Friday, August 26, 2011

It's all about maximizing utility

Gevlon is sure good at putting his foot in it.

I don't really understand why he makes these posts. It's like he's going out of his way to call someone an idiot. It seems so unpleasant.

It suggests he has a serious misunderstanding of the idea of utility. Utility is about happiness. Utility is about your actions effect on your mood. A high utility action is one that gives you pleasure/enjoyment, or that lessens unpleasantness/suffering. Gevlon acts as though the measure of utility is how much gold/money you gain.

I suspect that a lot of gevlon's thinking when he's trying to decide the correct choice is about reducing the situation to gold/time or gold/effort. His blog used to be primarily a WoW AH blog. I'd bet that if he were to try to work out an economic system, he'd spend a lot of time trying to figure out the 'right' prices to charge, or purchase at. In real economic thinking, nothing could be further from the truth. Instead people think in terms of conflicting desires. The amount one is willing to pay for an item is expressed as an indifference curve, the points where my desire for the sought after goods is equal to my desire for the goods I'd have to trade away in exchange.

Gevlon acts like he thinks everyone 'should' value gold far in excess of almost every other item in wow, and so being willing to trade away gold for the things he values very little is evidence of player stupidity. It doesn't matter that he values gold so much, it's that he thinks everyone else should value it the same as he does. That's not very rational.

But at the same time, he's quite free to be irrational and go on his blog and blast away at the people he doesn't like, calling them morons. If that's what makes him happy, he should go ahead and do it. It certainly wouldn't make me happy. And it certainly makes things feel unpleasant for me to read it, so reading it doesn't make me happy. Perhaps I should just unsubscribe? I dunno, the entertainment value most of the time balances out the unpleasantness some of the time, somewhat.

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