Voting VS Spending

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Re: Voting VS Spending

#141  Postby newolder » May 17, 2018 9:33 pm

Xerographica wrote:
newolder wrote:
Xerographica wrote:...
Let me break down what I'm proposing...

1. People would voluntarily vote for their favorite skeptics.
2. People would voluntarily donate to this forum.
3. Donors would specify who their favorite skeptics are.
4. We would compare how donors and voters rank skeptics.

Where's the problem?


You will learn that voters think voting is the best ranking method and donors think otherwise. Some may do both and that will contaminate the signal you seek.

I don't think that there's any guarantee that somebody who only votes will like the voting ranking more than the donating ranking.

I agree, there's no guarantee that this exercise will yield any useful data at all - with the possible exception of being useful as a random number generator. :thumbup:
I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops. - Stephen J. Gould
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#142  Postby Xerographica » May 17, 2018 9:49 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
Xerographica wrote:
newolder wrote:
Xerographica wrote:...
Let me break down what I'm proposing...

1. People would voluntarily vote for their favorite skeptics.
2. People would voluntarily donate to this forum.
3. Donors would specify who their favorite skeptics are.
4. We would compare how donors and voters rank skeptics.

Where's the problem?


You will learn that voters think voting is the best ranking method and donors think otherwise. Some may do both and that will contaminate the signal you seek.

I don't think that there's any guarantee that somebody who only votes will like the voting ranking more than the donating ranking.


Well, if it's guarantees you're after, try religion. Oh, wait....

That said, I don't think there are any guarantees that anyone will tell you truthfully which ranking they like best, whether they vote, donate, or do both. It's an occupational hazard with the kind of 'research' you're proposing.

I'm new here so I don't know the preferences of other members very well. But I know that PZ Myers isn't a fan of Sam Harris. So if voting puts Harris at the top, but Myers says that he prefers the voting ranking, then I'd call shenanigans. Myers is also not a fan of Michael Shermer, Phil Mason... and perhaps a "few" other prominent skeptics. Anybody who regularly reads Myers' blogs should be able to tell which ranking he prefers. But maybe not.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#143  Postby Xerographica » May 17, 2018 9:58 pm

newolder wrote:
Xerographica wrote:
newolder wrote:
Xerographica wrote:...
Let me break down what I'm proposing...

1. People would voluntarily vote for their favorite skeptics.
2. People would voluntarily donate to this forum.
3. Donors would specify who their favorite skeptics are.
4. We would compare how donors and voters rank skeptics.

Where's the problem?


You will learn that voters think voting is the best ranking method and donors think otherwise. Some may do both and that will contaminate the signal you seek.

I don't think that there's any guarantee that somebody who only votes will like the voting ranking more than the donating ranking.

I agree, there's no guarantee that this exercise will yield any useful data at all - with the possible exception of being useful as a random number generator. :thumbup:

I think it's useful to be able to compare your rankings with our rankings. Assuming, of course, that our rankings accurately reflect our true priorities/preferences.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#144  Postby newolder » May 17, 2018 10:06 pm

Xerographica wrote:...

I think it's useful to be able to compare your rankings with our rankings. Assuming, of course, that our rankings accurately reflect our true priorities/preferences.

Nope, you've lost me completely here. Let's say your rankings were skeptic a, skeptic b and skeptic c each had 33% of the total vote whilst our rankings had 1 cent donation for skeptic q, $1 donation for skeptic r and $1Million donation for skeptic s.

A) How do you validate your stated assumption and B) how do the rankings compare? (Hint: They don't.)
I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops. - Stephen J. Gould
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#145  Postby Xerographica » May 17, 2018 10:37 pm

newolder wrote:
Xerographica wrote:...

I think it's useful to be able to compare your rankings with our rankings. Assuming, of course, that our rankings accurately reflect our true priorities/preferences.

Nope, you've lost me completely here. Let's say your rankings were skeptic a, skeptic b and skeptic c each had 33% of the total vote whilst our rankings had 1 cent donation for skeptic q, $1 donation for skeptic r and $1Million donation for skeptic s.

A) How do you validate your stated assumption and B) how do the rankings compare? (Hint: They don't.)

