Category Archives: Pseudorigorous Social Science

The n+2 Management Policy

I think this is a decent way to operate in a hierarchy–particularly when it comes to big decisions like hiring/firing/approving new policies.  We first assume the hierarchy is a tree (i.e. each member has only one immediate supervisor) and that there is a maximal element, called an “administrator”.  The setup is that if something happens at level n in the hierarchy (say hiring/firing someone at level n (presuming the action is consistent with other policy)), then the relevant supervisor makes the nomination/recommendation for the action, and his/her supervisor confirms the action.

Hence let H be a tree, x\in H, and S(x) denote the supervisor of x.  Typically in trees, minimal elements are considered level 0.  Here we reverse the ordering and call the maximal element the administrator, denoted by A, and say \mbox{rank}(A)=M.  We define a rank n policy as a policy that affects all successors (subordinates) of an element x\in H such that \mbox{rank}(x)=n.  Hence we have:

The n+2 Operational Policy.  Let P be a rank n policy and x_P denote the member whose subordinates are affected.  The policy then becomes activated provided S(x_P) proposes it and S(S(x_P)) approves it.

Hence the n+2 Operational Policy itself is a rank M policy as it affects everything in the hierarchy.  But we arrive at a problem in continuing to execute this policy at levels M-1 and M.  So we adjoin another set to the hierarchy called the board, denoted B, and redefine our hierarchy as H=T\sqcup B where T denotes the initial tree with unique maximal element A. We then define S(A)=B and S(B)=B.

The main positive of this method is the minimizing of micromanagement.  The only big negative that stands out is the possibility of actions diverging from intentions of a level n member as one goes down the ladder.  But I’d argue that this just means more level n policy needs to be implemented in order to prevent that.


Definition 1.  We define a static capital system as a triple (X,\Sigma,\mu) with counting measure \mu where \mu(X)=m and  is called the monetary constant, \Sigma is a collection of subsets of X such that \mu(\cup_{A\in\Sigma}A)=m, elements of which are called owners, and \mu(A) is called the worth of A for an owner A.

Note we are not requiring \Sigma to be closed under any operations (i.e. it is not an algebra of sets).  Suppose we have two structures on X, (X,\Sigma_1,\mu) and (X,\Sigma_2,\mu).   Let f:\Sigma_1\to P(\Sigma_2) (i.e. a multi-valued map into \Sigma_2).  Such a function is called a trade (and may correspondingly be thought of as a change of ownership).  We define the trade utility of a trade f as a map u_f:\Sigma_1\to\mathbb{Z} by

\displaystyle u_f(A)=\mu\left(\bigcup f(A)\right)-\mu(A).

Again, \cup f(A) need not be in \Sigma_2, but we can of course still define the counting measure on it.

Definition 2.  A composite trade is a map g\circ f:\Sigma_1\to P(\Sigma_3) where f:\Sigma_1\to P(\Sigma_2) and g:\Sigma_2\to P(\Sigma_3) are trades.

Note that g\,\circ:P(\Sigma_2)\to P(\Sigma_3) since it is defined on the image of f.  g\,\circ simply evaluates g on all sets in f(A).

Definition 3.  Let (X,\Sigma_t,\mu)_{t\geq 0} be a continuum of static capital systems.  We say (X,\Sigma_t,\mu)_{t\geq 0} is a capital system if

  1. for every t\geq 0 and \varepsilon\geq t there is a unique trade f_{t,\varepsilon}:\Sigma_t\to P(\Sigma_{t+\varepsilon});
  2. f_{t,0}=1 (i.e. f_{t,0}(A)=\{A\});
  3. if f_{t,\varepsilon_1} and f_{\varepsilon_1,\varepsilon_2} are trades such that \varepsilon_1+\varepsilon_2=\varepsilon, then f_{t,\varepsilon}=f_{\varepsilon_1,\varepsilon_2}\circ f_{t,\varepsilon_1} for all t,\varepsilon_1,\varepsilon_2\geq 0.

Example 4.  A capital system is in a socialist state at time t if \mu(A)=\mu(B) for all A,B\in\Sigma_t.  We may further say (X,\Sigma_t,\mu)_{t\geq 0} is socialist during T\subseteq[0,\infty) if (X,\Sigma_t,\mu) is in a socialist state for all t\in T.  A capital system is in a communist state at time t if \Sigma_t=\{X\}. Similarly we have the definition for communist during a set T\subseteq[0,\infty).

