Author Topic: Voting VS Spending  (Read 4249 times)

Re: Voting VS Spending
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2018, 07:37:06 PM »
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The real problem I have with this is that it gives an outsized voice to a small minority of donors.  If you have one donor plunking down $10,000 on Richard Dawkins, and eight thousand donors putting down a dollar each on Matt Dillahunty, is it really reasonable to say that Dawkins is the crowd's choice?
The atheists would be ranked by donating and voting.  There would be two rankings... 1. voting ranking and 2. donating ranking.  You could carefully compare the two rankings and tell us which one you prefer.

I definitely understand the fact that wealth is unequally distributed.  But I personally haven't seen any evidence that voting ranks things better than spending does. 

As far as I know, nobody has ever tried to juxtapose voting and spending. It's hard for me to articulate just how strange and scary this is... 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 both shape our society. They both have enormous consequences.  They both change and control our lives in countless ways.  Therefore, juxtaposing voting and spending is the most important thing. Formal scientists have obviously overlooked the incredible necessity of this experiment... but I have not.

So I'm really not saying that we should only use donations to rank the atheists.  I'm saying that we should use both donating and voting to rank them.  Then we can all carefully compare and contrast the two rankings.

My best guess is that the donating ranking will be better than the voting ranking.  Honestly I don't even know who Matt Dillahunty is.  I spend far more time studying economics than atheism.  Yet, even though I'm not very informed about atheists... with voting I'd have the same exact influence over the rankings as the experts.  With donating, on the other hand, it's a very different story.  I'd donate a lot less money to help rank atheists than I would to help rank economists. 

Even though I consider my best guess to be considerably informed... it is just a guess.  What really matters is evidence.  Even if you disagree with me about the effectiveness of markets, hopefully you should strongly agree with me about the importance of evidence.  Juxtaposing voting and spending would provide us with the evidence that we need to have a more productive discussion. 
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Offline trdsf

Re: Voting VS Spending
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2018, 11:04:38 PM »
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The atheists would be ranked by donating and voting.  There would be two rankings... 1. voting ranking and 2. donating ranking.  You could carefully compare the two rankings and tell us which one you prefer.

I definitely understand the fact that wealth is unequally distributed.  But I personally haven't seen any evidence that voting ranks things better than spending does. 

As far as I know, nobody has ever tried to juxtapose voting and spending. It's hard for me to articulate just how strange and scary this is... 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 both shape our society. They both have enormous consequences.  They both change and control our lives in countless ways.  Therefore, juxtaposing voting and spending is the most important thing. Formal scientists have obviously overlooked the incredible necessity of this experiment... but I have not.

So I'm really not saying that we should only use donations to rank the atheists.  I'm saying that we should use both donating and voting to rank them.  Then we can all carefully compare and contrast the two rankings.

My best guess is that the donating ranking will be better than the voting ranking.  Honestly I don't even know who Matt Dillahunty is.  I spend far more time studying economics than atheism.  Yet, even though I'm not very informed about atheists... with voting I'd have the same exact influence over the rankings as the experts.  With donating, on the other hand, it's a very different story.  I'd donate a lot less money to help rank atheists than I would to help rank economists. 

Even though I consider my best guess to be considerably informed... it is just a guess.  What really matters is evidence.  Even if you disagree with me about the effectiveness of markets, hopefully you should strongly agree with me about the importance of evidence.  Juxtaposing voting and spending would provide us with the evidence that we need to have a more productive discussion.
We can already see by the damage done to the American political system that a donating system doesn't work.  It's not about who has the best evidence, it's about who has the most resources to throw around.

In a voting system, evidence is more meaningful.  If everyone has one free vote, you have the potential to bring voters around to your way of thinking by power of superior evidence.

In a donation system, all it takes is a few high-resource individuals working in concert to control the outcome, regardless of who has evidence on their side.  The evidence clearly states that we live in a period of accelerated climate change brought about by human actions.  The resources, in the hands of those who profit from the industries most responsible for climate change, have muddied the issue so badly (and dishonestly) that we're not doing the things we need to do to mitigate the damage -- not because facts are on their side, but only because resources are.

That's the problem with a donor-based system: it doesn't find out what the public wants, it only finds out what the people with resources want.
Sir Terry Pratchett, on being told about the theory that the universe is a computer simulation: "If we all get out and in again, would it start to work properly this time?"

Online Cavebear

Re: Voting VS Spending
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2018, 01:49:10 AM »
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Democracy is inherently mob rule.

