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Political Turing Test II
I start, for readers who want to grade themselves on the questions in the previous post, by giving my answers. Other people might want to add more:
Climate Change (for someone who considers it a serious problem): What are the major positive effects of climate change?
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CO2 fertilization, which substantially increases the yield of C3 crops and reduces water requirements for both C3 and C4 crops.
A large increase in the amount of land in a temperature range consistent with human habitation and agriculture.
Reduction in mortality due to cold. Greenhouse gas warming raises low temperatures more than high, so is in that respect biased in our favor. Climate change may reduce total temperature-related mortality, but that is uncertain.
Reduction in heating costs.
Lengthening of the growing season.
Preventing the end of the current interglacial (this is a low probability/high value positive effect)
Minimum Wage Laws (for someone who supports them): What are the main negative effects of having a minimum wage law or increasing the level?
Increasing unemployment among low skilled workers. It is better to be employed at ten dollars an hour than unemployed at fifteen.
Making it more difficult for low wage workers to become high wage workers over time by eliminating the first step of the ladder.
Inefficiently worsening non-wage terms of employment. If wages are determined by the market it is in the interest of employers to provide any attractive terms of employment that are worth more to the workers than they cost the employer. If wages are fixed above the market level that is no longer the case.
Making the society as a whole poorer.
Gun Control (for a supporter): What are the main positive effects of widespread gun ownership?
Raising the cost of confrontational crime and so reducing its frequency. If many people have guns in their homes burglary and home invasions are riskier. If many people carry concealed handguns, mugging is riskier.
Making people less willing to tolerate police excesses. If you cannot protect yourself you are dependent on police for protection and so less willing to restrict them in what they can do.
Making hunting for food and protecting crops and livestock from varmints/predators easier. Also target shooting.
Making it easier for the military to recruit people with one of the relevant skills.
Making it easier to overthrow an oppressive government. (My guess is that this is true to a very limited extent in a modern society, the difference between civilian and military weaponry having increased quite a lot over the past two centuries, but some opponents of gun control would disagree.)
Regulation of Transport (for a supporter): What are or were the negative consequences of regulation of airlines, trucks and rail?
Cartelizing all three industries, making transport substantially more expensive and less efficient.
Tariffs (for a supporter): What are the main negative effects of a tariff?
Raising the cost of import-competing goods.
Hurting firms and workers in export industries.
Making the society poorer by producing goods inefficiently, getting them by making them at home instead of by making something at home that costs less to produce and trading it for the desired good.
Affirmative Action (for a supporter):
Affirmative action in educational admissions, which is what I was thinking of, means applying lower admissions standards to members of the favored group, in the U.S. usually blacks. The result is that the black students in each institution are on average less able than the non-black students. If the difference is substantial the black students are likely to learn less than they would in a school where classes would be targeted at students, black and non-black, at their ability level.
A second result is that the non-black students observe that the black students they interact with are mostly less able than they are, encouraging the belief that blacks are less able than other groups. That will happen whether or not the belief is true in general since it will be true for the students in each school.
A third result of affirmative action will be to make it more difficult for able blacks to demonstrate the fact to potential employers, since the employer doesn’t know if the applicant got into and through an elite school on his ability or his race.
Commenters suggested some additional questions; I have slightly edited them. For the original questions and commentary on them, see the comments to the previous post.
What are the benefits of tobacco smoking on individuals and society?
What are the reasons to believe that a spiritual world exists, if you think it doesn’t?
What are the reasons to believe that a spiritual world does not exist, if you think it does?
(“A spiritual world” defined as a world beyond the physical, a different dimension than the physical world.)
What are the arguments for:
- effective government action to reduce inequality
- effective government action against monopolies and monopsonies
- strict (and enforced) truth-in-advertising laws
If humanity became convinced that every human fetus was a human, what laws would become most salient for this large set of tiny (and bizarrely-noncommunicative) people?
(This doesn’t fit my original request but is interesting for much the same reason as the same question applied to a human level artificial intelligence, discussed in Chapter XIX of Future Imperfect. How do you apply a legal system designed for one sort of person to a very different sort?)