Sound and Fury

Signifying nothing

Archive for the ‘snooker’ Category

Futarchy: nice idea. Until you think about it…

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Futarchy: vote values but bet beliefs. A new system of government that would fix all the problems with our current democracies. Or maybe not.

First, what is wrong with democracy? According to the above link, “Democracies fail largely by not aggregating available information.” And what is the best way to aggregate available information? “Betting markets are our best known institution for aggregating information.” It is based on the idea that things like the Hollywood Stock Exchange or Foresight Exchange are at least as good as an expert’s opinion. So we should use betting markets to assess the expected benefits of various policy decisions.

I think that both these claims are not unproblematic, but I am willing to grant them for now. Because futarchy has bigger problems than that. Let’s imagine that we have a futarchy government going on and imagine a scenario. The policy decision in question is whether or not to ban smoking in public places. The experts might say that this is a good idea for various reasons: cut down on passive smoking, perhaps encourage more people to quit thus decrease the burden on the health services and so on. But we don’t care about them. What does our betting market tell us? It will tell us, first, that there is no benefit at all. But on closer inspection it will tell us that the tobacco industry has a lot more money and a lot more vested interest in seeing this proposition fail than anyone else. Powerful industries with a lot of money and a lot invested in the outcome of a given policy decision will be able to manipulate the market to acheive the decision they want.

I haven’t read the PDF linked on that page but I intend to and then comment some more, in greater detail. But my first impression is that it’s a crazy idea. I do, however, like the idea of voting on values rather than on whatever area of policy happens to be contentious at the time of the election.

In a lighter note, well done Ronnie and Ali for two maximum breaks within a day or so of each other!


Written by Seamus

April 30, 2008 at 5:58 pm

Posted in random, snooker

Successful day. For me. Not for Mark Selby.

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I have now officially applied for my PhD at LSE. That’s rather exciting. I’m sure my research proposal thing could have been better, but I need to concentrate on getting my essays finished and the application had been a distraction. So that’s a weight off my mind. My essays are going well too. And I got my iPod working properly. AND I managed to get a birthday present for the ladyfriend. All in all, one super successful day. But it’s now twenty to six and already I can’t be arsed doing any more work. Sigh. I’ve run out of relevant stuff to read for the part of the essay I’ve been working on today and I don’t want to start the next thing now. (That’s a lie. There is another article I should read. But it’s crap…) I really should work more…

In other news, it’s a shame to see Mark Selby out of the Masters already… Other big names out in the first round: Graeme Dott, Steve Davis, Stephen Lee, Matthew Stevens. I wish I could watch more of the snooker this year. But I don’t have a TV. I wonder if I can catch the highlights on BBC’s iPlayer thingy… I have been using that quite a bit recently. I wonder if I should be using it. I mean, I couldn’t see anything in the conditions about it only being available to people with TV licenses…

Written by Seamus

April 23, 2008 at 5:49 pm

Posted in me me me, snooker, tv

Snooker Loopy

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Well done John Higgins, the new snooker world champion! Well done Mark Selby as well. The last few frames of the final were great. I didn’t see much of the earlier sessions of the final, though they sounded pretty one sided one way or the other.

I thought of another holiday; Narrate your own life day.

Written by Seamus

May 8, 2007 at 1:08 am