An adversarial collaboration is an effort by two people with opposing opinions on a topic to collaborate on a summary of the evidence. Just as we hope that a trial with both prosecutor and defense will give the jury a balanced view of the evidence for and against a suspect, so we hope an adversarial collaboration will give readers a balanced view of evidence for and against some thesis. It’s typically done for scientific papers, but I’m excited about the possibility of people applying the concept to to less formal writeups as well.
For example, a pro-gun activist might collaborate with an anti-gun activist to write a joint article on the evidence for whether gun control saves lives. We trust each person to make sure the best evidence for their respective side is included. We also trust that they’ll fact-check each other and make sure there aren’t any errors or falsehoods in the final document. There might be a lot of debating, but it will happen on high-bandwidth informal channels behind the scenes and nobody will feel like they have tailor their debating to sounding good for an audience.
I don’t know to what degree true adversarial collaborations are really possible. It might be that people who disagree on high-level issues might not be able to cooperate on a survey of the field at all. But I’d like to find out.
It is worth keeping in mind that, by historical comparison, growing the Bay Area population by 30 percent more than underlying U.S. population growth over the next 20 years is a perfectly achievable outcome. Detroit and Texas grew far faster during their booms, as did our own Bay Area in the 20 years following World War II.
Intellectual honesty requires taking numbers seriously. Either we prioritize making the Bay Area affordable for all of us or we don’t. The less housing we build, the more wealth will be trapped in high housing prices. Unless we decide to grow our housing stock to accommodate our economy, we are continuing to choose the interests of those who are rich or who already own their homes over the interests of the struggling middle and working classes.
The working class, or the proletariat, as [Marx] referred to it, is the antithesis of freedom, for it is propertyless, and is forced to sell its labour-power and do mindless factory work – and of course in Marx’s day, the working day was so long there wasn’t much time to do anything else. The condition of the proletariat is, Marx said, the complete loss of humanity and it can only meet its needs by a complete redemption of humanity.