Let's imagine this is my true ranking...

1. Evolution
2. God

And this is your false ranking...

1. God
2. Evolution

I compare my true ranking with your false ranking. I don't know that your ranking is false so I tell you all about why you should rank evolution higher than God. You respond that you actually already rank evolution higher than God.

The point of comparing rankings is to facilitate the sharing of the most useful information. The problem with false rankings is that they facilitate the sharing of the wrong information.

Donating rankings, unlike voting rankings, will accurately reflect the group's true priorities/preferences. As a result, members of the group will share the most useful information with each other.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#146  Postby newolder » May 18, 2018 9:13 am

Xerographica wrote:...
Let's imagine this is my true ranking...

1. Evolution
2. God

And this is your false ranking...

1. God
2. Evolution

I compare my true ranking with your false ranking. I don't know that your ranking is false so I tell you all about why you should rank evolution higher than God. You respond that you actually already rank evolution higher than God.

The point of comparing rankings is to facilitate the sharing of the most useful information. The problem with false rankings is that they facilitate the sharing of the wrong information.

Donating rankings, unlike voting rankings, will accurately reflect the group's true priorities/preferences. As a result, members of the group will share the most useful information with each other.

None of this post bears any relation to the questions it is supposedly replying to. Also, it's complete gibberish. Bye now.
I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops. - Stephen J. Gould
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#147  Postby BWE » May 19, 2018 7:10 am

Folks, this is your brain on rational choice theory.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#148  Postby Cito di Pense » May 19, 2018 7:20 am

BWE wrote:Folks, this is your brain on rational choice theory.


And isn't it a hoot?! Putting a name to it really makes it all better.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#149  Postby zoon » May 19, 2018 8:58 am

Xerographica wrote:
Pebble wrote:I don't think anyone here feels democracy is a good system, rather the least worse. Further it is not based on no evidence, rather the evidence is limited e.g. considerable work on the superiority of collective decision making.

If you perceive that democracy (using voting to rank things) is the least worst system, then you obviously must believe that it's better than the market (using spending to rank things). However, as far as I know, there isn't any evidence that this is truly the case....

When it comes to organising whole societies (rather than e.g. book rankings) there's another way of ranking besides democracy and the market, which is fighting. If people want something badly enough, they will fight for it, not merely spend money (spending money would only be a part of it). On this view, a free-for-all would be the best way of finding out what people really want. At a global level, I think it's what we've got.

The wrinkle here, is that humans are a species which cooperates as well as competing, and the better cooperators, the individuals who succeed in forming the largest and most effective groups, tend to win. Passing over one or two intermediate steps, nation states are the primary military units in the world today, there's a stand-off in the global free-for-all which might yet turn into WW3. An ongoing problem for any nation state is avoiding civil war, or a complete breakdown into a failed state with gangs of armed thugs. There are some such places in the world today, and I think there's a good deal of evidence that they are not happy places, or well able to defend themselves against more unified neighbours. On the supposition that one objective most reasonable people have is to avoid civil war, democracy seems to be working at least as well as any other system. Government by the wealthy for the wealthy, which as far as I can tell is what Xerographica is suggesting, tends to lead to French revolutions and such.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#150  Postby Xerographica » May 19, 2018 9:58 am

Zoon, the fighting only exists because markets weren't used to rank the options. You're correct that fighting can reveal people's preferences...

Why does conflict exist? Agreement is again the main issue. Not about the mutual spheres of tolerance, but about the predicted outcome of an actual fight. There can be no actual conflict between rational agents under common knowledge because everyone would estimate the costs and benefits of fighting in the same way, and thus bargains would be struck beforehand. Exploitation of the weak by the powerful can still exist under common knowledge, but there would be no waste of resources in actual fighting (Nye 1997). According to the bargaining theory of war (Fearon 1995; Wagner 2000; Hirshleifer 2001; Filson & Werner 2002; Reiter 2003; Smith & Stam 2004; Powell 2006; Arena 2010), conflict exists due to differences in perceived power and from the lack of credible information about the other party’s true power. As such, “[t]he development of order out of chaos requires that each human being establish a basis for anticipating how others will behave, so that each person can act with an expectation that other persons will act with constraint. Common knowledge and shared communities of understanding are the foundations for shared expectations about how others will behave.” (V. Ostrom 1997: p. 136)

