Voting VS Spending

Which is more effective?

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Re: Voting VS Spending

#101  Postby Xerographica » May 16, 2018 6:38 am

Thommo wrote:
Xerographica wrote:
Thommo wrote:One of the issues here is that we want participants to pay to take part, and that honestly is not going to fly.

Why wouldn't it fly? There's no minimum payment requirement for the students in the spending group. As far as the results are concerned it doesn't make a difference whether a total of $5 dollars or $5,000 dollars is spent.


Have you ever tried to get people to pay you so that they can do you a favour before? When I was a student I did a couple of studies, and getting participants is - without getting them to pay - a complete nightmare.

But, if you think you can make it work, knock yourself out. I don't object.

Just don't expect me to be very invested in something I think (a) isn't going to work and (b) won't show anything useful if it does.

Incidentally, yes it will make a huge difference if $5 or $,5000 is spent, both in terms of small sample uncertainty (it would make it almost impossible to get a statistically significant result, and very prone to outliers) and also (although much less importantly) in terms of undermining any conceivable connection with people being willing to pay lots of money to buy national elections.

If there are 300 students in the spending group... what percentage of them would choose to spend money to influence the book rankings? Personally, I'd definitely choose to spend money because I truly love one of the books. So then the real question is... what percentage of the 300 students truly loves at least one of the books on the list?

The students should appreciate that the results of the experiment would be published. So everybody would be able to see how random students at UCLA, for example, rank the books.

Do you think there would be a higher percentage of spenders if the books were replaced with professors? This is relevant...

Ugh, never ever cite RateMyProfessors.com. I detest that site, and it’s a very poor way to evaluate teachers. I tend to ignore even the official student evaluations of my classes, because, like Dillon, I’m not running a popularity contest. - PZ Myers, How not to teach genetics

How differently would voting and spending rank professors?

The problem with this experiment is that it wouldn't confirm or falsify my belief. I probably wouldn't know any of the professors. Plus, I'm not sure how many professors would agree to be included on the list.

Schools have to make a ton of decisions. Every decision could be made with voting or spending. "Should we replace our stadium with a botanical garden?" How differently would voting and spending rank the results? This experiment would confirm or falsify my belief. If voting answered "yes" while spending answered "no"... then this would falsify my belief.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#102  Postby Thommo » May 16, 2018 6:50 am

Xerographica wrote:If there are 300 students in the spending group... what percentage of them would choose to spend money to influence the book rankings? Personally, I'd definitely choose to spend money because I truly love one of the books. So then the real question is... what percentage of the 300 students truly loves at least one of the books on the list?


Good luck with that. If you ever get so many participants that you have 300 willing to pay, do let us know.

Incidentally, I am curious as to which book it is you love so much you would spend money on it.

Xerographica wrote:The students should appreciate that the results of the experiment would be published. So everybody would be able to see how random students at UCLA, for example, rank the books.


That's a bit vague. Again, you need to explain what you're going to say to them and account for how that might influence the outcome.

Xerographica wrote:The problem with this experiment is that it wouldn't confirm or falsify my belief. I probably wouldn't know any of the professors. Plus, I'm not sure how many professors would agree to be included on the list.


To be fair, on that front it's no worse than the current example. But sticking to one thing at a time is clearly going to be better.

Xerographica wrote:Schools have to make a ton of decisions. Every decision could be made with voting or spending. "Should we replace our stadium with a botanical garden?" How differently would voting and spending rank the results? This experiment would confirm or falsify my belief. If voting answered "yes" while spending answered "no"... then this would falsify my belief.


Meh.

This all feels a bit whimsical, a bit "flights of fancy". I don't think any of us benefit from more and more examples of experiments that are less and less connected to the premise of the thread and never going to be conducted anyway.

I think it's pretty clear that we all understand the idea of an experiment (well, ignoring the fact you just said an experiment would confirm your belief, which experiments don't do anyway - you should gain confidence in a hypothesis with repeated failures to falsify, a single result in line with expectation is not a confirmation, and in the soft sciences a single failure isn't a falsification either).
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#103  Postby Xerographica » May 16, 2018 6:08 pm

Thommo wrote:
Xerographica wrote:If there are 300 students in the spending group... what percentage of them would choose to spend money to influence the book rankings? Personally, I'd definitely choose to spend money because I truly love one of the books. So then the real question is... what percentage of the 300 students truly loves at least one of the books on the list?


Good luck with that. If you ever get so many participants that you have 300 willing to pay, do let us know.

Incidentally, I am curious as to which book it is you love so much you would spend money on it.

The book is the Wealth of Nations.

