Nation of Beancounters

About

Navin Kumar will be joining the doctoral program at the Economics Department of Boston College this fall.

This is a blog about economics and (to some extent) culture, with a special focus on India.

You can contact him at navin(dot)ksrk(at)gmail(dot)com.

In no particular order the ground rules for issue-based posts on this blog are:

1. The Arnold Kling declaration: “I will try to keep the posts here free of put-downs, snark, cheap shots, straw-man arguments, and taking the least charitable interpretation of what others say.” Also I will “attempt to open the minds of people on the opposite side”.

2. Utilitarianism: regardless of what I intuitively feel about the morality of an issue, I will focus exclusively on the welfare aspects. This is because:

(a) Regardless of philosophical stripe, most people agree that the welfare of individuals is important. Thus there is common ground from where to start a discussion.

(b) Individuals tend to segregate themselves into ideological tribes, rarely hearing voices outside their network, which limits the ideas they get exposed to. Utilitarianism, by having no tribe that I know of, prevents me from falling into this trap. If you know any other like-minded utilitarians, please don’t tell me.

(c) I’m a consequentialist.

(d) The one exception to this is free speech; I am a free speech extremist.

3. No politics: I don’t care who’s in power. I care about what they do. And I do not believe one group of individuals are inherently superior to another. Exceptions include funny stories, neutral assessments of why people disagree and (broad) discussions of ideology.

4. No ad hominem attacks: I don’t just mean claiming that a person’s argument is wrong because of some character defect (that’s obvious). I mean even analyzing the character of people you disagree with ,especially attempts to divine their “true motives”. It inevitably ends up being a self-flattering, blunt analysis which makes it easy to disregard ideas that emanate from this group/individual in the future. All arguments are taken on face value. If I claim to be rebutting an argument, I will provide a link to someone who’s making it.

I recognize that I’ve broken some of  these rules in the past. No more. Note that while I’m (self-)subject to these rules, you are not. Feel free to say what you wish, in whatever form, short of physical intimidation.

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