When social entrepreneurship fails to establish such “shared communities of understanding”, the actual fight acts as the mechanism for mutually and credibly revealing the information about the true balance of power. Conflict is the ultimate mechanism for creating common knowledge by solving the problem of credible information. For example, this is exactly what we are seeing in places like Somalia, where, following violent conflict, which clarified the true balances of power, local religious leaders are able to finally muster peace even in the absence of formal law. Conflict ends not when everyone’s desires reach a state of mutual harmony, but merely when credible mutual information is achieved. This is a much weaker condition than the harmony of interests condition, and it shows us that we can have social peace despite the persistence of diverse values and social goals. — Vlad Tarko, The Role of Ideas in Political Economy

Think about the Civil War. Imagine if, each year since the US was founded, the government had conducted a national survey about slavery. People would have used voting to rank the options. In the beginning the survey would have showed most of the country supporting slavery. Over time the support would have shifted to opposing it.

This voting survey would have been the equivalent of a tug of war contest that was simply determined by counting how many people were on each side of the rope. But what if voting had been replaced with spending? Then everyone would have seen and known how hard each side was willing to pull. The relative strength of both sides of the slavery debate would have been clearly seen and known. There wouldn't have been any ambiguity. Everyone would have clearly seen and known the true balance of power. This would have made it entirely pointless to use a war to reveal which side was stronger.

Also, slavery would have ended a lot sooner. Unlike voting, spending would have revealed the preference intensity of the minority that supported abolition. The significant size of their sacrifice would have naturally attracted more attention to their arguments. In far less time the balance of power would have shifted in favor of the abolitionists.

I'm not necessarily suggesting "government of the wealthy for the wealthy". In no case should only the wealthy be able to rank options. But I do perceive that, because of consumer choice, it's beneficial for the wealthy to have more influence. We all benefit when better farmers successfully compete more land away from worse farmers. However, there are certainly far too many exceptions to the rule that the wealthy should have more influence. Nearly all these exceptions are the consequence of using voting and committees to rank many important things. Once we replace these two ranking systems with spending, then exceptions to rule will be minimized and benefit will be maximized.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#151  Postby zoon » May 19, 2018 3:28 pm

Xerographica wrote:Zoon, the fighting only exists because markets weren't used to rank the options. You're correct that fighting can reveal people's preferences...

Why does conflict exist? Agreement is again the main issue. Not about the mutual spheres of tolerance, but about the predicted outcome of an actual fight. There can be no actual conflict between rational agents under common knowledge because everyone would estimate the costs and benefits of fighting in the same way, and thus bargains would be struck beforehand. Exploitation of the weak by the powerful can still exist under common knowledge, but there would be no waste of resources in actual fighting (Nye 1997). According to the bargaining theory of war (Fearon 1995; Wagner 2000; Hirshleifer 2001; Filson & Werner 2002; Reiter 2003; Smith & Stam 2004; Powell 2006; Arena 2010), conflict exists due to differences in perceived power and from the lack of credible information about the other party’s true power. As such, “[t]he development of order out of chaos requires that each human being establish a basis for anticipating how others will behave, so that each person can act with an expectation that other persons will act with constraint. Common knowledge and shared communities of understanding are the foundations for shared expectations about how others will behave.” (V. Ostrom 1997: p. 136)

When social entrepreneurship fails to establish such “shared communities of understanding”, the actual fight acts as the mechanism for mutually and credibly revealing the information about the true balance of power. Conflict is the ultimate mechanism for creating common knowledge by solving the problem of credible information. For example, this is exactly what we are seeing in places like Somalia, where, following violent conflict, which clarified the true balances of power, local religious leaders are able to finally muster peace even in the absence of formal law. Conflict ends not when everyone’s desires reach a state of mutual harmony, but merely when credible mutual information is achieved. This is a much weaker condition than the harmony of interests condition, and it shows us that we can have social peace despite the persistence of diverse values and social goals. — Vlad Tarko, The Role of Ideas in Political Economy

Think about the Civil War. Imagine if, each year since the US was founded, the government had conducted a national survey about slavery. People would have used voting to rank the options. In the beginning the survey would have showed most of the country supporting slavery. Over time the support would have shifted to opposing it.

