Re: Returned mail: Data format error

The Low Golden Willow (
Sun, 9 Mar 1997 14:27:18 -0800 (PST)

} On Mar 9, 1:21am, Phil Goetz wrote:
} } rather than secretly as they are now. Imagine if, instead of Congress
} } voting on a bill, voters pledged money for or against it. People would
} } have to put their money where their mouth is. People would straighten out
} } their priorities pretty quick if they had to back them up with cash.
} Ah, I've thought of this myself. Friedman seemed to be working toward
} it in some articles, perhaps the one on Iceland. So let's see if I can
} find a flaw...
} This is actually similar to direct democracy, except that instead of a
} person a vote we have a dollar a vote. If one were to try to sell this
} as a change one would have to argue why this would be better than simply
} switching to direct democracy.
} One argument could be that money is more of an obvious committment than
} voting, and also is finite over many laws.
} On the other hand, the problems of direct democracy may be replicated
} here. One argument for representatives is that they can concentrate on
} knowing more than the general public, which might vote out of
} well-intentioned ignorance. With money votes... actually that should
} limit the problem, since money is scarcer than votes. So people should
} vote only if they feel informed (which, as Robin has complained, is not
} the same as voting when they are informed.) However, that simply limits
} dumb voting; there may still be an obstacle to becoming informed about
} public good issues.
} People will also raise the question of the concentration of wealth; Friedman's
} description of Iceland hints that things fell apart after 3 centuries
} because of accumulated imbalance. Ten decabillionaires have $100
} billion if they unite. 100 million people with incomes of $10,000 have
} total income of $1 trillion. Of course disposable income is rather
} less, and there's the public good problem in unifying the populace.
} Still, it does seem as if the distortion shouldn't be terrible. And
} it'd be more obvious. Whoops, secret ballot. Whoops, do we trust a
} secret ballot when the votes are money? Vote-counters have a direct
} reward for miscounting.
} Merry part,
} -xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-) <*>
} Dance, dance, the shaking of the sheets
} Dance, dance, when you hear the pi-per.
} Lady, everyone must dance,
} The shaking of the sheets with me.