Nonzero tolerance policy

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Again, all-or-nothing thinking generally goes with intellectual fraud. If a system is untestable, it's because its proponents fear testing. By contrast, I'm confident enough in liberal and scientific values that I'm happy to see even partial adoption. Even a little freedom is better than dictatorship. Even a little science is better than ideology.


"Zero tolerance" is a popular buzzword among polyticians and other demagogues. Most of the opinion leaders who throw around zero tolerance rhetoric are smart enough to realize that 100% abolition of any phenomenon is generally impossible. More often than not, it's even theoretically impossible!

The pub wan movement isn't about opinions. It is, however, about normative criteria (norm spec, norm set). In keeping with its neutrality principle, pubwan regards the norms (i.e. preferences) of different individuals as equally valid. The movement is also neutral on whether the sources of pubwan participant norms are ethical, ideological, æsthetical or for that matter whimsical. The purpose for which pubwan might be created is that of empowering individuals (in general) to impose their own norms on a larger world that for the most part seems not to care. The idea is that individuals deserve more opportunities to live their lives on their terms. Pubwan's purpose is to develop an advanced technology of individual empowerment. Our game plan is to start with informational empowerment.

It is thought by the present author that zero tolerance policies can only impede the progress of pubwan objectives. One reason for this is that the methodologies proposed for pubwan so far have been decidedly empirical. Another is that the problem-solving strategy adopted so far starts with both participant-supplied norms and world-supplied constraints. It is also believed that "total victory" may not be a realistic goal when "negotiating" with natural constraints.

The tolerance of nonzero values of parameters is reflected in mathematical techniques adopted by pubwan. One example is the use of piecewise linear functions to describe a parameter called "affordability" in the sample normset. Actually, in the sample normset, the term "under-budget" was used. The classical presentation of the "utility function" of microeconomics starts with the assumption that market baskets (subsets of the set of all economic goods) fall into two categories...affordable and not affordable. This is the basis of the concept of "budget line," or "budget hyperplane" The budget hyperplane concept doesn't account for the possibility of borrowing or price haggling. It also doesn't account for the reality of package dealing (i.e. "bundling," see pubwan virtual object).

Nonzero tolerance may also be useful in avoiding "divide by zero" errors.

Last time I was at the library (i.e. last time I accessed the internet) I was browsing Wikipedia, where I found a reference to "zero tolerance" in the article on Discordianism, of all things.

Next library trip I shall check this out and see how established theories of zero tolerance relate to my nascent theories of pub wan.

Another trip to the library put a copy of Schumpeter's ten great economists in my hand. Very interesting...

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