Thommo wrote:
Xerographica wrote:The problem with this experiment is that it wouldn't confirm or falsify my belief. I probably wouldn't know any of the professors. Plus, I'm not sure how many professors would agree to be included on the list.


To be fair, on that front it's no worse than the current example. But sticking to one thing at a time is clearly going to be better.

Ranking professors is just as good an experiment as ranking books? The advantage of the books is that nearly everybody should prefer some of the books to be higher ranked than others. This means that nearly everybody should be able to compare their preferred ranking to the voting ranking and spending ranking, which makes this experiment more useful.

Thommo wrote:
Xerographica wrote:Schools have to make a ton of decisions. Every decision could be made with voting or spending. "Should we replace our stadium with a botanical garden?" How differently would voting and spending rank the results? This experiment would confirm or falsify my belief. If voting answered "yes" while spending answered "no"... then this would falsify my belief.


Meh.

This all feels a bit whimsical, a bit "flights of fancy". I don't think any of us benefit from more and more examples of experiments that are less and less connected to the premise of the thread and never going to be conducted anyway.

These examples are less connected to the premise of this thread? Why do you have this perception?

Earlier in this thread I shared the example of how the Libertarian Party used spending (donating) to choose its convention theme...

$6,327.00 — I’m That Libertarian!
$5,200.00 — Building Bridges, Not Walls
$1,620.00 — Pro Choice on Everything
$1,377.77 — Empowering the Individual
$395.00 — The Power of Principle
$150.00 — Future of Freedom
$135.00 — Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
$105.00 — Rise of the Libertarians
$75.00 — Free Lives Matter
$42.00 — Be Me, Be Free
$17.76 — Make Taxation Theft Again
$15.42 — Taxation is Theft
$15.00 — Jazzed About Liberty
$15.00 — All of Your Freedoms, All of the Time
$5.00 — Am I Being Detained!
$5.00 — Liberty Here and Now

I don't remember you saying anything about this example... did you? What I want to know is how differently the themes would have been ranked if voting had been used instead of spending. My guess is that "Taxation is Theft" would have been ranked higher.

What would have happened if donating had also been used to decide the convention location, date and speakers? Would this have made the convention more, or less, beneficial?

Here's a survey to determine who are better tippers... men or women. Spending is used instead of voting. Unfortunately, we can't see the results... but again... the question is how different the results would have been if voting had been used instead of spending.

In this example... donating was used to determine who to prank. We don't see how much money was donated for each option... but in a follow up post they share that PZ Myers "won". Would he still have "won" if voting had been used instead of spending?

Every decision that a committee, or executive, or director makes can also be made using voting and spending. You have this impression that each method has its place, but I strongly disagree. My best guess is that spending is by far the best way to make decisions. Directly testing and comparing each method will either confirm or falsify our respective beliefs.

Neither of us are in the position to have a bunch of college students test voting versus spending... but we are members of this forum. This forum does need money. Why not use a fundraiser to make a decision? Members would also have the opportunity to vote for their preferred option and then we could compare the results.

Looking through the announcements forum I found this... Vote for our logo - final round! How different would the results have been if donating had been used instead of voting? How much money would have been raised? Did you vote? Would you have cared enough about the topic to donate any money? I'm not sure if I personally would have.

Which topic would generate the most interest/donations? For me personally I obviously like the fact that this forum has a sub-forum dedicated to economics. So if there had been a fundraiser to decide whether to create this sub-forum, then I definitely would have donated for my preferred option.

What about suspensions and banishments? Would you ever be willing to make a donation to try and prevent somebody from being kicked off the island? Would more or less people get the boot if spending was used instead of voting? It's one thing to vote somebody off the island...it's another thing entirely to spend them off the island.

Here are the facts...

1. This forum needs money.
2. Decisions have to be made.
3. We need evidence about spending vs voting.

Thommo wrote:I think it's pretty clear that we all understand the idea of an experiment (well, ignoring the fact you just said an experiment would confirm your belief, which experiments don't do anyway - you should gain confidence in a hypothesis with repeated failures to falsify, a single result in line with expectation is not a confirmation, and in the soft sciences a single failure isn't a falsification either).

If voting ranked the Wealth of Nations (WON) higher than spending did, then this would falsify my belief in markets. Right now I predict that spending will rank the WON higher than voting. If my prediction turns out to be false, then I'll have to change my mind about markets.

Speaking of Keynes, or Samuelson, or somebody else... "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

In my mind it's currently a fact that markets are smarter than democracies. So if voting ranks the WON higher than spending does, then I'll have to change my mind about markets being smarter than democracies. Maybe some people can ignore the big and blatant evidence that is right in front of them... but I certainly cannot.