This voting survey would have been the equivalent of a tug of war contest that was simply determined by counting how many people were on each side of the rope. But what if voting had been replaced with spending? Then everyone would have seen and known how hard each side was willing to pull. The relative strength of both sides of the slavery debate would have been clearly seen and known. There wouldn't have been any ambiguity. Everyone would have clearly seen and known the true balance of power. This would have made it entirely pointless to use a war to reveal which side was stronger……….

Yes, fighting is less likely when there’s an obvious imbalance of power, but often, as at the beginning of the US civil war (and most other wars) it’s not at all clear even with the best available methods of measurement, that either side has a definite advantage. In particular, when it comes to civil wars, I don’t think it’s clear that wealth is necessarily an accurate measure of fighting power. Wealth, money, is a measure of power over other people which depends on a settled society, which, by definition, has undergone some kind of collapse when civil war breaks out. A rich person may be able to pay a thousand other people to build a nice house, but if those thousand people have decided on a revolution, then the power, the wealth of the rich person, has evaporated. In the antebellum South, the wealth of many people was at least partly in the slaves they owned, and that wealth ceases to exist if slavery becomes illegal. In the context of a possible breakdown of government, counting individuals rather than government-backed cash may be the more stable form of evidence as to which side is likely to win.

Xerographica wrote:I'm not necessarily suggesting "government of the wealthy for the wealthy". In no case should only the wealthy be able to rank options. But I do perceive that, because of consumer choice, it's beneficial for the wealthy to have more influence. We all benefit when better farmers successfully compete more land away from worse farmers. However, there are certainly far too many exceptions to the rule that the wealthy should have more influence. Nearly all these exceptions are the consequence of using voting and committees to rank many important things. Once we replace these two ranking systems with spending, then exceptions to rule will be minimized and benefit will be maximized.

I don’t see how your suggestion could lead to anything but an effectively total transfer of political power to the wealthy, at least in the US. According to Wikipedia here (the caption to the chart): “The top 10% of families held 76% of the wealth in 2013, while the bottom 50% of families held 1%.” At least half the population would have effectively zero say in how they are governed, even less than they do now. You appear to be claiming that this change would result in their being better off?

For most of recorded history, since humans took to living in settled communities with cities, it’s fair to say that this kind of distribution of wealth and of political power has been, if not the norm, at least common. Why exactly a series of successful revolutions have resulted in democracy becoming more nearly standard over the last couple of hundred years is not clear; human brains and social behaviour are not remotely close to being understood in detail at the physical level. What evidence we have comes from existing societies, and, as far as I’m aware, it suggests that the majority of people in democracies tend to be better off than the majority of people under other forms of government. What evidence supports your claim?
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#152  Postby Thommo » May 19, 2018 6:24 pm

Why does conflict exist? Agreement is again the main issue. Not about the mutual spheres of tolerance, but about the predicted outcome of an actual fight. There can be no actual conflict between rational agents under common knowledge because everyone would estimate the costs and benefits of fighting in the same way, and thus bargains would be struck beforehand. Exploitation of the weak by the powerful can still exist under common knowledge, but there would be no waste of resources in actual fighting (Nye 1997). According to the bargaining theory of war (Fearon 1995; Wagner 2000; Hirshleifer 2001; Filson & Werner 2002; Reiter 2003; Smith & Stam 2004; Powell 2006; Arena 2010), conflict exists due to differences in perceived power and from the lack of credible information about the other party’s true power. As such, “[t]he development of order out of chaos requires that each human being establish a basis for anticipating how others will behave, so that each person can act with an expectation that other persons will act with constraint. Common knowledge and shared communities of understanding are the foundations for shared expectations about how others will behave.” (V. Ostrom 1997: p. 136)

