Monday, September 14, 2015

A continuous world and the death of all intuitions

Saving lives is obligatory. helping refugees in need is a must.
"At any cost" is commonly heard.

But our modern world is different.

Policy is not binary anymore. It is continuous.
Saving a life can be capped at $1m, $10m or $1B,

We all agree that we cannot spend a billion dollar to save a life. But where to put the line.

In a pre - continuous world, it was simple. You knew that you are not going to go bankrupt to prolong a family member life in half a year. And you know you are going to spend a lot to save his life.

You rarely met the middle places, where a price has to be fixed. And the ugly reality of the limit of sacred values rears its head.

But nowadays, many government policies are continuous.

Refugees. With few refugees coming, it was so simple. help them. Even if it is a burden.

But would you accept 100 million starving refugees from Africa to Europe?
Beyond extreme moralists, few would even dare to suggest so.

The September 2015 Germany / Austria / Sweden refugee policy illustrated this reality.

All those countries said "of course we cannot ignore the refugees".
But when the numbers swelled exponentially, they all showed their displeasure in various ways at the infinity of the flow.

The continuous world is very very challenging for moral intuitions.
Voters still are sold strongly on sacred values and punish politicians who give a price to sacred values (various studies by Phillip Tedlock). But inevitably, a continuous world forces those caps and prices.

I am wondering if the public will eventually come to get used to those undeniable logics.

I think the UK is ten steps ahead in terms of such rational public discourse. So there is some hope in the human race.......

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