This forum has the potential to generate a lot of evidence about spending versus voting. Do you want it to generate an abundance of evidence?
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#104  Postby Thommo » May 16, 2018 6:19 pm

Xerographica wrote:
Thommo wrote:
Xerographica wrote:If there are 300 students in the spending group... what percentage of them would choose to spend money to influence the book rankings? Personally, I'd definitely choose to spend money because I truly love one of the books. So then the real question is... what percentage of the 300 students truly loves at least one of the books on the list?


Good luck with that. If you ever get so many participants that you have 300 willing to pay, do let us know.

Incidentally, I am curious as to which book it is you love so much you would spend money on it.

The book is the Wealth of Nations.


It wasn't even on the list.

This is starting to feel like you're just telling us that you really like this one book and less and less like there's even a possible basis for a scientific test here.

We've literally already been over everything else in your post. We don't need more speculations about more examples. Nobody is confused by the premise or what an example is.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#105  Postby Xerographica » May 16, 2018 7:02 pm

Thommo wrote:
Xerographica wrote:
Thommo wrote:
Xerographica wrote:If there are 300 students in the spending group... what percentage of them would choose to spend money to influence the book rankings? Personally, I'd definitely choose to spend money because I truly love one of the books. So then the real question is... what percentage of the 300 students truly loves at least one of the books on the list?


Good luck with that. If you ever get so many participants that you have 300 willing to pay, do let us know.

Incidentally, I am curious as to which book it is you love so much you would spend money on it.

The book is the Wealth of Nations.


It wasn't even on the list.

Evidently we were referring to different lists.

Thommo wrote:This is starting to feel like you're just telling us that you really like this one book and less and less like there's even a possible basis for a scientific test here.

We've literally already been over everything else in your post. We don't need more speculations about more examples. Nobody is confused by the premise or what an example is.

In my post I brought up the idea of using this forum to conduct scientific tests. Did you already address this possibility?
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#106  Postby Thommo » May 16, 2018 7:04 pm

Yeah, good luck with that.

Just to be clear, that's not sarcasm. But I think in terms of doing science here, that boat has sailed as you've telegraphed the purpose of your research, which means that any data you collect has zero statistical or scientific value - certainly I could not be a participant. And I've offered you quite a lot of advice on improving methodology, so I don't think there's anything more I can do.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#107  Postby Xerographica » May 16, 2018 7:46 pm

Thommo wrote:Yeah, good luck with that.

Just to be clear, that's not sarcasm. But I think in terms of doing science here, that boat has sailed as you've telegraphed the purpose of your research, which means that any data you collect has zero statistical or scientific value - certainly I could not be a participant. And I've offered you quite a lot of advice on improving methodology, so I don't think there's anything more I can do.

I'm not quite sure that I understand your concern. It would probably help if you applied your concerns to a specific example... such as ranking skeptics. Forum members could vote and/or donate for their favorite skeptics (ie Richard Dawkins). Then everyone could simply compare the voting rankings and the donating rankings.

How is your concern relevant to this experiment? I certainly would not be collecting votes or donations. Perhaps there would be a poll for the voters... and the donors would give their money directly to the website.

Participation would obviously be voluntary. I certainly don't want to force you to vote or donate for your favorite skeptic.

The worst case scenario is that the website receives a few donations. The best case scenario is that the website receives many donations and we all learn something useful about the difference between voting and donating.

Why you wouldn't strongly support this fundraiser/experiment? Because it wouldn't be perfect? Perfect is the enemy of good.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#108  Postby Thommo » May 16, 2018 8:10 pm

I don't think there's anything left to say. Slogans aren't science (and what you've proposed until now isn't perfect science, good science, mediocre science, poor science or even extremely poor science - it's just not a test of anything).

But allow me to leave you with a counterprediction:

You aren't going to conduct an abundance of experiments on Ratskep. You aren't even going to conduct one even semi-scientific experiment on Ratskep.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#109  Postby Cito di Pense » May 16, 2018 8:32 pm

Xerographica wrote:
Why you wouldn't strongly support this fundraiser/experiment?


If somebody announced that this website was going to fold unless X amount of donations could be raised within the next period Y, it would be similar to how, for example, local NPR broadcasting affiliates do it. The theme of having fans 'vote' with currency is not unheard-of; however, nobody with any appreciation of the scientific method will mistake it for an experiment.
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

#110  Postby Xerographica » May 16, 2018 8:47 pm

Thommo wrote:I don't think there's anything left to say. Slogans aren't science (and what you've proposed until now isn't perfect science, good science, mediocre science, poor science or even extremely poor science - it's just not a test of anything).

