Thursday, October 1, 2015

Donald Trump explained, 5 years ago

From a post here:
There's so much smart packed into this post that it's in danger of collapsing into a Black Hole of Smart:
Foseti said:
the root of the problem is democracy.
I disagree.

The root of the problem is:
Because the interests of the elite do not match the interests of the whole of society, the natural flow of governance is for elites to aggregate ever more power, and the populace to become ever more immiserated. Mandarin China, Louis XIV France, and Tsarist or Communist Russia is the rest-state for relations between government and subject. Government extracts as much as it can, subject lives in soul-crushing poverty.

The depressingly elegant thing about this is that the game theory is stable. Take the folks who make decisions, build as small a stable coalition as you can, and divide the spoils among the small coalition. It's as inexorable a solution as gravity, given power politics.

This is what governments do when they can. The core challenge of government is how to prevent that.
This is indeed how they roll, from the Forbidden City to Versailles to Washington D.C. to your local city council. Go read.

The secret, of course, if to vote incumbents out so that the remaining pols fear us more than they are encouraged by their rent-seeking cronies. Voltaire was right: In this country it is wise, from time to time, to kill an Admiral to encourage the others.
The Establishment has made it extremely difficult to vote them out, much more so that I had expected.  Even the elections of 2010 and 2014 did not provide the purge that the populace was looking for.

And so enter the outsiders.  Trump, a billionaire, doesn't need Establishment money to run.  The system has indeed been Game Theory stable, but things that cannot continue forever do not.  The moment was primed, and lacked only the right Man to step into the Arena.

Would Trump make a good president?  Who can say?  But what is now clear is that the situation is no longer Game Theory stable.


Paul Bonneau said...

I fear Trump is at best a temporary distraction, rather than a real solution to the problem. Voting itself remains a mechanism by which the slaves choose their slavemaster from a carefully selected bunch. The fact that Trump was not selected to be in that bunch is irrelevant, because after all, 1) power corrupts, and 2) the bureaucracy sails on regardless of who is in charge. In any case, even if Trump could make some positive difference, then he would simply be assassinated, like Kennedy.

The key is for people to stop believing in the government religion.

matism said...

Bureaucracy does NOT "sail on regardless of who is in charge". Not since the establishment of the Senior Executive Service in 1979:
You are mistaking "regardless of who is in charge" for "the sewage in charge doesn't give a damn what they do", even though those are two DRASTICALLY different situations. As one example, I give you Dan Goldin who destroyed NASA at the behest of Slick Willy. As another, I give you the current Department of "Justice" and their actions since January 2009. Even though DoJ is NOT under SES. When an President decides to choose Christine Whitman to be EPA Administrator, he has NO interest in changing the path of that agency. On the other hand, when a pResident puts Holder in charge, and then replaces him with Lynch...

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"But what is now clear is that the situation is no longer Game Theory stable."

I disagree. Trump is nothing more than yet another Elite trying to muscle his way into the limited group of ruling Elites. He's simply using his "outsider" status (i.e., not directly part of the currently ruling coalition, or "the Establishment") to give him a boost with the populace. It's simply one Elite (or coalition of Elites) trying to maneuver into power. It's no different than when Mao, Robespierre, Hitler, or Stalin took power, he's just using a slightly different mechanism. His interests do not match the interests of the whole of society any more than the current Establishment.

tl;dr - The game theory is still stable. Trump's campaign is just a dominance fight among the Elites. His success is because he's go too much of a power base for the Establishment to squash his challenge early.