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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Republican Presidential Primary News & Discussion Center 2012 (Page 50)

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Author Topic: Republican Presidential Primary News & Discussion Center 2012
MrSquicky
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And since I guess I am doing this...

We're in a very different environment in terms of economic expansion than we've ever been before. Past expansion did a very good job of advancing society, in large part because it expanded leisure time by increasing productivity and getting rid of of lot of the annoying things you used to have to do. There were a lot less maintenance activities necessary. Also, in became much easier to sell in other markets and do a bunch of other things that basically resulted in more people being put to productive work. Society advanced because more and more people had jobs and these jobs allowed them to have a relatively secure living.

We hit an inflection point when production came to consistently far exceed demand, but we've dealt with that in a lot of ways, largely by manufacturing demand. However, this still represented a break from classical theories of capitalism.

Currently, we're seeing forms of economic expansion coming without job growth or often with corresponding job shrinking. This has been offset a great deal by globalization providing us with a much larger pool of consumers, but the problem remains that a lot of expansion now comes at the cost of jobs.

As a personal example, I spent a bit of time as an IT consultant and I'd estimate that I cost somewhere in the lost 100s of people their jobs. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was developing systems that replicated what people were doing and that would do this faster, better, and cheaper. I also made comparative information much more easily available and one of the projects I worked on was focused on leveraging this information to squeeze middle men suppliers so that they would give better prices to large companies.

Manufacturing is another big area for this. Advances in automation and computing have cut people needed to manufacture things drastically. With the advent of 3-d printing and fabrication, we're looking at another exponential decrease in the need for human labor.

The issues here could fill a book. Heck, they've already filled dozens of books on this subject. But now I'm going to bed.

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I Used to Be a Drummer
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quote:
Originally posted by ScottF:
Hold 'em is surrounded by luck but driven by betting and bluffing strategies. Its not like roulette, or even blackjack, where you are facing a static set of probabilities. You can have short term wins and losses that are purely good or bad luck, but professional players don't have good careers simply because they've figured out how to be a "bit luckier".

Bill Gates was one of a tiny, tiny percentage of middle school students in the late 60s that had actual computer access. Here's a quote from wikipedia--

"At 13 he enrolled in the Lakeside School, an exclusive preparatory school.[20] When he was in the eighth grade, the Mothers Club at the school used proceeds from Lakeside School's rummage sale to buy a Teletype Model 33 ASR terminal and a block of computer time on a General Electric (GE) computer for the school's students.[21] Gates took an interest in programming the GE system in BASIC, and was excused from math classes to pursue his interest. He wrote his first computer program on this machine: an implementation of tic-tac-toe that allowed users to play games against the computer. Gates was fascinated by the machine and how it would always execute software code perfectly. When he reflected back on that moment, he said, "There was just something neat about the machine."[22] After the Mothers Club donation was exhausted, he and other students sought time on systems including DEC PDP minicomputers. One of these systems was a PDP-10 belonging to Computer Center Corporation (CCC), which banned four Lakeside students—Gates, Paul Allen, Ric Weiland, and Kent Evans—for the summer after it caught them exploiting bugs in the operating system to obtain free computer time.[23]
At the end of the ban, the four students offered to find bugs in CCC's software in exchange for computer time. Rather than use the system via Teletype, Gates went to CCC's offices and studied source code for various programs that ran on the system, including programs in FORTRAN, LISP, and machine language. The arrangement with CCC continued until 1970, when the company went out of business. The following year, Information Sciences, Inc. hired the four Lakeside students to write a payroll program in COBOL, providing them computer time and royalties. "


Are you somehow of the opinion that luck isn't a large part of the fact that he is the founder and CEO of the world's largest software company?

The odds (since you want to talk about gambling) are against a student from a poor school in Appalachia founding a Microsoft, wouldn't you agree?

And yet people from Appalachia, rural Mississippi, etc. BUY Microsoft products, don't they? Their tax money is used to purchase MS Office for use at government agencies, as well.

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ScottF
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quote:
Originally posted by I Used to Be a Drummer:
Are you somehow of the opinion that luck isn't a large part of the fact that he is the founder and CEO of the world's largest software company?

No, I'm of the opinion that the best poker players employ a style of play that leads to success more consistently than luck would allow.
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I Used to Be a Drummer
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quote:
Originally posted by ScottF:
quote:
Originally posted by I Used to Be a Drummer:
Are you somehow of the opinion that luck isn't a large part of the fact that he is the founder and CEO of the world's largest software company?

No, I'm of the opinion that the best poker players employ a style of play that leads to success more consistently than luck would allow.
Why are you mentioning poker, if you're not trying to relate it to the current topic?
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Rakeesh
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Well, it is relevant to one of the discussions going on right now.
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ScottF
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I was responding to earlier posts about the degree to which luck affects poker outcomes. Threads meander.
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Tuukka
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:

The thing is, the biggest contributing factor to this advancement, to poverty today being so much better than poverty of the past, is that our whole society is vastly wealthier than 100 years ago. Even at the lowest echelons. And I think that going forward, overall wealth and innovation will continue to be the biggest driving force in improving everyone's life.

So when we look at potential fiat-based solutions to social problems, that create additional tax and regulatory burdens against increasing the wealth of our civilization, I'm very wary.

I think that's a good way to slow down the progress that's going to solve the current problems of our day (and then give rise to the next set of better problems, obviously).

Sorry if you have already addressed this somewhere, but: You are only half right. What you are missing is that transferring money from rich to poor is one of the primary reasons why America is rich, and not a 3rd world country.

For example: public education. I think we can all agree, that public education has provided USA better workers, better innovators, and overall better economy?

Imagine if there wouldn't have been a tax burden on Americans which forced them to finance public schooling. America today would most likely be considered a 3rd world country. It would still face many of the same problems it faced 100 years ago.

Health care is really just an extension of that. People work better when they are healthy instead of sick. They work better when they are alive instead of dead.

I agree with you that internet will become one of the basic rights for Americans at some point. But it's a good thing, because it makes the country more competitive, and more wealthy in the long run. A supportive social infrastructure financed with tax money is a central reason why advanced and rich countries are advanced and rich.