When social entrepreneurship fails to establish such “shared communities of understanding”, the actual fight acts as the mechanism for mutually and credibly revealing the information about the true balance of power. Conflict is the ultimate mechanism for creating common knowledge by solving the problem of credible information. For example, this is exactly what we are seeing in places like Somalia, where, following violent conflict, which clarified the true balances of power, local religious leaders are able to finally muster peace even in the absence of formal law. Conflict ends not when everyone’s desires reach a state of mutual harmony, but merely when credible mutual information is achieved. This is a much weaker condition than the harmony of interests condition, and it shows us that we can have social peace despite the persistence of diverse values and social goals. — Vlad Tarko, The Role of Ideas in Political Economy


"An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today. "
--Evan Esar

"Forecasting is the art of saying what will happen, and then explaining why it didn't! "
--Anonymous

" It is often said there are two types of forecasts ... lucky or wrong!!!! "

“the only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable”
--Ezra Solomon

All we can really learn from the assertion that rational agents with common knowledge cannot engage in conflict is either that (a) real world agents are not "rational agents", (b) the common knowledge criteria is not met, or (c) the argument that led to the assertion is wrong.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#153  Postby Xerographica » May 19, 2018 7:02 pm

zoon wrote:Yes, fighting is less likely when there’s an obvious imbalance of power, but often, as at the beginning of the US civil war (and most other wars) it’s not at all clear even with the best available methods of measurement, that either side has a definite advantage. In particular, when it comes to civil wars, I don’t think it’s clear that wealth is necessarily an accurate measure of fighting power. Wealth, money, is a measure of power over other people which depends on a settled society, which, by definition, has undergone some kind of collapse when civil war breaks out. A rich person may be able to pay a thousand other people to build a nice house, but if those thousand people have decided on a revolution, then the power, the wealth of the rich person, has evaporated. In the antebellum South, the wealth of many people was at least partly in the slaves they owned, and that wealth ceases to exist if slavery becomes illegal. In the context of a possible breakdown of government, counting individuals rather than government-backed cash may be the more stable form of evidence as to which side is likely to win.

I suggested using donating to measure each side's strength way before the Civil War... as soon as the US was founded. You're addressing a situation where donating is used to measure each side's strength after the Civil War started. If the Civil War happens, then clearly my preferred system didn't work. But you haven't quite explained why it didn't work. Why did the Civil War occur despite the fact that, thanks to donating, everybody could clearly see each side's strength?

zoon wrote:I don’t see how your suggestion could lead to anything but an effectively total transfer of political power to the wealthy, at least in the US. According to Wikipedia here (the caption to the chart): “The top 10% of families held 76% of the wealth in 2013, while the bottom 50% of families held 1%.” At least half the population would have effectively zero say in how they are governed, even less than they do now. You appear to be claiming that this change would result in their being better off?

Right now, because of democracy, you assume that congress makes decisions that take my well-being into consideration. My well-being? In the private sector I have to spend so much time and energy going around using my money to inform producers what works for my well-being. I shop and shop and shop. For example, I go to the supermarket and buy some artichokes. In doing so I essentially tell Frank the farmer, "Hey buddy! Good job guy! You correctly guessed that my well-being depends on artichokes! Thanks! Good lookin' out! Here's some money! Keep up the good work!" His behavior benefits my well-being, so I have to use my cash to positively reinforce his beneficial behavior.

Now here you are with the assumption that congress somehow knows what works for my well-being despite the fact that I've never once in my life shopped in the public sector. I've never once decided to give any of my tax dollars to the EPA, NASA, the DMV or any other organization in the public sector. I've never once used my tax dollars to positively reinforce behavior that benefits my well-being. Yet, despite the fact that I've never once shopped in the public sector, congress knows what works for my well-being? Woah. This boggles my mind. It blows my mind. It puts my mind into a blender. Your assumption bears repeating with emphasis... congress knows what works for my well-being despite the fact that I've never once in my life shopped in the public sector. Your assumption is really that shopping is entirely unnecessary. If you truly believe that shopping is entirely unnecessary... then please... don't hide your insight under a bushel. Start a thread here, there and everywhere and say "Hey folks! Shopping is entirely unnecessary! It's a massive waste of everybody's limited time and energy to use our money to communicate what works for our well-being! All we need to do is infrequently vote! And occasionally write our representatives!"

