Capitalism Means Policing Big Companies | Podcast [curi video]

GOAL: React to video and try putting more of my writing out into the world. Also, to practice thinking and writing about ET’s ideas. This was sort of a free write and I don’t have at all well-developed views on this topic.

First, I like that you have produced some content on this topic and I think your perspective on this is super valuable.

I agree that there are huge problems in government and in the corporate world. It looks like essentially the same people are running both types of organization. One confusion I have is about the relationship between culture and incentives. My understanding is that a bunch of countries have been trashed with bad government and a few have made comebacks with better government. If that’s true, it would seem that a better incentive system, like free market capitalism, would lead to better companies and even somewhat better people, on average.

On the other hand, I don’t think a system can be much better than it’s people over the long-term. I guess that a much better government wouldn’t last long in America (or anywhere else) because people generally opt for the kind of system that we currently have. I think you have said something related to this about regression to the mean with companies or inheritors of fortunes or something. Outstanding performance stands out because most people aren’t like that.

One reason that it seems like incentives matter is because it seems like there could be positive feedback loops from the system to the people. A bad system could produce worse and worse people over time and a good system could produce better and better people over time. I’m not sure if this is really the case but it kinda looks like it could be the case with most people today.

In your How The World Changes - YouTube video you talk about the problem of stumbling forward and there being different trends with some improving and some getting worse. By and large, it seems like companies have been stumbling forward in a lot of ways, based on anecdotes I’ve read or heard about the past. I guess the other big confusion I have is what to think about a world with lots of major problems which are not being addressed but also seems to be getting better in some ways. My general perspective has been that there are lots of huge problems in everything but the more important thing is whether progress is happening and whether the rate of progress in increasing. With big companies, I’m not sure whether the problem is that things are getting worse, not getting better, or not getting better fast enough.

I agree that under capitalism there should be much better recourse for victims of rights violations. I’m also unclear on how to zoom in on this problem. Companies are bad but so are police, lawyers and the court system. Companies not committing so much fraud seems like something that would only emerge after the average person in the world is much better.

Overall, I find thinking about this topic fun but difficult. It’s difficult for me to break down and analyze giant topics like this because my thinking diverges into the potential connections and interelationships.