Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Bookies' vote

(+1, -1)
  [vote for,

Given the frequency of elections recently, election fatigue is a real risk. The turnout for this latest one was good, but this won't last.

Given that bookmakers invariably offer odds on each candidate in any significant election, it seems obvious that ballot papers should also be betting slips. Voting would of course still be free, but each vote would have a nominal value of £1. Should your chosen candidate win, you would be entitled to claim a prize based on the odds against them at the time the polls opened.

This approach would have the advantage of offsetting the "first past the post" system which is often accused of giving new parties no chance of gaining a foothold. The long odds against, say, the Liberal Green candidate would surely tempt voters.

MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 13 2019

Johnson Unleashed https://www.theguar...-election-landslide
Surely qualifies for a top ten headlines list somewhere [theircompetitor, Dec 13 2019]

Future shock https://en.wikipedi...g/wiki/Future_Shock
Read it and weep... [8th of 7, Dec 15 2019]

Domesticated Humans https://www.discove...esticated-ourselves
[theircompetitor, Dec 15 2019]


       I don't have a copy of my voting slip, to claim my payout with! Who do I complain to?
pocmloc, Dec 13 2019

       Clearly, voter anonymity will have to be sacrificed. On the plus side, this would allow us to know who voted Labour in this election, and then go and argue with him.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 13 2019

       That's hardly fair; you'll end up haranguing some bewildered elderly person who thought he was voting for Clem Attlee.   

       Getting elected as MP for Islington must have been a tremendous shock for him, too. He probably thought he was getting a cheap broadband package when he signed all those forms (not that he knows what broadband is).
8th of 7, Dec 13 2019

       Congrats on rejecting the impossible and sticking to the merely improbable.   

       One wonders as to how predictive this is for the US. Hopefully it makes the folks at the DNC really nervous.
theircompetitor, Dec 13 2019

       Don't be fooled, that twitching is from all the lines of coke they do to keep their tiny brain cells from going into powersave mode.
8th of 7, Dec 13 2019

       That's why the loony left hate and fear globalisation - it thwarts bringing everything under central control.   

       A fine example is the UK rail network. When it was nationalized, the government took over vertical organisations that controlled every aspect of the business. When it was privatised, the brief was to design a model that would make re-nationalization both legally impossible and financially crippling. Hence the "layer cake" structure. The most important points are that the TOCs don't own the rolling stock - it's leased- and have other areas of business, and that that rolling stock is actually owned by and leased from overseas manufacturers who own the IP and supply the spares and servicing - so even if the government seizes the asset, they still have to honour the contracts, and if the overseas supplier turns off the parts tap the trains are useless.   

       Private enterprise has moved a long way ahead of governments and learned to protect itself. The dream of a socialst utopia is now just that- a dream. Society has changed so much that the 19th century Marxst-Leninist model is no longer applicable or operable. Even the Chinese have recognized that, and are now socialist in name only.
8th of 7, Dec 14 2019

       To be sure but the level of interference (and corruption) of private markets is much higher, and the level of political freedom is much lower.
theircompetitor, Dec 14 2019

       The mistake is thinking that anything better is achievable, when it isn't. Market forces always reassert themselves in the end. Unless you can somehow change the intrinsically greedy, selfish, venal and petty character of the vast majority of human beings, it's what your stuck with. There are no "sunlit uplands". The rain-drenched muddy field you're in is the best you're ever going to see. Get over it.
8th of 7, Dec 14 2019

       Indeed. A delusion that has cost tens of millions of people their lives, and cast several hundred million people across the globe into misery for 75 or so years, and as evidenced in Venezuela, or even in the popularity of socialist politics in the West today, is really hard to cure
theircompetitor, Dec 14 2019

       Almost all rolling stock in the UK is owned by one of three bank owned companies. The manufacturers do not own it. Generally, the approach taken to privatisation of rail in the UK was of such byzantine complexity that it could only ever result in chronic dysfunction. The structure of the privatisation does not make renationalisation impossible.   

       The odds that the bookies give for political voting are nowhere near as properly uh what's the word? assessed and set as they are for sports betting. This is because political betting is a tiny market. The forced integration of betting with politics would result in them getting better pretty quickly.
calum, Dec 14 2019

       // rolling stock in the UK is owned by one of three bank owned companies. The manufacturers do not own it. //   

       That's largely true now, but it wasn't the original concept, and the leasing companies have a complex relationship with the manufacturers very similar to the way the airliner leasing companies work with the manufacturers. It's more like a hire-purchase agreement. There are, for example, explicit buy-back and remanufacture options in the contracts. The important point is that the IP in the design, and the repair chain for items like wheelsets, is largely extra-national.
8th of 7, Dec 14 2019

       //intrinsically greedy, selfish, venal and petty character//   

       Now, as you know, there are annoying and foolish people on the Left who insist on the infinite and arbitrary malleability of human nature, and of nature in general. However, is it not equally foolish to insist on their absolute stasis?   

