Posted: May 13, 2018 8:16 pm
by Xerographica
Thommo wrote:It seems the Quran and the bible do rather well, along with good ol' mass murdering Chairman Mao, while the great works of laissez-faire capitalism and poor old Adam Smith lag way, way behind on the sales stakes.

Like I emphasized in the OP, the spenders wouldn't be buying the books.

Timmy is a ten year old who loves Harry Potter. Frank is a fifty year old who loves Adam Smith. In a democracy, Timmy and Frank will have equal influence on the rankings of Potter and Smith. In a buying market though, Timmy will have more influence than Frank, given that all of Smith's works are freely available online. But what about in a ranking market? Chances are good that Frank will outspend Timmy.

Think about it in terms of tug-of-war. With democracy, Timmy and Frank are on opposite sides of the rope. Neither of them pull on the rope though because democracy doesn't measure strength. It just counts how many people are on each side of the rope.

With a buying market, Timmy pulls on the rope but Frank does not because Smith's work is freely available. It's a really different story with the ranking market. In this case they both pull on the rope, but Frank pulls harder than Timmy. How much harder does he pull? That's a good question.

Now, if I argue that Timmy should be allowed to vote, then you'll probably disagree. But with a ranking market there's absolutely no problem with Timmy's participation... even if he does have the heart of a champion.

Imagine that we tweak the OP book sorting experiment. We get rid of the voting and compare the spending results of college students versus professors. How differently would the two groups rank the books? Let's increase the granularity and break the college students down according to their year. Would we see any trends? Would seniors rank the Bible higher or lower than freshmen? It would be very problematic if we didn't see any trends. This experiment would essentially allow us to grade that college. If there wasn't a steep upward trend for the Wealth of Nations, then personally I would give that college a very low grade.