Seriously, if you're going to be skeptical about anything... then be super skeptical of the belief that there isn't a correlation between consumer choice and everybody's well-being.

zoon wrote:For most of recorded history, since humans took to living in settled communities with cities, it’s fair to say that this kind of distribution of wealth and of political power has been, if not the norm, at least common. Why exactly a series of successful revolutions have resulted in democracy becoming more nearly standard over the last couple of hundred years is not clear; human brains and social behaviour are not remotely close to being understood in detail at the physical level. What evidence we have comes from existing societies, and, as far as I’m aware, it suggests that the majority of people in democracies tend to be better off than the majority of people under other forms of government. What evidence supports your claim?

Correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation. You believe our prosperity is because of democracy. I believe our prosperity is despite democracy.

History is filled with people who saw correlation where there was none...

“Old-women’s Grandson,” ran the words of a Crow Indian’s prayer to the Morning Star, “I give you this joint [of my finger], give me something good in exchange…I am poor, give me a good horse. I want to strike one of the enemy and I want to marry a good-natured woman. I want a tent of my own to live.” “During the period of my visits to the Crow (1907–1916),” wrote Professor Lowie, to whom we owe the recording of this pitiful prayer, “I saw few old men with left hands intact.” — Joseph Campbell, Primitive Mythology

There was no correlation between sacrificing finger digits and abundance... just like there is no correlation between democracy and abundance. Both religions are bogus.

Every democracy has been bundled together with a market. The market, not the democracy, is why these societies have been relatively successful. Societies always work better when we better understand each other's needs... and markets are far better at revealing our needs than democracies are. Our needs aren't simple things... they are incredible complex and dynamic. The idea that infrequently voting and occasionally writing our representatives can adequately reveal our needs is the most harmful idea that has ever existed. But it's not like I can show you all the additional prosperity we would currently be enjoying if it weren't for democracy.

However I can show you the difference between voting and spending. All we need to do is use voting and donating to rank prominent skeptics. Then you'll see the difference between voting and spending and decide for yourself which ranking better reflects your own need for skeptics.

We need experiments to minimize bogus beliefs. Unfortunately, so far there hasn't been much support for my proposed experiment. It's easy to to be skeptical of something you don't believe. It's a lot harder to be skeptical of something you do believe.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#154  Postby Cito di Pense » May 19, 2018 8:00 pm

Xerographica wrote:However I can show you the difference between voting and spending. All we need to do is use voting and donating to rank prominent skeptics. Then you'll see the difference between voting and spending and decide for yourself which ranking better reflects your own need for skeptics.


I think you understand the possibility that simply donating to the candidate of your choice may predispose you to support that candidate. Or maybe it works the other way around, and if you support a candidate, you might be more predisposed to donate. At any rate, you have a fucking conundrum there, Xerographica. It works that way for lists of rankings, too, even where the only thing at stake is Xerographica's theory of making the world a better place, and that is in no way identified with what will make the world a better place. Any faith system does a bang-up job of being somebody's idea for what will make the world a better place, including yours. The only catch is that you take it on faith. In your case, the faith is that your experiment will prove something. Since there is no chance your experiment will be performed, your proposed experiment is a perfect vehicle of faith.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#155  Postby Xerographica » May 19, 2018 8:16 pm

Thommo wrote:"An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today. "
--Evan Esar

"Forecasting is the art of saying what will happen, and then explaining why it didn't! "
--Anonymous

" It is often said there are two types of forecasts ... lucky or wrong!!!! "

“the only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable”
--Ezra Solomon

All we can really learn from the assertion that rational agents with common knowledge cannot engage in conflict is either that (a) real world agents are not "rational agents", (b) the common knowledge criteria is not met, or (c) the argument that led to the assertion is wrong.

Economists aren't equally effective. Adam Smith was the most effective economist. He supported representation for Americans...