       Human thought and action have changed over historical time in important ways. Hunter-gatherers, for example, see the world and interact with it very differently from us. Not better, but differently. You can argue that this is always because of changes in material conditions, and I won't contradict you, but suppose this is so.   

       In that case, I would like to offer these general observations:   

       1. Material conditions are changing even as we speak.
2. Changes in behaviour, culture and socio-economic organisation tend to lag behind the material changes which enable them.
3. Whether or not the relationships between material causes and socio-economic effects are deterministic with hindsight, humans have so proved so bad at predicting them that for practical purposes they may be regarded as non-deterministic.

       If these observations are true, it would follow that it is *not* intrinsically vain to talk about possible different future societies as if we had a choice about them.   

       On the other hand, it *is* vain to do so purely in terms imagined back in the C19th by Marx and Freud, which is what the Left has tended to do for most of my lifetime - sorry, Corbyn.
pertinax, Dec 15 2019

       Excellent points, and entirely valid, but they merely highlights another problem, that of "Future shock".   

       Until about 300 years ago, the lifestyle of the vast majority of the population changed very little since the transition to settled agriculture, and what change there was was very gradual.   

       Then the Industrial Revolution began. It is impossible to understate its magnitude and significance - not just that things changed, but they changed very fast- in much less than average human lifetimes - and that rate of change is still accelerating.   

       It took only 50 years for automobiles to go from crude, experimental testbeds to fast, efficient, mass transport. From the first powered flight the moon landing ? 66 years.   

       The future now arrives in the present so quickly that most of the population struggle to adapt to the change; thus the systems and structures that form society not merely creak under the pressure, but actually break down, and before a replacement can be agreed the situation has already changed again, rendering the new design obsolete before it's implemented. The most efficient governmental and legislative systems operate on a timescale of years, whereas technology can change in days. In the midst of this, un surprisingly, Mk.I humans struggle to keep up- and there appears to be no prospect of an upgrade being available.   

       Alvin Toffler's insightful book <link> is well worth reading.   

       It's not merely vain to view the Marxist and Freudian concepts as valid; even the ideas from a generation ago are already becoming irrelevant.   

       Future society will indeed be very different, but none of the current models will be useful in that context.   

       // it would follow that it is *not* intrinsically vain to talk about possible different future societies as if we had a choice about them. //   

       The problem being that by the time you have chosen, your choice is no longer available or practical. It's like a restaurant menu displayed on a touch screen where the offerings change every ten seconds. Choose a starter, fine, but then when you choose a main course the starter is no longer available and you have to begin again. In the meantime you're still hungry...
8th of 7, Dec 15 2019

       didn't I read somewhere recently that we "domesticated ourselves"? So yes not just society, but actual adaptation plays a factor and we're not all straight out of "The Thing" with each vial of blood fighting independently for survival.   

       Reduction in genuine scarcity is also playing a role, and not always in expected ways.   

       We're not even remotely prepared for the elimination of labor scarcity, hence our current politics. When that spreads to intellectual labor, we are beyond unprepared.
theircompetitor, Dec 15 2019

       // didn't I read somewhere recently that we "domesticated ourselves"? //   

       It has been attempted; the quality of the outcome is disputed.   

       Perhaps it is more appropriate to propose that dogs domesticated humans; they have an ordered social structure with remarkably little real violence, they don't systematically predate their own kind, and they don't lie or cheat to any great extent.   

       You could learn a lot from dogs ...
8th of 7, Dec 15 2019

       //they don't lie or cheat to any great extent//   

       ... always excluding "I haven't had my dinner yet!" and "No-one has taken me for a walk all day!".
pertinax, Dec 16 2019

       To other dogs; not to humans.   

       Humans get back what they give out ...
8th of 7, Dec 16 2019

       //To other dogs;//   

       That may be true, but how would you check?
pertinax, Dec 17 2019

       //Alvin Toffler// was, paradoxically, already out of date when published in 1970. The second half of the C20th was characterised much more by people (including Toffler) talking about, and marketing, technological progress than actually achieving it. It's only in this century that the rate of real change has started to pick up again.   

       The reason for this can be found in the central moral text of the post-war generation, namely, The Authoritarian Personality. This book was explicitly hostile to engineers, to the benefit of pseudo-scientists. It's effect was amplified by the anti- technological views of other authors who were influential at the time.
pertinax, Dec 17 2019

       // , already out of date when published in 1970 //   

       ... which kind of makes the point.   

       Inevitably, the book is riddled with Toffler's personal prejudices, and it (and "The Thrd Wave") has a number of misconceptions - but the fundamental premises is correct, even though most of the conclusions aren't. Then again, they couldn't be, because he was theorizing in advance of his data; and by the time he'd finished the book and published it, everything had changed ...
8th of 7, Dec 17 2019

       //We're not even remotely prepared for the elimination of labor scarcity,//   

       Now, I'm intrigued that you would make this point, [their]; I would have thought that you would take a "don't worry, the market will sort everything out" view: if you're not taking that view, then what would "prepared" look like, in your opinion?
pertinax, Dec 17 2019

       Suicide booths, probably...
8th of 7, Dec 17 2019


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