Note that by this definition a communist state implies a socialist state.  In the above regards, a communist state can be thought of as having a single owner (say, “the people”), and socialist state has owners with equal worth.

Definition 5.  A dynamic capital system is a capital system (X_t,\Sigma_t,\mu)_{t\geq 0} where (X_t,\Sigma_t,\mu) is a static capital system for all t where \mu(X_t)=m_t and X_t,X_s are comparable (in the inclusion sense) for all s,t\geq 0.  In particular the function m:[0,\infty)\to\mathbb{N} defined by m(t)=m_t is called the monetary policy.  If m_t is strictly increasing during an interval, we say (X_t,\Sigma_t,\mu) is expansionary during that interval.  Similarly it is  contractionary if it is strictly decreasing on some interval.

Definition 6.  A dynamic capital system (X_t,\Sigma_t,\mu)_{t\geq 0} is rational if u_{f_{t,\varepsilon}}\geq 0 for all t,\varepsilon\geq 0.

Of course if \varepsilon is 0 we have f_{t,0}=1 and thus the condition is satisfied for this case:

\displaystyle u_{f_{t,0}}(A)=\mu\left(\bigcup \{A\}\right)-\mu(A)=0.

So in a rational dynamic capital system we have the inequality

\displaystyle\mu(A)\leq\mu\left(\bigcup f_{t,\varepsilon}(A)\right)\leq m_{t+\varepsilon}

with A\in\Sigma_t.  If \lim_{t\to\infty}m_t exists and is finite, then the rational dynamic capital system (X_t,\Sigma_t,\mu) is said to have an end game.

A Survey of Utilitarianism

There is a common misconception about the application of the theory of utilitarianism.  Many attempt to apply it to events that have happened in history.  The purpose of utilitarianism is, really, an attempt to establish a choice function on a set of options.  Since events in history presumably happened precisely because of their sets of antecedents, there are no other choices of events;  so utilitarian analysis of them is trivial.  It can be usefully applied to psychology in the form of decision making.  One must decide which behaviors to commit in a given set of circumstances based upon predicted costs and benefits.  To approach this rigorously, we will work in ZF theory with special functions.

Definition 1.  Let X be a set and u:X\to [-1,1) be a function called a utility function.  The pair (X,u) will be called a utilitarian set.  A sub utilitarian set is a pair (A,u_A) where A\subseteq X and u_A=u|_A.

We will also define the trivial utilitarian set as the pair (\varnothing, u) where u(\,)=0.

Note that the motivation for closing the codomain on the left is that a behavior bringing death is assumed to be of minimal utility.  This allows us to put a choice function on X iff u(x)=u(y)\Rightarrow x=y (i.e. iff the map is injective).  This choice function is defined by

\displaystyle C(X)=u^{-1}\left(\min_{x\in X}u(x)\right).

The only problem is that the choice function will pick the “worst” option, and we want to pick the “best”.  Let us define



If X is finite and u is injective, then X_n=\varnothing for all n\geq m for some m.  In this case X_{m-1} is a singleton consisting of the “best” element.  If u is not injective, then we may have C(X)\subseteq X.  This isn’t a problem for the worst elements;  if worst elements all go to the same value, we can just take them all out.  But there is also the possibility of having best elements with the same utility.

Define a relation \sim_u where x\sim_u y\Leftrightarrow u(x)=u(y).  This is clearly an equivalence relation.  Now consider the set X/\sim_u.  We have an induced utility function u' on X/\sim_u defined by u'([x])=u(x).  By definition of the equivalence relation, we have that any induced utility function on X/\sim_u is injective.  Hence for any finite X, we have a best element of X/\sim_u.  This is just the set of best elements of X.

Definition 2.  If (X,u) is a utilitarian set, we call (X/\sim_u,u') the class utilitarian set of (X,u).

One can easily see an isomorphism (in the sense that u'(x)=u''(\varphi(x))) between (X/\sim_u,u') and ((X/\sim_u)/\sim_{u'},u'') where \varphi([x])=[[x]] and so on.  We thus limit ourselves to utilitarian sets where u is injective as it always will be on the class set.

