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Cake day: Jan 21, 2021

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I did it with the app MyNetDiary for a couple of months. I lost plenty of weight and felt healthy because I was following the diet advise of always eating a good amount of protein and fiber from vegetables.

More recently, I printed Harvard School of Public Health’s Healthy Eating Plate and put it on my fridge. Every time I eat at home (which is almost always, thanks to the pandemic…), I compare what I serve myself to that plate.


Sure. I see how you can think institutions are “solidified into a haphazard framework”. That’s also how Acemoglu and Robinson view institutional change: it happens through ‘mutations’ that are many times contingent on how the power relations of a society end up manifesting in that particular moment. While this may suggest an orderly process, it really isn’t. If you read their ‘exhibits’ of evidence, it’s almost a miracle that true democracies (or “inclusive institutions”) have come to fruition. It really is a haphazard framework!

But then there’s Welzel. He suggests there is the “sequence thesis”, which has three steps: (1) utilities, (2) values, and (3) guarantees. Utilities refer to the realization that freedoms are useful in particular contexts. When are freedoms useful? When existential pressures are small enough. These pressures were reduced historically through technology, which increased productivity and also forced select labor costs up. In these places, humans noticed the utility of caring about freedom, given that they had more “action resources” to realize it. Accordingly, humans started valuing freedom. An important point here is that humans generally care about “joint utility”, which means our striving for freedom is usually broader than the self-centered “only I matter” Ayn Rand individualism. This “joint utility” has implications for the theory of institutional change that we will see in a second. But within the sequence thesis, you finally arrive at freedom guarantees codified into the norms/institutions of a society.

This sequence thesis is part of a broader loop that either keeps societies not free or makes them freer and freer. The loop happens because those action resources are either small or large enough to make people value and therefore take action upon their freedoms. In a society that has (1) enough action resources to act upon freedom as well as (2) freedom valuation, people will take action to assert their freedoms. Finally, they will also feel good about it. Since exercising freedom is by itself pleasurable (apart from possible), people mobilize to end up with more action resources, which reinforces the loop.

This is the broader framework of Freedom Rising, but to answer your question directly, Welzel finds that temporally, values change before institutions do. Notice how, in the following image, action resource expansion generally precedes freedom valuation, but more to the point, emancipative values change before civic entitlements through rights. This suggests values change before institutions.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that humans who value freedom are the ones who “codify” those freedoms into institutions. That’s why Welzel goes on to evaluate the relationship between collective mobilization and freedom valuation. The results are that more freedom valuation results in more collective mobilization. This suggests a relationship, but not causation.

These results can also be seen if you look at two moments in time. Welzel compared values and citizen rights, to find that, over time, these two become related. But that’s not enough to suggest causality. To address that, he finds that the change in citizen rights is larger than the change in values. The implication is that “rights moved more toward congruence with values than values moved toward congruence with rights”.

He also does “A Reciprocal System of Dynamic Relationships”, where he finds that changes in values affect changes in institutions. The relationship shows that changes in values result in 0.82 fraction changes in institutions (I’m omitting units, but the point still holds), while changes in institutions only resulted in 0.08 changes in values. He repeats this procedure controlling for GDP, global linkages, and finds that it is still values that affect institutions the most.


Good point. I only touched upon the commercial and non-commercial differences in Where Good Ideas Come From. But I didn’t land the point in the context of software. In that context, you’re right that density can be achieved with enough users. Getting enough users can be done through opening up your software!

The flip-side is that businesses, given that any innovation that could be profitable must be patented and made commercially viable, would place constraints on the malleability of the network. In effect, “it wouldn’t meet the requirements of fluid networks”, as you said.


This is honest of you and a fair point: federation can sometimes be invisible. The basic idea becomes clear if you think about how you access websites. Think of Facebook. When you go to it, you type “facebook.com” in the address bar. And you go there. Notably, if you want to use Facebook, you can only go to “facebook.com”. This is different with federated systems.

Federated systems make it possible to go to, for example, “fb.com”, which will have its own version of Facebook, different to “facebook.com” or “facebookfed.com” or “333.com” (if someone decides to call their version that). Each one of these websites will have their own servers, their own logins (so you’d have to create different accounts), rules, and mods.

Sometimes, those websites talk to each other so that content is shared between them. That way, you can publish once in fb.com and another person can see your post in facebook.com. Other times, depending on the service and the version/instance, you’ll have a sort of private Facebook.

So federation here means that there are many different servers (‘instances’) that run the same software. These servers talk to each other so that you can see the content of the rest of the instances, in the case of the Fediverse. The Fediverse is a federated (hence the name) network of different services including Lemmy, Mastodon, and PixelFed. I’m not entirely sure, but I think the idea is to be able to share content in between all of those (someone plz correct me or explain this to me? hahahah).

Federation is also tied to certain values, like owning your own data. For example, Facebook’s servers hold all of your Facebook data. But, in the case of Lemmy, if you were to run your own Lemmy instance in your room, you would own your data (assuming no hacks or other shenanigans). This autonomy and privacy goes along well with the values surrounding Free and Libre/Open Source Software, where anyone can copy, modify, and run their own versions of code.

