Talk:The Consumerium Exchange

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Notes on Practical Issues[edit]

mmm. As to the question of if this an adequate level of security will propably remain an disputable issue always, but will not propably crash the whole system due to the fact that people who feel that direct voting is not reliable can choose to view only the indirect votes, which are authenticated by cryptographically strong methods such as GnuPG.

Never rely on cryptography exclusively. The April 2000 rebuild of the PGP key tree at the Computers Freedom and Privacy conference, in Toronto, was actually signed by Terence and Philip - the two fictional Canadian comedians from South Park...

Red, Yellow and Green Lights[edit]

The Consumerium Exchange does not necessarily determine whether the "red light" or "green light" goes off. In fact only those cases where a "yellow light" (caution) goes off, should really require anyone to read anything. --142.177.X.X

Actually i think that The Consumerium Exchange _is_ what turns on and off the lights if you desire such a simple interface.
Realistically, this simple interface is what almost all consumers will really use, and more important, what retailers will use to decide what to stock on their shelves. I can think of retailers who would have nothing less than a "strong support" on their shelves, others that would only respond to a global boycott:
Let me explain. Suppose there are three different levels of Boycott (avoid, strong avoid, boycott) and three levels of Endorsement (support, strong support, endorse) that the Campaign management chooses from. Then the algo for figuring which light out of the spectrum appears would roughly be the following:
  1. Give "weights" to each level. say -1,-2,-3 and 1,2,3
  2. Multiply the votes for each Campaign with the weight the campaign has set
  3. Divide the result with the total amount of votes in the Campaigns on this product
  4. Voila. We have a number that can be converted into a shade of light on your favourite spectrum
This process will of course get a lot more complicated in practice due to that one has to take a stand on how to trust direct and indirect votes and further on how to trust different classes of direct votes and then there is of course the selective exclusion of votes that also affects the algo, not to forget the fact that an industry, company and/or product group may be targeted by campaigns that could cascade to the product itself and one would have to figure out how to value these cascading votes ... -Juxo 17:14 Oct 1, 2003 (EEST)
Yes, there are correlations potentially between any industry, company, product, resource or method and any other. These can be quite strong or so weak as to be irrelevant. Best to think of it as a general map of all to all...
The trust algorithms can be quite individual, or specific to a region (especially an ecoregion) of origin (if the issue is how it is produced) or consumption (if the issue is how it is disposed).

Attack Methods and Countermeasures[edit]


It is also unclear how to prevent abusive companies from acquiring multiple direct votes by creating many identities, or from creating their own nonprofit entities to do nothing but say the right things, and vote against their competitors, regardless of anyone's behaviour.

Isn't that just the thing they are doing right now?
Yes, but not right here right now. ;-) They will eventually try it here, too, and we have to anticipate all their exploits, worst cases, threats.


Hedging? Now you will have to explain that. How can there be hedging?

I publish three opinions with three different identities - one says X is good, one says X is bad, one says X is mostly good with a few problems that can be solved.
This is not allowed by definition. But TCE having no legistlative support to maintain it's integrity, unlike gov't moderated commodity and equity markets, will have to rely mostly on social control to limit this kind of behaviour. Carefully using FOAF techniques to map out the field and then placing higher value on untainted grounds should make hedgers degrade to just noise eventually?
No, you can't count on your FOAF map to actually reflect the hidden power and money relations. Look at for a futile attempt at that. This is far too fragile, reputation is over-estimated as a way to determine who provides accurate instructional capital - the prediction market does a better job, a proxy market for votes can enhance but not replace it. There is also no social control that will hold world wide - because there is no social capital on such a large scale. It is not relevant what is "allowed" only what is technically possible. You are designing a high security system here.

Now the opinion that X is good gets attacked and I lose reputation for that identity, the opinion that X is bad gets reinforced and I see by who. Third identity exploits the fact that it is taking a "moderate" position, and uses all the arguments launched on either side to bolster its own reputation. Now I have one spam identity that everyone knows is just saying X is good, I discard that, leaving me with two identities with good reputations: one that is seemingly opposed, one that is seemingly a moderate critic, of X, which I secretly own... if anyone has been foolish enough to publish their own opinion as themselves, I know who they are and can work out their motivations and other opinions, and attack their reputations selectively. However, you cannot trace MY three identities back to one body even if you force me to provide my DNA, because I can just pay others to front for me and pretend the opinion I pay them to have, is theirs. The only thing you can do is make it cost me money to do this, in proportion to the impact my opinions have, and that at least forces overall accountability back to the same wallet, if not the same body. See the point? This is exactly why the global economy is built on a casino model.

Corruption cannot be weeded out, but it's effects can be subdued.
Not by simply defining it out of existence.