Now assume the Axiom of Choice (for purposes of ordering elements of X, and note this still doesn’t allow us to pick a “best” element of it trivially, since best is defined by the element taking largest value, if it exists).  Let (X,u) be a utilitarian set with X denumerable.  Then injectivity of u allows for a set \{u(x_n)\} to be a bounded strictly monotonically increasing sequence in [-1,1] which in turn contains a convergent subsequence \{u(x_k)\}.  Note we cannot say the sequence is bounded in the codomain, but it is of course bounded in [-1,1].

Definition 3.  Let (X,u) be a denumerable utilitarian set with u injective and \{x_n\} an ordering of X.  We say (X,u) is a decidable set if

\displaystyle\max\lim u(x_k)<\sup_{n\in\mathbb{N}} u(x_n)=\sup_{x\in X} u(x)

where the max is taken over all convergent subseqences \{u(x_k)\} of \{u(x_n)\}.  If (X,u) is decidable, then the supremum above can be replaced with a maximum (otherwise its value would have been a limit over which the max on the left was taken, and hence, the maximum of them).  Hence if (X,u) is decidable, we define the best choice as

\displaystyle B(X)=u^{-1}\left(\max_{x\in X}u(x)\right).

A utilitarian set is undecidable if it is not decidable.

Consider the function defined by

\displaystyle d(x,y)=|u(x)-u(y)|.

This is a semimetric on an arbitrary (X,u) and a metric when u is injective.  We can make a modification and define the opportunity cost of x with respect to y by


If one assumes that behaviors consume resources proportional to the utility acquired, then the above describes a proportional number of resources lost (or gained if negative) by choosing behavior x over y.

Definition 4.  A discrete path in X is a sequence in X, say \gamma:\mathbb{N}\to X.  A path is a continuous map \gamma:[0,1]\to X where X is endowed with its topology induced by d.  We can define the marginal utility of a path \gamma at time n and t respectively for the type of path by


\displaystyle\gamma'(t)=\lim_{\varepsilon\to 0}\frac{d(\gamma(t+\varepsilon),\gamma(t))}{\varepsilon}.

Note the second one may not exist.  If one interprets this by defining a sequence \{x_n\} for a behavior x called “consuming a good” and where n represents the number of units of that good consumed, then marginal utility simply represents the change of utility in consuming one additional unit of that good.

If we can accept that all decision making of individuals (i.e. psychology, where biological and environmental factors determine the utility function) models this theory, then aggregately so does that of  groups of individuals–making this the foundation of social science.

An Approach to a Legal System with Utilitarian Members

Definition 1.  A static legal system is a collection of individuals together with a collection of laws.  (Mathematically, it’s a set P, whose elements are called persons, together with a unary operation \varnothing\in P, called the null person, and a collection of infinitary \{0,1\}-valued maps \{l_n:P^\infty\to\{0,1\}\}, called laws, such that all but finitely many of the terms in the domain are \varnothing).

For example, a law l_n defined on persons p_1,...,p_k may evaluate l_n(p_1,...,p_k,\varnothing,...)=1 , meaning that law l_n pertaining to individuals p_1,...,p_k is legal (or illegal if it returned value 0).   To accommodate the influence that individual complexity has in a  legal system, we could make the additional assumption that each person is a static legal system with persons and laws respectively replaced by perceptions and thoughts.  Let p denote the set of perceptions,  the thoughts have the form \{t_n:p^\infty\to\{0,1\}\} such that all by finitely many of the perceptions are null perceptions.  The value the thought takes determines whether or not a behavior is executed.  But what is a behavior?  A behavior executed from a thought is a model that satisfies the perceptions on which that thought was defined.  Hence we could write

\displaystyle t_n(p_1,...,p_k,\varnothing,...)=1\Rightarrow\left( B(t_n)\vDash\{p_1,...,p_k\}\right)

where p_i are perceptions.  In simple terms, this just means that you only act in agreement with your perceptions (simple thoughts that are assumed true).  To reconnect back to the original static legal system, we may now say that laws dictate the legality of individual or group behavior.  A person is simply a collection of perceptions together with thought functions.  Hence we may say that a law defined on a thought function t is in turn defined on all behaviors B(t).  We simply set l(B(t))=l(t).

