High cost of Obamacare

This link shows you how much more you will pay with Obamacare, if it actually comes into force. I was happy with the insurance I had and wanted to keep it, but my biggest worry is about my kids. My son is having a hard time getting a good job. He will have to get insurance soon and the article says it will cost him around $270 a month. He was off our insurance for a short time, until Obamacare allowed him to come back on our policy until he was 26. This part of Obamacare saved me money. I paid premiums for him then and they cost only around $100. I don’t know why the “good deal” insurance should cost more than what we could get on the open market before.

I think some of this has to do with our conception of insurance versus health care. My family has very little interface with the health system. When we get sick, we wait for awhile and it goes away. Some of our friends are constantly at the doctors for little things. One of our friends got her insurance to pay big bucks for a "feeding program." He son was kind of skinny and she got that called a syndrome. It is probably a good thing to be a little skinny and he was under average weight, IMO, because she refused to let him eat food he liked. I told her a few boxes of Coco Puffs would solve the problem. But she did the treatment. The kid looks about the same, but now he is certified by the medical profession as okay.

Then there are expensive wastes of money. Bradley Manning, for example, now thinks he is a woman and wants hormone therapy to achieve his dream of femininity. How much would that cost to indulge the little creep in his prurient fantasies? I don't have anything against him doing it if he pays for it, but it certainly should not be covered by insurance.

IMO insurance should cover big things that you cannot predict or avoid, plus reasonable wellness programs. Fat people, smokers and people with bad habits in general should mend their ways. But insurance should not cover things that are routine, i.e. everybody needs them (just as we don't provide "insurance" for food) or voluntary. Insurance as I describe would not be as expensive.

Anyway, nobody knows what Obamacare will end up being, since it is still very much a work in progress. Nancy Pelosi told us that they would have to pass it before we could read it, but she implied there was something useful to read. She was mistaken. There is a good chance that you will end up paying more and not getting to keep to keep the insurance you used to have, but beyond that, this is just something we will have to live with until smarter people can help it evolve into something workable.

Posted by Christine & John at September 5, 2013 8:19 PM
Comments
Comment #370315

CJ,
Here is the cost calculator for estimates in the Oregon state insurance exchange:

http://www.coveroregon.com/calculators/individual-calculator/

If your son earns $25,000, is 27 years old, and the only member of his household, insurance will run $144/month, with half of that paid by subsidies. That assumes he finds work in a company that does not offer coverage. For lower income levels, he may be covered by Medicaid.

Posted by: phx8 at September 5, 2013 9:03 PM
Comment #370320

phx8

We don’t live in Oregon.

He sometimes has not been working much at all. They gave him fewer hours at Applebees. He just joined the National Guard,so that might change things a bit.

You mention Medicaid and that is an interesting cultural thing. The idea that my family would accept Medicaid or welfare makes my skin crawl. I paid his premiums for the brief time he was uninsured and would rather do it again.

My ideal is that people can take care of their needs. I know that no everyone can, but when you are poor you maybe need to struggle a bit more before you hope on the government train.

I guess the thing I don’t like about Obamacare, absent all the other considerations, is how it snares you in the bureaucratic web. I believe you should be able to live most of your life most of the time w/o thinking very much about government. The Obama folks are diffident in foreign policy but ferocious in domestic. I read yesterday about the labor Department going after the State of California for not collectively bargaining pensions. This is not Federal business. Or HUD going after Westchester, NY zoning laws AFTER repeated studies showed there was no discrimination. HUD has interpreted density laws as discriminatory. That means states could not even regulate zoning around watersheds, but if they didn’t the EPA would be on their backs. It is a Federal catch 22. Meanwhile the 9th Circuit court wants to regulate forest roads as point source pollution, which would invalidiate most forestry, BUT EPA and Congress have only a few months ago come up with the opposite interpretation. The large problem is that it should be none of the Federal governments business in general.

IMO, government and everyone else for that matter, needs to understand limits and restraints. There are some serious problems that you cannot solve and some that nobody can solve. Just because you can identify a problem, it does not imply a Federal solution and maybe not a government solution at all. We have to be a bit more circumspect and maybe humble.

The economist Ronald Coase died a few days ago. He won the Noble prize for his work explaining the costs of doing things. Regulations are not cost free and neither are transactions. This friction is one of the things that makes economic and government theories not work well in practice. We should understand this. The Obamacare goal perhaps is noble, but the application will screw up lots of things. It is a jump too far. Recall that you cannot leap a chasm in two hops.