But allow me to leave you with a counterprediction:

You aren't going to conduct an abundance of experiments on Ratskep. You aren't even going to conduct one even semi-scientific experiment on Ratskep.

I really don't want your prediction to come true... Fundraising Idea.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#111  Postby Xerographica » May 16, 2018 9:23 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
Xerographica wrote:
Why you wouldn't strongly support this fundraiser/experiment?


If somebody announced that this website was going to fold unless X amount of donations could be raised within the next period Y, it would be similar to how, for example, local NPR broadcasting affiliates do it. The theme of having fans 'vote' with currency is not unheard-of; however, nobody with any appreciation of the scientific method will mistake it for an experiment.

The other day I decided to try making curry macaroni and cheese. From my perspective, this was definitely an experiment for me. I had never before tried to make this dish.

Every time you try something different it's an experiment. These experiments are rarely formal... but this doesn't mean that they can't be useful. I'm pretty sure that there's correlation between experiments and learning.

As far as I know, nobody has ever tried to directly compare the results of voting and spending. It's hard for me to articulate just how strange this... given how frequently we use these two types of input. Voting and spending are not minor details in our society... they are major things. They are both used to shape our society. They both have enormous consequences and greatly change all our lives. Therefore, testing and comparing voting and spending is the most important thing. Formal scientists have obviously overlooked the incredible necessity of this experiment... but I have not.

The only reason that anybody would oppose this experiment is because it could potentially falsify their cherished beliefs. Democracy is one of the most sacred cows. Most people really don't want to see it slaughtered. But that's how things work...

But have you ever asked yourselves sufficiently how much the erection of every ideal on earth has cost? How much reality has had to be misunderstood and slandered, how many lies have had to be sanctified, how many consciences disturbed, how much "God" sacrificed every time? If a temple is to be erected a temple must be destroyed: that is the law – let anyone who can show me a case in which it is not fulfilled! – Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality

My sacred cow is the market. I naturally don't want for it to be slaughtered... but neither do I want to worship a false "God". If the market is the true "God"... then it will defeat the democracy "God" in a battle.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#112  Postby Cito di Pense » May 17, 2018 2:31 am

Xerographica wrote:
Every time you try something different it's an experiment. These experiments are rarely formal... but this doesn't mean that they can't be useful. I'm pretty sure that there's correlation between experiments and learning.


That's a fact, but it's also where your understanding of experimental research is falling down. You are welcome to propose experiments whose outcomes you think may be useful and/or from which we might learn something. As you point out, any experiment you propose may feature such outcomes, but you have to sell the specific outcome rather than the notion that an experiment hasn't been tried yet and for that reason or others might overturn someone's cherished beliefs. Normally, experimentalists do their work as employment and they ask funding agencies for money so they can live while they are employed as experimentalists. You don't have to take my word for it, but this part is difficult, since there are only limited resources devoted to keeping experimentalists in shoe leather.

Look at the differences and similarities with what you are proposing. You're asking people to give up not merely their own resources, but their own time, to perform an experiment that just looks like a guess you're making, one that looks like a hope on your part as much as a guess. People aren't going to waste their time on something you guess (or wish!) might be useful, and useful only in the event that it confirms some general hypothesis. Yours is a somewhat childish approach to conducting experimental science. Your curry macaroni and cheese is a childish culinary experiment. I'm glad you found that it confirmed your intuitions, but we didn't really need the experiment to realize that it was not a very costly one to perform. The experiment you are proposing for voting vs. spending is much more costly to the experimental subjects whom you are begging to volunteer. Asking for resources to perform an experiment is often at least a little like begging since all you have to offer is the possibility of learning. There's begging, and then there is abject begging, and your motivation would be clearer if you were trying to do something more in line with employing yourself and less like trying to show how clever you might be. If you want to do the latter, apply for a place in university.

It just doesn't cost you enough to continue to nag people single-mindedly, or even obsessively, especially if you're not devoting significant hours in your life to your own employment in the marketplace or your own formal education. Even if you could persuade a few people to perform a pilot study, the results would not convince most people in the field, because it's only social research and even if it confirmed your hypothesis, it would only be a demonstration that it worked once in very particular circumstances. Don't waste your time or ours as you dream of achieving fame shooting in the dark.

Xerographica wrote:
The only reason that anybody would oppose this experiment is because it could potentially falsify their cherished beliefs....
My sacred cow is the market. I naturally don't want for it to be slaughtered... but neither do I want to worship a false "God". If the market is the true "God"... then it will defeat the democracy "God" in a battle.


