Friday, May 31, 2013

A materialist vs. a rationalist

Janis: All our behavior has a physical cause. One day we will discover the biochemical background of everything we do, and then, people will have to realize that free will is an illusion.

Jim: Maybe you are wrong about this, but I'll assume that you are right.

Janis: Oh, you are not as stubborn as I thought.

Jim: So, are you telling me now that I should stop believing in free will because free will doesn't really exist.

Janis: Well, yeah. It is foolish to believe in something that doesn't exist.

Jim: Sorry, my brain chemistry is not allowing me to stop believing in free will.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What's so special about economics?

Unlike what is commonly believed, economics is not about money, or profit, or investments, or capitalism, or wages, or unemployment or stocks and bonds or about any other buzzword you may have heard or read in the media. Yes, economics does study all of those, and many more, social phenomena, but this is not what makes economics more qualified for the studying of those phenomena than, say, physics, chemistry, biology, neuroscience or some other "natural" science. What separates economics form these sciences is the idea that humans make choices. The implications of this idea are, in my view, the most interesting feature of our beliefs about the world in which we live.

To appreciate some of these implications, let's imagine a common, everyday situation. I intentionally picked a situation that someone may label as trivial. I will show that this is not at all a trivial situation. So, if we can show that this example is not trivial, then we are on a good path for understanding why economics is so special.

Imagine you are in a store buying apples. You see that the price of Red Delicious is $1.49 per pound, and that the price of Golden Delicious is $1.79 per pound. After some deliberation, you end up buying two pounds of Golden Delicious apples.

Can we explain what you just did? If we used economic principles, we would say that you valued two pounds of Golden Delicious apples more than $3.58 and more than two pounds of Red Delicious apples. If we asked why you valued them more, we could say that, given your goals, you judged that those two pounds of Golden Delicious apples would be the best means to achieve those goals.

However, if we went further and tried to explain your goals as a consequence of something other the fact that you are unique human being with a unique mind and free will, we are moving outside of the scope of economics. For example, if we tried to explain your goals as a consequence of your brain structure or as a consequence of your genetics or your overall history, we would be stepping outside of the scope of economics.

Moreover, if we contended that the fact that you bought two pounds of Golden Delicious apples and not two pounds of Red Delicious could be fully explained using objective facts like your history, your genetics, your brain structure, etc., we are claiming not only that there is no need for economics in this case, but that this event was not at all your choice--it was simply a consequence of the strict quantitative laws of nature.

If we extended this logic further to all human behavior, we would be claiming that there is no place for economics, the science of human choice, in explaining that behavior. According to this view, your behavior can be fully explained using the objective facts that surround you. You have no role in determining the course of your life. In other words, what you thought were your choices are not actually choices; they are simply a consequence of the strict laws of nature.

So, what's so special about economics? Economics is the only science that, not only acknowledges your freedom to move outside of the strict deterministic quantitative laws of nature, but uses that freedom as its methodological basis. You, as an individual with free will, observe the objective facts around you and then use your subjective judgment to evaluate those facts. Your evaluation of the reality around you is your choice. This evaluation determines your actions and thus guides your life path. The objective properties the world around you matter inasmuch as they are the raw material that enters your subjective judgment.

You might say that this is too extreme. What about, say, food and water; we are surely bound by laws of nature there, you might say. However, even in this extreme case, the laws of nature do not determine our actions, at least in the sense that these laws don't determine our preferences about life and death. It is true that if one wants to live, one has to eat and drink, but it is not implied in the laws of nature that one must want to live. Most of us have had moments in our life when we made a conscious decision to choose life over death. Implicitly, we make that decision every moment of our waking life.

Some individuals, however, have made a different choice. For example, some people sacrifice their own lives to save others' lives. It is also not uncommon that, during wars, people would rather die than be captured by the opposing army. Some people start hunger strikes for political or ideological reasons fully committed to taking their strike to its logical conclusion if their demands are not satisfied.