Posted by: CJ at September 6, 2013 6:04 AM
Comment #370325

Are you in VA? Because VA refused to implement the state health insurance exchange. Too bad for those living in states controlled by conservative Republicans. As you can see from the link to the Oregon exchange, Obamacare is a terrific deal. However, there will be a Federal Health Insurance Exchange, and it is supposed to be available October 1st. At this point, I’m uncertain how the program will work on the federal level. No one envisioned the way states would go to such lengths to act against the interests of their own citizenry.

Posted by: phx8 at September 6, 2013 11:36 AM
Comment #370333

phx8

When I paid his premiums before ObamaCare, it cost me about eighty dollars a month. How come it will now cost more?

Posted by: CJ at September 6, 2013 6:26 PM
Comment #370338

It won’t, unless he starts making making more than $25,000 per month. (It is also possible he will work for a company that includes health care as a benefit). Also, he will have choices on plans, which will affect the cost. In any case, whatever insurance he chooses will be a far better insurance.

Due to injuries, he could be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions once he was off your policy. That was possible prior to Obamacare. Also, since there will be no cap, if your son does develop a serious illness, or if complications develop from previous injuries, the insurance company will not be able to cut off his coverage, the way they used to do before Obamacare. Furthermore, he will be able to obtain free preventative care which includes a loooong list of items covered. That was not the case before Obamacare.

My son went through a similar problem with employment and living at home. After obtaining a degree, he worked at odd jobs, then spent a year landscaping. Last year he found a great job in distributing, and it includes benefits.

Hang in there. The road is longer for their generation…

Posted by: phx8 at September 6, 2013 7:26 PM
Comment #370339

Correction, $25k per year. That is an estimate from the Oregon exchange calculator.

Posted by: phx8 at September 6, 2013 7:28 PM
Comment #370342

phx8

I sure hope he starts making more than $25K a year. That really is not very much. Of course, $25K per month would be better, but I am not sure that would be in the cards.

Posted by: CJ at September 6, 2013 7:56 PM
Comment #370343

phx8

But thanks for the encouragement. I know in my intellect that things will be okay, but it is hard to feel that in the heart and I feel so bad for him. He has a little learning disability. We despaired that he would gradate HS. But he did. He didn’t want to start college and we didn’t force him. But then he started community college and got better and better grades. He went into four year college after that and graduated. Now he is working at the same kind of job he had when we was sixteen. I told him that becoming an educated man was important that it was an important key to his future. He didn’t fail me, but I failed him.

Many of us who write here are older and have made our choices. I have been more successful than I deserved to be and don’t have any real unfulfilled aspirations for myself. But the future worries me because of my kids. Our generation has saddled them with big debts and the demographics of Social Security means that old people like us will be sucking the life out of the young people for as long as my kids are likely to work. We won’t address that. The greedy geezers, i.e. us, insist on what “we are owed” and the only way we can get that is to steal from the young. I don’t know.

Posted by: CJ at September 6, 2013 8:06 PM
Comment #370354

Regulations aren’t free, but neither are the lack of them. Lack of Sanitation, Bad food, and bad water cause much of the death and disruption of the economy back in the old days. Cities only became self-supporting, became larger when the population wasn’t getting knocked down by all those diseases. This was true even before the 1940s.

It may cost somebody to make sure I don’t have E. Coli in my hamburger, but it costs me when I do, in amounts enough to sicken me. It may cost tax dollars to set up sanitation, but how much does it cost to back down an epidemic, or to do business as people fall ill?

We shouldn’t treat healthcare as optional in an economy like ours. In fact, it’s a big part of why we have an economy like ours at all. If we don’t properly manage it, even if we don’t suffer the costs of the management, we also lose the benefit of having happy healthy people with disposable income.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 7, 2013 11:27 AM
Comment #370356

Stephen

Did you ever hear me advocate lack of regulation?

We just have to balance the cost of control with the cost of not controlling. AND there is indeed a time when too much control will actually create more of the problems you want to avoid.

As you know, I manage a complex operation with lots of interconnecting parts and lots of external partners. One of the things I need to do is LESS. My interference will often cause people to produce results that are inferior. It is a balance.

You know that the financial industry was very heavily regulated before the 2007 crash. The regulations had become so complex and sometimes inappropriate that some of them caused the trouble. The same goes for ENRON. That firm prospered BECAUSE of regulation and then crashed when it overreached.

Health care is another interesting example. Please read something by Ezekiel Emanuel, a liberal Democrat, medical doctor, Obama adviser and brother of Rahm. He talks about the health costs of too much medical activity.

