March 16, 2007

demand revealing referenda

Stumbling and Mumbling as an explanation of how a demand revealing referendum would work. People are asked how much money would say how much they would be willing to pay for a given result, much like how things work at the moment, but then when the money is collected it is handed over to the people that wanted the decision to go the other way, rather than the Labour party coffers. This way everybody thinks more about how much each issue is really worth to them as it is their money on the line, and should things go against them the will be compensated by the amount that it is worth to them.

There could be a problem with this that money does not have the same value for everybody, for somebody that is very rich the marginal worth of a particular amount of money will be less than for somebody that is poor. A rich person losing £20 would be no hardship, but for somebody less well off that could be their weeks food budget. Therefore somebody that is rich can consider an issue to be of less worth than poor person, but when the rich person puts an amount of money equivalent to how much it is worth it could be higher than that of the poor person because the marginal worth of the money will be less to them than for the poor person. Using demand revealing referenda could therefore entrench the current implicit power imbalances between rich and poor, and make them explicit rather than implicit. As a nasty righty, and therefore spending my spare time swilling champagne in a Jacuzzi powered by the finest hand blown bubbles from a third world sweatshop while plotting new ways to oppress the masses, it still seems a scheme with considerable merit. But it does rather surprise me that it be proposed by a Marxian like Mr Dillow.

Labels: , ,


Blogger Steve_Roberts said...

'Demand' cannot be measured by a referendum. Demand is defined by the potential customer putting cash on the table. When no money is at stake, you are not measuring demand full stop, results are meaningless. What a referendum process could conceivably do is to express preferences across goods with equal cost - eg Trident subs v so many hospitals; MPs pension increase vs so many teachers. I wonder what chance there is of this kind of referendum.

11:00 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home