I avoided including the case of suicide in the above examples because it is commonly believed that suicidal tendencies are an illness with a biochemical background. However, if suicide was completely determined by the objective facts around us and by the natural laws that bind those facts, that is, if our free will had no say in it, then it would be an illusion to believe that suicide prevention efforts prevent anything.

Thus, if we assume away our freedom to choose, this would be a claim that we are just one more collection of molecules whose reaction to its environment is determined by the objective properties of that environment and the natural laws that bind those properties--just like the reaction of a stone rolling down a hill is determined by the objective properties of the hill and the law of gravity. This, however, does not mean that no human behavior can be explained using objective facts; it simply means that if some human behavior can be fully explained using objective facts, this behavior was not a consequence of human choice. This further implies that this behavior is not a subject matter of economics but of some other science, say, neuroscience or physics.

The special feature of economics is that it assumes you have some say in determining the path of your life. This may be a completely foolish assumption, but we will never know if it is indeed foolish. Even if it was, saying that scientific inquiry (including economic inquiry) makes our lives better would then be equally foolish and meaningless. It is irrelevant whether or not something makes our lives better if there was never any alternative.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Giving and Receiving Criticism

11 Ideas for Giving Criticism
  1. Remember - your goal is to help someone else be more successful. Your goal is to improve their manuscript or presentation, unless it is without flaw already (and who is perfect, after all?)
    1. Giving criticism is a lifestyle, not an event.  Learn to give constructive criticism on a frequent basis in your professional activities,  not just once per year or exclusively at high profile events. 
      1. Make your goals clear  - to yourself first and then to the person whose work you are criticizing.  What are your expectations for the work that you are criticizing?  Are those expectations realistic and fair?  If this is a draft of a thesis chapter or a term paper, you should not have the same expectations that you should have for a published refereed article. 
        1. Golden Rule - treat others as you would like to be treated when you are criticized. Treat the person whose work you are criticizing with respect. Don't condescend or condemn. Make it real - insincere statements about contributions can be insulting and demoralizing. Don’t rush to judgment about character - criticism is about actions, behaviour and performance, it is not about character. Avoid comparisons with others, eg.  “Person X did a much better job on this than you did.  Try to follow her example.” Acknowledge the contribution as well as indicate areas for improvement. Don’t be afraid to identify areas for improvement - if you can’t find any room for improvement, you are not doing your job - likewise, if you can’t find any contribution to acknowledge.
          1. Limit your comments to things that you know something about.  Tell the person whose work you are criticizing a little bit about your area(s) of expertise.
            1. Be specific and immediate. Deal with the report, presentation or action that is here and now. Avoid reference to past performance - that should have been criticized when it happened.  Refer to specific aspects of the report etc.  - give page numbers and even line numbers. A Formula: On page  ___ it is stated that   “_______________”.  The limitation of this statement is _______________ because ____________.  An alternative way to address this issue would be to _________________.  
              1. Take the time and care to be fair and clear. Proofread your report for tone or listen to yourself critically. The person receiving your criticism has a lot riding on your assessment. Give it the attention it deserves. This is not easy work for you or for the person receiving your criticism.
                1. Give perspective - what are your key points?  Separate general and technical comments from editorial comments.  Put the most important comments first.  Few things are more demoralizing for a writer than to have struggled to put difficult ideas on paper and then to receive feedback that starts with a detailed list of spelling mistakes and error in style or composition.
                2. Learn to monitor your emotions.  If you find yourself getting frustrated, angry or generally peeved, go ahead and write down what you are thinking, but give yourself some time to cool off before you send someone your review of their work. 
                  1. Seek out criticism of your own work.  It is easy to develop bad habits by always being the critic and only rarely putting yourself in line for criticism.  Remember Popper - our knowledge tradition in (social) science is our commitment to giving and receiving criticism.
                    1. Strive to grow as a critic.  Ask for feedback on your feedback.  Have a colleague read your review report (excising material if necessary, if it is a double blind review) or your comments to students on term papers.  Circulate your written comments on graduate student work to the whole advisory committee, not just to the student.  Learn about choosing your words carefully.  Observe how critics that you respect as critics do criticism.      
                    12 Ideas for Receiving Criticism
                    1. Assume that the person giving the criticism hasn't read the list above!
                      1. Start with listening (or reading).  Read or listen to the criticism in its entirety if you can.  Initially, ask only questions of clarification.  Leave evaluation of criticism that you have received until you are sure that you have heard it and understood it.  Resist the urge to fight (react defensively , “That is not what I said at all” or “You jerk, I know more about this than you!”) or flee (“I am a worthless turd and I have no right to be here”).  Look past that actual words and try to see the ideas of your critic (if your critics words are not well chosen).
                        1. Learn to monitor your emotions.  If you find yourself getting frustrated, angry or generally peeved, make some notes, thank the person for their criticism and then  give yourself some time to cool off.  Then reply to the person who has reviewed your work.
                          1. Remember - your goal in seeking criticism is to improve your paper or presentation.
                            1. Perspective - Develop a habit of seeking  criticism often and from a variety of sources: fellow students, instructors, advisors, colleagues. Ask yourself the following questions.
                              Am I hearing similar things from different sources? Does my critic have expertise relevant to what I am trying to do? Does this criticism have realistic expectations (eg. Is this critic expecting a finished product and I am working on a preliminary draft?). As you ask for criticism, explain your expectations (eg. “Here is a draft of my term paper.  Could you read it and tell me what you think about the general ideas?  I realize that the format and style is rough, but I will be working on that later.” or “I am giving this presentation at a major conference in two weeks - play devil’s advocate for me so I can get a sense of how people in the audience might react to my work”). Be realistic as you seek criticism.  Just because you have left completing your paper/chapter/presentation to the last minute, that doesn’t mean that someone is obliged to give you feedback overnight because your deadline is 9:00 am tomorrow morning.
                              1. Cultivate self - checking. Notice what frustrates you in the performance of others. Learn to eliminate the things that irritate you and that you know irritate others in written work. 
                                1. Remember that persistence is more important than talent!
                                  1. Acknowledge criticism and respond as specifically as possible.
                                    1. Permit yourself to make mistakes!
                                      1. Don't use obfuscation as a method of forestalling criticism.  It is better to be clearly wrong than vaguely right!  And it is much better to be clearly wrong that vaguely wrong!
                                        1. Guard against becoming defensive - ideas are being discussed, not your self-worth!  Try the paper on the table exercise. Put your paper on the table and say to yourself:  I am not this paper. This criticism is directed at this paper, not at myself." This will help you not to take criticism personally.
                                          1. Remember, regardless of how it feels at the time, YOUR CRITIC IS YOUR BEST FRIEND!

