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Spending VS Voting

Xerographica
Posts: 3
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8/22/2017 11:56:22 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
I just started a debate on the topic...

http://www.debate.org...

My position is that spending should replace voting because it does a much better job of filtering out ignorance. People are far more likely to "bet" (broadly speaking) on things that they actually know about.

This topic is obviously relevant to this website... and plenty of others... Facebook, Reddit, Youtube and so on. It's also relevant to politics. The truth is that politics should be abolished.
levi_smiles
Posts: 163
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8/23/2017 3:53:25 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
I read your debate & congratulate you for an original argument with a rational presentation. I'm skeptical about your reasoning & a uncertain as to the relevance of your analogies.

The argument assumes that wealth correlates strongly with information but I see little evidence to support such an assumption.

The argument also assumes that wealth does not currently equate with political influence at present but this is true to a large extent.

Donald Trump is a fine counter-argument to both assumptions: not just a man demonstrably bereft of good information but also politically influential completely out of proportion with his capacity for comprehension.

The argument also assumes that information correlates strongly with policy decision-making but democracy is predicated on the obvious principle that all policy is primarily guided by self-interest.

Take the antebellum South. Slavery was a dying institution but labor scarcity assured that wealthy plantation owners (already then politically influential to the virtual exclusion of most public interests) persued a policy of personal short-term benefit right up to the destruction of their polity, people, & economic structure. Individually, most plantation owners understood that the best long-term interest of the South lay in converting capital to an Industrial Era model but collectively the electorate promoted denial. The short-term risk to the capital of the very wealthy outweighed the consideration of better policy even when the simple survival was at stake.

We can translate that dynamic to the American energy market today. Oil & coal are obviously unsustainable in the long-term & the best information points to cataclysm in the long-term unless capital is converted to more sustainable energy in the near-term. Exxon's own research confirmed this necessity 40 years ago but they have been incredibly slow to risk their present dominance in the market. No good information suggests that coal has any relevance to US energy needs going forward but remarkable amounts of political influence is spent to preserve, even revive that moribund resource.

The majority may be uninformed & slow to act but absent the outsized influence of money today, the majority would certainly favor the better informed side of energy policy over-riding the self-interests of the wealthy but wrong.
Xerographica
Posts: 3
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8/23/2017 5:25:06 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
Levi_smiles, you brought up Donald Trump as a counterexample, but he was elected by voting.

Regarding slavery... my argument is that it would have been beneficial to see and know the social value of the IDEA of slavery over time.

Earlier this year the Libertarian Party (LP) wanted to choose a theme for their convention. Rather than choose their convention theme by using a cheap-talk survey, the LP decided to use a skin-in-game survey...

$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

We can see the social value of the idea that taxation is theft. The social value of this idea probably isn't perfectly correct... but it's better than nothing. Imagine each year the LP conducted the same skin-in-game survey. Then we could see how the social value of the taxation-is-theft idea changes over time. Right now its social value is so low that it's really pointless to worry about. But if its social value began to rapidly increase, then, if you oppose this idea, it would be more and more logical to try and defeat it.

So imagine it's 1776 and the government conducted a skin-in-game survey. People could donate to the government and use their donations to help determine the social importance of various ideas...

$$$$$$$$$ No taxation without representation
$$$$$$$$ Give me liberty or death
...
...
...
$$$$ Slavery should not be abolished
...
...
...
$ Slavery should be abolished

Then everybody would see and know the social value of the idea for slavery and against it. If the government conducted the same survey each year, then everybody would watch the social value of both ideas change over time. The social value of the idea for slavery would have decreased while the social value of the idea against slavery would have increased. In the 1820s... the idea against slavery would have surpassed the social value of the idea for slavery. There would have been absolutely no need to have a civil war to determine the social value of each idea.

Each year, since the beginning of the country, the citizens had fought a battle over the idea of slavery. Except, rather than fighting with bullets, they had fought with their dollars. The amount of money that each side was willing to spend/sacrifice, accurately reflected how strongly they cared about the issue. With the strength of each side known, it would have been entirely pointless to fight with bullets.

