‘Futarchy’ is NYT Buzzword of ’08

From the 38 New York Times "Buzzwords of 2008":


Pronounced FEW-tark-ee. A theoretical government controlled in part by speculative markets. Coined by Robin D. Hanson of George Mason University.

Now if only I could just get some group somewhere to actually try it

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  • Ben Jones


  • Will Pearson

    Does it have to be a government? Could it be a company or other group? There must be surely some information that the people lower down the pecking order know about the likely business climate that may not be passed up the decision making chain well.

  • Will, yes, it is a form of governance, which can be used internally by many sorts of groups.

  • Grant Austin

    Have you talked to any Massively Multiplayer RPG designers about how they could use it as a mechanic in their work?

  • Jayson Virissimo

    How you considered seasteading?


  • Eadwacer

    We’ve had it, only it’s spelled F.U.tarchy.

  • Bryan Caplan

    Woh! I witnessed the birth of a buzzword!

  • Patri Friedman

    Singapore seems like your best bet, at least, until there are seasteads.

  • Excuse me if I’m being overly recursive, but wouldn’t the logical first step be to set up a small market on which initial steps toward futarchy are most likely to pay off – say, a market on which individuals to approach for funding to set up a larger market on which countries might accept various steps toward futarchy? (If it works, the Singularity Institute might be tempted to set up a market on which individuals are most likely to fund us… I wonder if we should try that anyway?)

  • Eliezer, it seems to me the resources needed to make the markets you suggest could be as easily used for a first trial, which seems more likely to lead to further trials.

    Patri and Grant, I’m willing to talk anyone with the power to act.

    Bryan, you did indeed. 🙂

  • frelkins


    This may seem off-topic at first, but it really isn’t: are you actually practicing NVC? I consider my prediction market as part of an NVC maneuver, since it’s factual, not judgmental. I’m wondering if you’d like to talk about that.

  • Why not pitch the Obama administration directly? The narrative is that they’re very open to experts. Also, look at ambitious, technocratic governors and big city mayors looking to distinguish themselves. I think Bloomberg might be open -I think he experimented with Dryer’s idea about pay incentives for school performance, with his own pocket money.

  • Johnicholas

    I tried to do this once, betting and voting on a SimCity simulation.

    My intuition is that going so rapidly to large-scale systems isn’t likely to work.

  • Maybe futarchy’s rising prominence as an idea will get it noticed by more companies who will try it for making decision privately, deciding what their next move should be. I guess there would be problems of a business maybe not having a big enough number of employees betting. I suppose the bigger companies are possibly more conservative than the smaller ones, and less likely to implement, whereas smaller companies might be more daring but not have enough employees to make an internal betting market. Is that a problem or am I way off?

  • Johnicholas, SimCity policy could be a great place to run a trial.

    Mike, having a small number of traders is not a problem if those traders know as much as anyone about the topic, so a small company could be a fine place to run a trial.

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