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January 28, 2005

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EU Serf

Can you imagine the hue and cry about democracy for the rich. It would work well on the issue of taxation though :)

Paddy Carter

Would tactical voting emerge so that, say, opinion polls told me the rich favoured keeping fox hunting, and roughly how much the average vote was going to be, I could try and vote just below that amount against it, with the hope of being compensated (on an issue I care nothing about) so that rather than being made to think about how much the underlying issue matters, it would just become a game whereby people try to second guess each other and devise the most profitable strategies?

Otherwise, a fine idea. while it would doubtless be presented as democracy for the rich, it would redistribute wealth to the poor if the rich voted against their interests.

Paddy Carter

actually, scratch that. You only get compensated by the amount you can put up, so on any issue which is worth more to you than you can afford to vote, you'd lose out.

I guess CD you're going to say something about having to assume perfect capital markets.

oh, and while I think of it, of all the reasons there are to hold politicians in contempt, their reluctance to challenge the one-man-one-vote principle is not among them. I can understand why they leave that puppy alone.

dearieme

I agree with Paddy's last point, if what he means is that the great merit of one-man-one-vote is that it puts an end to all-consuming discussion of what the franchise ought to be, thus releasing politicians'energies for... Let me re-phrase that. I disagree entirely with Paddy; side-tracking pols into endless debate about the franchise, thus precluding them from endless interference in my life, would be a very wonderful thing.

Ravi

So, in other words, you think the US system of campaign finance would be an improvement compared to the way things are done elsewhere (you can only signal intensity up to a maximum, but there's quite a bit of monetary intensity signaling going on). Speaking as a local participant in that system, I respectfully disagree. It seems to me that our system actively encourages unproductive rent-seeking and "money race" coverage (as opposed to substantive debate). I'll admit (given current circumstances) to be attracted to the idea of a refund for the losers, but, overall, I think our experience shows monetary preference signaling is a deeply flawed idea.

Tim Hicks

I agree with EU Serf. While the theory is elegant, the real-world difficulties are, well, real. Monetary endowments make a difference, and the wealthy would feel comfortable putting a higher monetary value on their preference because they simply have more money/disposable income. If I only just scrape a living, but really value a 'yes' to the constitution, I may not be able to afford to bid the true value to me for fear that I will actually win!

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