This might sound like a novel concept... but people battle with dollars every day in the market. Smokers battle against non-smokers. Vegetarians battle against non-vegetarians. People who love country music battle against people who hate it. People who love to wear clothes battle against nudists. People who love to drive cars battle against people who prefer to bike to work. In most cases we don't necessarily pay attention to how much money each side spends because there's really no need to. The strength of each side automatically determines the division of society's limited resources.

The question is whether it's more effective to battle with votes than dollars. I personally don't think it is... yet some battles we fight with votes and others we fight with dollars. From my perspective, the Civil War would not have occurred if votes had been replaced with dollars. In fact, we can eliminate all wars simply by replacing voting with spending.

I might be wrong, but like I said in my debate, the reason that dog shows aren't judged by spending has nothing to do with evidence that spending is inferior. It's just that most people, including economists, haven't seriously questioned or tested the status quo.
levi_smiles
Posts: 163
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8/23/2017 10:21:55 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/23/2017 5:25:06 AM, Xerographica wrote:
Levi_smiles, you brought up Donald Trump as a counterexample, but he was elected by voting.

Well, he came in 2nd in a two person race. I imagine that if we voted by auction he would have come in first but the result would have been no less regrettable.

Regarding slavery... my argument is that it would have been beneficial to see and know the social value of the IDEA of slavery over time.

Eliminating slavery by auction would at least have the value of irony.

Earlier this year the Libertarian Party (LP) wanted to choose a theme for their convention. Rather than choose their convention theme by using a cheap-talk survey, the LP decided to use a skin-in-game survey...

We can see the social value of the idea that taxation is theft. The social value of this idea probably isn't perfectly correct... but it's better than nothing. Imagine each year the LP conducted the same skin-in-game survey. Then we could see how the social value of the taxation-is-theft idea changes over time. Right now its social value is so low that it's really pointless to worry about. But if its social value began to rapidly increase, then, if you oppose this idea, it would be more and more logical to try and defeat it.

But the Libertarians underperformed against the two least popular leading candidates ever. How is this helping your case? The slogan "taxation is theft" ought never attract any value since both taxation & theft are defined by the state. All states must tax, therefore taxation will never be theft in context.

So imagine it's 1776 and the government conducted a skin-in-game survey. People could donate to the government and use their donations to help determine the social importance of various ideas...

$$$$$$$$$ No taxation without representation
$$$$$$$$ Give me liberty or death
$$$$ Slavery should not be abolished
$ Slavery should be abolished


In 1776, the most likely results would have been

$$$$$$$ God Bless George III
$$$$$$ Please pass the rum
$$$$ George Washington is King now
$ All men were created equal

Then everybody would see and know the social value of the idea for slavery and against it. There would have been absolutely no need to have a civil war to determine the social value of each idea.

Do you really think the South would have given up slavery because an auction demonstrated the social unpopularity of the idea? How would election by money prevent a war that election by ballot could not?

Each year, since the beginning of the country, the citizens had fought a battle over the idea of slavery. Except, rather than fighting with bullets, they had fought with their dollars. The amount of money that each side was willing to spend/sacrifice, accurately reflected how strongly they cared about the issue. With the strength of each side known, it would have been entirely pointless to fight with bullets.

Because the South would have then known their cause was lost? No. The South knew their cause was lost at Secession but fought anyway hoping that bluff would achieve stasis where politics had failed.

This might sound like a novel concept... but people battle with dollars every day in the market. Smokers battle against non-smokers. Vegetarians battle against non-vegetarians. People who love country music battle against people who hate it. People who love to wear clothes battle against nudists. People who love to drive cars battle against people who prefer to bike to work. In most cases we don't necessarily pay attention to how much money each side spends because there's really no need to. The strength of each side automatically determines the division of society's limited resources.

