My previous entry was pretty wonderful... Does Elizabeth Warren Know What Keeps You Running? It was so wonderful that I want more!
In a pragmatarian system people would have the following three options...
1. They could allocate their taxes themselves
2. They could give their taxes to congress (impersonal shoppers)
3. They could give their taxes to specific congresspeople (ie Elizabeth Warren)
Well... I don't honestly know if the third option would be available. What do you think? If it turned out that there wasn't any demand for the second option... then clearly there wouldn't be any demand for the third option. If you have absolutely no interest in having congress allocate your taxes... then chances are extremely good that you wouldn't have any interest in having Warren or any other congressperson allocate your taxes.
In order for the third option to be available... we'd have to imagine at least some demand for the second option. But it can't be perfectly... errr... "happy" demand... it's got to be "unhappy" demand. To get my drift just picture some liberal named Lilith who really doesn't have the time or interest to allocate her taxes herself... but she hates the thought of allowing slimy republican congresspeople to have even the tiniest amount of influence on how her taxes are allocated. Lilith really wants the service, but she really wishes it was a lot better (a closer match to her preferences).
Woah, did you get goosebumps? I sure did. It's a wonderful insight into why markets lead to a far greater variety of products and services than command economies do. And when there's a greater variety of products and services then marginal improvements are made at an incredibly faster rate than would occur in command economies. It's modular vs monolithic.
Of course this variation isn't going to occur if Lilith is the only unhappy camper. There have to be enough Liliths in order for Elizabeth Warren to have a really strong suspicion that she'd have a lot more money to allocate if she wasn't bundled together with people like Todd Akin.
For sure this is a two way street. For every Lilith there would be a Conrad who really hated the thought of the likes of Elizabeth Warren spending even one cent of his hard-earned money on counterproductive social programs.
But if there were enough Liliths and Conrads... would congress just split in half? Would there be a bundle of conservative impersonal shoppers and a bundle of liberal impersonal shoppers?
Let me throw a wrench into our analysis by pointing out that congress doesn't just allocate taxes... they also write laws. Errr... do these two things really need to be bundled together? Would you want the person operating on you to be a jack of all trades and a master of none? Probably... not.
It stands to reason that congresspeople would be logically allocated. Those with a comparative legal advantage would be split off into a separate organization dedicated to writing laws. Those with a comparative impersonal shopping advantage would be split off into a separate organization dedicated to impersonal shopping.
So rather than having a congress... we'd have a Department of Law (DoL) and a Department of Impersonal Shopping (DoIS).
I don't think we'd have to elect people to serve in the DoL... do you? If the DoL produced crappy laws then they'd go bankrupt. No organizations want to go bankrupt. Therefore, the DoL's desire to maximize, rather than minimize, its revenue would provide them with the maximum possible incentive to produce laws that maximized society's benefit.
With the DoIS though... I think we would probably still elect the impersonal shoppers. But what about Lilith and Conrad? Would they be happy enough if they could give their taxes to a bundle of impersonal shoppers who roughly shared their preferences? Or would they prefer the possibly much greater happiness of being able to give their taxes to whichever impersonal shopper was the closest match to their own unique preferences? I'm pretty that Lilith and Conrad, as different as their preferences are, would both want more, rather than less, happiness.
Woah! Do you see what happened there? Impersonal shopping became a little less impersonal. Perhaps it wouldn't be entirely unreasonable to even change the name of the DoIS. Rather than calling it the "Department of Impersonal Shopping" we could call it the "Department of Personal Shopping" (DoPS).
Something else pretty momentous happened. Political parties became pointless!
Did I blow your mind? If so, then I sincerely apologize. It's perfectly understandable if you need a lot of time to process this.
Maybe it would help to try and predict what Obama would do...
1. He would allocate his taxes himself
2. He would give his taxes to the DoPS
3. He would give his taxes to the most personal shopper (Elizabeth Warren?)
I think he'd allocate his taxes himself. Boy, wouldn't you like to know how he allocated his taxes? Which public problems does he perceive to be the most pressing? Rather than having only his words to go on... we'd be able to observe his actual actions. No pressure Obama!
Maybe I've blown your mind even more?
Ok, I'm willing to entertain the possibility that I haven't blown your mind at all. If I haven't blown your mind at all... then maybe your mind is pretty magnificent? Prove it!
Take these two things...
1. People being able to choose where their taxes go
2. People wanting products/services that are better (closer to their preferences)
... and use them to make a prediction that will blow my mind. I dare you.