13 Jul 2017

How to “Automate Congress” Using Blockchain Technology

Politics 17 Comments

I get lots of people contacting me with their “one simple trick to restore liberty!” But I met with this guy and I think there might be something here. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I think Donnie can also swoop in to field questions if you want to post them here.

17 Responses to “How to “Automate Congress” Using Blockchain Technology”

  1. Donnie says:

    Hello all. I will try to answer questiins as my schedule allows.

  2. Daniel Kuehn says:

    Good stuff but it seems like it can only ever be a supplementary mechanism (I think). It’s bad at addressing the same things that straight-up anarchy is bad at addressing: externalities and redistribution. And those are fundamental philosophical issues that I doubt he’d budge on. So it seems like a form of crowdfunding or Uber-type technology to me. It breaks hierarchies and makes it easier to solve collective action problems. That’s all great, but it doesn’t guarantee people fairly contribute to a safety net or fairly resolve or contribute to the resolution of externalities, and those two things make up a huge portion of what we like government doing.

    If you don’t like government doing that (which – as I’ve defined it – includes people who may like it but want an opt-out available), this seems like it addresses a lot of the remaining issues.

    • Ben B says:

      What is ‘straight-up anarchy’?
      I like that… there are AnCaps, and AnComs, and AnSynds, and AnEcos……..and AnStraights.

      “Opt-out”? Why can’t people who like “A” government (as opposed to Daniel’s implied “The” government) “Opt-in”? What if we had competing governments trying to convince people to “Opt-in” from each individual’s default position of being “without government” instead of Daniels implied default position of “with government”?

      • skylien says:

        Having an opt out possibility would already be a huge step forward, wouldn’t you think?

        • Craw says:

          Albert Anastasia opted out; Rothbardian hero, Ancap role model!

    • Richie says:

      “and those two things make up a huge portion of what we like government doing.”

      We? You don’t speak for me.

      • Tel says:

        That’s never slowed him down in the past.

      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        You might be shocked to know this but I have no idea who you are and never claimed and never would dream of claiming to speak for you.

        • Richie says:

          Then don’t be so arrogant and use the word “we.”

  3. Daniel Kuehn says:

    I like redrawing states in less contiguous ways, but that could also create new externalities that the system is not well equipped to solve.

    • Donnie says:

      (it doesn’t guarantee people fairly contribute to a safety net or fairly resolve or contribute to the resolution of externalities,)
      What is a ‘fair contribution to a safety net’?
      How is someone limited to resolve/contribute?

      (and those two things make up a huge portion of what we like government doing.)
      I think your statement assumes that someone should be forced to pay for a net they can use as opposed to paying for a net they may use or not paying for a net and not having one. Regardless of your stance on the ‘should’ question, the feedback to these programs makes them unsustainable and, therefore, unsuitable for use and, I’d add, a worthy intellectual defense.

      (I like redrawing states in less contiguous ways, but that could also create new externalities that the system is not well equipped to solve.)
      How so? The market is the de facto ‘equipment’ set for solving for X. I’m always looking to refine so, fire away.

      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        re: “What is a ‘fair contribution to a safety net’?”

        I’m not sure there’s a single answer to that.

        re: “Regardless of your stance on the ‘should’ question, the feedback to these programs makes them unsustainable and, therefore, unsuitable for use and, I’d add, a worthy intellectual defense.”

        Feedback is obviously a problem in any public program but I don’t think you have any warrant to claim it’s unsustainable or unsuitable to use. Safety nets appear to be pretty sustainable – they’ve been around for a long time and our standard of living and productivity is quite high. They’ve also been quite flexible, changing and reforming over time. Maybe more slowly than we’d like, maybe more quickly sometimes. But I don’t see how you have any justification for saying it’s unsustainable or unsuitable.

        Now you might think it’s unfair but (to borrow a phrase) that’s just like, your opinion man.

        These concepts of fairness are obviously contested which is what makes all of this so difficult but lets not just make things up about the situation.

        re: “How so? The market is the de facto ‘equipment’ set for solving for X. I’m always looking to refine so, fire away.”

        I’m not sure what you mean by “equipment set” but markets are only reliable for solving problems where costs and benefits are internalized. We can potentially reach efficient solutions from Coasian bargaining too but they may not be fair solutions and in practice we might not even get to the efficient ones.

        • Donnie says:

          (Feedback is obviously a problem in any public program but I don’t think you have any warrant to claim it’s unsustainable or unsuitable to use.) You’ll have to pardon me when I say that there is no sustainability argument when there is 20T outstanding. I am not sure how you are categorizing ‘sustainable’.

          (Safety nets appear to be pretty sustainable – they’ve been around for a long time and our standard of living and productivity is quite high.) Non-sequitur. Just because social security has been around longer than both of us have been alive has zero bearing on sustainability. The manner in which it was sustained is unsustainable, making it so. No one is arguing against safety nets. Your choices are government or insurance. Insurance tends to be very affordable, reliable, and can(though it does not currently) replace several government functions. I submit this is one of the reasons government is so involved in regulating the insurance industry into the expensive and maligned state it exists.

