August 21, 2018

Some of the worst arguments I've had stem from half-truths: beliefs that are somewhat, but not entirely, true.

Trump says "China is screwing the US on trade". Well, part of the problem is that producing certain things (couches) takes a ton of unskilled labor, which the US doesn't have, so we won't be competitive there; in that regard, nobody's "screwing" anyone. On the other hand, Chinese companies really are stealing American intellectual property, which doesn't seem to bother their government particularly. China also tightly "manages" the USD/RMB exchange rate, controls which firms get credit, and forces US firms setting up shop to work with "local partners", none of which the US does. So the original statement isn't quite "false", either.

Isn't that a pickle?

I think we humans have some innate desire for "true" or "false", a hunger that's never quite satisfied in today's complex world.

We weren't wired for this. I think this is another area where Kahneman might caution us to be mindful of the differences between the world we evolved to live in, vs. the one we actually do. A better solution might be a more probabalistic approach à la Rubin, realizing that some things are 100%/0% true/false, whereas others might be 60%/40%.

It all feels very quantum mechanical.