Monday, June 18, 2018

Voting With Donations

My comment on Bob Murphy's blog entry... For the Purposes of the Current Debate, I Don’t Think Hayek Supported a “Basic Income Guarantee”


Three years ago on Medium the liberal economist James Kwak also made the case that Friedrich Hayek supported basic incomeI responded to his story with more or less your same point... that he was neglecting the context.

Now, three years later, for me the real issue is that Kwak doesn't understand what markets are good for.  Markets are incredibly useful because correctly guessing demand is incredibly difficult.  The crazy thing is that this critique of Kwak's understanding is also applicable to even the staunchest market defenders such as yourself.  This is easy enough to prove. 

Here you supplied a story about basic income.  But what would you guess is truly the demand for this topic?  Again, if correctly guessing demand was so easy, then markets wouldn't be so useful.  Your blog is not a market... therefore it's clear that you don't truly understand what markets are good for. 

Turning your blog into a market would be really easy.  Readers could simply "donation vote" (DV) for their favorite stories.  DV is most commonly associated with people using donations to decide who will kiss a pig, or get a pie in the face, or get dunked into a water tank.  Sometimes zoos use it to name a baby animal.  But DV is also used to rank/sort/order/prioritize all the non-profits in the world.  The Red Cross, for example, receives very many donation votes which is why it can use a very large portion of the world's limited resources. 

Right now FEE is searching for a new president.  How are the candidates going to be ranked?  They definitely aren't going to be ranked by DV.  Therefore, FEE doesn't truly understand what markets are good for.

Last year, much to my very pleasant surprise, the libertarian party (LP) used DV to choose its convention theme.  Unfortunately, the LP didn't also use DV to choose the convention location, date and speakers.  So just because an organization uses DV doesn't guarantee that it knows why the market is so useful.

The market is an incredibly useful tool.  On a daily basis we use this tool to help each other prioritize.  Yet, the LP has only once used this tool to improve its own priorities.  FEE has never used this tool to improve its priorities.  As a pro-market blogger you're in the same boat.  Strange as it might seem, right now I'm the only person preaching the benefits of DV.  Does this mean that I'm the only person in the world who truly understands what markets are good for?  I guess.  I'm the only person in this boat.  Either I'm in the wrong boat, or everybody else is.  I'd really hate to be in the wrong boat so please, if you think that I am, then I'm all ears.  Make the case that some producers, such as pro-market bloggers, should be exempt from receiving specific and substantial feedback from consumers.  Or make the case that cheap signals are just as credible as costly signals.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Questions For Vitalik Buterin

Here's the comment that I just posted on Tyler Cowen's blog entry... What should I ask Vitalik Buterin?


Yes! This! What does Buterin think about Cowen's critique of quadratic voting (QV)? I perceive QV to be a hybrid between voting and spending. How will Buterin determine whether QV is better than its parents at ranking things?

Is Buterin familiar with the idea of donation voting (DV)? DV is most commonly associated with using donations to decide who will kiss a pig, or get a pie in the face, or get dunked into a tank of water. Sometimes zoos use DV to decide what to name a baby animal.

The thing is, whenever anybody makes a donation, each dollar they donate is essentially a vote. This means that DV is used to rank/sort/order/prioritize all the non-profits. The Red Cross, for example, receives very many donation votes, which allows it to use a huge amount of society's limited resources.

Personally, I would be very surprised if QV is more effective than DV at ranking things. I can't imagine why it would be beneficial to arbitrarily diminish the Red Cross's control over society's limited resources. Perhaps though I'd be singing a very different tune if the Red Cross and the KKK were switched in the rankings.

My best guess is that it would be maximally beneficial if we used DV to rank potential people for Cowen to interview. DV should also be used to rank potential questions for Cowen to ask people that he plans to interview. All the money raised could be given to me. Alternatively, it could be given to Marginal Revolution University, which would allow it to compete more resources away from other uses.

It can be said that DV gives too much influence to the wealthy.  But it can also be said that it gives the smallest amount of influence to the biggest free-riders.