Sunday, 3 January 2010

The wisdom of crowds helps us Greens


Evidence-based politics works for the left / for greens. There is simple and unequivocal evidence that reducing inequality improves society for everyone (including the rich), that manmade climate change is destabilising the climate for everyone (including rich countries), etc. etc.
The issue is this: what are the issues where directly seeking 'the wisdom of crowds' can help to put the needful policies into place?
Well: One such issue, perhaps surprisingly, is reducing inequality and economic growth (i.e. the fact that we don't need any more of it). Ask economists, and most of them will say we still need more economic growth. But ask real people, and it turns out that what they actually want is: not to be worse off than other people (See Solwick and Hemenway, "Is more always better? A survey of positional concerns" (Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation 1998 (vol. 70), 157-83)). If you offer people economic growth as the alleged means of them becoming less worse off than other people, then they will go for it. But of course, comparative judgements are a zero sum game; so, actually, the only way to get people what they want is to get them off the treadmill, and pursue policies actually designed directly to reduce inequality. And, as S & H show, if you ask people, _that_ is what they will tell you they want (i.e. not being worse off than other people, even if it means accepting absolute reductions in one's own 'living standards', to achieve that goal, to achieve that improved quality of life).
Now that's what I call wisdom.

4 Comments:

Blogger Rupert said...

Indeed, it is precisely because 'our' politics is so much more evidence-based than 'theirs' [than the Tories', UKIP's, the DUP's, the BNP's, etc], that they are often driven to desperate expedients such as denying the facts about manmade climate change. This will be their undoing. Which is all well and good; just so long as they don't undo our whole ecosystem first...

3 January 2010 at 18:57  
Anonymous Anon E Mouse said...

Rupert - It's a new year man, put the mulled wine away. Have you gone completely mad?

Evidence based? Which bit Rupert?

Can't you just accept you are in the dark ages on this nonsense or are you still misleading people and blaming China for that complete farce in Copenhagen?

Why no posts lately on Left Foot Forward? Come on Rupert we need some comedy to cheer us up - I'm freezing here - wondered what happened to Global Warming?

4 January 2010 at 10:42  
Blogger weggis said...

Hey Anon E Mouse,
Have you never had the Flu?
High Temperature, burning up, but shivering coz you're cold!

5 January 2010 at 22:23  
Blogger Lynda said...

Those who are shivering in the current weather and are questioning the global warming idea quite forget we are talking about GLOBAL warming over a period of time - not just recent weather in UK but climate worldwide.

22 January 2010 at 22:28  

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Evidence-based politics works for the left / for greens. There is simple and unequivocal evidence that reducing inequality improves society for everyone (including the rich), that manmade climate change is destabilising the climate for everyone (including rich countries), etc. etc.
The issue is this: what are the issues where directly seeking 'the wisdom of crowds' can help to put the needful policies into place?
Well: One such issue, perhaps surprisingly, is reducing inequality and economic growth (i.e. the fact that we don't need any more of it). Ask economists, and most of them will say we still need more economic growth. But ask real people, and it turns out that what they actually want is: not to be worse off than other people (See Solwick and Hemenway, "Is more always better? A survey of positional concerns" (Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation 1998 (vol. 70), 157-83)). If you offer people economic growth as the alleged means of them becoming less worse off than other people, then they will go for it. But of course, comparative judgements are a zero sum game; so, actually, the only way to get people what they want is to get them off the treadmill, and pursue policies actually designed directly to reduce inequality. And, as S & H show, if you ask people, _that_ is what they will tell you they want (i.e. not being worse off than other people, even if it means accepting absolute reductions in one's own 'living standards', to achieve that goal, to achieve that improved quality of life).
Now that's what I call wisdom.

30. 31. 32.