192 definitions by abu yahya

The phenomenon of people condemning vices they have indulged in themselves already, and since given up. Inspired by the _Confessions_ of Augustine (417 CE), in which Augustine describes his career path and then denouces the things he did to get to where he is.

WHY IT'S BAD

With SAS, the perpetrator has received the BENEFITS of a particular vice. It could consist of sleeping one's way to the top, or lying a lot, or getting divorced, or indulging a vice until it gets tiresome. At that point the perpetrator makes a big display out of quitting the vice and condemning it publicly. It's like climbing a ladder out of a ditch and then pulling the ladder up so others can't get out of the ditch; and to add insult to injury, the perpetrator ridicules the desire to use the ladder.

Like other forms of hypocrisy, it's destructive because it enforces stupid social codes. If the social codes were right all along, then the perpetrator should not get off the hook for violating them, but, in effect, he gets praise for having done so (and having "kicked the habit"). If the codes were wrong, then they should be confronted . And finally, it's bad because it creates a meritocracy of bullshit.
A good example of St Augustine's Syndrome is Doctor Laura Schlessinger, the evangelical talk radio host who climbed her way to the top, divorced, and then renounced feminism. Many putative sages are famous for having had, earlier in their lives, immense amounts of sex with numerous partners, only to renounce the ways of the flesh and denounced materialistic society.
by Abu Yahya March 21, 2010

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Latin, "where is the benefit?" A type of logical fallacy in which one claims one didn't do something bad because it was not in one's interests to do so. An example would be, "Why would I steal from the cash register? It's going to hurt the business if I do, and then I might lose my job."

The argument is usually used on behalf of someone else: for example, Ludo Martens (1995) argues that Stalin could not possibly have massacred millions of Russians because he needed them to fight WW2; Fogel & Engermann claimed* that American slavery was not very bad because it was in the best interests of slaveowners to have content slaves.

The argument is a fallacy because it assumes that all relevant motives of the actor are well-established, and lead away from the act. It does not account for motives like personal hatred, shame, fear, spite, ideology, and so on.
________________________
* In *Time on the Cross* (1971); the book was conclusively debunked by David & Stampp, *Reckoning with Slavery* (1976).
One frequently encounters *quis est beneficium?* arguments among Holocaust deniers of all stripes. Among such worthies it is claimed that Hitler/Stalin/Enver Pasha could not possibly have wanted to massacre all those millions because it was a nuisance to try.
by Abu Yahya February 14, 2009

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exceptionally prone to seeing the scurrilous, sexy, or kinky aspect of everything; obsessed with sex; prone to seeing sexual overtones to nonsexual behavior.

A dirty minded person may be hypocritical and unctuous, but read filthy motives into the acts of other people. For example, in the movie "American Beauty," the military officer wrongly assumes that his son's interactions with his neighbor are homosexual, rather than commercial--projecting his own repressed sexuality onto others (with deadly results).
The dirty minded obscene person does not shamelessly exult in his bawdy language, nor does he use it without self-consciousness... The dirty minded person has only partially internalized the taboos that he violates...

Joel Feinberg, _Offense to Others_, p.267
by Abu Yahya February 22, 2010

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A choice between an alternative that is awful and one that is unacceptable. Usually defined as "no choice at all," since one of the choices is likely to be totally unacceptable (death, starvation, death of a loved one held hostage, insolvency).
A person whose relatives have been taken hostage is faced with the Hobson's choice of rewarding someone who attacked his family, and having his relatives killed because of decisions he made.
by Abu Yahya May 05, 2010

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the sum of the capital account balance and the current account balance; put another way, the net change in financial reserves of a country, whether in the form of income (current account) or foreign investments (capital account)


For example, in all years since 1980, the USA has run a large-to-huge current account deficit, but in most years it has run a capital account surplus that is almost as big as the current account deficit. As a result, the USA has run a medium-to-large balance of payments deficit over this period.

A commonly-overlooked byproduct of BoP is that it determines whether or not a currency can be used as an international reserve currency. Despite repeated efforts by the governments of the EU and Japan to get their currencies established as such, they have failed to dent the US dollar's global primacy as the money for international transactions. This is because EU member states and Japan (as well as other major economies) run very large surpluses in their BoP. Japan, in particular, imports extremely little, and retains huge reserves rather than invest all of its net export earnings overseas. As a consequence, overseas holdings of euros or yen are much to small to serve as an alternative to the US dollar.
Since the oil embargo of the 1970's, the US has run a balance of payments deficit because its trade deficit was enormous; prior to the embargo, the US BoP deficit was large because the US exported such an enormous amount of finance capital. As a consequence, the balance of payments deficit has persisted since the end of the Korean War (1953).
by Abu Yahya February 14, 2009

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LDC
Less developed country; refers to countries such as Mexico or Egypt, where there is a semi-functional state and plans to stimulate industry, but very limited industrial development (relative to the total labor force).
The World Bank and the IMF are both intensely controversial entities among LDCs.
by abu yahya July 10, 2008

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The ability of an economic system to provide what people what, given their incomes. Given the fact that incomes and resources are both finite, efficiency will be of the utmost importance in determining if people's wants are satisfied by the workings of the economic system.
Free market economies usually provide high levels of economic efficiency.
by abu yahya June 23, 2008

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