Towards the declension of the Roman republic, the allies of Rome, who had borne the principal burden of defending the state and extending the empire, demanded to be admitted to all the privileges of Roman citizens. Upon being refused, the social war broke out. During the course of that war, Rome granted those privileges to the greater part of them one by one, and in proportion as they detached themselves from the general confederacy. The parliament of Great Britain insists upon taxing the colonies; and they refuse to be taxed by a Parliament in which they are not represented. If to each colony, which should detach itself from the general confederacy, Great Britain should allow such a number of representatives as suited the proportion of what is contributed to the public revenue of the empire, in consequence of its being subjected to the same taxes, and in compensation admitted to the same freedom of trade with its fellow-subjects at home; the number of its representatives to be augmented as the proportion of its contribution might afterwards augment; a new method of acquiring importance, a new and more dazzling object of ambition would be presented to the leading men of each colony. Instead of piddling for the little prizes which are to be found in what may be called the paltry raffle of colony faction; they might then hope, from the presumption which men naturally have in their own ability and good fortune, to draw some of the great prizes which sometimes come from the wheel of the great state lottery of British polities. Unless this or some other method is fallen upon, and there seems to be none more obvious than this, of preserving the importance and of gratifying the ambition of the leading men of America, it is not very probable that they will ever voluntarily submit to us; and we ought to consider that the blood which must be shed in forcing them to do so is, every drop of it, blood either of those who are, or of those whom we wish to have for our fellow-citizens. They are very weak who flatter themselves that, in the state to which things have come, our colonies will be easily conquered by force alone. The persons who now govern the resolutions of what they call their continental congress, feel in themselves at this moment a degree of importance which, perhaps, the greatest subjects in Europe scarce feel. From shopkeepers, tradesmen, and attornies, they are become statesmen and legislators, and are employed in contriving a new form of government for an extensive empire, which, they flatter themselves, will become, and which, indeed, seems very likely to become, one of the greatest and most formidable that ever was in the world. Five hundred different people, perhaps, who in different ways act immediately under the continental congress; and five hundred thousand, perhaps, who act under those five hundred, all feel in the same manner a proportionable rise in their own importance. Almost every individual of the governing party in America fills, at present in his own fancy, a station superior, not only to what he had ever filled before, but to what he had ever expected to fill; and unless some new object of ambition is presented either to him or to his leaders, if he has the ordinary spirit of a man, he will die in defence of that station. - Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

If the British government had heeded Smith's council, then right now I'd be sipping tea and watching cricket on BBC. You would be watching the members of British parliament heckle each other... but they wouldn't be in England...

Such has hitherto been the rapid progress of that country in wealth, population, and improvement, that in the course of little more than a century, perhaps, the produce of American might exceed that of British taxation. The seat of the empire would then naturally remove itself to that part of the empire which contributed most to the general defence and support of the whole. - Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

Obviously Smith correctly predicted that America's revenue would exceed England's revenue. I'm not sure how close his estimate of a century was.

Smith also correctly predicted what would happen if church and state were separated...

But if politics had never called in the aid of religion, had the conquering party never adopted the tenets of one sect more than those of another when it had gained the victory, it would probably have dealt equally and impartially with all the different sects, and have allowed every man to choose his own priest and his own religion as he thought proper. There would in this case, no doubt have been a great multitude of religious sects. Almost every different congregation might probably have made a little sect by itself, or have entertained some peculiar tenets of its own. Each teacher would no doubt have felt himself under the necessity of making the utmost exertion and of using every art both to preserve and to increase the number of his disciples. But as every other teacher would have felt himself under the same necessity, the success of no one teacher, or sect of teachers, could have been very great. The interested and active zeal of religious teachers can be dangerous and troublesome only where there is either but one sect tolerated in the society, or where the whole of a large society is divided into two or three great sects; the teachers of each acting by concert, and under a regular discipline and subordination. But that zeal must be altogether innocent where the society is divided into two or three hundred, or perhaps into as many thousand small sects, of which no one could be considerable enough to disturb the public tranquility. The teachers of each sect, seeing themselves surrounded on all sides with more adversaries than friends, would be obliged to learn that candour and moderation which is so seldom to be found among the teachers of those great sects whose tenets, being supported by the civil magistrate, are held in veneration by almost all the inhabitants of extensive kingdoms and empires, and who therefore see nothing round them but followers, disciples, and humble admirers. — Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

Smith understood the impact that consumer choice has on the supply of things. He understood that consumer choice would greatly facilitate the diversification, and hence evolution, of religions.

