Re: poly: Heinleinian eugenics

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Fri Feb 27 1998 - 10:51:55 PST

Carl writes:
>>We already have a vast number of positional goods which we do not now
>>ban efforts at attaining.
>I can think of a several where we ban most methods of attaining them. For
>example, only 50 people can be state governors, and many methods of
>striving for that post are banned, even when such methods would be legal
>when striving for a regular (non-positional) job. The same applies to
>winning Miss America.
>You've probably got dozens of examples of positional goods at your
>fingertips, but I'm having a hard time thinking of others. Could you give
>me a few examples, just to give me something to think about?

Consider anything that is considered attractive to a mate in general,
rather than helping like-minded people find each other. All such attractive
features are positional goods. They include makeup, nice clothes, fast
cars, athletic ability, concert tickets, nice restaraunt meals, ski trips,
dancing, apartments in the city, and good career prospects. To the extend
these just help one person attract a mate that someone else then won't get,
they are positional goods.

Imagine suggesting we ban these things for unmated people, especially on
or surrounding dates. You'd be laughed out of politics.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614
Received on Fri Feb 27 18:56:09 1998

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