As a follow up to @hashmap’s gitter post, I’m creating this forum placeholder to discuss the Liberal Radicalism paper by Buterin, Hitzig and Weyl.
Having the read the paper, it’s quite ambitious and unusual compared to traditional economics and political science papers. It’s worth noting that it’s an initial effort that do not have holistic answers or solutions yet.
There’s been some attempts to comment on its contents, I’m sure there will be much more to come.
To cut to the chase and discuss how this might relate to Grin’s Governance, the paper is proposing a method to allocate funds between projects, based on voting, that attempts to address some of the shortfalls with traditional allocation models such as:
- capitalism, where whoever has money allocates it to the project they wish to fund, and there’s basically a plutocracy running the show, protecting their own interests to the detriment over other groups;
- one person one vote, where the majority will rule, populism is encouraged, and the minority risks becoming oppressed by the masses.
This is highly relevant for our governance model and how we end up funding different efforts, and there are many variations that could be applied. Consider for example a scenario where donors donate to a central fund, and as part of that receive votes that can be cast on the funding of future projects that can be proposed by members of the community. Or funding projects directly, and based on the amount of public funding, matching is being done from the central pool according to the principles laid out in the paper.
There are a couple of obvious attacks laid out in the paper, specifically around vote buying, collusion, and sybil attacks. Which brings me to what I consider the two most crucial limitations of the paper from the perspective of applying it to Grin governance:
Practically, how would this be applied in our case? Who gets to vote? How are votes being distributed initially?
I.e. how would we ensure that each individual in the community is represented in our system only once?
Before these challenges can be addressed convincingly, I’m not sure LR would be superior to more simple and conventional approaches to funding.