I doubt very much that there would ever have been a point when the anti-smoking lobby would have outspent the smoking lobby. Smoking was done in by unpopular govt research followed by a generation of unpopular lawsuits & heavy taxes. A nation of 75% smokers would never just choose to fund anti-smoking research & taxes.

Likewise, billionaires would spend heavily to elimate their own taxes, minimum wage, workers rights, regulation....Wouldn't your system always tend towards a rebirth of slavery?

The question is whether it's more effective to battle with votes than dollars. I personally don't think it is... yet some battles we fight with votes and others we fight with dollars. From my perspective, the Civil War would not have occurred if votes had been replaced with dollars. In fact, we can eliminate all wars simply by replacing voting with spending.

Hopelessly idealistic. Would you really surrender your ideals & interests simply because you were outspent by your opponents. Does ISIS care that they are outspent by their opponents by many orders of magnitude?

I might be wrong, but like I said in my debate, the reason that dog shows aren't judged by spending has nothing to do with evidence that spending is inferior. It's just that most people, including economists, haven't seriously questioned or tested the status quo

So, experts judge winning dogs by evaluating a range of characteristics, from the obvious to the subtle. An expert can tell a dog's age by the wear on his teeth, the strength of a its bones by the curve of its back, it's pedigree by the shape of its head. The object is to define & reward effective breeding. Judging by an inexpert audience, whether by cash distribution or any other method is, at best, likely to favor the subjectively cutest dog & at worst, the dog owner with the most friends in the audience. The dog show's core principal would be quickly subverted & the value of dog shows nullified.

How is your system different from Plutocracy?

What evidence can you present to show that the wealthy are better informed? That the wealthy are likely to pursue good policies at the expense of personal interest?
Xerographica
Posts: 3
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8/23/2017 8:07:24 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
Levi_smiles, if it was simple/easy to correctly predict an entire nation's true demand for president, or anything else, then markets would be a massive waste of everybody's time and energy. There would be absolutely no point in everybody deciding for themselves what things are worth if everybody's valuations were already known.

"But the Libertarians underperformed against the two least popular leading candidates ever. How is this helping your case?"

My case is that popularity doesn't correlate to demand. If voting showed demand as well as spending, then what would be the point of ever using our money to quantify the intensity of our preferences?

"Do you really think the South would have given up slavery because an auction demonstrated the social unpopularity of the idea? How would election by money prevent a war that election by ballot could not?"

When we're talking about economics, and how much money is spent on something, the correct term is "demand". When we're talking about how many people vote for something, or "Like" something on Facebook, or give something a "Thumbs Up" on Youtube, then the correct term is "popularity".

Demand = collective sacrifice
Popularity = no collective sacrifice

"The people feeling, during the continuance of the war, the complete burden of it, would soon grow weary of it, and government, in order to humour them, would not be under the necessity of carrying it on longer than it was necessary to do so. The foresight of the heavy and unavoidable burdens of war would hinder the people from wantonly calling for it when there was no real or solid interest to fight for." - Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

People calling/shouting/voting for war does not have a cost. It's not a sacrifice to simply say that you want a war. It's also not a sacrifice when you spend other people's money/lives on a war. It is only a sacrifice when you spend your own money/life on a war.

When, and only when, you tangibly feel the true burden/cost of war, can you rationally decide whether it's truly worth it. If you can't feel the actual and real cost of something, how can you possibly correctly decide whether it's worth it?

You, Bob and myself decide to go backpacking. Usually when people go backpacking they carry the things that they decide to take. But in our case, you are going to carry everything that we decide to take. We decide what to take by voting. The three of us are going to vote for necessities. But Bob and I will also vote for luxuries. Why not? It's not like we'll have to bear the burden of our decisions. You will have to bear the burden of the decisions that Bob and I make. As a result, it's impossible for the decisions that Bob and I make to be maximally rational.

"Because the South would have then known their cause was lost? No. The South knew their cause was lost at Secession but fought anyway hoping that bluff would achieve stasis where politics had failed."

