Re: Voting and Idea Futures

From: Peter C. McCluskey (
Date: Wed Feb 09 2000 - 13:03:16 MST (Robin Hanson) writes:
>Peter McCluskey wrote:
>>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.
>Hmm, if so, what would are your grounds for opposing such a policy?

 I care about some things that aren't measured well by GDP, such as pain,
death, control of one's destiny, etc.

>>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".
>Consider the motto "Futarchy: vote values, but bet beliefs".
>I accept that people feel a need to "participate" in their government,
>and that participation via betting may not satisfy a lot of that
>need. So I'd like to "sublimate" that urge by letting people vote on
>the common objective function. I don't really understand your concerns
>here; could you elaborate?

 You spoke of giving a single agency responsibility for measuring the
objective function. Such agencies always have some ability to add their
own biases into the decisions involved in producing such indicators. You
originally sounded like you wanted to encourage people to view the
objective function as something to be decided largely by some technicians
at that agency. That would concentrate more power than I want in a handfull
of people, at least if it is handled the way economic statistics currently
 I want to insure that the value decisions are made by the average person
if possible, or if that isn't possible, then by processes that the average
person can understand well enough to hold accountable. I suspect that the
average person will be better able to understand the value decisions being
made if they are presented in the form "bombing Serbia will increase GWP
by 0.001% and cause 100 innocent people to die" than if they are presented
in the form of an objective function where the average person is asked for
opinions on what numbers to use in weighting GWP versus innocent deaths.

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

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