Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quotation of the day for July 26, 2011

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Quotation of the Day for July 26, 2011

"I spent some time working in the television industry, and I learned a technique that writers use. It's called "the bad version." When you feel that a plot solution exists, but you can't yet imagine it, you describe instead a bad version that has no purpose other than stimulating the other writers to imagine a better version.

"For example, if your character is stuck on an island, the bad version of his escape might involve monkeys crafting a helicopter out of palm fronds and coconuts. That story idea is obviously bad, but it might stimulate you to think in terms of other engineering solutions, or other monkey-related solutions. The first step in thinking of an idea that will work is to stop fixating on ideas that won't. The bad version of an idea moves your mind to a new vantage point.

"With that technique in mind, I will describe some bad versions of how society might go about the job of convincing the rich to accept higher taxes on themselves. But first I need to address the illusion of fairness.

"We like to think that fairness is an objective condition. If you and a friend simultaneously find a dollar on the street, fairness suggests that you split it. But what if your friend is a billionaire and you are starving? Is it still fair to split the dollar? And what if you and your friend noticed the dollar at the same time but your friend was quicker to pick it up? Does that count for anything?

"In reality, fairness is not so much about the actual distribution of loot as it is about the psychology of how you feel about it. That's important to understand because the rich won't give up their cash unless they feel they are getting something in return. And so far, saving the country doesn't seem to be enough of a payoff."

- Scott Adams, creator of "Dilbert", from his article How to Tax the Rich, in The Wall Street Journal.


Submitted by: Kathleen Magone
Apr. 20, 2011

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