« Against retail politics | Main | Decadent Tories »

March 26, 2019


Dave Timoney

The danger with thinking of the will of the people as emergent is it becomes a quasi-mystical entity, which opens the door to the usual suspects presenting themselves as its unique avatar. But that doesn't make it a "fiction", any more than an election result can be dismissed in the same way. What would be a fiction is "the settled will of the people".


Chris, this is unrelated but what is your view on George Soros for Secretary of State who supports ending war on terror and has anti-Saudi and anti-Isreali. For the "establishment people" maybe try and tie him to the Bernie Sanders.



The infinity Puzzle by Frank Close, although principally about the history of Particle physics, is also about mis-remembering things and people unable to remember who did what when.

I always make a mental note of how I'd vote on big decisions. So wasfor Iraq War because if your PM says you face an imminent threat from another country you have to go with him. So I got that wrong. And I'd have voted fro the deal on MV2, and would do next time too, even though I think it is a rubbish deal.

And investing money is a good idea. No better way of seeing how difficult it is to predict the future than unexpected losses (and gains).


They probably didn't vote and are being honest now.


Dont forget forgetfulness. On top of that, views change marginally over short periods of time but massively over long periods of time. Maybe our experience of the long run as a series of short runs gives us the false impression that our views are stable.

Robert Mitchell

"If an individual’s preferences are unstable to a greater degree than we think can we really speak of a stable “will of the people”?"

I thought you were going to question efficient price discovery, because don't the theorems start with an assumption of consistent and transitive preference relations?

If we aren't consistent, aren't market prices arbitrary?

Also can't you hedge market movements with volatility derivatives, for example?


Applying economic concepts like the “sunk cost fallacy” to political disputes misses the point.

The year is 1869 and you’re analysing Polish uprisings against Russian rule. It seems like a classic case of sunk costs for the rebels. They lose the Kościuszko Uprising of 1794, the November Uprising of 1831, the Revolution of 1848 and the January Uprising of 1863. They always lose. There’s no way they’re ever going to overwhelm the Russian steamroller. Why don’t they just give up and reconcile themselves to Russian (and German and Austrian) rule?

50 years later an independent Poland is reborn.


The leavers are all dying. The ranks of the non-voters are being added to by those who were too young to be allowed to vote in 2016.



People don’t have their opinion of the EU fixed at birth. The young of 1975 voted for the EEC/EU by an even greater margin than the young of 2016 did. The Remainers of 1975 became Brexiters by 2016 because they changed their minds. Which is just as well; it means a referendum really is different from a census.

The comments to this entry are closed.

blogs I like

Blog powered by Typepad