Archive for November, 2008

Vote No

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Anyone placing great hope in Obama is deluded. He is just another abominable person. However, given a lifetime of cavalier behavior, putting the temporary dictatorship in the hands of McCain would be insane. It is only slightly comforting that Obama (and Biden) say some of the right things regarding executive power … we’ll see what they do when they hold that power. Somewhat more comforting is the consensus that Obama will pile on debt slower and extract the US military from Iraq faster than McCain.

So please, vote for changeconstraining executive power just a tiny bit, vote for Obama.

Regarding California and San Francisco propositions (and I wouldn’t be surprised if this rule applies elsewhere), you could do far worse than to vote no on all of them, and it would be hard to do much better.

However, I recommend voting yes on one of each — California Proposition 5 for a slight attenuation of the drug war and San Francisco Proposition K to hamstring police enforcement of anti-prostitution laws.

Futarchist Voter Guide

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Four years ago I used play money contracts traded at the Foresight Exchange to provide a Futarchist Voter Guide (though I didn’t call it that). This U.S. election cycle relevant real money contracts are traded on Intrade.

The first set was instigated and subsidized by Peter McCluskey. Two have attracted a fair amount of interest and seem to be informative. They have consistently indicated that a Democrat will result in a smaller (but still approaching US$1 trillion!) increase in the US federal government debt over one year and a smaller number of US troops in Iraq. (The others, regarding the movement of oil and interest rate futures on election day, have shown no difference between expected election outcomes.)

Above: Expected increase in US Government debt between 30 Sep 2010 and 30 Sep 2011 if party wins US presidency.

Above: Number of US troops in Iraq on 30 June 2010 if party wins US presidency.

Note that briefly in early September the contracts indicate lower debt and fewer troops in Iraq with a Republican candidate. I suspect this is due to McCain’s brief surge following the GOP convention — the implied outcomes above depend on election winner contracts, and with a much lower volume, presumably take awhile to fully respond to rapid shifts in election outcome expectations.

A second set of relevant contracts instigated by Polimetrics have unfortunately attracted almost no trading and probably tell us nothing. Note however they also reflect the brief McCain surge, at which point they implied a greater than 100% chance of growth, low unemployment, and lower crime with a McCain win. They have since reverted to showing essentially no difference between Obama and McCain. Note that each series only starts when there have been trades.

Above: Percent chance that economic growth averages 2.5% or more for 2009-2011 if individual wins US presidency.

Above: Percent chance the US unemployment rate is less than 5.0% at the end of 2011 if individual wins US presidency.

Above: Percent chance the number of violent crimes committed in 2010 is lower than the number of violent crimes committed in 2007 if individual wins US presidency.

Peter McCluskey has automatically updated pages showing implied outcomes for each set of contracts given their latest trades.

(I intended to make a page with frequently updating graphs, but got lazy when Peter published the aforementioned pages, and only collected the data until now, which is available in a spreadsheet.)

Addendum 20081103: See a slightly expanded version of this post at Midas Oracle.