Get this straight: I am neither opposing your experiment nor am I proposing to volunteer for it, and this has nothing to do with my cherished beliefs, which are few and far between. If you keep on with this rather narcissistic either/or pitch to your audience, you're just going to get treated like another obsessive voice crying in the wilderness. You're projecting onto others the fact that you have cherished beliefs that you're obsessing over. Nobody here really cares about the fact that you hold a set of beliefs and can quote Nietzsche as much as they will care about the fact that your attitude is all broadcast, and no reception.
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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

#113  Postby Thommo » May 17, 2018 4:45 am

Xerographica wrote:
Thommo wrote:I don't think there's anything left to say. Slogans aren't science (and what you've proposed until now isn't perfect science, good science, mediocre science, poor science or even extremely poor science - it's just not a test of anything).

But allow me to leave you with a counterprediction:

You aren't going to conduct an abundance of experiments on Ratskep. You aren't even going to conduct one even semi-scientific experiment on Ratskep.

I really don't want your prediction to come true... Fundraising Idea.


Ok. Well, if something more happens there than you have a bit of a chat, tell people you don't understand why they disagree, how they should behave and what they should think (even as they tell you otherwise, like happened here) then I'll be impressed.

A poll might have helped I suppose (at least you could get some straw data on one half of the puzzle that way), but I don't suppose you're going to be getting multiple people handing money over, somehow.

Good luck! :thumbup:
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#114  Postby Xerographica » May 17, 2018 6:01 am

Cito di Pense wrote:You're asking people to give up not merely their own resources, but their own time, to perform an experiment that just looks like a guess you're making, one that looks like a hope on your part as much as a guess. People aren't going to waste their time on something you guess (or wish!) might be useful, and useful only in the event that it confirms some general hypothesis.

I'm not sure if I understand what's going on here. It would help if you applied it to this specific idea that I shared in the feedback forum.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#115  Postby Cito di Pense » May 17, 2018 7:39 am

Xerographica wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:You're asking people to give up not merely their own resources, but their own time, to perform an experiment that just looks like a guess you're making, one that looks like a hope on your part as much as a guess. People aren't going to waste their time on something you guess (or wish!) might be useful, and useful only in the event that it confirms some general hypothesis.

I'm not sure if I understand what's going on here. It would help if you applied it to this specific idea that I shared in the feedback forum.


You already linked to your post in the feedback threads; you don't need to do it again. You're the one begging for a hearing, and I think you really understand what's going on, here. Give some indication that you really read what I wrote, above. Otherwise, why don't you apply something to something else, like your thumb to your asshole?
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#116  Postby Xerographica » May 17, 2018 9:01 am

Cito di Pense wrote:
Xerographica wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:You're asking people to give up not merely their own resources, but their own time, to perform an experiment that just looks like a guess you're making, one that looks like a hope on your part as much as a guess. People aren't going to waste their time on something you guess (or wish!) might be useful, and useful only in the event that it confirms some general hypothesis.

I'm not sure if I understand what's going on here. It would help if you applied it to this specific idea that I shared in the feedback forum.


You already linked to your post in the feedback threads; you don't need to do it again. You're the one begging for a hearing, and I think you really understand what's going on, here. Give some indication that you really read what I wrote, above. Otherwise, why don't you apply something to something else, like your thumb to your asshole?

You said that I'm asking people to give up their resources such as time. How much time does it take to vote for your favorite skeptics? How much time does it take to make a donation to a forum that you're a member of? You make it sound like I'm making unreasonable demands of people when nothing could be further from the truth.

Are you interested in the truth? If so, then you should be really interested to know how voting compares to spending.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#117  Postby Thommo » May 17, 2018 9:40 am

Xerographica wrote:Are you interested in the truth? If so, then you should be really interested to know how voting compares to spending.


Why keep repeating this? It isn't true.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#118  Postby LucidFlight » May 17, 2018 9:43 am

I don't think you can handle the truth, Thommo!
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#119  Postby Cito di Pense » May 17, 2018 9:47 am

Xerographica wrote:Are you interested in the truth?


I had little doubt this is where you've been headed. Make it relevant to me or go home. The kind of shit you imagine to get you closer to truth could change next week, depending on how your interviewees feel; they might vote or spend differently.
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Re: Voting VS Spending

#120  Postby Thommo » May 17, 2018 10:01 am

LucidFlight wrote:I don't think you can handle the truth, Thommo!


I feel like that's what the last astrology thread was telling me, at least. Maybe. :ask:
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