Your problem is that you are always looking for an ideological fight so you don’t pay attention to what people are telling you. I feel sometimes think it very amusing to have a guy like you lecture me on things I obviously know better than you do.

Don’t you ever listen? Have I not advocated investment in public infrastructure?

You see, I sometimes have the responsibility to make things work and that means I have to think about them in ways you do not. So please spare me the HS civics.

Posted by: CJ at September 7, 2013 12:09 PM
Comment #370359

C&J-
We misunderstand each other. I didn’t say you were for a total lack of regulation, but you spoke of the cost of regulation, and I felt it necessary to remind you that this is a cost/benefit analysis we’re talking about here.

The big banks could only get so big, swallowing up so many competitors, because the law was changed to allow this. Y’all thought this could only make things better.

With Enron, regulators allowed the people who were advising them on how to funnel their money around be the same people who ensured that their finances were in order. Result? The consultant side knew they could get away with murder, the audit side knew they shouldn’t look too closely, lest the consultant side lose a big customer.

Same with their corporate finance. The people selling their stock knew the fundamental sucked. They were supposed to make money for their clients, for their retirement and pension fund accounts. But if they, the company, put Enron on the sell list, well gollee, wouldn’t that put their debt financing division on the spot, unable to get their bonds repaid by Enron. At the same time, of course, the folks financing Enron’s debt couldn’t smack them with a junk rating without causing the stock to tumble, the stock they needed to sell more of.

And this is one part of the market failure. Elsewhere, Enron can jerk around California customers, causing artificial declines in electrical supply, knowingly, for no better reason than to price-gouge California consumers. The market fails to provide energy at a reasonable price.
Very few places that have deregulated power have come through on the promise that they’ll run cheaper.

The market only succeeds in inhibiting bad behavior to the extent that the market itself or the law invokes disproportionate losses on those who misbehave. A punishment that doesn’t hurt is not a punishment. Of course, it doesn’t pay to make the law too complicated to actually work, nor too onerous to allow businesses to thrive. At the same time, if we go in there and we let the cheaters win consistently, we build bad business karma, so to speak, underlying whatever roaring-twenties style economy it creates. When the economy is run on lies and cheating, all kinds of bad things can happen to most people, they can see their disposable income and everything get choked down to the minimum, and yet the economy can seem to soldier on.

Until… Until, of course, it all goes to hell, and the overhang of the market cracks under its own weight. Then it all gets worse.

Inevitably, some of this happens some of the time, but the question is, are we building up so much dead weight on the economy in one form or another that its collapse is just a matter of time?

Your policies do that. They count on the magic of speculation to get us out of bad economic straits, and that requires the market to become more… magical in its workings, more esoteric… well, more divorced from reality. And while it seems to produce glorious numbers, it only does that until some real world factor yanks everything back down to earth. I mean, many of things just take a handful of people looking at things and going “what is this ****?” for the whole thing to come down.

And worse yet, after the panic and the collapse, a lot of these people want to treat it like a gambler treats a streak of bad luck, often with similar results, long term.

Only in a economy where everything is built on the promise of overleveraged debt can you get away with not paying people market-level wages, with having an economy with a hollowed out manufacturing sector. Otherwise, the rich and the poor alike suffer, though the rich suffer less, and thus have an unrealistic sense of when things are back to normal in general.

As for infrastructure, you can’t both sequester and pay for an infrastructure program. Your colleagues in Congress are more concerned about defeating unions in order to undermine my party’s power than they are in shoring up that part of the economy. Where else do you think they get this rhetoric about Obama giving back to his union buddies?

As far as having the responsibility for making things work? I’m a computer technician. Making things work is my job! It makes me very conscious of the dependence of one part of things on another, both the individual elements and the overall network. I’m also a lifelong student of the STEM disciplines, with a considerable interest in technology and engineering on a practical level.

In addition to all that, I’m a writer who’s genre is best described as worldbuilding science fiction and fantasy, so to further that end, I study a lot about how societies do work in order to mirror that in my own.

And I like to be realistic. I even based the relative troop strength of an order of peacekeeping knights on the ratio of real world peacekeepers to the populations they’re patrolling. This allowed me to determine, from this point on, how big a chunk of these forces would show up in a given place, just based on how many people are in that geographical area. How do I determine that? Well, I had one particular desert location’s population based on how many people were living in Saudi Arabia, and then used the populations of the cities, and their relative size to one another to plot out what size the bigger and smaller cities would be, because I know there’s a mathematical relationship to that, a power law.

