What to look forward to in 2017 – a roadmap

posted in: Uncategorized | 3

As Eisenhower said, “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

Therefore, I have planned. This is what you can expect in the first half of 2017.

I am aiming for a minimum of 4 articles per month, or one per week. It’s a lot of (fulfilling and enjoyable) work and I would eventually like to do this as my main occupation, especially since I discovered a brief winter holiday increased my writing quantity and quality tenfold, but obviously that means adding several orders of magnitude to the income. In the present configuration, irregularities are bound to occur. There might be wild flurries of new material, as well as two week pauses.

Most articles/posts/essays listed below already exist as late-stage concepts or Annapurna-sized mountains of notes, awaiting only the 20% of final editing that is 80% of the effort, and effect.

The specific order of publishing might change, articles may get pushed back or pulled ahead, possibly by months, and other topics might and will come up that take precedence. Most of all, this should be an interactive experience, even a community (sans assholes), so if you (you!) have strong preferences for one topic over another, things can be prioritised and brought forward, or elaborated, or even added to the list outright.

With this in mind:

January
  • The Disney moment – how people wait for their lives to begin instead of living them. This is basically finished and will go live in a matter of hours, unless I get super drunk tonight, which I assuredly will.
  • Wisdom – the definition – and how it differs from intelligence. Basically quantity and quality.
  • 2017 reading list – after the success of last year’s one, reading lists are becoming a regular fixture. Coming this weekend.
  • Hahaha Trump hahaha – commentary and some predictions about the incoming presidency. I will outrage half the internet by predicting things will not be so bad.
  • Digital rococo – or why not everything needs a fucking touchscreen and wifi. Overcomplicating things through bad design, managerial insecurity and idolatrous faddism.
February
  • Mating market mayhem – a deep dive into the failures of the sex/dating market. It is a market, of course – you got supply and demand. Because Valentine’s day is coming – and so are you, if you follow my advice.
  • Situation-appropriate ideal body shape hypothesis – I hunt for objective foundations of standards of beauty (it will be super obvious in retrospect).
  • Identity politics is for boring people – only people without personal identities, or with defective ones, hide in the collective – whether national, ethnic or sexual. Be you instead.
  • The future of democracy and public finances – I venture a daring reform of basic social structures, or rather, predict what they will become. I will be completely right, of course, you will see.
March
  • Screw confidence, what you need is competence – probably exactly what you are expecting.
  • The law of unintended consequences in politics and economics – basically we know that this happens a lot. We want to make intervention A, and it does a bit of A, but also a lot of B, C and D that often completely negates the intended effect and makes things worse in aggregate. Let’s explore why and how.
  • Fixing the costs of housing – look, the price of real estate, bought or rented, is a scandal and the fundamental weakness at the heart of developed economies. I have solutions. Yes, plural.
  • Prohairesis – a much needed classical virtue from Stoic philosophy, rediscovered. This is the number one ability modern people lack – choosing your reactions to things, and not equating your emotions with something objective in reality. Think of this as a hotfix and software update for the modern soul.
April
  • Two kinds of democracy – values vs. self-interest. Spoiler alert, people have difficulties differentiating between “good” and “good for me”, and think democracy is about the latter. It is actually about the former, at least if we want things to work well.
  • Is health all in your head? (no it isn’t)
  • Middle-class fiscal follies – I’ll essentially make you two times richer with this one.
  • Hardware and software stupidity. – important distinction between people with slow processors, and people with bad software. There are, basically, quantitative and qualitative ways to be an idiot, and it’s important to pay attention to the difference.
May
  • Persuasion
  • Elites, elitists and free society – I will almost certainly publish this sooner, because it’s the core of the western world’s present situation.
  • Political correctness is essentially Victorian puritanism for atheists. 
  • Pride vs. vanity
June
  • The power of the marginal
  • How the FDA is killing us  – ass-covering lawyers and regulatory capture delaying the adoption of life-saving treatments by decades, basically.
  • A tale of two capitalisms
  • Free market vs cronyism
  • Ordoliberalism, wealth dams and fair markets

Following is a list of articles with a publication date yet to be determined, because they’re either so high priority that they’re in OCD editing maelström (and have been there for months), or so low priority I can’t currently dedicate time to them:

  • Enlightenment vs. romanticism – this is a gigantic one, and at the bottom of virtually every great controversy, social polarization or cultural conflict – I’ll tell you once andfor all who the good guys are, and pattern recognition will do the rest, and be your friend forevermore.
  • Unmessing the Middle East part 2: solution(s).
  • “Clear” is not a colour, “silence” is not a sound, “empty” is not a substance – and “freedom” is not a system – against false equivalence in politics and economics.
  • Quantitative vs. qualitative problems
  • Economic bi-cycle – a contribution to macroeconomics. Super related to the one above.
  • Mindfulness – I will avoid calling it “meditation” because the word calls to mind patchouli, tibetan flags and smelly women in baggy trousers lecturing you on veganism. But the functional core is rock solid and indispensable.
  • How social media makes people unhappy
  • Sandbox vs. living on rails – there are two fundamental attitudes to life, creating versus choosing your options, open-choice or closed-choice. “Do anything” vs “Do one of these options”. It is the main difference between successful and unsuccessful people.
  • Trickle down economics – why it didn’t work, and how it might.
  • The demographic crisis is a blessing in disguise, stop fixing it. – natural population decreases might be a good thing and a sort of pre-emptive emergent adaptation in a situation where we anticipate most people will become unemployable. Importing angry young men from failed societies by the million to fill jobs that will not exist in five years might not be such a good idea long term.
  • Space travel – layman-level intro into orbital mechanics and how getting around in space works – and why it’s the most important thing ever.
  • Cheating and FOMO
  • Regression to mean – why “Alternative medicine” seems to work (if you suck at statistics)
  • Investment vs. expenditure – the long-overdue sequel to “Investment vs. speculation”.
  • Fixing Europe – where the EU went wrong, and what to do about it.
  • I have an idea for a country.

Conventional advice says blogs should be limited to a single topic, or a narrowly defined area. Conventional advice is wrong. Intelligent people tend to have a wide range of interests, and when they like someone’s voice on one thing, they might be interested in hearing that person’s thoughts on other things as well. That’s the concept behind Wisdomination.com, which seems to be working. Here’s a solemn promise it will be even better in 2017.

On top of everything else, if all goes well, there might finally be a book – on getting a good start in life, mainly for under-20s, but equally effective for restarts and course corrections at any age.

Here’s to an amazing year and stay tuned,

Z.

  • Adão

    “Screw confidence, what you need is competence” – Wow. I love this series of articles.

    • Guilherme Lima

      Cant wait for This!

  • Colin Stuart

    Really excellent content over the last year, looking forward to this year!