In Harmony's AMA on Cent I asked about governance, I received this reply…
Great question. Saw your tweet--thanks :)
@nickw may want to add to this, but I'm going to lift what he wrote on our forum:
"As of now we don’t have a fully formed story on governance yet, but we recognize governance as one of the most crucial aspects of any blockchain project. Good governance can give a blockchain long-term sustainability and adaptability, while bad governance can tear the ecosystem apart. It appears that with many blockchain projects there is a natural and gradual transition from governance by the founding team to governance by the community and stakeholders. I find the on-chain governance mechanism of projects like Polkadot to be very interesting, but I also recognize that not everything can be achieved on-chain. Let’s all work together to move beyond our broad ideas and form a stronger vision of governance for Harmony. Do you guys have any good ideas or places to start?"
I joined the Harmony forum and shared some thoughts in that thread. @nickw replied and so did I…
Thanks @nickw for the reply.
Put another way, should a citizen of France be allowed to vote in the US? Clearly not because they don’t have any stake in the country and in fact their intentions might be malicious.
It’s an interesting question. Let’s say that you, a citizen of the US, could vote in France. Would you take advantage of this opportunity? Would you be willing to fly to France, find a place to stay, then maybe sit in traffic for a while, and then maybe stand in line for an hour or two… in order to vote for your preferred presidential candidate? Would you be willing to do more or less the same thing for your preferred mayoral candidate of Chamonix? I came up with that name by googling for small cities in France.
If anybody in the world could have voted in our previous presidential election, how many citizens of other countries would have been willing to jump through all the hoops in order to do so? What would it mean if somebody was willing to jump through all the hoops? Would these hoops have been beneficial or detrimental? The biggest ones could have been eliminated by allowing people to vote online, and in this case far more people would have been willing to vote for their preferred presidential candidate.
Maybe instead of Trump winning, Tom Cruise would have won? Would he have been a better or worse president? How about compared to Ronald Reagan?
Imagine if only US citizens could vote (thumbs up/down) on Youtube. How would this change the rankings? Would they be improved? Would they be even more improved if only American adults could vote? What if only American college grads could vote? Would Pewdiepie still be on such a very lofty pedestal? Would the Kardashians still have been placed on a lofty pedestal if all of social media had used spending instead of voting to rank content?
Voting is tyranny of the majority, which is the same thing as tyranny of the lowest common denominator (LCD). If only American college grads could vote on Youtube, the LCD wouldn’t be that low. Allowing all US adults to vote on Youtube would greatly lower the LCD. Same with allowing all the adults in the world to vote on Youtube. The LCD would be as low as possible if anyone, even kids, were allowed to vote on Youtube.
How did Harmony choose its name? I’m guessing that it wasn’t chosen by allowing everybody to vote for their preferred name. Boaty McBoatface comes to mind.
A couple years ago the Libertarian Party (LP) used donations to rank potential convention themes…
$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
The LP provided the list of themes, but it was up to donors to rank them. This year anybody could submit a theme… as long as they were willing to make a $20 donation.
Anybody could have spent $20 bucks to troll the LP. Did anybody pay the troll toll? It doesn’t seem like it, but then again perhaps the LP simply refunded anybody who submitted a troll theme.
Right now Honest Cash (HC) uses Bitcoin Cash (BCH). What do you think about BCH? Evidently Adrian Barwicki, HC’s founder, thinks that it is pretty great. But imagine if he gave donors the opportunity to decide HC’s currency. Personally I wouldn’t be willing to donate much, given that there aren’t any currencies with market governance. Maybe I’d be willing to donate $10 bucks for the US currency. How much would you be willing to donate for your preferred currency? How much would Roger Ver be willing to donate for his preferred currency? I tried to explain to him the merits of market governance.
Let’s say that donors decided that HC’s currency should be ETH. I’m guessing that this decision would improve Vitalik Buterin’s perception of market governance. He’d say, “Hmmmm… those donors are pretty darn smart.” Of course he’d say that, given that he was the biggest donor.
Anyway, perhaps its my american upbringing getting the best of me but I like the idea of having a more democratic governance system for Harmony. After all we want to build something that will improve the lives of everyone not just the privileged few.
If everyone could vote to decide HC’s currency, I’d be willing to bet $100 bucks that crypto would lose. What if voters were replaced with donors? Maybe I’d be willing to bet $5 bucks that crypto would lose.
I think it’s a basic fact of life that spenders are smarter than voters. Spending filters out ignorance. It doesn’t do a perfect job, but it does a good job. To be clear, I’m ignorant about most things. Economics is one of the few things that I’m not ignorant about. So I’d certainly be willing to spend a decent amount of money ranking economists, but I wouldn’t be willing to spend much money ranking dogs, makeup, restaurants, cars… it’s a long list.
Admittedly, I could be wrong that spenders are smarter than voters. My main point is that it is relatively easy to test and compare how differently voters and donors rank things, such as currencies… and names.
In comparing the US and China, we can see clear tradeoffs of the two systems. In the US, there is more transparency, trust and fairness in the political system, but that comes with the cost of slow and fragmented decision making as well as short-termism. China on the other hand has less transparency, trust and fairness in their political system but the concentration of power allows for faster decision making and mobilization as well as longer term planning.
When Mao Zedong was in charge of China, millions of people starved to death. When Deng Xiaoping took over, millions of people were lifted out of poverty. Better leadership? Well yeah, in the sense that he decided to implement pro-market policies.
Right now China isn’t a democracy. Yet, its economy isn’t noticeably better or worse than ours.
In biology they do something called “gene knockout” where they get rid of a gene and see what happens. China got rid of two genes… the market gene and the democracy gene. Millions died. So then China added the market gene and now millions of people are thriving. Is the democracy gene necessary? I don’t think it is, but this is only one experiment. In theory the US could also get rid of the democracy gene, but this experiment really wouldn’t be prudent.
The experiment that I’m suggesting is for Harmony to see how differently voters and spenders rank things. Again, it isn’t necessary to adhere to their decisions. The goal is to see and understand the difference between democracy and the market.
So my main point is about science. We obviously disagree about governance, but hopefully we don’t disagree about science. We can and should use science to resolve our disagreement about governance. If Harmony discovers the truth about governance, then this discovery would make the biggest improvement in everyone’s lives.