So you get this synnergy of FLOSS and federation that brings a bunch of people who are pumped to share stuff on websites like Lemmy, a FLOSS and federated link aggregator!



Welzel's Freedom Rising: A political theory that takes risks and backs its claims. Its basic idea is that emancipative values matter most for democracy, sustainability, and human capacity expansion

Reading the news means you’re bombarded with information. Most of the time, we use whatever cognitive schemas or theoretical frameworks we have available, but those can be either unclear, fuzzy, mixed, or not self aware. This is why having clear and coherent general frameworks help understand the wo…


whaaaat how come? Y’all are super insulated from the world? Or people got vaccinated already?


This is a lot of money, but I like it. Especially if it’s aimed at improving our lives through equity, inclusion, and sustainable growth.


Huh. I’m sure you have good reasons, and I’m curious. Why do you think so?


I’m sure you’re onto something, but I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “this type of plugins”.

From what I gather, UBlock is problematic to Google because it blocks Google Ads. And that’s a bit different to what ClearURLs do. The reason ClearURLs is problematic to Google is because of the ‘amp’ links, which are links that make it possible for Google to track those who click them.

So yeah, I guess both piss off Google, but in different ways: one makes it harder to extract data from you, their product (since your data constructs an amazing model, to which companies bid access to when purchasing ads), while the other blocks the delivery of the ads.


Marxism feeds into the broader Classical Economists (Smith, Ricardo, and Keynes among others), which are different to the neoclassical economists. The neoclassical economists had a change in their theories of competition in the late 19th century so that competition was no longer seen as a brutal and gruesome dynamic, but a beautiful dance companies do in favor of the consumer, you. This ideological version of economics is known as “perfect competition”.

Perfect competition can be submitted to empirical tests. You can see whether capitalism leads to common prices, to lower costs, to companies with similar profit rates, etc. But what happens if you don’t find that? Do you start crying out loud “Imperfect competition!” ? You could, but that’s not what Marxism claims. Marxism claims that it is precisely competition that leads to differences in capital intensities (how much people invest in a particular company), differences in cost structures, in the regulation of profit rates, etc. And so it is as simple as testing the assumptions.

You can see how these assumptions are tested in Anwar Shaikh’s text Capitalism. It is a theory of capitalism that heavily draws upon Marxism (as well as the other classical economists I mentioned: Smith, Ricardo, and Keynes). What’s striking is that the Marxist assumptions (as well as the others) are always tested empirically. This is surprising because in my experience as a neoclassical economics student (which is the type of economics that’s taught everywhere except wherever they tell you what type of economics you’re learning —I’m being a bit cheeky here, but I also think I’m being accurate) and having read dozens of economics syllabus and textbooks, the neoclasical economics knowledge community in high school and undergraduate very rarely test the theories they are teaching you against the empirical evidence. Compare that to what you will find if you go to Anwar Shaikh’s website http://realecon.org and check our the free book lectures or the book itself.

There, not only will you find an absurd amount of evidence favoring Marxism (and more broadly the classical theory as well as real competition), but you will find that Marxism has strands that propose views that are very different to what other strands propose. For example, Lenin believed monopoly was capitalism’s future, but Shaikh doesn’t believe that. Nonetheless, you will find that Marxism is much more more empirically grounded than neoclassical theory.


I like that you both appreciate the great news that this is and also recognize the remaining necessary work.



Thanks for sharing this. I’m so so so so so sorry to be this person, but Columbia is in North America while Colombia is in South America :P, but the important thing is the message, not the form, so thanks again for the post :)


I didn’t know them and it was a very interesting read. As other user have said, my experience in Mastodon has been very different to theirs. And, indeed, they are responding to their area of interest: privacy. However, if you go there with the political aspiration of not contributing to big data collection in the service of ads, that’s a whole different thing to be on the lookout for! Still, I admire their work. Thanks for sharing this!


Thanks for the recommendation! I have convinced most of my friends to change over to Signal over the past couple of months! However, over at the Fediverse, I’ve seen plenty of people being critical of Signal. The criticism boils down to the fact that Signal could be federated. It could use an open standard like Matrix, or at least support connections to the Matrix protocol. It could permit forks to contact the main branch users. But instead it has very deliberately disparaged federation. I won’t get into the technical and innovation part, but I will leave this article that makes a good case for explaining the Signal centralization decision by recognizing the amount of power Signal has by deciding not to federate. In other words, it seems like the Signal guy doesn’t want to lose his power. Element and any other Matrix-based client or server do not have this problem.

This is not to say that we should stop using Signal entirely. After all, your messages are indeed encrypted and we have guarantees that the client-side software is what it is.


Oof! Such a need! Currently, I’m kinda like “Oh, great, more posts I can’t decipher” and just scroll past them… this would help! To be fair, I also kinda like feeling that Mastodon is massively popular around the world by seeing languages I don’t get…