Stop Believing in Myths: 1

I believe that most human suffering is the result of believing in readily falsifiable myths. However, since most people do not like to think or act on their thoughts, they allow these destructive myths to ruin their lives.

Consider this post an introduction-

1] People can predict the future.

This myth is destructive in more ways than one. Not only does a belief in the ability to predict the future make you overestimate your control on events, but it also makes you take chances and do things that you otherwise might not do.

However this myth is at the basis of all forecasting, however scientific it may sound. This myth makes people invest in the stock market, believe climate predictions, think eCONomics is a science, believe in the growth of their retirement savings and trust “experts” to make “informed” decisions for them.

If you truly understood how little we know about the universe, and how it works- you would be very humbled. Unfortunately most scientists, who should know better, tend to believe in this myth more so than the common man.

2] Experts know..

A continuation of the “we can predict” myth, this one synergies with the first to produce truly awful consequences.

Doctors throughout human history have killed many more than they have helped, because of the belief that they knew what they were doing. Since WW2, the medical profession kills fewer people than it helps- but that is due to new drugs and technology that they had no part in developing. However that does not stop them from trying to go back to the old ways..

Consider how many soldiers died in WW1 and WW2 because of poor decisions by educated and trained experts. It seems that these idiots had no clue about the effect of modern technology on the nature and extent of warfare. But were they not the best and the brightest.

I can give, and have previously given, many examples to illustrate this particular myth.

3] Rich people are necessary..

While some degree of income inequality is necessary to make humans innovate, are the grotesque inequalities we see necessary?

Most people will not ‘hate’ if a person who finds a better way of doing things, invents a new appliance, drug, service makes more money than them- even a lot more money. But what about those who use monopoly, oligopoly, regulatory capture, buying legislators, ‘law and order’ and financialism to make more money?

Do such people contribute to social stability, progress, innovation or anything other than lining their pockets? and do they really invest in innovation-other than by accident?

4] Frugality is good.

In a zero sum world, frugality is good- but we no longer live in one. In a world where present consumption determines economic and social stability which in turn creates the conditions for progress, it is consumption NOT production that is the driver for innovation.

But frugality (‘paradox of thrift’) affects consumption and thereby creates social and economic instability- deflation. Countries such as Germany, Japan and China depend on the ‘profligate spending’ of the ‘consumption addicted american’ to grow and prosper- NOT the other way around.

I plan to explore this theme in future posts.

5] Poor people are stupid, greedy, ungrateful, unnecessary etc

So are most rich and middle-class people- but it takes an extra helping of hubris to see those faults in others, but not in yourself. Infact the motivation of HBD can be summed up as- Poor people are stupid, greedy, ungrateful, unnecessary etc because of -“insert scientific sounding reason”.

I would argue that a black woman who scams welfare creates many more well paid jobs, directly and indirectly, than a white man worth a few million. You see, the black woman spends money on services and goods from many different sources. Her unwillingness to save money creates more jobs by circulating money. Even indirectly, a considerable bureaucrats and “experts” are employed because of a welfare scamming black woman.

In contrast your average white millionaire uses his “extra” money for speculation on property, goods and other ponzi schemes. They just do not create as many jobs as poor and indigent people.. and by the way, who buys most of the crap that keeps the economy moving?

I have a few more myths to expose in upcoming parts of this series- and they will get much more nastier. The ones in this post are just a starter..

Comments?

  1. The Plague Doctor
    August 16, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Agree with your critique of (1) and (2), and partially (3) and (5).

    But for (3) and (4) see:
    http://www.paulgraham.com/inequality.html
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/french/french132.html
    http://mises.org/daily/3194

    Sociopaths will justify their behavior.

    Frugality is good. I was naturally extremely frugal, before I tried the whole PUA crap — to the detriment of my health and wealth (I am very ill and broke at the moment).

    Ever wonder why I prefer escorts? Just out of curiosity- how did the PUA lifestyle make you ill and broke?

    • The Plague Doctor
      August 16, 2010 at 10:35 pm

      “Sociopaths will justify their behavior.”

      You did not refute the articles. You could convince me if you actually provide some arguments for your claims instead of argument by repetition. If you want to force (my) consumer spending, then you are being sociopathic.

      “how did the PUA lifestyle make you ill and broke?”

      I got Chronic Fatigue Syndrome two years ago due to a preceding bout of flu/mono, followed by a short period of near-continuous clubbing, poor diet, alcohol use (I normally never drink alcohol), an erratic sleep schedule, etc. So I can relate to the negative experiences when you were in your early twenties that you wrote about.

  2. TAS
    August 18, 2010 at 11:07 am

    “I would argue that a black woman who scams welfare creates many more well paid jobs, directly and indirectly, than a white man worth a few million. You see, the black woman spends money on services and goods from many different sources. Her unwillingness to save money creates more jobs by circulating money. Even indirectly, a considerable bureaucrats and “experts” are employed because of a welfare scamming black woman.”

    I don’t find any fault with most of your other myths, but this example is an application of the broken window fallacy.

    • joesantus
      April 19, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      “I don’t find any fault with most of your other myths, but this example is an application of the broken window fallacy.”

      Not necessarily, if those from whom her welfare money comes are primarily those same “white multi-millionaires” whose money-hoarding would limit its circulation among goods and services if the money scammed by her remained with them.

  3. P Ray
    September 17, 2016 at 5:40 am

    Relating to:
    5] Poor people are stupid, greedy, ungrateful, unnecessary etc

    So are most rich and middle-class people- but it takes an extra helping of hubris to see those faults in others, but not in yourself. Infact the motivation of HBD can be summed up as- Poor people are stupid, greedy, ungrateful, unnecessary etc because of -“insert scientific sounding reason”.

    I would argue that a black woman who scams welfare creates many more well paid jobs, directly and indirectly, than a white man worth a few million. You see, the black woman spends money on services and goods from many different sources. Her unwillingness to save money creates more jobs by circulating money. Even indirectly, a considerable bureaucrats and “experts” are employed because of a welfare scamming black woman.

    Here’s the reality:
    epi.org/publication/wage-theft-bigger-problem-theft-protect/
    Wage Theft is a Bigger Problem Than Other Theft—But Not Enough is Done to Protect Workers

    Economic Snapshot • By Ross Eisenbrey • April 2, 2014

    Wage theft is a far bigger problem than bank robberies, convenience store robberies, street and highway robberies, and gas station robberies combined. Employers steal billions of dollars from their employees each year by working them off the clock, by failing to pay the minimum wage, or by cheating them of overtime pay they have a right to receive. Survey research shows that well over two-thirds of low-wage workers have been the victims of wage theft, but the governmental resources to help them recover their lost wages are scant and largely ineffective.

    Few local governments have any resources or staff to combat wage theft, and several states have closed down or so severely cut back their labor departments that workers are left mostly unprotected and vulnerable to exploitation. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is the one agency that brings substantial resources to the effort to prevent and remedy wage theft, but its total staff of wage and hour investigators, about 1100 in all, is responsible for securing compliance from more than seven million employers. Nevertheless, in Fiscal Year 2012, DOL recovered $280 million in back pay for 308,000 workers. That amount – a small fraction of the total wage theft nationwide – far exceeded the total lost to criminals in street and highway, bank, gas station and convenience store robberies in 2012 ($139 million).

  1. August 16, 2010 at 5:04 pm

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