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Orincoro
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quote:
So when we look at potential fiat-based solutions to social problems, that create additional tax and regulatory burdens against increasing the wealth of our civilization, I'm very wary.
Because you don't understand the ultimate effects of those solutions. At their most effective, government regulations and tax burdens discourage the free attraction of wealth to additional wealth, and retard the advance of wealth condensation.

As an example: financial regulations and taxation (again, I'm talking non-real world simplicity), should be designed to make it difficult to, say, drop a million dollars into an investment account, and see that money grow faster than it would in an ordinary savings account. The reason is that, in a system where a person with a million dollars can attract additional wealth at a higher annualized rate than someone with 1000, the ultimate effect will be for the rich to become increasingly rich. This is where higher marginal tax rates, higher capital gains taxes, and etc come in.

Why should the rich not get richer? Well, the rich *should* get richer. In a perfect system, the rich earn their additional money by being innovative and hard working and savvy in their investments. However, if you take the financial system as an aggregate, and allow it to grow *faster* than the rest of the economy, bad things start happening. The poor don't get poorer right away, but their purchasing power starts to decline. Even if inflation stays low, enhancements in technology and other consumer goods start to price larger and larger numbers of people out of the middle of the consumer market. The economy begins to rely more on larger spenders, or as happened in the last decade, on lower and middle-income consumer debt, to finance the rising costs of living and to balance purchasing power.

This is a key thing: the general technology level and living standard continue to rise, but this is built not on a corresponding growth in actual wealth. People live better lives, but their lives come increasingly at the cost of their social, financial and political mobility. You have people who have undeniably *more* than the previous generation, but are correspondingly less free.

Part of the issue you have, I think, is that you might compare living standards from, say, 2010, and 1970. You might say: in 1970, a middle income family had one car, no college education, and no computers of any kind. A family of the same class today has two cars, cell phones, computers, ipads, and the rest of it. But here's the thing: the family of 2010 has more debt than they will ever be able to pay back in their lives. Now, if you were to compare a family of 1930 and 1970, the family of 1970 was much better off on living standards, *and* was *more* socially and economically mobile. So today, our living standards increase, but our mobility and our relative economic power are decreasing.

And there are a million and one reasons why. A consumer sector built on hidden taxes for the poor: services from communication, to banking, that cost more over time if you have less to invest in them (and this is driven by the financial system wanting more ready cash to invest in wealth accumulation... if you can spot the connection). A public sector that operates the same way: parking and traffic fines, and a host of other local regulations that are no longer strictly punitive, but become sources of city and county income, and disproportionately effect the poor.

Now, the problem I see with a conservative view of this, again, is that it attaches yourself to the figures, and particularly, the *anecdotal* information about living standards without paying head to these trends of purchasing power parity and socio-economic mobility. Conservatives are often not willing to consider that a class of people can be termed "worse off" if their situation is only declining *relative* to that of society as a whole. If there is a wider income gap, but incomes are still rising, conservatives would like to believe that this is somehow because America is just plain more wealthy. Well, wealth overall *does* increase, but relative wealth increasing, and at the rate that it is increasing, is damaging to that growth. And we've seen the effects in recent years. Exhausted by a decade of increasing consumer debt, the middle class, the consumers most of the growth in our economy is based on, stopped consuming, and our economy contracted- threatening our political and economic stability as a nation. That happened because wealth was accumulating too fast at the top. You have to view the growth of an economy the way you do any organic entity: it has to grow rationally and more or less symmetrically. If it doesn't, there may be something wrong.


ETA: As an aside about the "poor tax" nature of consumer technology and banking, I was largely unaware of how pervasive this was until I moved to another country. To imagine that something like a pay-as-you-go mobile plan would be priced corresponding more or less *exactly* to the level of service provided was astounding to me. That contract plans offered *no* significant benefits beyond convenience? Incredible. Or the idea that the consumers own *local* branch of a bank is in charge of issuing credit to its customers and that these banks, even nationwide organizations, do not offer credit lines to their customers that exceed their customer's realistic ability to pay for their purchases, also amazed me. And there are no overdraft fees, because there are no overdrafts. Why does that shock me? Who invented overdrafts anyway? How does that concept even make sense?

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
That hasn't been my experience.

How many games have you played and at what level?

Poker is definitely not strictly a game of luck, it involves a mixture of luck and skill. This is nothing unique to poker. Almost all popular games involve a mix of luck and skill including everything from basketball to monopoly. The question is whether poker is "mostly luck" or "mostly skill" and that's not a simple question to answer. First we need to define what is meant by "mostly skill". If there is any skill involved at all, then if you play enough games the most skilled player will win more games. For a simple two player game, if its 100% luck then if two people play against each other an infinite number of times, each player will win 50% of the time. If its 100% skill, then the best player will win every game. So one reasonable way to define the percent skill involved in a mixed game would be (P-50)*2, where P is percent of the time that the more skilled player will win. If the better player wins 75% of the time, the game is 50% skill and 50% luck.

Of course two people are never going to play each other an infinite number of times, so another way of looking at this would be to determine the number of times the two players would have to play in order for there to be a 95% chance that the better player will win the majority of the games. In a best 9 series for a game that is 50% skill, the better player will win 95% of the time. To have a 95% chance of winning a best of 3 series, the game has to be 72.8% skill. The number of times you need to play for there to be a 95% probability of the better player winning is called the "critical repetition frequency" (CRF). A bigger CRF indicates the game involves more luck. For a game that's 50% skill, the CRF is 9. For a game that's 20% skill the CRF is 67. For a game that's 10% skill the CRF is 287.
People who have carefully studied the statistics of online poker games have found that the CRF for professional online poker players is ~35,000. So for a professional online poker player winning a single game is about 0.9% skill and 99.1% luck.

The CRF suggests there is another way that we might choose to define whether or not poker is "mostly luck" or "mostly chance". If you win one game, its almost entirely luck for everyone. If you come out ahead after a very large number of games, skill is more likely to be a factor. If you play more than your CRF, then 95% of the time winning is an indication of superior skill. If you play less than your CRF, then luck is going to be a bigger factor. Your CRF is a function of both your skill and the skill of your competition. If you have lower than average skill, the more games you play the greater your chances are of loosing money. You should quit while you are ahead. If you have greater than average skill, the more you play the greater your chances are of winning. You should always keep playing whether you are ahead or behind.

