Thought You'd Never Ask

Just mouthing off -- because I can.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

How to combat ignorance

Most people just keep beating on trying to change hearts and minds through discussion, lectures, books, visual aids, propaganda, manipulation, or force. All those methods can work to some extent.

But this is practical advice: Captain Capitalism sez: make bets with people. In other words, invite them to invest their own money and self-interest in paying closer attention to the indisputable facts of reality. Offer a voluntary opportunity for them to have a stake and a potential payoff in discovering proof and evidence for their beliefs. If they are ignorant, they lose; if they are knowledgeable and smart, they win.

It's ingenious--and it reflects how many economists know the real world works. Economists often (but not always) remember that human society is all about incentives, and that the best, most productive and satisfying human societies work smoothest when most interactions are voluntary and seen as mutually beneficial trade. Of course, without results that include both winner and losers, there is no real freedom--there is only manipulation, and lots of ignorance, perpetuated and magnified.

Sounds to me like a glimmer of an idea for a plan to restimulate the economy, perhaps? Shouldn't we be rewarding people who make good choices with their own money, and letting the losers learn from their mistakes to pay more attention and play again, but smarter, another day?



  • At Saturday, November 17, 2012 3:37:00 AM, Blogger kevin clark said…

    I love the idea, I am afraid though that it won't work. It assumes that both parties in the argument value reason over pride and greed, and in the quagmire that is the social, political and economic milieu of today the abundance of contradictory supporting evidence is to high to guarantee that the truth will be recognized.

  • At Saturday, November 17, 2012 9:37:00 AM, Blogger Zabrina said…

    I fear you are right. In the political realm we have given away too much power to people now able to choose winners and losers at the point of a gun. The only thing they can't control now are consequences and reality. But I fear the individual in the U.S. is no longer sovereign, and the rule of law now depends on who is ruling.


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