I think there is a difference between "mob rule" and "majority rule".  Mobs are not necessarily a majority, just a localized violent group.  A majority can be calm, rational, and non-violent.  A mob is almost by definition, angry, violent, and irrational. 
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Re: Voting VS Spending
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2018, 01:52:50 AM »
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That's the problem with a donor-based system: it doesn't find out what the public wants, it only finds out what the people with resources want.
You're biased towards voting, I'm biased towards donating.  So what do you think about my specific idea of ranking skeptics using voting and donating? 
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Online Cavebear

Re: Voting VS Spending
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2018, 02:11:30 AM »
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We can already see by the damage done to the American political system that a donating system doesn't work.  It's not about who has the best evidence, it's about who has the most resources to throw around.

In a voting system, evidence is more meaningful.  If everyone has one free vote, you have the potential to bring voters around to your way of thinking by power of superior evidence.

In a donation system, all it takes is a few high-resource individuals working in concert to control the outcome, regardless of who has evidence on their side.  The evidence clearly states that we live in a period of accelerated climate change brought about by human actions.  The resources, in the hands of those who profit from the industries most responsible for climate change, have muddied the issue so badly (and dishonestly) that we're not doing the things we need to do to mitigate the damage -- not because facts are on their side, but only because resources are.

That's the problem with a donor-based system: it doesn't find out what the public wants, it only finds out what the people with resources want.

I fully agree that donation wealth is not the best measure of the best candidates.  In fact, two of my greatest concerns for the US democracy are the claims that "corporations are people" and that "spending money is freedom of speech".

As I understand the origin of the first, corporations are technically made up of people (as opposed to partnerships which existed only so long as the partners lived).  And to protect corporations from dissolving when some people died, the courts allowed them some benefits that would help continue them through time because of stockholder consequences.

The idea that "money is free speech" followed years later.  The Supreme Court decided that if corporations were 'groups of people", they could, as a group, decide to donate money to political candidates the same as individuals.

The decision was not widely approved by legal authorities and individual groups whose primary intent was to promote political discussion (as opposed to corporations, whose primary function is to enhance stockholder wealth). 

I think the decision is illogical because the next step is to allow corporations to vote. It will take an excess of political corporate influence to reverse this decision.  Or the line may be crossed where it has gone to far into the details of law to be reversed.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline Baruch

Re: Voting VS Spending
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2018, 07:21:16 AM »
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I think there is a difference between "mob rule" and "majority rule".  Mobs are not necessarily a majority, just a localized violent group.  A majority can be calm, rational, and non-violent.  A mob is almost by definition, angry, violent, and irrational.

Yes, elites don't like majority rule, they like minority rule, usually rule by their ideological minority.  Mob rule is anarchism.  Not many advocates of that here.
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luu shalmaata luu balt’aata
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Offline trdsf

Re: Voting VS Spending
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2018, 10:41:43 AM »
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You're biased towards voting, I'm biased towards donating.  So what do you think about my specific idea of ranking skeptics using voting and donating?
I don't think it tells us anything useful.  It only tells us who's got resources they're willing to waste, it tells us nothing about the individuals upon whom the money is placed.

Again, if you've got a pool of, say, a thousand donors and the vast majority of them are putting in $1 to $5, a few are putting in $10 or $20, and a small number $50 or $100, all on Dawkins, Harris (Sam or Tracie), Mehta, Dillahunty, Dennett, Hitchens, Hirsi Ali, Randi, Sagan, whoever.  And then I come along and put in $20,000 on myself.  You haven't learned anything; I've completely screwed your stats for no reason other than that I have the money to -- unless you're willing to declare me the highest ranked skeptic solely on the basis that I can buy myself the title.

That's no way to make decisions.
Sir Terry Pratchett, on being told about the theory that the universe is a computer simulation: "If we all get out and in again, would it start to work properly this time?"

Re: Voting VS Spending
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2018, 11:38:39 AM »
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I don't think it tells us anything useful.  It only tells us who's got resources they're willing to waste, it tells us nothing about the individuals upon whom the money is placed.
Resources they are willing to waste?  So it's wasteful to financially support the continued existence of this forum that they use? 

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Again, if you've got a pool of, say, a thousand donors and the vast majority of them are putting in $1 to $5, a few are putting in $10 or $20, and a small number $50 or $100, all on Dawkins, Harris (Sam or Tracie), Mehta, Dillahunty, Dennett, Hitchens, Hirsi Ali, Randi, Sagan, whoever.  And then I come along and put in $20,000 on myself.  You haven't learned anything; I've completely screwed your stats for no reason other than that I have the money to -- unless you're willing to declare me the highest ranked skeptic solely on the basis that I can buy myself the title.

That's no way to make decisions.
Here's a very simplified example outcome of what you're generally predicting...

