Introducing Vitalik Buterin To MSWs

2019-01-27T13:45:35.000Z Honest Cash

On Twitter I saw this tweet by Vlad Zamfir about his story on Medium… Against Szabo’s Law, For A New Crypto Legal System.  He received a reply from Vitalik Buterin, who I replied to…  


Regarding your point about bad changes…

And since then, one of the central principles behind my philosophy has been “Don’t destroy all existing systems and hope a planet-sized ghost makes everything work out”. Systems are hard. Institutions are hard. If your goal is to replace the current systems with better ones, then destroying the current system is 1% of the work, and building the better ones is 99% of it. Throughout history, dozens of movements have doomed entire civilizations by focusing on the “destroying the current system” step and expecting the “build a better one” step to happen on its own. That never works. The best parts of conservativism are the ones that guard this insight and shout it at a world too prone to taking shortcuts. — Scott Alexander, SSC Endorses Clinton, Johnson, or Stein

Further progress requires recognising that America’s economy is an enormously complicated mechanism. As appealing as some more radical reforms can sound in the abstract — breaking up all the biggest banks or erecting prohibitively steep tariffs on imports — the economy is not an abstraction. It cannot simply be redesigned wholesale and put back together again without real consequences for real people. — Barak Obama, The way ahead

Voters, activists, and political leaders of the present day are in the position of medieval doctors. They hold simple, prescientific theories about the workings of society and the causes of social problems, from which they derive a variety of remedies-almost all of which prove either ineffectual or harmful. Society is a complex mechanism whose repair, if possible at all, would require a precise and detailed understanding of a kind that no one today possesses. Unsatisfying as it may seem, the wisest course for political agents is often simply to stop trying to solve society’s problems. — Michael Huemer, In Praise of Passivity (PDF)

Regarding your point about the majority, you already know about Quadratic Voting, given that you’ve teamed up with Glen Weyl.

On the phpBB website there’s a section where people can submit and vote on ideas. The problem with this system is that it doesn’t reflect preference intensity, so replacing it with QV would be an improvement. But would QV rank the ideas better than donations would? I seriously doubt it.

Every law is essentially an idea. My favorite forum has a rule against gravedigging, which is why a moderator recently locked this thread… 3 million dollars USD vs Pandas. Now nobody has the option to reply to it.

Personally I think that the rule against gravedigging is seriously stupid. The term “gravedigging” implies that, just because a thread is old, it must be a worthless pile of bones. But in reality older threads can be very valuable, so replying to them is actually like unearthing buried treasure.

So what are my options? It is certainly easy enough to complain about this rule… aka “voice”. If that doesn’t work there’s always the option to just leave… aka “exit”. “Exit, Voice, and Loyalty” is an excellent book by Albert O. Hirschman.

One option that Hirschman did not consider is for members of a community to use their money to rank the rules. The reason that he didn’t consider this possibility is because virtually everybody believes that markets aren’t really needed to reveal the demand for things. People believe that wise leaders are more than capable of making decisions that fully account for everybody’s preferences and priorities. But here’s the truth…

It is impossible for anyone, even if he be a statesman of genius, to weigh the whole community’s utility and sacrifice against each other. — Knut Wicksell, A New Principle of Just Taxation

Some more truth…

Apparently, then, the legislators and the organizers have received from Heaven an intelligence and virtue that place them beyond and above mankind; if so, let them show their titles to this superiority. — Frédéric Bastiat, The Law

Fortunately for humanity, there are now websites where ideas can be ranked with money…

Honest Cash

On Cent you can see replies sorted by value (example), but you can’t yet see econ posts sorted by value. It’s the opposite over at HC… economics.

From my perspective, figuring out whether money is the best way to rank ideas is the most important thing.


Also posted to Cent: Introducing Vitalik Buterin To MSWs