Here Mr. Node gives a preliminary inventory of what he wants to use as modeling vocabulary.
Citizens are essential inhabitants of toy worlds. But there’s more.
Directors and executives tailor their behaviors to how they expect individuals to respond to their actions, proposals and decisions. What they especially respect is the ability of individuals to en masse revolt all of a sudden, whether through revolutions, mass protests or by causing electoral landslides. In terms of roles Mr. Node does not only distinguish between urban and rural residents. He also distinguishes leaders, workers and professionals. Obviously, consumers are taken into account, but not as a special class of individuals: after all, everyone is a consumer. And if differences in consumer behavior have to be modeled, Node trusts that he can manage those differences with different means.
Individual Styles and Group Styles
Individuals are humans and have to submit to or find their ways with or around their (human) nature.
Individuals have a social nature that brings them together and often keeps them together in larger groups than the nuclear family. This implies that the innate preferences of individuals and the preferences of the groups in which individuals function must be commensurable. Hereditary predispositions and upbringing play a role on an individual level. At group level, it is not only what constitutes local dogmas that plays a role, but also how feelings of solidarity, obedience, competition and autonomy are recorded in the associated traditions and cultures and their norms. An important aspect here is that human nature turns the individual into a prediction machine. It sees things coming and it can test what it expects against observed reality. The same presumably applies to all live beings, except that it appears that human individuals have the capacity to read or invent stories, to tell and understand (as a listener) them and, if opportune, to take them as prescriptions, a quality that most other species seem to lack.
The ability to tell stories allows individuals to attach values to the outcomes of stories. Mr Node is of the opinion that a great deal can be achieved in a toy world when four types of values are recognized. These values are commensurable on an individual and group level. He distinguishes dream values, safety values, capital values and autonomy values.
Dream values contribute to the identity of the group
When we would have to choose example dream values for three different situations (trade war, presidential election campaign, COVID pandemic control) they would be (i) in the trade war “America first” as a group ideal and “the American dream” as the corresponding individual ideal (which seems to have become a dogma in USA culture), that (ii) in the US presidential election campaign “fact checking” is a group ideal for the Democrats which entails the (on first view counterproductive) individual ideal of “ fair play “, and (iii) in the COVID-19 confrontations on the part of the republicans” pandemic control (was: COVID is like the common flu) as group ideal and the accompanying individual ideal is pretend it doesn’t exist so no masks are necessary. [Over or undervaluing these group values can contribute to undermining other group values, in all areas, such as those of solidarity, security, capitalism and / or autonomy.]
Safety Values Contribute to Freedom from Fear in the Public Space
An impression based on the three examples. (i) In the trade war, for example, putting Huawei on the list of untrustworthy trading partners, (ii) in the US presidential election campaign, focusing on postal voting as a source of voting fraud and (iii) in the COVID-19 confrontations, challenging the constitutional foundation of the measures. [Over or undervaluing these group values can contribute to undermining other group values, in all areas, such as those of solidarity, security, capitalism and / or autonomy.]
Capital Values Contribute to the State of the Economy
Capital values are related to financial security, such as ownership, profit maximization and stable stock market values. It is well known that capital values are of political importance. Mr. Node waives further explanation. [Over or undervaluing these group values can contribute to undermining other group values, in all areas, such as those of solidarity, security, capitalism and / or autonomy.]
Autonomy Values Contribute to the Reality of the Normative Debate
Autonomy values at group level have to do with the division of labor according to expertise. This produces scientific disciplines which in turn train individual professionals. In a world populated by scammers, even if their numbers are negligible, it is important for each individual to autonomously assess the reality of stories that invite his investment. Any form of cooperation (for instance in politics between voter and candidate) implies a mutual exchange of such invitations and thus the ability to autonomously detect scammers. [Over or undervaluing these group values can contribute to undermining other group values, in all areas, such as those of solidarity, security, capitalism and / or autonomy.]
We have individuals, groups, roles and values. Individuals do things, either individually or in concert or as a representative of a group. For the moment I give a list of activities that are eligible: they must (cease to) exist, debate, standardize, adjudicate, enforce, punish, tell stories (news, fiction, documentaries, propaganda, lies, threats), play the media, vote, change memberships, fight (as in: taking hostage, overpowering, killing, shooting, bombing).