Of course, this meant I had to go back and revise my writing, because certain cities had already been portrayed as quaint backwaters. Kind of hard to do if your city has almost half a million people.

So, I’m always thinking about the structure of human society, about psychology and sociology, whether it’s of this world, or that of a world I’m exploring in fiction.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 7, 2013 2:31 PM
Comment #370360

Stephen

Re Banks - those laws were changed under Bill Clinton. Regulators appointed by Democrats worked on ENRON.

ENRON made its big money BECAUSE of regulation. They were in the arbitrage business made possible by regulation. They were looking forward with great glee to carbon regulation.

There is no perfection. We WILL have periodic problems. I can think of no ideal time. We had two of the best periods of economic growth in recent times. The first from 1948-1972 and then from 1982-2007. I think we got a little spoiled by those really good times.

We get a good run if we are lucky and then have to adjust. It took us around 10years to find our way out of the doldrums of the 1970s. Maybe it will take a similar period of time now. I cannot say what the solution will be, but clearly Obama is not the one.

The market is not magic. It will always produce some bad results. But the alternatives to freedom are not really functional.

Re too big to fail - I am in favor of not allowing institutions to become too large and interconnected.I see, however, that government regulation and implicit (or explicit) guarantees allow them to grow to oversize. Notice that under Obama the banks have NOT become smaller or less complex. And you must also have noticed that under the Obama recovery financial interests have done well in relation to the poor parts of the economy.

Big government and big business tend to work together, since established interests can bring power to bear. Concentration of power is the enemy. If you provide the tools of powerful government, they will be used by the powerful.

RE - ” I’m a computer technician. Making things work is my job!” This explains a lot. Computers are machines. They are precise and can work to pattern. They are complicated but not complex. Humans are different. They do not respond well to organization from above, even if it is “good for them”.

We are in a transition from a society where we can use the machine as the metaphor to one that is more biological or ecological. Perhaps you are familiar with Taylorism, sometimes called Fordism. This was an important basis of our industrial society (and still is in factories). It made people of the 1960s and 1970s think they could run society like a machine, if only the proper experts were in charge with the proper pattern. This ended in 1972 anon. It was not wrong, it was simply replaced by something more profound.

You are a science fiction fan. Me too. Maybe you read the Foundation Trilogy. It is very quaint now, since it is based on the idea that you could, with some big exceptions, predict and guide society if only you had all the information. Today we have much more information than anyone dreamed even fifty years ago. But we have had to learn to be more humble. There remains a fundamental uncertainty and chaos in our systems. We will never overcome them. We can learn to adapt and be robust in many situations, but we are always subject to their vagaries. It is what gives us our freedom and what makes our freedom necessary.

I am sorry to give you a hard time. You are a good man who actively seeks to be better and such people are valuable to our society, no matter what politics says.

Posted by: CJ at September 7, 2013 3:19 PM
Comment #370361

Isn’t it interesting that Daugherty claims that almost all good in our individual and national health and welfare comes from government regulation and manipulation. And he claims that most bad things in our individual and national health and welfare comes from a lack of government regulation and manipulation.

There appears to be no area in our individual lives in which we are capable of managing without government guidance thru regulations with the force of law…from light bulbs to toilets. The liberal mind believes that common folks just can’t make it alone, without government intervention.

If we would only concede complete control of our lives over to government all would be wonderful. No illness, no poverty, no illiteracy, no crime, no joblessness, AND, NO FREEDOM AND NO LIBERTY.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 7, 2013 3:29 PM
Comment #370371

Royal Flush-
I claimed a lot of good came of it, and a lot has. Can you deny the value of proper sanitation, of building codes, of public education which helps keep our literacy rates in the high nineties?

Your list of “nos” at the bottom of your comment is highly misleading, because I’ve never claimed we could bring perfect results, nor did I ever say people had to concede complete control of their lives. You seem to not be able to argue against what I actually said, so once again you’re making false claims to substitute for them.

We are a better governed society in many ways, not simply a MORE governed society. We’ve successfully dealt with some of the classic challenges of civilization. Your claims about what I want out of government might ring like that of a utopia, but if you were to describe to a person of George Washington’s time what our world was like, it would seem pretty utopian to you. You could tell them that smallpox is a thing of the past, that many diseases are eradicated or largely contained. You could tell them that there are few places in America with open sewers, and that most houses have hot and cool running water.

