Re: Voting and Idea Futures

From: Peter C. McCluskey (
Date: Thu Feb 24 2000 - 18:07:30 MST (Robin Hanson) writes:
>Peter McCluskey wrote:
>>They would settle somewhere, but I'm unconvinced that it would have much
>>connection with the average person's values.
>>I'd rather use something like a science court approach - have economists
>>compete to see whether they can produce an indicator that reliably predict
>>what a randonly chosen group of people would decide if paid to study the
>>question carefully.
>> For areas where such predictions have been proven reliable, I expect voter
>>pressure would be sufficient to produce the right result without a
>>constitutional rule. For the forseeable future, I expect there will remain
>>subject areas for which the indicators have not been shown to make reliable
>If the disconnect between what voters want and what politicians do is high
>enough, then yes, a politically-chosen value function might diverge greatly
>from what typical voters want. But in this case I don't see much reason
>to expect that voter pressure would induce politicians to follow such a
>demonstrated-reliable indicator; you'd need a more constitutional fix.

 I was assuming that politicians will be about equally successfull at
subverting the expressed opinions of the voters in either case, and am
worrying about which approach will best insure that the expressed voter
opinion correlates well with the voters' values. I think that asking
voters to track down indicator problems by looking at numeric weights
is likely to introduce errors because many people won't be willing or
able to translate their values into numbers.

>I'm intrigued by the idea of using random juries to set the value function.
>But the details bother me. You want the function that best predicts random
>jury opinions over some distribution of decisions, given some distribution
>of the facts of the case. But who decides the distribution of decisions?

 I would have the voters decide, probably by grouping decisions into a few
simple categories (economic, military, abortion/euthanasia/etc).

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

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