Voting Rankings

500 votes - Richard Dawkins
1 vote - trdsf

Spending Rankings

$20,000 - trdsf
$897 - Richard Dawkins

From my perspective, this outcome would prove me wrong and prove you right.  The experiment would prove that a crowd of voters is wiser than a crowd of donors.  It would confirm your belief and falsify my own. 

I certainly don't want to have a wrong belief... do you?  Do you want to have a wrong belief?  Do you want me to have a wrong belief?  I think this experiment would be incredibly useful if it falsified my belief in markets. 

Let me try and put it like this.  There are two puddings on a table... voting pudding and donating pudding.  We are standing in front of the table debating which pudding tastes better.  You're arguing that the voting pudding tastes better and I'm arguing that the donating pudding tastes better.  I suggest it would be very useful if we actually tried both puddings.  You say that this wouldn't be useful because the voting pudding will taste better than the donating pudding.  Eh?  That doesn't make any sense. 

You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login.  His complaint was that Marxists changed their argument so that it couldn't be falsified by evidence. 

I have the belief that donating is superior to voting.  Is there any evidence that can falsify my belief?  Sure, of course.  If the experiment I proposed results in the voting ranking being superior to the donating ranking, then this evidence would falsify my belief.  This would be really beneficial because I don't want any beliefs that are bullshit. 



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Offline Baruch

Re: Voting VS Spending
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2018, 12:53:40 PM »
I am in favor of donating, if the people donating will donate "both" of their kidneys.  Then they have some skin in the game.  I they win the bet, then they get at least one kidney back.  Donating money (which is worth zero) is simply fraud.  All money today is fraud.  All of society operates on lies, fraud and theft.
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luu shalmaata luu balt’aata
May you be well, may you be healthy

Offline trdsf

Re: Voting VS Spending
« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2018, 02:17:00 PM »
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Resources they are willing to waste?  So it's wasteful to financially support the continued existence of this forum that they use?
In the most pedantic definition, yes.  It's not a necessity, it can be lived without.

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I have the belief that donating is superior to voting.  Is there any evidence that can falsify my belief?  Sure, of course.  If the experiment I proposed results in the voting ranking being superior to the donating ranking, then this evidence would falsify my belief.  This would be really beneficial because I don't want any beliefs that are bullshit.
I have already twice given you the evidence -- the distortion of the climate change debate, and of the American political/election system -- and you've not addressed either.  We've done the test, and we can see the damage.  We can already see that one of the puddings is not good.
Sir Terry Pratchett, on being told about the theory that the universe is a computer simulation: "If we all get out and in again, would it start to work properly this time?"

Re: Voting VS Spending
« Reply #25 on: May 17, 2018, 03:06:20 PM »
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I have already twice given you the evidence -- the distortion of the climate change debate, and of the American political/election system -- and you've not addressed either.  We've done the test, and we can see the damage.  We can already see that one of the puddings is not good.
We know the demand for donuts, sneakers and laptops... but we don't know the demand for environmental protection, national defense or space exploration.  We've never known the demand for these things.  They are public goods... supplying them is the very point of the government. 

Do you have any idea how much I truly value the environment?  Last year I created You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login.  Do you seriously think that this thread adequately quantifies my love for nature?  Do you think that a strongly worded letter to my congressperson would effectively communicate my demand for environmental protection? 

If the government has no fucking clue how much I truly care about the environment... then it has no fucking clue how much anybody truly cares about the environment.  If the demand for environmental protection isn't at all known... then how in the world could the supply be anywhere close to optimal? 

Now I could certainly endeavor to cite several high-quality sources to try and help you understand public finance.  The problem is, when I've done this in the past with other members of this forum, as far as I can tell, it hasn't accomplished a damn thing. 

So here's the deal.  I will accept that your belief is based on all the evidence that is available to you.  You will accept that my belief is based on all the evidence that is available to me.  And then, since we both care about evidence, we will jointly conduct a simple and relevant experiment that will provide both of us with even more evidence. 

Alternatively, we can simply consider each other to be idiots.  But this really isn't my preference.  My preference is mutual respect and cooperation. 
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Offline trdsf

Re: Voting VS Spending
« Reply #26 on: May 17, 2018, 03:30:32 PM »
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So here's the deal.  I will accept that your belief is based on all the evidence that is available to you.  You will accept that my belief is based on all the evidence that is available to me.  And then, since we both care about evidence, we will jointly conduct a simple and relevant experiment that will provide both of us with even more evidence.
I think you're missing my point -- you're saying "do the experiment" and I'm pointing to where the experiment is already being done.  The evidence already exists -- I find it convincing, enough that I don't see the need to test the hypothesis further.
Sir Terry Pratchett, on being told about the theory that the universe is a computer simulation: "If we all get out and in again, would it start to work properly this time?"

