2013/07/12

[Blog] Some general remarks about perspectives

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Several discussions I had were about a fundamental disagreement on assumptions.

There is an in-service point of view where one gets his orders and has to follow them. These orders include or imply certain assumptions, such as 'the deployment is going to happen/continue'. One's job is then to think and act accordingly, taking this assumption as exogenous and fixed.

As a citizen and not on active duty at the time (and this includes all active duty personnel on vacation, at leisure time or on free days) it's a folly to stick to these assumptions.

OF COURSE there's no nature's law determining those assumptions. They are arbitrary. The question what's best is not restricted by such assumptions. 
One may come to a conclusion that it's best to not deploy troops at all.

Now the confusing thing is when people don't leave their at-work-attitude and assumptions or even accept such assumption without being on such a job. Why would anyone do this (other than for a tendency to obey authorities)?

The on-the-job attitude of military personnel is (save for the demotivated ones) a 'can do' attitude. Once ordered, they're expected to do it and one grows an attitude of 'can do'. This is fine - within its limits. It's a stupid thing to have in political discussions, for example.

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Another topic about blog posts and (possible) misunderstandings:

I do at times post models or frameworks about how to look at issues differently. Economists get trained at universities to look at the topics from the previous post through the lens of market forms, not power asymmetries, for example. I thought that this "market form -> magic black box -> shape of curve on diagram" approach is unsatisfactory and focused on power asymmetries, which are really said magic from the black box. Economists usually shy away from mentioning or thinking about power in markets; so far I've encountered but one professor who did it. Still, I thought it's a useful addition to the viewpoints available to us.


These ways of looking at the topic are not necessarily all-round superior to common ways of doing it; they are instead meant to add to them, to complement and to unlock some potential for improvement that's left.


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1 comment:

  1. I would to the first part add that explicit assumptions, while arbitrarily chosen within the framework they are used, are not chosen totally at random. You usually support your assumption with some partial knowledge (of varying quality).

    Implicit assumptions on the other hand tend to be blind extrapolations from some factual state of affairs, and are usually essentially random in terms of how often the assumption is true.

    The second part is the eternal wisdom of the use of many points of view to help critical and creative thinking.

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