18 March 2008


Continuarea la mitul votantului rational. Bryan Caplan a propus urmatorul experiment de introspectie:

Take a political belief you hold that claims that some result will come from some policy. Then, imagine betting a large amount of your own money on a concrete test of that belief. ("Win if, after congress passes bankruptcy reform, the poverty rate increases by 10% after 2 years.") Notice the change in your own frame of mind.

Una e sa votezi pentru o anumita solutie politica, si alta e chiar sa pariezi o suma mare de bani ca respectiva solutie va conduce intr-adevar la rezultatele scontate. Ideea lui Caplan este deci ca oamenii adesea voteaza irational (in sensul ca cel putin in principiu au informatiile necesare pentru a determina care-i solutia cea mai buna, insa nu exista stimulentele care sa-i faca sa se si intereseze de aceste informatii), iar rezultatul e ca sunt votate o serie intreaga de politici aiurea.

Acum Robin Hason de la George Mason University, coleg cu Caplan, a inventat un nou sistem electoral care sa tina cont de aceste probleme ale democratiei, dar care sa nu decada intr-un vechi sistem autoritar. Ideea se bazeaza pe pietele de pariuri, care sunt mult mai bune la agregarea informatiei - pentru ca participantii au tot interesul de a se informa. Ideea lui Hanson atunci e sa folosim democratia pentru a decide agenda si pe de alta parte pietele de pariuri pentru a decide solutiile: voteaza valori, pariaza pe opinii.

Democracy seems better than autocracy (i.e., kings and dictators), but it still has problems. There are today vast differences in wealth among nations, and we can not attribute most of these differences to either natural resources or human abilities. Instead, much of the difference seems to be that the poor nations (many of which are democracies) are those that more often adopted dumb policies, policies which hurt most everyone in the nation. And even rich nations frequently adopt such policies.

These policies are not just dumb in retrospect; typically there were people who understood a lot about such policies and who had good reasons to disapprove of them beforehand. It seems hard to imagine such policies being adopted nearly as often if everyone knew what such "experts" knew about their consequences. Thus familiar forms of government seem to frequently fail by ignoring the advice of relevant experts (i.e., people who know relevant things).

Would some other form of government more consistently listen to relevant experts? Even if we could identify the current experts, we could not just put them in charge. They might then do what is good for them rather than what is good for the rest of us, and soon after they came to power they would no longer be the relevant experts. Similar problems result from giving them an official advisory role.

"Futarchy" is an as yet untried form of government intended to address such problems. In futarchy, democracy would continue to say what we want, but betting markets would now say how to get it. That is, elected representatives would formally define and manage an after-the-fact measurement of national welfare, while market speculators would say which policies they expect to raise national welfare. The basic rule of government would be:

  • When a betting market clearly estimates that a proposed policy would increase expected national welfare, that proposal becomes law.
Futarchy is intended to be ideologically neutral; it could result in anything from an extreme socialism to an extreme minarchy, depending on what voters say they want, and on what speculators think would get it for them.

Articolul mare (pdf). Articolul din New York Times. Discutie pe blog-ul lui Dan Phiffer. [In romana, sistemul asta poate ca are nevoie de o alta denumire :)]