But it gets even more complicated because the skill factor in that equation isn't just a function of the game and your own skill level, it's relative to the skill of other players. Kobe's chances of winning a single game of horse with me are very likely more than 99.9999%. In even a single game of horse between me and Kobe, the result is going to be almost entirely skill. But if Kobe and Lebron were to play a single game of horse, you might as well be flipping a coin. The outcome is going to be almost entirely luck.

Saying that the outcome of a basketball game between two equally matched teams is mostly luck, is not the same as saying that skill doesn't matter in basketball. You really need to look at the difference between the least skilled players and the most skilled players. If you do that in a high skill game like basketball, it's clear that basketball is mostly a game of skill. The average recreational league team has almost no chance of beating a professional team in even one game.

But that just isn't true for poker. If we look at only a single hand of poker, a novice player has a nearly even chance of winning against a professional player. That isn't really an accurate way to assess the importance of skill in poker because in poker its not about the number of hands you win and loose, its about the amount of money you win and loose. The most important difference between good players and bad players is that good players loose less money on average when they loose a hand. Nonetheless if you look at large numbers of games between players of different levels, you can get an idea of how much difference skill makes between the best and worst players and the studies of online game statistics indicate that skill is worth at most about 10%. If you pit the best professional online players against the worst online players, they have to play around 300 games for the best player to have a 95% chances of winning overall.

Of course there is a sampling bias in online games. The very worst players who might show up to an occasional penny ante poker night with friends don't make up a significant fraction of online poker players. The data suggests that skill in poker is something that plateaus pretty quickly, so the difference in skill between a total novice and a good recreational player is a lot more than the difference between a good recreational player and a top level professional. So in a friendly game of 25 hands of penny ante poker with a mix of good recreational players and novices, you'd expected the best players to win about 70% of the time. That statistic will be nearly identical if the best players are top professionals or just a pretty good recreational players. For most people who play recreationally, its easy to get the impression that skill is much more important than statistics show.

If you up the stakes, the worst players drop out. The difference in skill for the remaining players will be a lot smaller, so you will have to play a lot more games before skill will be more important than luck. That ads another factor to winning over the long term. In order for your skill level to matter you have to keep playing for a very large number of games. If you run out of money in a loosing streak, you can't keep playing. That means that to beat the odds at a high level game, you need both high skill and a large bank roll. I you start out with very little cash, your odds of winning lots of money are going to be small even if you are very skilled. The higher the level of the game, the less difference there will be between you and the competition which means that the chances of a long loosing streak are higher -- that means the ratio between your typical bet and your cash reserve has to be a higher.

This is why few people are able to succeed as professional poker players for very long. Most people (and almost all gamblers), tend to be too optimistic. They underestimate the amount they need to keep in reserve to survive a loosing streak. So when that loosing streak comes (which it always will if they play enough), they can't continue to keep playing. Even if you are extremely prudent, unless you have an infinite bankroll, you will eventually loose it all. The game isn't symmetric. Loosing one dollar costs both a dollar and a future opportunity to bet that dollar. A streak of bad luck means you don't have as much to wager in future bets. In a sense when you loose you loose twice -- you loose both money and future options.

[ March 26, 2012, 06:58 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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Destineer
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Rabbit, I feel like a dick pointing this out, but when you don't win you lose. 'Loose' is the adjective describing pants that keep falling down.
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Lyrhawn
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Are you defining a game as a hand? Or as a series of hands?

And what is your reasoning for doing so one way or the other?

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
Rabbit, I feel like a dick pointing this out, but when you don't win you lose. 'Loose' is the adjective describing pants that keep falling down.

That's my signature mistake.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Are you defining a game as a hand? Or as a series of hands?

And what is your reasoning for doing so one way or the other?

It would be possible to define it either way. I defined a game as a hand because that is the way it was defined in the research studies I took the numbers from.

If the outcome of each hand in a series is independent of the outcome of the previous hands, the two approaches will yield the same result. If you need to play 35,000 hands for skill to dominate over luck, then you'd need to play 3500 games of 10 hands each for skill to dominate over luck. In a friendly low stakes game of low skill players, probably not a good assumption that the hands are independent since winning or loosing one hand (or several hands in a row) is likely to influence how people play. For a highly skilled player with a large reserve of cash, it would be much more accurate to assume that the results of each hand will be independent.

Either way, it does not change the basic conclusion that poker is mostly a game of chance. As with any game that is a mixture of skill and chance, skill will dominate if you repeat it a large enough number of times (the critical repetition frequency).

If a game is mostly skill (>50%), the CRF will be under about 9. If a game is mostly luck, the CRF will be larger. For poker, the CRF ranges from hundreds to hundreds of thousands depending on the level of the game.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
As with any game that is a mixture of skill and chance, skill will dominate if you repeat it a large enough number of times (the critical repetition frequency).

You basically said this a few times in earlier posts, but I'm going to reiterate it here:

The extent to which luck is the deciding factor is inversely proportional to the disparity in skill between the players. A game between two equally skilled people may be decided more by luck than by skill. A game between a highly skilled player and a new player will be much more likely to be determined by skill than luck.

I'm not really talking about poker anymore, by the way. Applied relatively (as in, you look at comparisons within the same game) this holds true pretty much regardless of the "CRF" of any given game.

This is actually obvious from a common-sense perspective to anyone who has spent time trying to improve at a game, since a huge part of learning any game is figuring out how luck effects the game, and learning how to mitigate bad luck and always be in a position to capitalize on good luck.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Are you defining a game as a hand? Or as a series of hands?

And what is your reasoning for doing so one way or the other?

It would be possible to define it either way. I defined a game as a hand because that is the way it was defined in the research studies I took the numbers from.