                                          Friday, May 24, 2013

                                          Libertarianism, a philosophy of selfishness?

                                          Libertarianism is often labeled as a philosophy of selfishness. This is a mistake, and to see why it is a mistake, we need to review the basic principles of libertarianism.

                                          Liberalism rests on the concepts of self-ownership, homesteading, and non-aggression. According to this theory, each person has the right to be the master of his or her own body. This right stems from the belief that each person has free will. The existence of free will is understood as an axiom--a self-evident truth that cannot be proven or disproven.

                                          The next step in the logic of the libertarian theory of rights is mixing one's labour with nature--homesteading. One acquires legitimate ownership over the products of his or her own labour when these products are created by using resources that were not previously owned by anyone. In other words, natural resources belong to the one who finds them first. In cases when a resource is already owned by someone, another person can legitimately acquire this resource only through a voluntary exchange.

                                          The key feature of a voluntary exchange is that the exchange is performed in the absence of physical aggression or a threat of physical aggression. This means that it is illegitimate to take one's resources without one's consent, and it is critical that this consent is obtained in the absence of a threat of physical aggression.

                                          From this, we can see that the libertarian theory requires one only to respect the property of others. It does not, however, dictate what kind of preferences one should have when it comes to using his own property. For example, libertarianism does not state whether one should use his own property for charitable purposes, or to make a profit, or keep it all locked up at all times. Libertarianism only opposes taking one's property without his consent, nothing more and nothing less than that.