It really wasn't Smith's job as an economist to predict Mormonism... it was his job to understand the general consequences of consumer choice. It was his job to understand what a difference consumer choice makes.

Right now Netflix doesn't have consumer choice. What difference would it make if it did? What difference would it make if subscribers could use their own fees to help rank the content? It's not the job of economists to predict that there would be a huge spike in shows about traveling... it's their job to predict that the supply would far more accurately reflect the demand. Obviously, and unfortunately, most economists aren't doing their job. They aren't standing on Smith's shoulders.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#156  Postby Cito di Pense » May 19, 2018 8:22 pm

Xerographica wrote:Right now Netflix doesn't have consumer choice. What difference would it make if it did? What difference would it make if subscribers could use their own fees to help rank the content?


You don't like the content rankings at Netflix? Cry me a river. What you need to try is concocting a question for which someone other than you wants to know the answer. You even already know the answer to this one. Keep the faith, baby.

Xerographica wrote:
Smith understood the impact that consumer choice has on the supply of things.


Problem is, the stuff you're interested in can't be consumed, because you're above it all and interested only in the supply of supply itself. That's how it goes with faith systems.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#157  Postby Thommo » May 19, 2018 9:32 pm

Xerographica wrote:
Thommo wrote:"An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today. "
--Evan Esar

"Forecasting is the art of saying what will happen, and then explaining why it didn't! "
--Anonymous

" It is often said there are two types of forecasts ... lucky or wrong!!!! "

“the only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable”
--Ezra Solomon

All we can really learn from the assertion that rational agents with common knowledge cannot engage in conflict is either that (a) real world agents are not "rational agents", (b) the common knowledge criteria is not met, or (c) the argument that led to the assertion is wrong.

Economists aren't equally effective. Adam Smith was the most effective economist. He supported representation for Americans...


He was the least effective economist. Which is no small feat amongst a field featuring such little effect.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#158  Postby Xerographica » May 19, 2018 10:40 pm

Thommo wrote:
Xerographica wrote:
Thommo wrote:"An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today. "
--Evan Esar

"Forecasting is the art of saying what will happen, and then explaining why it didn't! "
--Anonymous

" It is often said there are two types of forecasts ... lucky or wrong!!!! "

“the only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable”
--Ezra Solomon

All we can really learn from the assertion that rational agents with common knowledge cannot engage in conflict is either that (a) real world agents are not "rational agents", (b) the common knowledge criteria is not met, or (c) the argument that led to the assertion is wrong.

Economists aren't equally effective. Adam Smith was the most effective economist. He supported representation for Americans...


He was the least effective economist. Which is no small feat amongst a field featuring such little effect.

How much money would you be willing to donate in order to help rank economists?
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#159  Postby Cito di Pense » May 19, 2018 11:24 pm

Xerographica wrote:
How much money would you be willing to donate in order to help rank economists?


You don't get it, do you? Thommo's not saying here that he's unhappy with the rankings, as such.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Cito di Pense
 
Name: Al Forno, LLD,LDL,PPM
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#160  Postby Thommo » May 20, 2018 6:19 am

Xerographica wrote:
Thommo wrote:
Xerographica wrote:
Thommo wrote:"An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today. "
--Evan Esar

"Forecasting is the art of saying what will happen, and then explaining why it didn't! "
--Anonymous

" It is often said there are two types of forecasts ... lucky or wrong!!!! "

“the only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable”
--Ezra Solomon

All we can really learn from the assertion that rational agents with common knowledge cannot engage in conflict is either that (a) real world agents are not "rational agents", (b) the common knowledge criteria is not met, or (c) the argument that led to the assertion is wrong.

Economists aren't equally effective. Adam Smith was the most effective economist. He supported representation for Americans...


He was the least effective economist. Which is no small feat amongst a field featuring such little effect.

How much money would you be willing to donate in order to help rank economists?


Holy non sequitur batman!
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