          Fairness is a fruitless term people play with.(not saying you are) It moves too much to be reliable.
          I will say equitable because it is measurable. I choose my stuff and you choose yours. Anyone taking my agency to make my own decisions has created an inequity and that isn’t an opinion.

          (I’m not sure what you mean by “equipment set” but markets are only reliable for solving problems where costs and benefits are internalized) This is just false. Not all costs are internalized (and in some cases this is preferred, as there was no inequity created in doing so; see outsourcing) and not all benefits are either (any community benefits from having employment, beyond those employed).

          I would agree that Coase has a lot to add to a technologically savvy Earth, circa 2017. If you are hinging everything on ‘fair’, life isn’t. The best that we CAN get, with education and effort, is equitable and i can accept that.

  4. Khodge says:

    It is precisely proposals like this that most frighten me about a call for a constitutional convention. I appreciate that this was put in the context of Agile technology because anyone with Agile experience knows that it is not a cost-effective, magical system.

    My first problem, one that Professor Murphy is well-versed in from his early 20th century studies, this is yet another effort to put technocrats in charge. Never a pretty sight.

    All the other problems follow from those two principles: (1) there is a cost, (2) technocrats are in charge. What Donnie describes as a bug: slow, seemingly unresponsive government, is, more and more, being recognized as a feature.

    A few observations: Donnie rather adroitly (agile-like?) elided the problem of national defense. Taking away a national discussion does not simply make it go away.

    A concrete example that Donnie so easily glides over (Bob has done the same with border security) is water law. Western water law has been in place, virtually untouched, for a century and a half. Donnie’s proposal, while not dissimilar to current law, potentially destroys a working solution. I may not like the EPA but I can see only problems when you give Greenpeace any real power.

    Finally, Agile is only a tool. You still need guidance. We are offered a picture of highly capable managers whom we can fire on a whim. What we will get is a nation of HOA’s.

  5. Donnie says:

    (It is precisely proposals like this that most frighten me about a call for a constitutional convention) At no point is this intended to initiate a constitutional convention. This is a separate effort, not rooted in the constitutional process. As discussed, I think it’s the problem….in 2017, not in 1776. This effort is to separate, legally, without disruption to the current establishment.
    I would not advocate for an Art. 5 convention today, in any manner. Too easily railroaded by a few, monied people and the compromises that would be made would force a civil war, not a new agreement/compact.

    (this is yet another effort to put technocrats in charge. Never a pretty sight.) How do technocrats get ‘in charge’ when you can pull the funding from them for any reason you see fit?

    Defense is a thing that, like it or not, is already decentralizing. The DoD doesn’t make much of anything. They purchase almost everything, to including ground troops. The contractors have a better record than the military. (See the court cases v Blackwater) So, pardon my saying, by my 19years/2 branches/5 MOS career and Bob’s decade long study of the topic are in agreement. That’s not a plea to authority. That’s a “might wanna have another look or address a specific concern”. Observing that I specifically stated that defense is too large a topic to be covered in a 20m brief and then stating that as evidence of incompatibility is a bit fallacious.

    Who would destroy a working solution for ‘something better’? Remember, one will adopt what one thinks will work and will fund. Where do you think the Marxists end up in this? They’re screwed, K. We can’t talk them out of their folly….. so we break up and watch them Greece themselves up right proper. You don’t like my bush-league idea. Great. Don’t fund it. Just know that you and I will be too busy drinking from our own perspective water bottles and laughing at the waterless Marxists who held to their dogma. All I ask is that you question yours as well. I sure as hell did.
    IF… the payment method in a system is the SPOF, it is not evidenced that we can’t ever touch this delicate miracle. That miracle is too delicate, despite working now. It’s a place holder for something else…..like a system that also functions with a more robust payment methodology. A system that functions and has room for improvement aren’t mutually exclusive propositions. Model T’s work but they’re not in production for a reason.

    And for the record, the Constitution is it’s own “HOA”, one none of us joined. I think I was clear that the philosophy is wonderful and should not be compromised. I wouldn’t have made this argument in 1776, 1976, or 2008. Blockchain changes things. This isn’t hatred of the Constitution.

    • Major.Freedom says:

      Heck well then I will say it. The Constitution, however brilliant it was, remains fundamentally flawed, as it consolidated power in a few select people’s hands. It sanctioned aggression as long as the aggression followed certain patterns. Patterned aggression for some reason gets conflated with voluntarism. An unexpected attack is considered immoral, but systematize the attack, codify it, and it becomes the law.

      Block chain technology, coupled with quantum computing, is a tool that people could destroy all states by stripping away the patterned aggression (I.e. taxation and tracking the populace’s finances).

      I say bring on a Constitutional convention. Then abolish it, and let the people have smaller states to abolish afterwords.

      • Robert says:

        I wish that were an option but corruption wouldnt allow for a fair fight for the populace without a massive push to abolish.

        (Mainly due to the opening for other worse political systems to take hold, as what happened in iceland.)

        That being said secession efforts disrupt power/authority structures, coupled with the free market and it would create incentives to further decentralize.

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