Re: Voting VS Spending
« Reply #27 on: May 17, 2018, 04:06:33 PM »
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I think you're missing my point -- you're saying "do the experiment" and I'm pointing to where the experiment is already being done.  The evidence already exists -- I find it convincing, enough that I don't see the need to test the hypothesis further.
The experiment that you're pointing to... do you think that I don't already see it?  Democracy and markets are so entangled that obviously the evidence is open to interpretation.  You and I are interpreting the evidence very differently.  You're blaming the market for all of society's problems while I'm blaming democracy. 

The experiment that I'm proposing would completely untangle democracy and markets.  Democracy would be solely and entirely responsible for one ranking of skeptics while the market would be solely and entirely responsible for another ranking of skeptics.  Then we would compare the two rankings. 

Let me try and put it as accessibly as possible.  Bob and Frank both build a house together.  You and I both recognize serious problems with the house.  However, you blame Bob while I blame Frank.  So I propose a way to figure out who is truly to blame.  Bob will build one house all by himself while Frank will build another house all by himself.  You and I will then compare the two houses in order to discern whether Bob or Frank is to blame for all the problems.   
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Offline trdsf

Re: Voting VS Spending
« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2018, 05:46:00 PM »
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The experiment that you're pointing to... do you think that I don't already see it?  Democracy and markets are so entangled that obviously the evidence is open to interpretation.  You and I are interpreting the evidence very differently.  You're blaming the market for all of society's problems while I'm blaming democracy.
Yes, I do think you don't see it.  You haven't even attempted to address it until this post; you've consistently resorted back to "well we need to run the experiment" in the face of what I've offered as experimental results.  Now, I'd like to know on what basis you think that the failure is democracy rather than money.

My point is, and remains, that a resource-based decision process is inherently biased in favor of those with resources, not those with evidence and rational arguments.

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The experiment that I'm proposing would completely untangle democracy and markets.  Democracy would be solely and entirely responsible for one ranking of skeptics while the market would be solely and entirely responsible for another ranking of skeptics.  Then we would compare the two rankings. 

Let me try and put it as accessibly as possible.  Bob and Frank both build a house together.  You and I both recognize serious problems with the house.  However, you blame Bob while I blame Frank.  So I propose a way to figure out who is truly to blame.  Bob will build one house all by himself while Frank will build another house all by himself.  You and I will then compare the two houses in order to discern whether Bob or Frank is to blame for all the problems.
But that's been done as well: local politics, the municipal elections in small cities, in townships and villages, where money very rarely plays a dominant role if any meaningful role at all, and it's just voters choosing between individuals they probably know personallyβ€”I know, I've run for office under such circumstances, and I strongly doubt anyone spent more than a couple hundred dollars on their entire campaign, primary and general both.

In the absence of the distorting effect of money, democracy works just fine, and I can say that as one of the losing candidates in the general election.

It's why I am convinced that the best solution to what's wrong with our national democracy is more democracy.

Interestingly, there is a market-like solution that evens out the resource problem by both ensuring everyone has the same resources, but still allowing preferential rankings--the equivalent of spending more on a choice than on other choices, without that ability to rank being based on one's personal resources: the various ranked-voting systems, like You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login or You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login, or even You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login.  I have no problem with those; in fact, I think by and large they'd be healthier options than our current first-past-the-post system.
Sir Terry Pratchett, on being told about the theory that the universe is a computer simulation: "If we all get out and in again, would it start to work properly this time?"

Re: Voting VS Spending
« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2018, 06:16:29 PM »
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Yes, I do think you don't see it.  You haven't even attempted to address it until this post; you've consistently resorted back to "well we need to run the experiment" in the face of what I've offered as experimental results.  Now, I'd like to know on what basis you think that the failure is democracy rather than money.
I already provided an explanation...

"My best guess is that the donating ranking will be better than the voting ranking.  Honestly I don't even know who Matt Dillahunty is.  I spend far more time studying economics than atheism.  Yet, even though I'm not very informed about atheists... with voting I'd have the same exact influence over the rankings as the experts.  With donating, on the other hand, it's a very different story.  I'd donate a lot less money to help rank atheists than I would to help rank economists."

What do I know about dogs?  Not much.  If a friend dragged me to a dog show, then I might vote for my favorite dog.  It's not like it would cost me anything.  But if I was given the opportunity to spend my money to help rank the dogs, then I definitely would not be willing to spend much money.  I'd certainly be willing to spend a lot less money than the people who are very knowledgeable, and passionate, about dogs. 

Voting and donating would rank prominent skeptics very differently.  Go ahead and rank the prominent skeptics according to your own preferences.  Then we will see whether your own ranking is closer to the voting ranking or the donating ranking. 
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