                                          I have more to say on the problems of using subjective judgment of others' actions (i.e., "action x is a selfish thing to do") as a normative criterion, but this is unrelated to libertarianism, so let's leave that for another occasion. Until then, you might want to take a look at this piece, where I explore the concept of intellectual property in a similar context.

                                          Wednesday, May 15, 2013

                                          What we should know about probability

                                          The concept of probability is often used but rarely properly understood. The first thing we need to understand about probability is that it is a human construct. This means probability is something we made up. We made it up to describe our ignorance and our beliefs about the world. Since our beliefs are, by definition, always subjective, the concept of probability is subjective as well. Another important thing we need to understand is that probabilities are useful in repetitive events, but they tell us nothing about single, unique events.

                                          Just recently, one famous Hollywood actress decided to undergo a surgery to remove both of her breasts because the doctors found that she "had an 80% probability" of developing breast cancer due to the presence of a certain gene. Without the intention of judging her choice, let us examine what this 80% probability means. It means that 80% of the people examined in the past that had this particular gene and that followed certain lifestyle had developed breast cancer. For those remaining 20%, researchers could not find a distinguishing feature, compared to the other 80%. In other words, if there are 100 individuals with this particular gene, and these individuals have similar lifestyles (including all the environmental conditions surrounding them), 80 of them will develop breast cancer and 20 won't.

                                          We are tempted to say that an individual from this group has an 80% probability of developing breast cancer, but this is incorrect. If you look at an individual that had developed breast cancer and ask: can I use the 80-20 ratio to explain why this particular individual had developed breast cancer, the answer is--no. You can ask the same question about an individual that did not develop breast cancer and the ratio would be equally uninformative. It wouldn't tell you why individual X or Y ended up in the 80% group and individuals Q and Z ended up in the 20% group.

                                          Let's say this particular actress is actually in the 20% group, but, of course, no one can tell her this because no one knows this underlying reality. This means that she was in this group before she learned about the 80-20 ratio, and she is in the same group now, after she learned about the ratio. She still doesn't know in which group she is. So, learning about the 80-20 ratio describing the health of some other people did not add any new information about her health.

                                          What do probabilities really mean then? The real meaning of probabilities is that they are our own subjective expression of our beliefs about the unknown. We base these beliefs on our evaluation of past experiences. Our famous actress has observed the past results of medical research and she formed certain beliefs about her health, which is still unknown to her. We don't know her actual thought process, but her actions demonstrate that she would rather remove her breasts and reduce her subjective belief that she is in the 80% group than wait and see in which group she actually is. 

                                          But, suppose that, instead of the 80-20 ratio, this ratio was 99-1. This means that of every 100 individuals with the particular gene and similar living conditions, 99 get breast cancer, and 1 doesn’t. Suppose you were that one person that will not develop cancer, but, of course, you don't know this. The doctor comes to you and says the chances of not getting cancer for you are 1%. What does that number tell you about your health? Nothing.

                                          This is because we are dealing with single, unique events. Only if you had the opportunity to live your life 100 times, could we say that you will not develop cancer only in one of those 100 lives. But, you are living only one life, and that’s why applying probabilities to a life of a particular person is inappropriate.

                                          Similarly, as far as we know, our actress is not going to relive her life 100 times. This is why using the terms like “she had an 80% chance of developing cancer” are inappropriate. The 80-20 ratio is no more informative about this actress’s underlying objective reality than any other arbitrarily chosen ratio. The number is, however, quite informative about her subjective reality--her beliefs.

                                          Sunday, May 12, 2013

                                          An Austrian Indifference Curve vs. The Value Scale

                                          From the introductory undergraduate to the advanced Ph.D. courses in economics, students are taught that the concept of the indifference curve is very useful in analyzing human choice. I am emphasizing the term useful for a reason. No one ever said it was true. I don’t think anyone that understands the concept would ever try to claim that this is how humans actually make choices. However, is this the most appropriate way of conceptualizing human choice?