If the outcome of each hand in a series is independent of the outcome of the previous hands, the two approaches will yield the same result. If you need to play 35,000 hands for skill to dominate over luck, then you'd need to play 3500 games of 10 hands each for skill to dominate over luck. In a friendly low stakes game of low skill players, probably not a good assumption that the hands are independent since winning or loosing one hand (or several hands in a row) is likely to influence how people play. For a highly skilled player with a large reserve of cash, it would be much more accurate to assume that the results of each hand will be independent.

Either way, it does not change the basic conclusion that poker is mostly a game of chance. As with any game that is a mixture of skill and chance, skill will dominate if you repeat it a large enough number of times (the critical repetition frequency).

If a game is mostly skill (>50%), the CRF will be under about 9. If a game is mostly luck, the CRF will be larger. For poker, the CRF ranges from hundreds to hundreds of thousands depending on the level of the game.

I've played thousands of hands. The numbers actually build up very fast. I used to play in a weekly low-stakes game that was probably 100 hands a night, but I also played in a lot of poker rooms as well. My brother has played well over 35,000 hands in his day, and I know he's come out way ahead in the grand scheme of things. I think you'd be surprised at how short a time you can reach into the thousands of hands. A hand can literally last only seconds.
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Dan_Frank
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If I learned anything from Mel Gibson it's that the most important element to playing poker is actually having psychic abilities.

And no matter the stakes or how bad the odds are, if you have part of a royal flush you should always go all-in, because not getting a royal flush would be anticlimactic and is therefore unlikely.

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Blayne Bradley
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Mahjong is a game involving skill because of its complexity. You draw from a "wall" a number of tiles yes, but you don't have it limited to a single discard/redraw (variations aside) but are continuously discarding and drawing tiles over dozens of turns until you assemble a winning hand. Winning a hand doesn't win you money, but win you points in which money is proportionally doled out (if its a betting game, otherwise its 1st to 4th place). So each hand has a worth to it, so skill comes into play in how and what kind of hands you assemble, cheaper faster hands can let you win a bad round early; intermediate hands aren't quite more or less valuable but because of how riichi works whereas you "warn" the other players you only have 1 tile remaining to "win" lets you win with a greater variety of possible hands rather than a set hand (because declaring riichi satisfies the minimum winning prerequisite of 1 yaku). While obviously the most difficult and rare hands are worth the most points; but there's extremely complex variety in how you can arrange a hand of a setting pattern to increase your point game.

Since you have points you need to thus judge for example if its worth winning with a cheap hand because sometimes winning doesn't give you enough points to get into first place. Also depending on how you win, (I'm presuming first place because the rules resemble Calvin Ball at times) and you become the "dealer" it also increases complexity and how points are dolled out and confers certain advantages.

Additionally at least with riichi rules you discard your tiles into a neat pool in front of you in turn order, this makes it so that the other players can keep track of your discards and try to surmise what kind of hand your going for, and you can surmise theirs vice versa you can also discard "dummy" tiles and try to hide and camouflage your strategy.

Here's Akagi, which is the more "realistic" manga for Mahjong

The vastly greater complexity minimizes how much of a factor "luck" is to a given game. As well as the much greater amount of control the player has in how they compose their hands in a given game, sometimes able to completely discard your ongoing hand and switch to an entirely different hand midgame. As as I understand it you don't have this much time, 30 to 40 odd turns in which to come up with a hand. You have 2-3 I think.

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Orincoro
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Poker is not about the process of composing a hand, it's about representing and betting on a hand as it unfolds. In Hold 'em, you have 4 betting rounds. Read up on it, I don't think you know what you're talking about.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
I've played thousands of hands. The numbers actually build up very fast. I used to play in a weekly low-stakes game that was probably 100 hands a night, but I also played in a lot of poker rooms as well. My brother has played well over 35,000 hands in his day, and I know he's come out way ahead in the grand scheme of things. I think you'd be surprised at how short a time you can reach into the thousands of hands. A hand can literally last only seconds.
My numbers come from detailed studies of online poker games which included over 5 million players and hundreds of millions of hands. I would in fact be highly surprised if your personal experience proves to be a more accurate assessment of poker than academic studies of millions of players. The ultimate conclusion is the same whether you look at a single hand or a game involving dozens of hands. The researchers have found that the vast majority of players do not play enough hands to make skill the predominant factor.

It isn't possible to get that kind of data from real life low stakes games. It would not surprise me if the CRF for real life low stakes games was considerably lower than for online games because of the social aspects, but I'd also expect that the typical real life low stakes player plays a lot fewer hands than the typical online player. I'd be rather surprised if the overall conclusion were any different. The overwhelming a majority of players do not play enough hands for skill to be more important than luck.

If you play enough poker, skill is going to be more important than luck, that will be true whenever any skill whatsoever is involved. The fact that net poker winning are the result of skill for a very small fraction of people who play an unusually large amount is not evidence that the game is "mostly skill". I suggested two ways we might define "mostly skill", the first was the importance of skill in winning a given hand -- that number is extremely low. The second was the number of hands a player would need to play for luck and skill to be equally important. I'll grant you that it isn't fair to look at the raw CRF number, you have to scale that by the number of hands a person would typically play over some time period. But even when you do that, the conclusion is the same. Poker is not "mostly skill" because for the overwhelming majority of players the luck factor is bigger than the skill factor.

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Orincoro
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Rabbit, I don't know where to start with that.

I don't consider the stats relating to online poker to be at all relevant to the game as played in person. It's a completely different animal.

quote:
In a friendly low stakes game of low skill players, probably not a good assumption that the hands are independent since winning or loosing one hand (or several hands in a row) is likely to influence how people play.
You are ignoring: chip strength, position, blind raising, and stake changes (such as different value freeze-out buys). Through each hand, the chip strength of each player changes. As players leave the game, the apportionment of the stake changes, as time passes, blinds are raised, affecting the state of chip strength and strengthening higher stacks. If there is a freeze-out round, the value of the chips on the table can be diluted by a double-value rebuy. These are all aspects that affect play in an non-static way.


Now, it is *true* that most players relay on luck. However, the players who do not are the ones who win, and they do win consistently. Not as consistently as a chess player, but more consistently than you are allowing for.