Let us now assume every person behaves in a utilitarian manner.  By this I mean that every person has a function u_p:\mathcal{B}\to\mathbb{R} where \mathcal{B} is the set of legal behaviors of an individual that satisfies the following conditions for all thoughts t and perceptions \pi_1,...,\pi_k such that B\vDash\{\pi_1,...,\pi_k\} (we also omit null perceptions for convenience):

  1. u_p(B)\leq 0\Rightarrow t(\pi_1,...,\pi_k)=0 and
  2. u_p(B)>0\Rightarrow t(\pi_1,...,\pi_k)=1.

Hence, assuming legality of the behavior, the above implications are equivalences  (i.e. a legal behavior is committed if and only if it has positive utility).  We could extend the utility functions to illegal behaviors, and the legal utility would be defined as


where B' is the cobehavior (or punishment) of B.  For legal behaviors B, we have B'=\varnothing and hence \lambda(B)=u(B).  But we will assume all committed behaviors are legal for simplicity.

Sometimes groups of individuals will work together as a firm (or corporation) and execute aggregate legal behaviors of positive aggregate utility.  The aggregate behavior and utility are defined as some function of the behavior and utility functions of members of the firm.

Example 2.  Suppose B=\sum_iB_i is a corporate behavior which is a formal sum of behaviors of its members.  Define the aggregate utility U_F of a firm F as

\displaystyle U_F(B)=\sum_i u_i(B_i)

where u_i is the utility function of the person committing behavior B_i.  Perhaps if a member contributes n behaviors per day, then they may say the utility of a behavior is S_p/(365n) where S_p is the salary of person p.  In this case the corporate utility summed over behaviors throughout the year would be their (in economic terms) normal profit (assuming no other expenditures), but it isn’t a very useful value since it does not indicate economic profits, which is really their utility in capitalistic economies.

Definition 3.  A dynamic legal system is collection of static legal systems.  A dynamic legal system P=\{P_t\}_{t\in\mathbb{R}} is continuous if for every static legal system P_t there is some \varepsilon>0 such that the cardinalities of sets of laws for all static legal systems \{P_{t-\varepsilon},...,P_t,...,P_{t+\varepsilon}\} differ by at most 1 (i.e. laws don’t change too fast).

A token economy is a special kind of dynamic legal system, indexed by time, where we define the utility of a behavior to be 1 if it gives the person 1 token.  What makes a token economy special is conservation of utility.  This means that

\displaystyle\sum_{ij} u_i(B_{ij})=0

where B_{ij} is the jth behavior committed by person p_i for all static legal systems P_t (i.e. the sum of token changes at any time is equal to 0).

In particular it implies that any behavior B_p of person (or firm) p with utility u_p(B_p) has a coperson (or cofirm) p' such that B_p is a cobehavior to person p' and u_p(B_p)+u_{p'}(B_p)=0.

Note:  It’s definitely choppy in some areas and could use revision, but I thought I’d throw it out first.

Let me briefly summarize the post.  A legal system is a collection of people, where each person is, for all intensive purposes, a collection of behaviors, together with a collection of laws that govern those behaviors.  We can further assume that behaviors are committed provided that they are of positive utility.  The behaviors that take negative values are cobehaviors (behaviors executed by other persons for whom the utility is positive and equal in magnitude).  In actuality when one purchases something, although they lose money, they typically receive something else useful in return; however, our study is limited strictly to currency, in which case they lose from a purchase.  In this case we can think of the economy of currency/tokens as an approximation to a fluid that changes its density through transactions; whereas the individual who loses/destroys tokens in exchange for a product can simply think of the product as a manifestation of the tokens exchanged for it.

Political Policy Classification

We can graph political policy on a plane based on how the policy favors individuals and how it favors corporations (sets of individuals) and then label the results.  We obtain something like this:

with the two traditional US parties listed.

It’s important to note that the Democratic and Republican parties should not be confused with a democracy and a republic.  A republic is a type of government in which all citizens have influence in their government.  A democracy is a type of republic in which that influence is equal for all citizens.  The US is a representative democracy in terms of the legislative arm, in which the equal influence is transitive:  citizens have equal influence in who represents them, and the representatives in turn have equal influence is decision making.  The US is more or less a meritocracy in the judicial and executive arms.