                                          The answer to this question depends on what the purpose of this conceptualizing is. I will assume that we agree that the primary purpose of conceptualizing in general is the communication of ideas. Without conceptualization, ideas remain known only to the individual in whose mind they are formed.

                                          In this article, I compare the Austrian and the mathematical neoclassical conceptualizations of consumer choice. To perform this comparison, I first translate the concept of the indifference curve into the language of Austrian economics and then compare this translated version to Rothbard's concept of the value scale. While there are similarities between the two approaches, the Austrian approach, at least in my experience, outperforms the indifference curve approach as a tool for communicating economic ideas.

                                          The Austrian View of Choice

                                          As demonstrated by Ludwig von Mises and later elaborated by Murray Rothbard, the basic axiom of Austrian economics states that humans act in order to move from a less preferred state into a more preferred state. They do this by using means to meet their ends. Their ends are ranked in the order of preference. Otherwise, no purposeful action is possible. Humans act to satisfy the more valued ends before the less valued ones. This is the act of choice. Something must be valued more than something else to be chosen. If two things are seen as having the same value, then there is no choice taking place. Both things can be used to satisfy the same end equally well in all respects. In the eyes of the decision maker, these two things are identical. The choice here is not between the two identical things but between any one of them and something else that satisfies some other end.

                                          Rothbard rejected the concept of indifference as an economic concept. I don’t disagree that indifference and choice don’t make good friends. However, I will try to add some more interpretation to one of the ways mathematical neoclassical economics uses the concept of indifference--the indifference curve.

                                          The Concept of the Indifference Curve

                                          An indifference curve represents different bundles of two (or more) things--say, apples and oranges--where each of the bundles contains different proportions of apples and oranges but all bundles are associated with the same level of utility. (An additional assumption for the existence of an indifference curve is that the two goods are infinitesimally divisible. Thus, we need to assume that a cut up apple satisfies a certain human end in the same way as, say, a whole apple does.)

                                          A simple example of an indifference curve would be all bundles of apples and oranges in which the total weight of the bundle equals, say, one kilogram. Here, we can have a bundle that contains only apples or only oranges or we can have any bundle in between (i.e., 1 gram of apples and 999 grams of oranges; 2 grams of apples and 998 grams of oranges, 2.1 grams of apples and 997.9 grams of oranges and so on; any combination that adds up to 1000 grams will do.)

                                          Let us now use the Austrian framework to interpret this indifference curve. This step may be considered as heresy by some Austrians, but I'll take the risk. I see this as an exploratory exercise, and thus a valuable research tool.

                                          An Austrian Interpretation of the Indifference Curve

                                          If an individual, let's call him Jim, evaluated any of those bundles described above, he would attach the same utility to it as to any other bundle that he could have evaluated instead. This further means that all the bundles on the indifference curve satisfy the same end equally well. We can extend this analogy and say that the end Jim wants to satisfy is to eat one kilogram of fruit.

                                          Note here that the relevant good, in Jim's mind, are not apples and oranges but fruit. If the relevant goods were apples and oranges, this would imply that Jim values apples and oranges as separate goods and then somehow adds the utilities he derives from the two goods into the utility of the whole bundle. This would contradict the ordinal nature of utility and therefore we can only speak of fruit as the relevant good. The apple and orange content are then attributes of the good in question. Goods are valued for their attributes, so, in this case, fruit is valued for its apple and orange content (in much the same way, say, a car is valued for its design and fuel efficiency).

                                          If all units of fruit were free of charge, Jim would take one. Which one he would take is an absurd question from his perspective because all bundles are identical--in the sense that Jim can satisfy a given end in exactly the same way by using any one unit of fruit. Thus, an indifference curve without prices has no link with the concept of choice.

                                          If we attach prices to the apple and orange content of fruit, each unit of fruit on the indifference curve will have a different monetary price because it contains different proportions of apples and oranges. Of course, one will buy the cheapest unit of the same thing. This is the cost minimization part of the consumer constrained optimization problem called The Dual in neoclassical consumer theory.

