Fighting Moloch on Hard-Mode

[This is a extension for the brave, who refuse to be passive towards Moloch.]

I forgot where I read this, but here is a relevant metaphor.

Let’s say you have two neighbors: neighbor A and neighbor B.

They would both like a mosquito-free property.

However, the (theoretically 100% safe) mosquito treatment requires a decent amount of monetary contribution from each individual neighbor.

If each individual neighbor does not contribute, then mosquitoes can simply go from one yard to the next. So, even if neighbor B get the treatment, mosquitoes from neighbor A’s yard can just waltz in. Luckily, the treatment does somewhat spread in the air to the alternative yard, so the lazy neighbor will invariably receive some benefit.

We all know that this scenario breaks the reciprocal altruism. Now, here is the hard-mode.

Neighbor B can do the following:

  • Spray his/her yard (lowering the total mosquito population) even if neighbor A cheats and gains automatic benefits
  • Spend joules (J) to remain kind and help neighbor A
  • Spend joules (J) to not get upset at neighbor A’s behavior
  • Spend joules (J) to remain optimistic despite general unfairness

Most people would say f**k neighbor A, but this is exactly what Moloch wants: a cut-throat race to the least common denominator. Neighbor A and neighbor B do not talk to each other. No one wins all. Everyone suffers.

Note: please recognize the limits to altruism. There is a difference between being heroic (noble) and being a fool.

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