I would allow that in games where the players are all playing at a high level, luck can be a more important factor in the open, and in the end-game. That's poker- the middle game involves more skill. But the role of luck in poker is not static, and gross statistical analysis doesn't tell you *anything* about how individual hands can be played. The fact is, that 90% of hands are *not* played. If you want to go strictly by luck, the majority of hands go to the person lucky enough to be dealt the right cards in the right position. The skill aspect of the game comes in when two players, in two different positions, are each dealt hands they want to play. The game then becomes about strategy. Even in the time it takes to go through one hand, luck can hand you a good pair of hold cards, and then your skill at playing those cards can take over; luck can deal you a bad flop, but again, skill is involved in knowing how to play that eventuality. Poor players play strong cards and fold weak cards. Skilled players find ways of making their strong hands win, and stopping a weak hand from losing.

Again, I would like to know, for what reason do I win the majority of the time that I do play? I don't play that much. A few tournaments a month. But I am a consistent winner. Why? I guarantee you that if you were to analyze the game in the real-life social form, you'd find that very little of it has to do with the cards drawn. You're just approaching this with no appreciation of *how* the game is played when people are facing each other. The online game could be played as well by a computer program as by a person, and in that case, it would be far less complex than a chess program, because the game *is not* about the cards.

The online game *is* about the cards, and the people who play it are either sharks collecting money, or gambling addicts. Anyone who knows poker as a sport knows that online poker is not anything like the real game.

[ March 27, 2012, 09:43 AM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Now, it is *true* that most players relay on luck. However, the players who do not are the ones who win, and they do win consistently. Not as consistently as a chess player, but more consistently than you are allowing for.
Then show me the data. People have a natural tendency to underestimate luck when they are winning. That natural bias is so strong that I distrust any conclusion made unless its backed by solid empirical data.

Top professional poker I've found, people whose livelihood depends on accurately understanding the balance of luck and skill, agree with the results of these online studies. These people's livelihood depends on having accurate expectations. They carefully track their statistics and are constantly recalculating the odds. They say its not uncommon for them to have a loosing streak of over 100,000 hands. You say you made the final round in 4 of the 5 last tournaments you entered. Top professionals expect to cash in in only 15% of the tournaments they enter, so either you are far more skilled than the best pros or you've been unusually lucky.

If you were me, which would you believe?

Professional poker players expect

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Orincoro
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No Rabbit, I'm much more skilled than the people I've been playing with. What data can I use? The stuff about online poker? I agree with that. Online poker is luck, and for the people who make money off of it, a game of spotting weak players and taking advantage. I don't play in professional tournaments, I play in small multi-table tournaments with amateurs. And I win consistently, because I'm better at it than they are. A pro would never bother playing in these tournaments- there isn't enough money in it.
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Sphinx
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Rabbit, could you tell me how the studies you read are defining when someone loses a hand? Are they defining a loss as anything other than a win, or are they using a different definition?

Let me give an example: imagine a poker game with 8 players. There's what I'm guessing is the regular betting scheme (at least, the one on T.V.), where all 8 players contribute an ante but two players contribute larger amounts (the small and big blinds). Let's say the first player looks and his cards and folds immediately. The second player looks at his cards and places a large bet. The next player folds, but the fourth player calls the bet. The remaining four players fold, including both players who put in blinds. The two players remaining play the hand, and the second player (the initial bettor) wins.

In that scenario, how many players lost the hand according to the research? Because I can imagine several different interpretations of who 'lost,' which I think could change the way the data is interpreted.

For example, you could say that 7 players lost because only 1 player won and all others lost at least their ante. You could say that only 3 players (the fourth player and the blinds) lost, because they lost more than their ante. Or you could say that only 1 player lost because only two players 'played' the hand--that is only two players moved beyond the initial betting stage.

In the first example, where each hand has one winner and seven losers, then luck will play an incredibly high role in the game because a player's initial cards are determined entirely by chance. There is some strategy to the initial betting, but there are some hands that are so bad that no one (or almost no one) would try to play them against players of equal skill. Likewise, some hands are so good that any player would play them. And, the more hands that table plays, the more losers there will be compared to winners, and the larger the gulf between luck and skill will seem to grow.

On the other hand, in the last example with one winner and one loser, skill would become much more important relative to luck, because at that point the players are playing each other far more than they're actually playing the cards in their hands. At that point, you could have hands where there are winners but no losers (e.g. where all players fold to the big blind), hands with a winner and a loser, and hands with a winner and a number of losers. As a result, the gulf between skill and luck would shrink.

It seems like part of the impasse in the discussion at present could be because poker players might use the latter definition of losing while the research studies used the former.

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kmbboots
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I think that the only way poker work as an analogy here is if you only one hand. Sure a middling hand can be improved by skillful play but even a dunce who is dealt a royal flush is going to beat someone who is dealt a pair of threes.
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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Poker is not about the process of composing a hand, it's about representing and betting on a hand as it unfolds. In Hold 'em, you have 4 betting rounds. Read up on it, I don't think you know what you're talking about.

hence why Mahjong is more skillbased then poker, congratuations you proved my point for me.
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Corwin
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As anecdotal evidence, at my previous workplace we used to play at noon for about 1-1.5 hours. We'd start all with the same chips and just record the order in which we got out, and the chips for those still left in when time expired. We did two "seasons" of this with around 50 sessions each IIRC, and I won both seasons. Another player (I'll call him D) came in second in one of the sessions and third in another.

We also had 3 low-stakes money tournaments of around 15-20 players, and I finished 4th, 3rd and 1st. D finished first in one, lost early in another. Another guy who at one point played regularly for money finished 2nd and 4th in two of these tournaments. (He didn't play in the other one.)

I've never had the time and money to actually play in online games for money, but from my limited experience skill does matter in poker.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Poker is not about the process of composing a hand, it's about representing and betting on a hand as it unfolds. In Hold 'em, you have 4 betting rounds. Read up on it, I don't think you know what you're talking about.

hence why Mahjong is more skillbased then poker, congratuations you proved my point for me.
Heh. They are different skills. I have little interest in whether you think one is harder than the other.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I think that the only way poker work as an analogy here is if you only one hand. Sure a middling hand can be improved by skillful play but even a dunce who is dealt a royal flush is going to beat someone who is dealt a pair of threes.