                                          Suppose that the price of apples was $1 per kilogram, and the price of oranges was $1.5 per kilogram. The cheapest kilogram of fruit that Jim could buy would be the one containing only apples. In neoclassical consumer theory, we call this a corner solution because Jim chose a bundle that is at the very end of his indifference curve.

                                          The concept of the indifference curve is an abstraction of the individual decision making process. It is a communication technique, a metaphor. As such, it is by definition unrealistic if interpreted literally.

                                          To come back to my initial question: is the concept of the indifference curve the most appropriate means of conceptualizing the idea that humans make choices? Does this abstraction capture the essence of choice and does it communicate this essence to others better than alternative conceptualizations? Are there more succinct ways of describing choice?

                                          The Indifference Curve vs. The Value Scale

                                          Murray Rothbard came up with the concept of the value scale to describe choice. Using Rothbard's framework, we would say that Jim chose the $1 kilogram of fruit over the $1.5 kilogram because the cheaper kilogram was placed higher on Jim's value scale. It was placed higher because, given that Jim owns a limited amount money, this $1 kilogram of fruit allows him to satisfy more of his other ends compared to the $1.5 kilogram of fruit.

                                          Like the indifference curves, value scales are abstract descriptions of the same observation--that Jim exchanged $1 for one kilogram of apples. So, are value scales more appropriate abstractions than indifference curves coupled with prices? In my own experience, I was far more successful communicating consumer theory to others using Rothbard's formulation. Even when I used the indifference curve approach, it became understandable to most people only after I translated it into Rothbard's language. Thus, in my experience, Rothbard's value scale approach is a more effective communication tool than the indifference curve approach.

                                          Sunday, May 5, 2013

                                          Kako zaustaviti mehanizam rata: zaključak

                                          Pretehodna poglavlja:
                                          1. Kako zaustaviti mehanizam rata: uvod
                                          2. Kako zaustaviti mehanizam rata: sastavni dijelovi
                                          3. Kako zaustaviti mehanizam rata: pokretanje paklene mašine

                                          Mehanizam rata je teško, ali ne i nemoguće zaustavtiti. Ovdje mislim na zaustavljanje mehanizma prije nego što počnu masovni sukobi. Jednom kad masovni sukobi počnu, gotovo je neumitno da će sukobi trajati dok jedna od strana potpuno ne malaksa. Kada uđu u period masovnih sukoba, ljudi na obje strane su čvrsto uvjereni da protivna strana želi da ih uništi i to uvjerenje se svakim novim sukobom samo još jače učvršćuje.

                                          Pošto političari i marginalci u ratu vide priliku za ostvarenje svojih životnih ciljeva, oni neće biti zainteresovani za zaustvljanje mehanizma u početnoj fazi. To je ona faza kad marginalci prolaze nekažnjeno za zločine počinjene nad pripadnicima druge društvene grupe (vjerske, etničke, itd.). U toj početnoj fazi domaćini još uvijek nisu počeli vjerovati da bi i ostali domaćini iz drugih društvenih grupa bili spremni na takve, etnički ili vjerski orijentisane zločine.

                                          Jednom kad domaćini počnu da čine zločine, a opravdavaju ih kao neophodnu odbranu, već je prekasno za zaustavljanje mehanizma rata jer će svaki novi zločin voditi učvršćivanju vjerovanja da ne postoji razlika između domaćina i marginalaca na suprotnoj strani. Dakle, jedini period kad se mehanizam rata može zaustaviti je u toj početnoj fazi kada domaćini jedne etničke ili vjerske grupe još uvijek vide razliku između marginalaca i domaćina u drugoj etničkoj ili vjerskoj grupi.

                                          Kako to provesti u djelo? Prvo, potrebno je poznavati strukturu mehanizma rata, tj. potrebno je da domćini poznaju strukturu ličnosti marginalaca i politčara i da budu svjesni igre koju ta dva segmenta društva igraju. Domaćinima prvo treba da bude jasno da su, bez podrške domaćina, političari i marginalci nemoćni.

