James is Just Wrong

This article argues we need increased transparency and other free market qualities in our political system, not less.

First, watch the following video from James. It contains some great information, even if the conclusion is wrong. In particular, try to at least watch the first 25 minutes:

The problem is that his conclusion is based in anecdotal evidence about the problems of transparency. There are both benefits and consequences to transparency, but he makes no attempt to measure this tradeoff. I am confident that, when measured, the benefits of transparency outweigh the costs.

Why am I so confident? Because the entire theory of capitalism and the free market show that free information leads to efficiency. Secondly, let’s take his recommendation to its logical extreme. In the strict sense, secrecy leads to an entire lack of trade or social cooperation, which would obviously lead to inefficiency.

He doesn’t consider that vote selling is a good thing. He doesn’t consider that the wealthy having strong influence could be a good thing. He dismisses them out of hand. If income is correlated to ability, it is possible that the highest earners making the most important decisions is an ideal arrangement.

Secrecy is the problem, not the solution. Transparency is good, not evil. Holding people to account for their actions is desirable, not a problem.

Eliminate secret ballots for voters. Allow vote selling. This allows the laws of economics to act to create an efficient voting outcome.

We need more free market not less. We need more freedom of information, not less. Polycentric law is a much better step in the direction of free market politics than a central ballot.

If you disagree with me, then let’s compete. Create an experiment and allow a political system rooted in secrecy to compete with a political system rooted in transparency. I’m confident transparency wins.


2 thoughts on “James is Just Wrong”

  1. Your last paragraph sums up my whole feeling on this subject. I can see advantages and disadvantages to both. Historical examples are very contextual.
    I would like to see two experimental democratic colonies set up in a controlled environment. One with secret votes & one with open votes.

    • The experiment is already complete. If you watch the video again you’ll see your two worlds. They are not even experimental. We lived them. Pre-1970 and post-1970. Look at the data that James clearly presents about economic, social and legislative satisfaction. Transparency in Congress (A.K.A. Vote Buying) fails.


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