Is Betting essential to any "exchange"?[edit]

It is not strange. The entire global economy runs on this principle. And this is the only way to make the project pay for itself.

pls. See Advertisement Videos
You're right it's not strange, it's plain silly. They did invent this thing called a Stock market a little while back. If you got capital, go play there. If you think some price is going up buy shares. If you think it is going down buy reverse instruments on it. Simple, eh?
Everyone has capital. Some have instructional capital. Some have social capital. Sometimes this is convertible to financial capital. Sometimes not. If you realize everyone has capital, then everyone is a player.
Involving money is unegalitarian
Not as much as involving all that junk you list at Hardware Requirements. More people have at least a little money than have all of that junk - and almost everyone can understand how to use a bet, since lotteries are so common on this planet, but how many really understand how to use their vote? You are making it non-egalitarian with a model that has no role for putting your money where your mouth is. If you want, limit the total amount of bets. All we need is the information - so a 5 yuan bet is as good as a 50 billion dollar one in some ways.
Putting your money where your mouth is can be done when shopping if information is readily available which is the reason for the Hardware Requirements.
Have you ever been shopping with a harried housewife with two kids? I think not. No one is going to read a single word in the store, ever. It will all be up to the lights and numbers, period.
I've had it almost up to the "here comes the funnel and the KitKat McFlurry"-level with your constant betting centric approach and I'm too tired/bored/aggravated to continue argumentating why it's an unplausible idea to involve any monetary transactions within the exchange.
Then what is actually being "exchanged"? What is the unit or instruct-ion or socializat-ion that one is exchanging with others? You must have some unit of account.

How bets would actually work[edit]

A bet. This is an actual monetary bet that over a certain period of time, a certain company, product, industry will not violate the norms, or will improve, or will never be red-lighted etc. Unlike a stock, option or bond purchase, this is a direct bet on the company's good behaviour, like a bail bond. If there is no problem with that product, company or industry, then the bet pays off with a modest return, similar to a bond - 5-10% above inflation perhaps. If there IS a problem, the value of the bet drops very drastically, becoming worthless if the product, company or industry does something to get itself fully red-lighted for the entire span of time of the bet.

  • By keeping the bets visible here, we make the conflicts of interest visible too, rather than hidden as people move money in the background (which they will anyway). It's also clear who has the most to lose if a company is about to lose status, and, more of the debate will become visible, and more of it can thus be passed on to the company or stockholders, whose interests are exactly aligned with the bet-maker
  • The money held in trust funds the whole Consumerium process and rollout, since it can be invested in various ways - ideally in ethical investing funds or sustainable forest product funds or something. This may require a backer or insurer to cover catastropic losses. No investment in any one company should be allowed for risk management purposes.
And for the millionth time: NO MONEY, just information.
All information is distorted by money, as much as motion is distorted by the presence of more mass, which creates what we call "gravity". So I am talking about the economic law of gravity here - it all comes down to money. You can deal with it directly, or be manipulated by those who deal with it directly.

Whether social capital can completely replace financial[edit]

Better arguments and better facts to back them up is your capital here. And reputation
You are talking about social capital. I suggest you read Paul Adler, in particular, Social Capital: The Good, the Bad and the ugly before deciding to rely exclusively on this. In summary, that paper's arguments suggest it will not work, as any reputation system relies ultimately only on authority style arguments. There is no global way to challenge a reputation other than by betting (definitive challenge within the trust system - making a market out of it) or experiments (investigative challenge - making a science of it).
Getting accredited as a source of not-so-good information will cause you to look bad in other information which will make everyone just ignore your future "information". Providing good, reliable information in the long run will increase the value of your information and future information. If you want to bet with your drinking buddies about how Company X will be looking in 6 months then _that is your problem_ and The Control Freak in Charge of Irrigation Systems cannot/doesnotcareto do anything about such behaviour, except perhaps hope that you don't take out a bank loan to support your filthy habit and in case you do here is a link to help you out
The global economy does not run on gambling for no reason. Have you ever played poker? The game literally does not work without real money, you cannot play for "reputation", you must play for some strict quantity that represents combined reputation, skill, and luck - money. You must at least make it very easy to bet for or against the given information being accurate. It is simply not possible to run a system like this with no betting: without it, anyone can provide so much information of all kinds under so many identities that reputation for providing it becomes meaningless. The only check on this is the amount of money it costs - if that cost is nothing, well, then there is no check, and no limit to the amount of propaganda that will be dumped into the system, hoping that some of it gets through. Any system above a certain scale needs betting to make it work properly. If there is global economy then there must be a simple bet-real-money-on-it way to send reliable information signals around. If all the ways to send signals cost nothing, then so many signals pile in that the system collapses.
Yes, I've played poker and it's a wretching feeling when you have a royal flush and have to fold due to running out of money while someone else raises till you have no money.
But, you can show someone the royal flush and they can lend you money, for a percentage of what you earn. If this is easy to do, the problem goes away.
The basic idea being of course guessing where the aggregate of all campaigns on some issue will equilibrium. eg. What "light" will prevail for Company X

All buying is betting[edit]

