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Why is the Negation Game the best governance mechanism?

Money tends to get its way.
Most governance mechanisms try to ignore or hide from this fact.
They pass limp laws to reduce the influence of bribery, lobbying, and economic constraints.
But the influence of money is an insurmountable constraint: the very purpose of money is to be persuasive. Those who design systems of governance that don’t start with this assumption are much like rocket scientists that drop G from their equations due to the inconveniences gravity seems to impose. “The rocket equation is so much more manageable if you can factor gravity out.” they tell you, and then promise that they’ve taken care of the issue by “adding airtight seals throughout the rocket so as to keep the gravity out.” These rocket scientists are about as likely to be reach orbit as are the many governance designers that start with democracy — “because it’s the most fair” — and blindly conjugate its many concept adjacents without any sense of their location in the design space; let alone their viability.
Among the many mistakes made, the core mistake of governance designers is to prioritize some principle, like “decentralization” or “democracy”, rather than realize that those principles are themselves informed by a much deeper principle that merely favors those properties. The deep reason that democracy and decentralization can be better is simply because if you can aggregate and synthesize many perspectives you’ll tend to be smarter than if not. But democracy and decentralization are not terminal values, you can’t costlessly maximize them — as we’ve learned painfully from daos. The degree of decentralization must be balanced with the capacity for organization. This is why, and when, centralization can outcompete decentralization: when the efficiencies of organization outpace the benefits from decentralization.
So, then, what’s the point of fixing it? Maybe we should just be content with centralized governance. After all, it’s more efficient.
Centralization’s weakness is that it always faces the temptation to create its own weather: to pass laws and effect changes that enshrine its dominance, eliminating possible alternatives. This is where we get plutocratic distortions: corn and oil industries that use the revenues from subsidies to fund lobbying to increase subsidies for oil and corn, monopoly market players that use their dominant positions to bankrupt or buy out competitors, favored countries that infiltrate and manipulate foreign elections and markets to maintain favorable terms. In other words, plutocratic players can artificially excise sections of the possible from the space of the plausible by making it expensive to explore alternatives. The thing to notice is that this is not their fault, it’s what they have to do because it’s the incentive landscape they find themselves on. As they’ll tell you: if they don’t do it someone else will. The opportunity of the Negation Game is therefore to create a new landscape that permits both organization and high degrees of decentralization.
It’s said that for the brain to function it must maintain a property called “criticality”. Criticality is essentially the degree to which information in one far part of the neural network can cascade to influence other parts of the network. Patients asleep or in comas tend to exhibit “subcritical” activity. Patients with seizures are suffering from “supercriticality”. Staying on that critical strip, not too reactive, not too immutable, seems to be crucial to our everyday functioning — why not too for our economies and polities? Our political systems are today suffering from subcriticality — a drowsiness caused by intentional immobility — and our economic systems are forced to fire at an epileptic pace to amend.
This is what the negation game does uniquely well. It harmonizes the maintenance of what’s working with the exploration for what could be. It enables the upstart to compete on a playing field of enshrined actors. It converts disagreement about what could or should be into funding for exploration and experimentation. This is why you’ll often hear me say it converts the heat of disagreement into the energy of insight. If we succeed, the false dichotomy of economic vs political will ultimately be dissolved.
Sure, this is in part due to the way that epistemic leverage works, as I showed you. Epistemic leverage is an essential element in the mechanism set because it gives us a criteria for allocating the network’s finite attention. You can read more about why it makes sense
. But while it’s necessary, alone it’s insufficient to enable governance that’s 1000x more productive than what we have today. For that, we need other constructs, too.
Our constructs shopping list is actually not too long. Our goal is to be able to construct a decision making environment where:
Members have a reason to add statements or create stakes because it will change the conclusion
The rationale and evidence for a decision has some bearing on whether the decision is made
The members have a reason to be accurate and honest in wielding their influence
If we achieve these properties we can make a massively multiplayer onchain decision making game (MMODMG?). You can see that we’ve already satisfied #3 with epistemic leverage, so what about the rest? We can get them pretty cheap. For #2 we can steal liberally from category theory, a branch of mathematics that basically says, “things are defined by their relationships with one another, and their relationships with their relationships.” This is why, for example, there’s a concept of both conviction and relevance in the negation game, conviction is obvious, but relevance is necessary for disputing the relationship between two points. For #1 we can take a Page out of Google’s book, and use ranking algorithms to autonomously select the action to take, animating people by their desire to get their way in the same way a search engine harnesses people’s desire to land at the top of the results. You can see how we’re starting to approach not only a mechanism set, nor merely a product, but an ecosystem where you learn a handful of rules in order to participate in an entirely new phylum of value creation. I’ll leave it to you to draw your own inferences as to the specialty roles that will come to exist, in much the same way that SEO consultants befit the internet and mountain goats befit mountainsides, and the value such an ecosystem would capture.
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