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Inadequate Equilibria

Where and How Civilizations Get Stuck

Contents

Chapter 1.  Inadequacy and Modesty
There are two approaches to thinking about outperformance that yield extraordinarily different results: modesty, and inadequacy analysis.

Chapter 2.  An Equilibrium of No Free Energy
How, in principle, can society end up neglecting obvious low-hanging fruit?

Chapter 3.  Moloch’s Toolbox
Why does our civilization actually end up neglecting low-hanging fruit?

Chapter 4.  Living in an Inadequate World
How can we take into account civilization’s brokenness in our decision-making, without overcorrecting?

Chapter 5.  Blind Empiricism
Three anecdotes on the practical side of modesty.

Chapter 6.  Against Modest Epistemology
An argument against modesty’s central idea: that we should be very hesitant to take our own reasoning at face value in the face of novelty or disagreement.

Chapter 7.  Status Regulation and Anxious Underconfidence
Whence modesty?

Conclusion