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Erik Torenberg
Co-founder & & . Positive Sum. Looking to start or join your next company?
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Erik Torenberg retweeted
Andrew Bogle 23h
GREAT discussion : Unicorn phenomenon is enormously dependent on financial environment we really haven't seen before. Nominal interest rates are at zero to negative levels
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
Replying to @eriktorenberg
OH - and while markets are generally positive-sum between participants, they are, at times, zero-sum as it relates to the commons (failure to internalize externalities). Need to be positive-sum with all participants & the commons.
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
Replying to @eriktorenberg
Many of these thoughts inspired by (and taken from) Daniel Schmactenberger
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
Replying to @eriktorenberg
We need to fix the rivalrousness of our systems. that’s a big deal because separate nation states are the basis of rivalrous systems, and so our private balance sheets. So, these changes would be fundamental. More soon....
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
Replying to @eriktorenberg
These multipolar traps and rivalrous games have always caused the collapse of civilizations, but this time is different because it can not only eliminate the civilization but the planet along w it. Why? Exponential Technology. Collapsing one civilization could collapse all.
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
Replying to @eriktorenberg
What would an anti rivalrous & totally positive-sum system look like? Consider the human body: The heart and the lungs are not rivalrous with each other. They’re not competing to extract scarce resource and hoard it They’re in this radically necessarily symbiotic relationship
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
Replying to @eriktorenberg
e.g. someone makes some software that they could give to the whole world for free (after covering costs), but instead they patent protect and come sue you if you figure out how to pirate it so that they can keep charging you, even though they have no unit cost.
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
Replying to @eriktorenberg
Patents are examples of taking things that should be positive sum (knowledge) and making them zero sum. e.g. The best computer that the world could build doesn’t exist because Apple has some of the IP but Google has some of the IP, and 10 other companies have some of the IP
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
Replying to @eriktorenberg
In government: Different government agencies competing for the same chunk of budget will actually seek to undermine each other so they get more of the budget when they’re supposed to be on the same team called that country.
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
Replying to @eriktorenberg
They occur all over society, both in private sector and in public sector: In companies: both want the same promotion at the company and they try to sabotage each other, even though that harms the company, because individual incentives are at odds with company incentives.
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
Replying to @eriktorenberg
If I don’t make the nukes or the AI or take the trees down, I’ll lose If I do it, I don’t lose now, as we all do it, we all lose later. We have a scenario where the incentive of the agent short-term locally is directly against the long-term global wellbeing
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
Replying to @eriktorenberg
This perverse incentive model results in “multipolar traps”. Multipolar traps are scenarios where the things that work well for individuals locally are directly against the global well-being.
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
Replying to @eriktorenberg
This is backwards: Abundant things become worthless, even if they’re the foundation of life. Scarce things make people rich, even if they’re meaningless. This incentivizes people to artificially manufacture scarcity and avoid abundance everywhere.
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
Replying to @eriktorenberg
Whereas gold on the other hand, we will fight wars over, destroy environments and cut down trees to mine it out... The same trees that were actually putting the oxygen in the air that we don’t give a shit about so that we can put the gold in a safety deposit box that we look at
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
Replying to @eriktorenberg
We will thus pollute and burn the shit out of air, fill it full of CO2, pull the O2 out of it in the oxidizing of hydrocarbons, because it’s not scarce and protecting it doesn’t provide any individual person a competitive advantage.
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
Replying to @eriktorenberg
If air isn’t worth anything, because there’s enough of it for everybody, + I can’t increase my competitive advantage over you by hoarding more air, then air is literally worth nothing. Even though we all die without it, literally it has no value to us in our economic calculus.
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
Replying to @eriktorenberg
A rivalrous good is valuable because it’s scarce, like gold. An anti-rivalrous good is valuable because it’s abundant, like language. If only two people use a language, it is not as valuable as when a million people use it. This is a bit messed up when you think about it…
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
Replying to @eriktorenberg
Rivalrous games are Zero Sum. You win, I lose. Fragile I can advance my own well being at your expense or at the expense of the commons Anti-rivalrous games are Positive Sum. We both win. Anti-fragile I can advance my own well being at your benefit & at benefit of commons
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
One of the generator functions behind global problems we face today is that society is built on rivalrous (zero-sum) dynamics, instead of anti rivalrous (positive-sum) ones This is unsustainable,+ in order to solve our problems we need to address the root cause. Thinking aloud:
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Erik Torenberg Oct 12
I now see what you both meant :-)
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