It’s not merely government, and here is where your politics gets in the way of your understanding my philosophy. It’s Government, it’s business, it’s academia all turning around a common axis of scientific and humanitarian advancement. My problem with the way your philosophy works is that it assumes that the government is other, that it is simply somebody else trying to control your life. I don’t think about it that way. I think of the people in that government as delegates, who we can wrangle if we’re willing to put forward the effort. It’s only if we pretend we’re in some sort of parliamentary system that we’ll end up seemingly powerless.

I don’t expect people to hand me my freedom and liberty, my good government on a silver platter. I expect to always be struggling, even when my own people are in charge.

C&J-
I didn’t say Enron was purely a Republican problem.

As for the reason Enron made it’s big money? Enron and other businesses shaped the law, certainly, but the presence of law and regulation isn’t the problem, anymore than the elements of the periodic table are to blame when mixed improperly with explosive results.

It’s the formulation. “What is the effect?” would be the question I ask. Your side, and some on mine, assumed that shaping that formulation to their benefit would send the economy rising higher, faster.

I don’t see the system as periodic. Time is not the most critical element. The question is, are we adding unnecessary economic burdens, in a vain attempt to resolved the deficit and the debt early.?

As for computers? If it were so simple as dealing with just the machines, that would be wonderful. You should read some of the trouble tickets I get, and then see what I see when I show up. There was one ticket that said that this small form-factor public computer was missing a part. I arrive, and guess what? the only thing there was the monitor, the computer stand, and the top plate of the small PC! Then you have to deal with all the things people do with their computers, from giving them viruses to accidentally activating software that conflicts with the anti-virus.

To make things work, you have to start with what the customer believes they know, and work outward towards the truth.

As for the transition you speak of? There’s a tension between running the country in a more organic way, and running it in a way that people can actually understand and manage.

As far as science fiction goes? Yes, I read the Foundation Trilogy. Quite some time ago. But if you want what I think are my formative texts, they’re not fiction. I’ll get back to you tomorrow with those texts. For my money, the process of humility isn’t enough, if all you’re going to do is forebear from governing. I think it’s more a matter of wise government.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 8, 2013 12:19 AM
Comment #370375

Stephen

RE “What is the effect?” - this is the hard question re any decision, but even harder for government because it affects so many things AND must act in a political fashion. There are many government actions that everybody knows will not produce the beneficial result intended, but must be done for political reasons. And this is the “good” parts, since at least we know what is going on.

Government often steps in where it has no business and not the proper expetise because of arrogance and pressure from outside. Let me criticize Obama here, but in a way that even you will need to acknowledge. Obama is a smart man, but he has no expertise in things like science, military, organizational behavior or … most things. He is a man, with all the frailties that implies. DO you really think he has the capacity to understand enough to make decisions about details of your life?

The market is not only or even primarily about money. What the market does is allow for collective decisions to be made in decentralized and autonomous ways. It paradoxically, it lets individuals and people in voluntary association make collective decisions. In doing that, it brings much more wisdom to bear than any groups of experts.

But money is important in that it is a key to commitment that allows the collective decision to be made properly. If we just ask people their opinion, most people (you and I included) have lots of stupid ideas. When asked to put some of our skin in the game, we become more circumspect. The worst case is often when we are granted proactive “rights.” Then we complain loudly and make demands but avoid compromise or adjustment. Government often provides this.

Think of air travel. Most of us hate it and complain about the size of the seats, food etc. We demand traveler rights, but we refuse to pay more or accept inconvenient schedules.

Re computers - hardware is complicated but not complex. Software application can be complex, but it is limited in scope.

RE “There’s a tension between running the country in a more organic way, and running it in a way that people can actually understand and manage.” - you are absolutely right. This is why we cannot have the kind of government ideal that we had back in the 1960s.

Many things have become too complex for central management, at least for central active management. Think of science teams. They are made up of people from different disciplines who really don’t understand what they others are doing. They are “managed” by their interactions and relationships. The ostensible team leader tries to keep basic order and provides the conditions for the group to remain active. This is a good template for 21st Century government.


Posted by: CJ at September 8, 2013 5:55 AM
Comment #370382

C&J-
As I promised…
Gödel Escher Bach was one of the formative volumes, politically speaking. For one thing, it made a good argument as to why no formal system can ever be so complete or consistent as to be fallible. But for another thing, it introduced me to the concept of the Strange Loop.

If you want a ready example, try our electoral system. We regularly call that person in the White House the Most powerful man in the world, but that powerful person is only such at the sufferance of the American people. A strange loop is a system where going up or down the hierarchy, you suddenly find yourself at the bottom or top again.