Again, getting *out* of a hand is arguably a more important skill than winning one. This scenario is the far more common: you are dealt a hand you like too much to lay down, even as another person represents an even better one. The skill is in not losing your stack with good cards in front of you.
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kmbboots
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Right. My point is that to use poker as an analogy to life (whether our luck or our choices determine our fate) life is more analogous to a hand of poker rather than a game or many games. If we are dealt a crap hand, we can't just get out and hope our luck is better next time.
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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Poker is not about the process of composing a hand, it's about representing and betting on a hand as it unfolds. In Hold 'em, you have 4 betting rounds. Read up on it, I don't think you know what you're talking about.

hence why Mahjong is more skillbased then poker, congratuations you proved my point for me.
Heh. They are different skills. I have little interest in whether you think one is harder than the other.
Then your being disingenuous in your dishonesty trying to start something and then not sticking around to substantiate is just plain cowardly.

Notice that my initial claims is "Mahjong is a better example of a skill based game", Lyrhawn's response was "Doesn't it also involve drawing lots randomly?" To which I explained how and why that's a superficial comparison and how ultimately luck is much less of a factor. That the games are in fact different is just about as profound that an apple is different from an orange. But I guess sometimes you feel the need to feel pride in your ability to point out the obvious and pretend it's meaningful. You're just being pedantic and is of no relevance to the point at hand, also I never said it was "harder" but that it was more "complex", further underlying your intellectual dishonesty which frankly you should really take somewhere else, maybe FreeRepublic.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I think that the only way poker work as an analogy here is if you only one hand. Sure a middling hand can be improved by skillful play but even a dunce who is dealt a royal flush is going to beat someone who is dealt a pair of threes.

A Royal Flush? Sure.

But I've bluffed a player out of quads at a casino before.

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kmbboots
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And some people manage to excel despite hardship. It is the exception, though and a hell of a lot harder.
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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
And some people manage to excel despite hardship. It is the exception, though and a hell of a lot harder.

The problem with this discussion is that we have surrendered significant ground and allowed the overture window to shift significantly towards the Right on this issue to the point where instead of debating that having an equal playing field should be a right to quibbling over whether that possibility of anyone with effort and some luck can succeed means that everyone should go without safetynets, it's baffling and a sobbering reflection to how emasculated progressives in America have been.

It's irrelevant whether or not in a laissez faire environment if anyone in theory through merit can rise to the top, the problem is that the "top" is systemically looting the country and using it to enrich themselves at the expense of those who make the majority and when they can't get away with it or when its not enough to go to other countries to exploit. Unrestrained capitalism as a social and economic farce is a rotten shambling structure that will collapse upon itself after a single strong kick. It can only be perpetuated paradoxically by government regulation and simultaneously only restrained to popular useful through that very same regulation.

Capitalism can only serve the broader utility if it is sufficiently regulated and every citizen granted all the required rights as to not become its slaves through indentured servitude. Universal healthcare, pensions, education, a fair wage and public transportation are all crucial for a modern first world society to both function and give every citizen a fair crack at capitalism, preferably with a nailed cricket bat. Only this way can society become more egalitarian and reduce the wealth gap between the rich and poor and maintain the health of popular social democracy.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Rabbit, could you tell me how the studies you read are defining when someone loses a hand? Are they defining a loss as anything other than a win, or are they using a different definition?
The research was conducted by Ingo Fiedler of the University of Hamburg. If you are interested in the details -- look it up yourself. I've already spent more time summarizing if than I can reasonably justify.

The question at hand is not whether or not a skilled person can win money over the long term playing poker. They can, no debate.

The question I was addressing was whether poker could reasonably be considered "mostly skill" or "mostly luck". The fact that a skilled person can win over the long term says only that some skill is involved. It says nothing about the relative amounts of skill and luck. I proposed two ways of trying to define what it meant for the game to be "mostly luck" and I backed up my conclusion with actual research work. If you don't like my definition of what if means for a game to be "mostly skill" propose an alternative and back it up with some real data and not just anecdotes.

The question of whether poker was "mostly skill" arose out of a hypothetical example of a single high stakes bet on a roulette wheel. Dan_Frank said if they'd lost the money playing poker instead of roulette the outcome would have been "skill". It doesn't really matter whether he was talking about betting $100,000 on a single hand or in a high stakes tournament -- the outcome is not going to be "mostly skill".

[ March 27, 2012, 06:28 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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Blayne Bradley
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTwG6GvMcfA
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SenojRetep
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By the way, while you were all discussing whether poker is a game of luck or skill, back here in the Republican primary Mitt Romney won. If you believe Nate Silver, he won after the Arizona debate on Feb. 22, or possibly the Michigan/Arizona primaries on Feb. 28. But for everyone else, his wins in Illinois and Wisconsin seem to have finally cemented the perception of inevitability he's been trying to encourage since, well since he started running, but especially since Florida.

At the same time, President Obama's poll rating has gone up 3-5 points in the last quarter, and he's now running about where Bush was just before the 2004 election. Given Obama's built-in demographic advantage in Virginia and North Carolina, and Romney's populist weakness in the Rust Belt, I'd guess at this point he's headed for a 50-75 elector defeat. Of course, a lot could change over the next seven months: Romney could run a brilliant general campaign, Iran could go nuclear, the economy could meltdown again, US failures in Afghanistan could receive increased attention, Obamacare could be ruled unconstitutional, and so on. But if things stay pretty much the way they've been for the last six months, I see a Romney victory as (unfortunately, IMO) fairly unlikely.

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Lyrhawn
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The real race doesn't really start until I'd say September.

Remember McCain was doing just fine until around October when the economy really started to come down and he made some really bad statements on the crisis as it unfolded.

But at the outset, I'd say Obama is in great shape. Romney has stuck his foot in his mouth enough times to give Obama more than enough material to work with. No matter how much Romney will try to pivot back to the center, Obama will be ready with a sound clip and a barb. He was forced too far to the right, even though he's still managed to stay more moderate than anyone else. It'll still be a big anchor.