                                          Međutim, ovo nije dovoljno. Potrebno je da domaćini uskrate svoju podršku političarima i marginalcima i to je onaj teži dio. Ljudi imaju prirodnu tendenciju da se plaše "stranih" grupa ljudi i taj strah ima evolutivnu pozadinu. Kao i kod ostalih ljudskih destruktivnih strahova, i protiv ovog straha je potreno koristiti razum.

                                          Prvi korak u ovoj borbi smo već napravili ako smo shvatili strukturu mehanizma rata. Dakle, jasno nam je da će se domaćini iz one "njihove" etničke ili vjerske grupe odlučiti na nasilje samo onda kad vjeruju da će ih domaćini iz ove "naše" grupe napasti. Jasno nam je da domaćini žele nasilje samo onda kada vjeruju da je to jedini način da spriječe nasilje nad sobom. Jasno nam je takođe da treba da uvijek imamo u vidu da prve zločine započinju marginalci, a ne domaćini. Svrha tih zločina je da zbune domaćine tako što će ih navesti da povjeruju da se marginalci ni po čemu ne razlikuju od svojih sunarodika domaćina.

                                          Sljedeći korak je da domaćini sebi iskreno predoče šta to dobijaju, a šta gube, ako odluče da ne odgovaraju na provokacije marginalaca. Ta računica treba da uzme u obzir činjenicu da, u većini ratova, domaćini na obje strane gube mnogo. Mnogi izgube čitavo imanje, a gotovo da ne bude porodice koja ne izgubi bar jednog člana u ratnom vihoru. Uz to dolaze sve one traume koje rat sa sobom nosi. Njih je teško riječima dočarati, ali svako ko je iskusio dugotrajno naslje i strah za vlastiti život i živote svojih bližnjih, razumjeće o čemu pričam.

                                          S druge strane, neuključivanje u ratni sukob sa sobom donosi rizik od napada marginalaca. Ova opcija isto donosi strah i neizvijesnost. Ali, marginalci ne mogu dugo terorisati domaćine i to iz više razloga. Prvo, političari će, ako vide da domaćini nisu zagrizli mamac i ne uključuju se u sukobe, morati da upotrijebe zakonska sredstva protiv marginalaca. Političar koji na duži period toleriše stihijsko ponašanje marginalaca, tj. ne održava vladavinu zakona (ma kakav zakon to bio) nema političke budućnosti. Političari to znaju i zato im je cilj da se domaćini što prije uključe u organizovano nasilje započeto od strane marginalaca. Ako domaćini odbiju da se uključe, do organizovanog sukoba neće doći.

                                          Ako političari ne uspostave vladavinu zakona, onda dolazi do sloma države. Priča o slomu države je zanimljiva, ali bi nam oduzelo previše vremena da se time sada bavimo. Oni koji su zainteresovani, mogu više o tome da pročitaju ovdje.

                                          Dakle, za zaustavljanje mehanizma rata je potrebno da većina domaćina na vrijeme shvati da bi ratom izgubila više nego što bi dobila. Pošto je trenutna tendencija domaćina da nasjednu na igru marginalaca i političara, potrebno je raditi na tome da bar buduće generacije domaćina budu imunije na ovu igru. To je težak, ali ne i neizvodljiv posao. Za početak je dovoljno da oni koji shvate kako funkcioniše mehanizam rata i kako se taj mehanizam može zaustaviti prenesu svoja saznanja drugima. Najvažnije je ova znanja prenijeti djeci i uopšte ohrabrivati djecu da razmišljaju kritički, van šablona koje im nameće državni obrazovni sistem. Taj obrazovni sistem uvijek kroje političari i zato možemo biti sigurni da našu djecu neće u državnim školama učiti o mehanizmu rata.

                                          Ova serija tematski povezanih tekstova je moj doprinos zaustavljanju mehanizma nekih budućih ratova. Siguran sam da se moji napori neće zaustaviti ovdje, čak i ako se uvijek budu odbijali o stijene.