Monday, July 06, 2015

Zeno would have been proud of these paradoxes


A1. 70% of Greeks want to remain in the EU/Eurozone.
A2. 60% of Greeks just voted not to accept a Eurozone-mandated solution to Greek debt.

B1. Greece wishes to remain part of the EU/Eurozone.
B2. The EU/Eurozone is a transnational hive mind.
B3. Greece is expressing its individual wish to remain part of the hive.
B4. Yay, democracy!

I think the bumper sticker is going to have to be:

Fuck you, Europe! We wanna remain part of you!



Surprises Aplenty said...

The same thing happens in the USA.
" Alaska elected a Republican senator and passed a recreational marijuana initiative, along with an increase in the minimum wage. North Dakota elected a Republican congressman and rejected a Personhood amendment. Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota elected a Republican senator and governor, and passed a minimum wage increase. This led Zachary Goldfarb to write: “Americans will vote for Republicans even though they disagree with them on everything.” "

This probably happens in Canada but I'm ashamed to say I know more about American politics than the politics of my native country.

Kevin Kim said...

True enough—Republicans have not exactly been paragons of fiscal probity. Look at the economy under eight years of Reagan versus the economy under eight years of Clinton (who appropriated the then-Republican push for a balanced budget). And under the current president, we seem to be heading over the cliff and into a more European paradigm. Our debt-to-GDP ratio is currently over 100%, which doesn't give us much room to talk, and we're so beholden to China that I don't know how any Congressman discusses fiscal policy with a straight face. I once wrote a post/rant about deficit spending (as a fiscal conservative, I'm against it), and some commenter(s) responded, much to my chagrin and incredulity, that credit is the lifeblood of the US economy. Personally, I think that's bullshit: what works on the "micro" personal level—i.e., don't spend beyond your means—ought to work just as well at the "macro" corporate level.

None of this lets Greece off the hook, though, for its own unique, but familiar, brand of unwisdom.

Kevin Kim said...

More to the point of your comment:

"This led Zachary Goldfarb to write: “Americans will vote for Republicans even though they disagree with them on everything.”

My research suggests a key reason why this happened: our partisan identities motivate us far more powerfully than our views about issues. Although voters may insist in the importance of their values and ideologies, they actually care less about policy and more that their team wins."

We saw this, as well, when infamous DJ Howard Stern sent his minions out on the street to interview people during the 2012 presidential election. The interviewers deliberately asked misleading questions that exposed the fact that the interviewees knew little to nothing about substantive issues or events, and were instead voting according to preset, ingrained ideologies. "Their team wins," indeed. Policies don't matter when you're dealing with low-information voters. This was Thomas Jefferson's nightmare, and it's come true. We get the leaders we deserve.