It's impossible/pointless to try and bluff when everybody can perfectly see each other's cards.

"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.""- Vincent Ostrom, The meaning of democracy and the vulnerabilities of democracies: A response to Tocqueville"s challenge

"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 http://papers.ssrn.com...

Any voting that occurred prior to the Civil War did not provide credible information about the true balance of power between the two sides. Voting simply reveals numbers, it does not reveal power, strength, or willingness to pay/spend/sacrifice. When the true strength of each side isn't common knowledge, then war can be used to reveal/determine the strength of each side.

But if, since the country's founding, spending had been used to reveal each side's willingness to pay, then the true strength of each side would be common knowledge. There'd be absolutely no point in using a war to reveal/determine what everybody clearly sees and knows.

What about when spending revealed that both sides were equally strong? The South would clearly see and realize that it had been steadily losing strength while the North had been steadily gaining strength. Perhaps then it might decide to start a war in the hopes of... what? Winning? What would winning the war accomplish? Would the new government have discontinued using spending to measure each side's strength? Hiding the strength of the abolitionists wouldn't have made it magically vanish into thin air.

"Does ISIS care that they are outspent by their opponents by many orders of magnitude?"

What are the issues that ISIS cares about? Imagine that every country in the world replaced voting with spending. Then ISIS could show how strongly it cared about its issues in two ways... spending its money on bombs or spending its money to try and improve the ranking of its issues. The true cost of buying the materials for bombs would be the opportunity to spend its money to move its issues higher on the list of its country's issues.

"Here's how important these issues are to us..." We need to give everybody the opportunity to use their money to prove how important issues are to them. This can be done indirectly, such as making donations to candidates, or buying bombs, or buying advertisements, but there needs to be a platform where people can use their money to directly reveal how important issues are to them.

Right now there are plenty of websites like this one where people can vote to indicate that an issue is important to them. But voting really doesn't reveal HOW important an issue is to someone. Voting doesn't reveal preference intensity. It doesn't quantify interest/concern. So debate.org should give people the opportunity to directly use their money prove/reveal how deeply they care about an issue.
dc0404
Posts: 287
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8/25/2017 3:34:06 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/22/2017 11:56:22 PM, Xerographica wrote:
I just started a debate on the topic...

http://www.debate.org...

My position is that spending should replace voting because it does a much better job of filtering out ignorance. People are far more likely to "bet" (broadly speaking) on things that they actually know about.

This topic is obviously relevant to this website... and plenty of others... Facebook, Reddit, Youtube and so on. It's also relevant to politics. The truth is that politics should be abolished.

I don't feel like writing a novel like the two of you. If voting is not abolished, they should at least raise the age limit. It is not to say all young people are ignorant, but many of age (18) vote based on emotion, what sounds good, of how they were sold on a particular issue (when in reality the outcome may be different). Of course many adults are ignorant as well. So perhaps in addition to raising the age limit, there should be a test that people are required to take every few years (like a driver test) to ensure they understand the basic political structure, branches of government, the basic premises behind the major parties and the pros and cons of the major issues... such as taxes.

DC
John_C_1812
Posts: 793
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8/26/2017 1:04:12 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/22/2017 11:56:22 PM, Xerographica wrote:
I just started a debate on the topic...

http://www.debate.org...

My position is that spending should replace voting because it does a much better job of filtering out ignorance. People are far more likely to "bet" (broadly speaking) on things that they actually know about.

This topic is obviously relevant to this website... and plenty of others... Facebook, Reddit, Youtube and so on. It's also relevant to politics. The truth is that politics should be abolished.

Isn't it easier to force people to spend money using law, then to force them to vote a certain way using law?
The real issue with law, voting, and ignorance is about self-incrimination. Politics is a form of governing process, it is best to insure representation when allowed as precedent makes it possible, not removed, disprove. Or simple present a different side or group of facts.

This is an interesting point.