about- the brainchild of a retired advertising guy who didn't know shit from engineering- FAILED. Laura Bush may have supported it- BUT IT WAS SHIT.  The idea was to kill four birds with one stone
1) provide a merry-go-round for kids
2) Use the torque generated by the kids playing merry go round to pump water into a water tank
3) Give the water to women who would otherwise have had to use a handpump saving them time and energy
4) Use the space on the sides of the water tower to gain revenue by advertising

I invented a teddy bear which can brush your teeth while also connecting to Netflix and doubling as a hot water bottle and also an electronic shark repelant just in case baby gets thrown off the yacht during a tsunami. Clearly every baby in the Pacific littoral should have one. It costs just 74000 dollars and does not work at all. Why? Stuff which can do three or four totally different type of things at the same time is stuff which, speaking generally, is both very expensive and totally crap. Especially if the inventor is a retired Advertising Exec. who knows shit about engineering.
I know this. You know this. Munger, it seems, doesn't know this. 
He is as stupid as shit.
Also he is totally illiterate. 
A 30 second Google search would have put him right. 
But he's too fucking illiterate to actually do a Google search.

Let's now look at established facts about Playpump-
1) Everybody agreed it was shit. So it stopped trading THREE YEARS AGO. 
2) It cost 14000 dollars and crowded out handpumps from boreholes even though it cost up to 20 times a much and was, at its best, 20 per cent as efficient.
3) It was bad for kids. Malawi's Education Minister banned its use in Schools. It amounted to no more nor less than forced labor.
4) No Community in its right mind would spend even a penny on this piece of shit. 
5) It was not the State but Non Government Organizations and stupid International Agencies and Western shithead Charities which financed this OBVIOUSLY FUCKED idea. But Laura Bush was a big supporter. This worthless shithead Munger, WRITING IN DECEMBER 2013- i.e. three years after EVERYBODY INVOLVED HAS ADMITTED IT WAS A SHIT PROJECT FROM START TO FINISH- is still a big supporter. 
He thinks local communities should stick with this piece of shite. They shouldn't. They should tear it out of the ground and put back the handpumps which are UPTO 20 TIMES LESS EXPENSIVE AND MORE THAN 5 TIMES MORE EFFICIENT- EVEN UNDER THE MOST FAVORABLE CONDITIONS FOR PLAYPUMP.

You don't believe me? Then, don't believe this or this, but use your commonsense. Kids like merry-go-rounds, but they also like fun. Why would they spend hours on a merry-go-round when there are other games they can play?

Munger, shithead that he is, can't see it. He expects his readers on the Bleeding Heart Libertarian site to be as stupid and ignorant as himself.  Playpump was a totally shit scheme forced down the throats of very poor African countries by stupid Western donors. The African countries commissioned proper research and proved that the Westerners were totally fucked in the head. Malawi's education Ministry banned Playpump because it hurt kids and was totally shit. Mozambique commissioned a study which showed that Playpump had imposed a massive cost on those whom it was supposed to help. The fuckers who imposed this shite have a moral obligation to take that shite out and restore the handpumps or whatever which their stupidity had crowded out. Everybody understands this. Everybody except Munger the brain-dunger. The guy is a Prof of Econ or some other such shite at Duke. He ran for Governor of some State of the other. What a FUCKING MASSIVE FUCKWIT!

How did this fuckwit get to be a Professor? The answer is he's a Math guy but a shite Math guy. He does not know any Econ or Pol Sci, he's just an enormous dickhead.
The shithead thinks that something called 'euvoluntary transactions'- in which there is no buyer or seller remorse- but this means they are are hysteresis free, or fully ergodic- and this militates against 'repugnancy markets'.
Why is this fucked?
Perhaps it is sufficient to quote this. (my comments are in bold)

'Destinationist libertarians identify ideal policies, using ideal theory.  (Stupid Destinationists do- non stupid ones have ontologically dysphoric preferences like normal people) For the destinationist, of course, anything other than the ideal outcome is an unacceptable compromise, because sanctioning a new but  non-ideal status quo implies complicity.  This is the “don’t vote, it only encourages them!” view of politics.
Directionalist libertarians identify a path that leads from the status quo toward ideal policies, using pragmatic and consequentialist considerations. (Stupid ones do.  Sensible ones confess that there is no way to specify one's current trajectory, let alone specify how to alter it for the better.) This is the libertarian answer to the common “Tell you how you get from A to B to C” objection we hear so often.  Actual, concrete policy proposals, things we could do now, and some of these policy proposals are motivated at least in part by concerns for social justice.
To close, let me admit (as is no doubt predictable) that I am a directionalist.  I learn a lot from my destinationist friends, and I value your insights.  You keep us all honest, and your objections are useful, because you remind us what our goals should be.  But if you think that all policies that differ from your imagined libertopia are equally bad, then you are just wrong.  Some non-ideal policies are much less bad than others. In the next four parts of this essay, I will try to argue for some analytical criteria for making those sorts of “less bad” incremental improvements, and make an argument for two policies that will make my destinationist friends shriek and rend their garments'

I think that's fair, in my short summary. But then I go to a lot of trouble to claim that the nature of institutions have moral qualities, at the margins. Still, you are right that my short summary at the outset can be read that way. And I don't really mean that, so thanks!

    windwheel  Mike Munger 

    • If Euvoluntary transactions never carry buyer/seller remorse, then they are ergodic- i.e. hysteresis free- and, under certain conditions, represented by the Lyapunov candidate function, this means that the dynamic properties of the system are such that directionism cashes out as destinationism.
      However, for that to be the case no market can be missing- e.g. in the price gouging case, some type of insurance scheme prevails such that no repugnancy effect arises. (Indeed, repugnancy generally signals hysteresis, like Marx's objection to 'dead' Capital, Vampire fashion, controlling Living Labour.)
      Obviously, human beings do more than transactions, they also form relationships which 'internalize' missing or failing markets. To mistake institutions for relationships is a mistake similar to 'immanentizing the eschaton'. Institutions don't have moral qualities but it is tempting to project such qualities onto them by reason of cognitive bias or preference falsification.
    Siddhanta- be it Unger or Munger, American Professors of essentially shit subjects are themselves essentially shit.The truth is when every concept used is 'essentially contested' it really adds nothing to the debate to continue making Philosophy's 'distinctions without a difference'. In this case, admitting that the definition of things like self-ownership and 'initiating coercion' are, by their nature, essentially contested means that there is no substantive/ procedural dichotomy, dress it up howsoever you will.
    Still, the fact that Libertarian philosophy is just as worthless as any other type does tell us something about the nature of Liberty which, deep down, we already know. In nuce, it is that shite is liefer talked than heard.

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