Re: poly: transparency and general benefit

From: Peter C. McCluskey <>
Date: Mon Jan 17 2000 - 20:26:15 PST ("d.brin") writes:
>I believe you leave out the essential aspect of transparency as the
>essential ingredient in any market.

 Because it isn't relevant to the points I was making.

><smaller> Four great social innovations have fostered our
>unprecedented wealth and freedom: <italic>science, justice, democracy &
>free markets. </italic>Each of these "<italic>accountability arenas"
></italic> functions well only when all players get relatively fair
>access to information. But cheating is always a problem because, while
>criticism is the best antidote to error, most humans, especially the
>mighty, try to avoid it.

 Cheater detection has been important for long enough that evolution has
built special cheater-detection abilities into our minds. Which means
people are more likely to write and read about this problem than other
equally serious problems.
 Whereas the problems of do-gooders who neglect to measure whether their
efforts are helping or hurting their intended beneficiaries seem to have
been small enough in our evolutionary past that few people notice whether
do-gooders are helping others, helping only themselves, or helping nobody.
I was referring to this phenomenon, not the cheater detection problem.

>As for markets for goods, services and ideas, knowledge is the
>lubricant that makes them work. Even the example you give above, of
>self-deceiving doctors, is applicable, since a translucent system makes
>it easier to get 2nd or competing opinions, especially from MD's who
>hate the one you just talked to.

 How would that help to avoid biases to which all doctors are subject?
If I ask you about SF authors that you hate, I'd expect to find out some
of the weaknesses which those authors have but which you don't have. But
even someone as critical as you are is unlikely to make a claim of the
form "all novelists tend to ignore economic laws" because that would
reduce respect for your books.

Peter McCluskey          | Boycott until they stop suing | companies that support 1-click shopping.
Received on Mon Jan 17 21:01:58 2000

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