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Blayne Bradley
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Romney would make a terrible president and one to serve at behest of the Congressional GOP, at least with Newt he would be his own man. I can't think of a single platform that Romney runs out that would be remotely appealing to an informed citizenry.
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SenojRetep
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There's certainly opinion volatility throughout presidential elections. See this chart from Pollster, for instance. Over the past three elections, from our current point to the end of the election the maximum deviation has been, on average, about 8 points.

That said, the total deviation has been, on average, about 3 points, and that's mostly due to the huge boost (I'd estimate it at 3-4 points) Obama got out of not being a Republican when the financial crisis hit. So, at least for recent history, aggregate polling this far before the election has been a pretty good indicator of outcome.

Said more simply, sure the race hasn't 'started' per se, but in recent elections, while opinions do vary during the race itself, they have tended to settle out to about where they were before the race started, particularly if you discount effects due to events external to the race itself (e.g. the financial crisis). To impose a narrative over a weak statistical argument, both parties are fairly close to parity in terms of the material resources it takes to win a race, so what seems to matter most (again, excluding external shocks) is starting position.

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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
Romney would make a terrible president and one to serve at behest of the Congressional GOP, at least with Newt he would be his own man. I can't think of a single platform that Romney runs out that would be remotely appealing to an informed citizenry.

As a single informed citizen, I find a lot of Romney's positions appealing, from his concern over and plan for the U.S.'s long-term debt problem, to his focus on improving the competitiveness of the U.S. w.r.t. business, to his views on maintaining a high baseline of hard power throughout the world*.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'one to serve at the behest of the Congressional GOP' but I'm guessing you mean he wouldn't be sufficiently independent of his party when determining policy. If so, I'd say that's great; mavericks are fine in theory, but having one as the leader of the free world seems ill-considered to me. I think having a pragmatic President who works with his party leadership to solve problems rather than pronounce dicta is a good thing.

*I may be under the sway of Robert Kagan's most recent book (which I just finished this morning) on that last one.

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Destineer
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There have been periods in history when "hard power" was extremely beneficial to the US without significant cost. Now it translates to hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern innocents dying at our hands, with no particular benefits even from the standpoint of US self-interest.

Also, I can't believe you'd think Obama is weak on that score. We've got drones everywhere, bombing everyone. What more could a hawk ask for?

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
What more could a hawk ask for?
Something like this?
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SenojRetep
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Destineer-

1) I think you're overestimating the costs of current conflicts by a lot, both absolutely (I think the number of Middle Eastern innocents killed by US action is on the order of tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands) and also relative to previous conflicts (we spent a lot more, in terms of blood and treasure, on past major conflicts than we have on current ones).

2) I also don't think benefits of direct intervention are clear for a long time. Twenty years after the Korean War ended, it was still unclear whether there had been any real benefit at all. It seems much more clear today.

3) Hard power is more than simply the outcome of military interventions; without US bases in Korea, Japan, Australia, and Guam I don't know that the rise of China would have been nearly as peaceful (or economically beneficial to the US) as it has. Similarly, I think it's at least plausible that the presence of US bases in the Middle East in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia (and now Iraq) has likely dissuaded Iran, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia from engaging each other in large scale military confrontationalism.

4) I don't have a big problem with the current President in terms of military policy (in fact, my main criticism has been he's been too aggressive in drone strikes, particularly the cavalier approach to the legality of targeting al Awlaki). But I think his party has an unrealistic long-term vision for the US military. The idea that you can finance indefinite entitlement growth through cutting a military budget that's already roughly at it's lowest level (in terms of % of GDP) since before WWII is, I think, both misguided and possibly dangerous.

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Blayne Bradley
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America needs state direction of its economy and a national plan to improve competition, not 50 parallel experiments, some businesses need to be killed off and others started via government intervention. Like the Japanese ministry there that's like the Prussian General staff for the economy.

Romney will simply continue to favor big business and cut taxes, these will not help the economy. State investment in R&D and infrastructure and PEOPLE is what will help the economy. The financial sector is a cancer, it doesnt GROW anything when the auto sector went belly up it still left workers and buildings and infrastructure behind that could be repurposed. What can 80 trillion$ in derivitive debt be retooled into? Is finance important for the economy to grow? Yes, but not the way it currently has where that money hasn't at all helps the middle class but has worsened income disparity, something Mittens doesn't give a shit about.

A Romney presidency will continue the American slide into regressive right wing policies that will further hurt America.

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Destineer
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quote:

1) I think you're overestimating the costs of current conflicts by a lot, both absolutely (I think the number of Middle Eastern innocents killed by US action is on the order of tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands) and also relative to previous conflicts (we spent a lot more, in terms of blood and treasure, on past major conflicts than we have on current ones).

Starting the Iraq war was a US action, and it caused at least 100,000 deaths. Whether our guys did the shooting is immaterial to the moral question.

quote:
2) I also don't think benefits of direct intervention are clear for a long time. Twenty years after the Korean War ended, it was still unclear whether there had been any real benefit at all. It seems much more clear today.
Seems like a reason not to do it, if the odds of a positive result are so hard to determine. How can you ever be reasonably sure that your actions will have good enough effects to outweigh the 100% certain costs in terms of casualties?
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SenojRetep
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Japan's state-directed capitalism hasn't saved it from the crippling economic stagnation it's been suffering through for the past twenty years. Nor will China's in the long run. National economies without significant state involvement, like India's, can grow just as fast (or faster), and are more adaptive to changing circumstances.
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:

1) I think you're overestimating the costs of current conflicts by a lot, both absolutely (I think the number of Middle Eastern innocents killed by US action is on the order of tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands) and also relative to previous conflicts (we spent a lot more, in terms of blood and treasure, on past major conflicts than we have on current ones).

Starting the Iraq war was a US action, and it caused at least 100,000 deaths. Whether our guys did the shooting is immaterial to the moral question.

