Re: Voting and Idea Futures

From: Peter C. McCluskey (
Date: Sun Jan 30 2000 - 11:51:14 MST (Robin Hanson) writes:
>Peter McCluskey wrote:
>> Given the problems experts have agreeing on how to quantify relatively
>>well understood things like inflation, I wouldn't expect much agreement
>>about how to quantify something for which you don't even have a name.
>>I'd expect that measuring the value of unowned things like Linux or
>>whales would be more subject to political manipulation.
>We already measure GDP, and I suspect just using futarchy based on GDP in
>fifty years time would probably result in a better government than we have
>now. If so, any improvements we make on better measures beyond GDP just
>make futarchy even more attractive.

 I'm inclined to agree that the current political system is bad enough for
that to be true, but blindly maximising GDP would create some inexcusable
mistakes. For example, I suspect markets would predict a slightly higher
GDP (and gross world product) if the U.S. had picked a side at random in
the Bosnian war and bombed it than if the U.S. had done nothing.
>> I don't think a single official measure is wise. I'd prefer to use a
>>handfull of different measures (an economic growth indicator, an inequality
>>indicator, a leisure indicator, etc.).
>But then you couldn't have a simple constitutional decision rule like
>the one I proposed.

 Correct. I want markets to be used to prevent people from using inaccurate
justifications, but not to replace voting.
 Concentrating as much power as you propose into a small set of decisions
(e.g. what weights to give to growth, inequality, security, etc.) that the
average person is likely to have trouble thinking quantitatively about
sounds like a recipe for testing the maxim "power corrupts".

Peter McCluskey          | Boycott until they stop suing | companies that support 1-click shopping.

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