depistemology


S = k. log W

The demand for certainty is always greater than the supply of evidence.

3.04.2010


The social demand for political certainty is usually greater than the supply of evidence that supports that certainty. Politics is primarily driven by belief, not evidence.

Evidence-based certainty uses rational scientific process to gradually develop testable theories based on empirical evidence. Belief-based certainty works in the other direction, the desired certainty is known and rationality is abused to build on selective evidence to “prove” that belief.

Belief-based certainty has higher political value in the short term because it satisfies the immediate emotional demand for certainty. If a belief immediately resolves uncertainties and complexities and it is repeated within the culture then it becomes a political fact for those that need it.

Evidence-based inquiry is a process that only produces a gradually increasing probability of certainty in the long term. Facts usually lose the news cycle but eventually win the cultural war.


Markets mediate the uncertainty of survival and governments mediate the uncertainty of markets. The uncertainties of competition in the market motivates individuals to create efficiencies and innovations in order to enjoy the greater certainties of wealth. Government regulates the market to insure competition where it works to create opportunities and replaces the market where it restricts opportunities and exploits inequalities.
So the uncertainty of competition is both the bull that drives the economy and the bear that everyone seeks shelter from. Government has to both enable and disable the uncertainty of competition for the greater good.
Those on the left seek shelter from uncertainty in public sector employment, labor unions and government programs that provide a safety net where markets fail as in education and health care. Those on the right seek shelter from uncertainty in government contracts, government regulations that protect businesses from competition and public funding of the externalities of business which includes the costs of infrastructure, pollution and periodic market failures of the financial system.
Neither side wants to pay for the other side’s protection racket. Both sides have to be kept in check and both are prone to their own particular kind of corruption.
But when multinational corporations cooperate to pit one country against another to create a regulation free global business environment then those corporations have the upper hand and that only creates certainties for a tiny minority at the top and cascading waves of uncertainty and disruption for everybody else.

3.03.2010

An individual's political perspective can be roughly determined by two interacting factors; wealth or privilege and tolerance for uncertainty.

When one has much to gain and few advantages to lose they are open to reformers and economic change. Poverty makes people socialist by necessity. When an individual achieves a certain level of wealth or advantage they begin to fear they have more to lose from political change than what they would gain. Relative wealth makes people conservative with fear.

But the degree of socialism or conservatism varies from person to person depending on their own particular tolerance for uncertainty.

If one has little tolerance for uncertainty and they perceive they have any amount of advantage to lose then they resist change. So poor workers with little tolerance for uncertainty who feel they have a marginal advantage from racial privilege may want economic change but fear any social change. Young professionals with rising incomes and little tolerance for uncertainty find they no longer agree with the reformers of their college days and become economically conservative.

But if one is tolerant of uncertainty then they can be relatively wealthy and not resistant to economic or social change. 


About Me

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Natural philosopher interested in whole systems, systems theory and epistemology. A.A. Environmental Technology, B.A. General Studies, undergraduate Writers Workshop, University of Iowa. EMT, Wildland Firefighter, California Department of Forestry. Communications Specialist, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.