Reply to: Voting in a Technocracy by Sean Canton
A few years back you left a comment on my blog entry. It’s super cool to randomly stumble on your story here on Medium! I really enjoyed it and am super happy to see that you’re still interested in the concept of people choosing where their taxes go.
Of course I recommended your story. Ideally though, Medium would make it super easy for me to spend some money on your story. The more money that people spent on your story, the more likely that other people would read it. This is because it would be logical for people who search for stories to sort the results by their value…
“Hey Medium, show me all the economic stories published in the past week and sort them by their value. Thanks!”
I get the feeling though that the free-rider problem is a real problem. So it would make sense if Medium charged us a $1/month but allowed us to choose which stories we spend our pennies on.
It’s basically the same concept of choosing where our taxes go… but applied to Medium.
This is kinda my main strategy. For sure it would be ideal if the government allowed us to choose where our taxes go. But it’s a Herculean task to persuade enough people that this is a wonderful idea! In theory, it should be incredibly easier to persuade Medium to allow us to choose where our monthly fees go. The results would speak for themselves… and other websites would implement the same model… and eventually everybody would easily grasp and appreciate the immense potential benefit of applying the same model to the government.
Unfortunately, after several very valiant attempts on my part to persuade Medium to implement the “pragmatarian” model… I’ve decided that even this task is too Herculean for me! Sheesh. Medium is too big a fish for me to fry. Same thing with The Economist. The Economist already has subscribers… so all they would have to do would be to allow their subscribers to choose which articles they allocate their fees to. But… nope.
Last year I actually created a super basic micropayments forum. But my programming skills are iffy at best.
Just recently I managed to persuade my friend Michelle to allow her 4th grade students to choose where their taxes go. Heh. So far they’ve managed to create two departments… IRS and Gardening. None of the kids have spent their taxes yet.
Initially she gave each of her students 20 pennies. They used them to make classroom decisions (ie who should be in charge of their IRS). The option that received the most pennies was selected… and the winners compensated the losers. The compensation is what’s taxed. Also, Michelle started auctioning quotes. The kids who win the quotes will be able to decide which departments they give their winning bids to.
The class doesn’t have a lot of spare time so it’s pretty much the epitome of Rome not being built in a day.
I told Michelle that there’s “real”, “unreal” and “surreal”… but no prefix for better than real. A day or two later she came up with “megareal”. Even though the students in her class will just be choosing where their tax pennies go… it will still give them the opportunity to use their pennies to paint their own picture of a megareal classroom.
Right now the class doesn’t have any animals in it. One of the kids brought up having a department for animals. The other kids were super enthusiastic about this idea. So I’m guessing that enough of them might use their taxes to help purchase a fish for their class. As a result of their tax allocation choices, their class would go from real to megareal.
What if there was a pragmatarian website for new words/meanings? Members would pay $1/month and be able to choose which new words/meanings they spend their pennies on. The new words/meanings could be sorted by their value so it would be super easy to find and learn the most valuable new words/meanings. Language would evolve far more efficiently. In other words, language would go from real to megareal in less time.
Your story is a picture of a megareal society. You used words to paint a very pretty picture. And I sure appreciated and enjoyed the picture! But I’m fairly certain that we need a working model of people using at least their pennies to paint a megareal picture.