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November 18, 2011

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tomslee

Similar arguments apply to centralization/decentralization and standardization/experimentation. You may be interested in a theoretical approach to some of these things: the multi-armed bandit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-armed_bandit). It phrases the problem nicely, although from what I've seen it is basically a general approach that demonstrates that no general approach will be particularly useful in striking the balance you seek.

 Luis Enrique

possibly interesting application to current Eurozone mess. Many (justifiably) complain about the undemocratic nature of the solutions (and I agree that citizens ought to be given more power to choose their own fates in situations like this) however the set of solutions available to egalitarian decision making might be very limited.

In simple game theoretic terms, and outcome in which the ECB prints our way out of this mess and countries like Greece and Italy sort out their fiscal positions, might be the best solution. But this outcome may not be achievable by egalitarian means - voters in every country would wish to defect (for example: the Italians won't vote pain on themselves if the ECB is going to support their spending, knowing that the Germans won't support ECB printing). Whereas a hierarchical power system might be able to impose that outcome.

See Nick Rowe's v good short post along those lines

http://worthwhile.typepad.com/worthwhile_canadian_initi/2011/11/could-the-ecb-become-the-central-fiscal-authority.html

 Luis Enrique

Tom,

not seen that before, thanks. Are you aware of any applications to economics?

tomslee

Luis - no, but that doesn't mean there aren't any.

David Ward

The irony is (if he were in any way a left wing egalitarian) he chose to move to Australia. In my experience (being married to one, and visiting on a regular basis) the average Australian is decidedly more right wing than the average Briton.

Your piece made me wonder whether the qualities you mention (which do exist to some extent) might make me happier living there. I think the one aspect I couldn't stand is the skewed and infantile standard of public debate. In my wife's home city it is impossible to access printed media not owned by Rupert Murdoch for instance.

freelance writers

having equal authority is the best! just implement it!

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