I disagree that the US is culpable for the ~150,000 deaths from the Iraq war. We were the spark, sure, and we're not blameless, but that civil war would have happened sometime whether we invaded or not. Instead of 10,000 Syrians killed by Assad in the last year, we'd be talking about 30,000 Iraqis killed by Saddam Hussein.
quote:

quote:
2) I also don't think benefits of direct intervention are clear for a long time. Twenty years after the Korean War ended, it was still unclear whether there had been any real benefit at all. It seems much more clear today.
Seems like a reason not to do it, if the odds of a positive result are so hard to determine. How can you ever be reasonably sure that your actions will have good enough effects to outweigh the 100% certain costs in terms of casualties?
That makes it risky, but I don't think that's a reason not to engage in intervention. I think, in general, US interventions have led to a better world, both in terms of the US's parochial interests and in terms of the overall suffering (or lack thereof) of humanity. That's not universally true (Vietnam, Spanish-American War, Latin American interventions in the 60s), but I think it's generally been true. Whether the current conflicts end up more like Korea or Vietnam, we'll have to wait to see. But I don't think the possibility of a Vietnam negates the value of a Korea.
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Vadon
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quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:
Destineer-

1) I think you're overestimating the costs of current conflicts by a lot, both absolutely (I think the number of Middle Eastern innocents killed by US action is on the order of tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands) and also relative to previous conflicts (we spent a lot more, in terms of blood and treasure, on past major conflicts than we have on current ones).

2) I also don't think benefits of direct intervention are clear for a long time. Twenty years after the Korean War ended, it was still unclear whether there had been any real benefit at all. It seems much more clear today.

3) Hard power is more than simply the outcome of military interventions; without US bases in Korea, Japan, Australia, and Guam I don't know that the rise of China would have been nearly as peaceful (or economically beneficial to the US) as it has. Similarly, I think it's at least plausible that the presence of US bases in the Middle East in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia (and now Iraq) has likely dissuaded Iran, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia from engaging each other in large scale military confrontationalism.

4) I don't have a big problem with the current President in terms of military policy (in fact, my main criticism has been he's been too aggressive in drone strikes, particularly the cavalier approach to the legality of targeting al Awlaki). But I think his party has an unrealistic long-term vision for the US military. The idea that you can finance indefinite entitlement growth through cutting a military budget that's already roughly at it's lowest level (in terms of % of GDP) since before WWII is, I think, both misguided and possibly dangerous.

There is a time and place for hard power, but its value can only be tracked in so far as it is a security measure--both by the accomplishment of military goals as well as deterrence of conflict. Ultimately, I land on the side of building our soft-power. Soft power isn't without its downfalls, but I believe that increasing our economic clout and creating dependencies on our nation serves as a more valuable long-term measure than continued investment into our military infrastructure. I view hard power as being able to coerce behavior from another by threat of a gun. There are times when this is necessary as a measure of personal security. But what happens when you take away the gun? The person you've threatened is no longer coerced and hard power alone does nothing to change his or her underlying attitude that made the person a threat in the first place. A reliance on hard power also demands constant investment into the military structure to ensure that no one else can supplant our position. While hard power gives us security, I see very little else it can give.

I actually debated with my father on the issue of the missile defense shields in Europe. I asked what the point of the shield was when it doesn't work. He argued that the technology has been getting substantially better in just the last five years (like the accuracy of drone strikes). Even though our defense system may not work now, that's not reason to dismiss the idea entirely. I argue that until such a time that the shield actually serves a tangible defensive purpose, it's a waste of money and increases discontent. The short of it is that I don't mind defense spending. But I don't want us spending into defense for the sake of spending into defense. I support critical evaluations of the defense budget to figure out where we're not getting our money's worth and further believe that we could very well decrease our overall spending without any significant impact to our defensive capabilities.

This doesn't mean that I wish for only defense cuts to allow for the amount we spend on entitlement programs. I agree that there is (plenty) of room for improvement in our entitlement programs and am open to discussions of reform and well-defended cuts in entitlement spending. I don't think of myself as a tax-and-spend democrat--though I find that to be more fiscally responsible than being a taxcut-and-spend republican. I believe in increasing revenue coupled with targeted spending cuts. I really don't understand why I (and my party) keep getting painted as not caring about the budget. Tax-and-cut seems like a better approach toward fixing the budget than cutting taxes to the same degree we cut spending.

ETA: SenojRetep, my post became less related to the quote as I went on to being generally more soapboxy. I don't mean to target you specifically as the person who paints me as fiscally irresponsible. [Smile]

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Destineer
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quote:

I disagree that the US is culpable for the ~150,000 deaths from the Iraq war. We were the spark, sure, and we're not blameless, but that civil war would have happened sometime whether we invaded or not. Instead of 10,000 Syrians killed by Assad in the last year, we'd be talking about 30,000 Iraqis killed by Saddam Hussein.

Perhaps it was likely to happen anyway, but you can't say it was certain. Suppose there was a 90% chance of eventual civil war. We made it a 100% chance with our actions. That's about as far as you can get from blameless.

quote:
That makes it risky, but I don't think that's a reason not to engage in intervention.
It's not a decisive reason to never intervene, but it is obviously a reason to be very hesitant about starting wars where none already exist. (That wasn't the case in either Korea or Vietnam, btw.)

Romney belongs to a school of thought that does not respect such hesitation. He's not as far down that road as bloodthirsty Rudy Giuliani/Joe Lieberman types, but by my reckoning he's still pretty far from reasonable.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:
Japan's state-directed capitalism hasn't saved it from the crippling economic stagnation it's been suffering through for the past twenty years. Nor will China's in the long run. National economies without significant state involvement, like India's, can grow just as fast (or faster), and are more adaptive to changing circumstances.

There was an article in the Economist recently about how India's economy was slowing down dramatically due do a lack of government intervention.

I hate to say it, but I actually agree with a lot of what Blayne said. I don't think we need nearly as much involvement in the economy as China has, but there are a number of things the government in America has traditionally done and needs to do more of in order to put some structure and purpose behind our economic growth. I'm not much of a fan of the government picking winners and losers, per se, but the government does have a vested interest in promoting certain things, otherwise we wouldn't spend billions to keep weapons factories from closing. Government could also untether health care from employers by providing a public option and forcing private companies to be more competitive.

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