If I own X, it is so dangerous for me NOT to do the above, that I *must* do it, for fear that others who promote my competitor Y will do it instead. Also it is possible that there will be NO GREEN LIGHT FOR ANY PRODUCT in some category, which implies that you are asking someone to undergo a lifestyle change, that they may or may not realize is implied by their moral choices. So it might be a lot better to think about a basic model based not on the green light but on choices like "is X so much better than Y that I should pay 4 cents more for it?" - which again brings us to quantified choices. Given the price information also, this becomes a Green light (if X IS that much better, and costs only 4 or fewer cents more) or yellow light (if X IS that much better, but costs more than 4 cents more than Y, leaving you a nickel that you could maybe better spent by donating 8 cents (3 of which are tax-deductible) to save Great Apes)), or red light (if X is not that much better, and costs more, meaning that you are giving more money to those who don't actually share your values much, which you could save and donate to those who actually have your values more than you do! ;-)).
This of course is micro-betting, which is, for any given purchase, deciding whether the extra money you pay for a morally superior product (and make no mistake, it will ALWAYS cost more, because a retailer will eventually figure out that they CAN charge more) is better spent giving profits to this moral vendor to expand and succeed and pay off those who bet on a moral process by investing in the company itself, OR better spent saved in your own wallet and giving you leverage to influence a moral vendor of another product OR better donated directly to those who actively work to expand the information and product range available to you. In any case one can always IGNORE THE ADVICE if it's seemingly not advancing your values by very much, which means, you are again making a bet, this time against the degree to which Consumerium's advice affects your own body and those you care about. You can't escape betting wherever you go!

So why is it called an "Exchange"[edit]

Hey, it was YOU who called it an "exchange". If what is going on is voting, it is a "forum". So pick the correct name.

I thought it had fun analogies, but perhaps it is a bit misleading. The analogies being the ability to IPO new campaigns, the ability to "buy" and "sell" "share(s)" on the campaigns. The ability to merge and split and Bankrupt (Nullify) campaigns. The ability to aggregate information to form all sorts of indices that can be used as reference points when evaluating stuff. The ability to plot long term performance of different instruments and composites. _If_ the implementation has a proper signal-noise-ratio and enough volume then it could be an another source of information for people trading in real equity markets. Megalomaniac, me?!?!
OK, so the campaign in this model is an analogy to the stock in the market? That at least lets you treat campaigns as options of a sort, a pure play on the success or failure of the campaign itself. I think you should work this out in detail, but do read the Adler paper when you have time. It's a good balance to Hanson. Also you need to understand portfolio management basics, see for Ron Dembo's model of regret as actually being the only way to objectively measure risk. Then you might see how financial capital is built from social capital, instructional capital (the futures we believe in stated each as a scenario, combined in a weighted way, the process and comprehensive outcome knowledge itself). Then it may be more obvious how this stuff must fit together.
So whatsithen? The Consumerium Agora?
Agora also implies markets. As it is, you are talking about a Consumerium Forum I think.

It is not necessary to trust anyone completely - one might for instance trust Greenpeace the most but only to a "0.7" level. All other organisations could then be trusted to some number proportional to them, but less than 0.7.

This makes sense only if you choose multiple "trust roots" and place some numeric values for the level of trust. If you choose to trust Organisation X most, but choose no other organisations then the number you set doesn't matter since all scores will be offset by this value equally???

Reading sessions of strange papers[edit]

You should google around for Robin Hanson's paper "Shall we vote on values, but bet on beliefs?" It will explain a great deal to you!

Thanks, I did. The latest rewrite of the paper can be found at . It looks interesting and I'll try and read it through when I've had some sleep. Though there was this part in the abstract that either is not English or I'm just too stupid to understand what it is supposed to mean. Terrible English allover. Perhaps Robin is a troll?
Oh, yes, without question. Moin moin moin... neh neh neh...
Robin Hanson is a nutter. I'm only half way through, but this fact is apparent. He does have an interesting research methodology though. "Engineering approach", heh. Usually these papers are boring as hell, but this guy is out to make a difference. In academia it is usually common to use descriptions like "a priori" and "a posteriori" without hesitation, but Robin is out to write his thing in so that it's readable even to the layman, except of course where he soooo trolls.
Having almost read it half way through I got this idea that it might be interesting to have sort of "Futures" in the exchange. No monetary bets I guarantee, but more of a chance to gain prestige as having the gift of foresight or an educated guess in seeing what kind of support different things will aqcuire once voting gets onway.
See - maybe we can make a close cooperation with them, as they are doing this now, and betting money that goes to charity? I think without money it makes little sense, as there must be some real pain for placing wrong bets, and a way to prevent someone from hedging too much.

This permits several factions to develop and align behind different views, and for those who choose a faction or a point of view defined by a faction on one issue, it permits buy or not decisions to be made clearly. Without this facility, there will be less "green light" and "red light" clarity, and more "yellow light" ambiguity.