Some treat Washington as if it’s the top of the pyramid, so to speak, but if you go up that pyramid far enough, you find yourself looking at the people who elected the presidents, the Senators, and the Representatives who sit at that apex. An important feature, of course, is the ability of the elements at the bottom of that hierarchy to change things. I think there is no better example of such a strange system as our democratic Republic. We’re subject to the laws, but those who write them are subject to us, if we have the will to exercise that, and the organization to get other people to do so with us.

Marvin Minsky’s the Society of Mind is also critical to my mindset, with all its cognitive models. He builds up a possible model for artificial intelligence (and real intelligence) using all kinds of different elements. It’s affected my thinking on the texture of American voters, both about the way some ideas in a person’s mind can dominate over others, but also in terms of the way people’s ideas can connect.

There are a whole load of books on Chaos Theory and Complexity that I’ve read. It’s been a long time interest of mine. Here’s the thing, though: chaotic systems are still determinate ones. In other words, just because you can’t predict things with absolute precision, just because you can’t model the outcome in exact detail, doesn’t mean you can’t predict a general pattern of behavior. In fact, James Gleick’s book Chaos, a formative book in my intellectual development, didn’t merely talk about how such systems defeat understanding, it also talked about the complicated relationship between chaos and order, the way one could emerge from the other.

I’ve done research on synchronicity and information theory that leads me to believe that while you can’t necessarily predict the results of a given policy absolutely, you can get a sense of their shape at second hand.

Going back to that work I described, you might ask, why I did I do it? It wasn’t absolutely necessary, really. Here’s the thing, though: It’s easy to imagine at one remove, to think things out by simply saying, if this, then this other thing. What I hope to produce when I try things like plotting out interdimensional gates and artificial languages, and relationships between population and peacekeeping forces, is the kind of detail and interactions that are difficult to imagine off the top of your head. Those details matter, though.

People are not going to tolerate things screwing up at a macro level at the scale that modern electronics and financial practices will allow. They won’t, and they shouldn’t. It is a legitimate question as to whether direct policy would prevent things, but I think that rather than try to prevent problems predictively, or through intense and constant scrutiny, we should attempt to do so structurally.

It’s no accident that I zero in on things like disclosure, or the ability of banks to conglomerate. Certain things are simply not possible in the same way if the changes are not allowed to wash over them first hand. If we could have let the offending banks fail, if we didn’t have to keep them alive to avoid economic collapse, then this would have a been a lot shorter of an economic mess we are in. If certain banks and certain investment houses weren’t allowed to play both sides of the same game, then competing interests might have prevented problems where common interests allowed them to fester.

Rather than try to predict what every atom in a gas will do, we take a statistical approach to overall behavior, one that works because many outcomes, however possible, are highly unlikely. Working by probability, too, is something I favor. Rather than trying the impossible, stopping all terrorism or whatnot, my philosophy is to put obstacles in the paths of those hoping to do something that requires them to take risks and defeat obstacles that they would otherwise not have to.

But last, and certainly not least, my mindset is, that while we cannot predict everything, we can observe much. The real world will show us what works and what does not much better than our imaginations can. Or, put another way, if our imaginations factor in what we observe, if our assumptions are tested by results, we can, as I try to do with my little experiments in fictional engineering, figure out the real stories in the kind of unexpected detail that helps us understand things much better than we could by ourselves, with just our reason.

As far as software programs go? Maybe in the old days they were complicated but not complex, but they now run to such length and breadth and connectivity that all kinds of different, screwy things are possible. Additionally, now you have ecosystems of hackers testing the program’s weaknesses at all times. That’s to say nothing of modern computer programs, whose manifestations, like with computer generated non-player characters, can be coded with very complex behavior, all from a simple set of instructions.

If you want one reason that I don’t trust law of the jungle type situations, it’s that I’ve seen the way such games work in practice. My experience is, people will do much to exploit the flaws in the software, the rules of how weapons and tactics work. There’s a reason people prefer to live in a society with rules. There’s a reason people cheer it (and groan in disappointment) when somebody programs the cheat out of existence, or sets up a rule to block it.

What I think you should realize is, if people feel things are too chaotic, they’ll hire the “programmers” who voice willingness to fix the bugs, to fix the games. Most people simply don’t want to end up getting screwed, losing the game not because they didn’t do right, but because somebody else cheated them or the system.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 8, 2013 1:32 PM
Comment #370385

Stephen

Thanks

Posted by: CJ at September 8, 2013 2:40 PM
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