Archive for May, 2010

54% chance of marijuana legalization, what chance of crime wave?

Monday, May 17th, 2010

My favorite local weekly, the (I loved their print design and long-form stories in the 1990s; after a couple ownership changes they are still good for other reasons, e.g., prolific reporter Robert Gammon) has a story (actually a blog entry, hopefully something of it makes it to print) that very concisely describes prediction markets and states that “TaxCannabis2010 is currently predicted to win” by traders at Intrade.

I’m happy to see EBX cite Intrade and that the is predicted to win, with two caveats.

The market currently gives the initiative a 54% chance of winning. That means a 46% chance of losing. Not remotely a sure thing. Closing prices chart below.

It’s utterly ridiculous to put marijuana users, farmers, sellers, etc. in jail. But this is not obvious to a number of people, or marijuana would not be illegal. I will be surprised if anti-initiative ads will claim that marijuana legalization will lead to an increase in cocaine use, a crime wave, decrease in test scores, and more. So what would really make me happy with regards to prediction markets and citation of the same would be contracts on cocaine use etc. in California conditioned on whether the initiative wins.

Creating a Culture that maximizes welfare gains from Sharing

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco 2010Thursday I’m on a Web 2.0 Expo panel that should be interesting, as I just wrote on the Creative Commons blog.

I post here because I’m pleased that the Web 2.0 Expo blog asked my fellow panelist Jack Herrick a version of the obvious question (once they went off-topic into copyright policy):

Kaitlin: Let’s imagine a world without copyright or the need to attribute your content source. Do you think artists and writers would be hesitant to create or able to if they can’t make money on it? How do creatives cope in this world?

Jack: There are lots of reasons people create things in this world that don’t include money. People create for personal joy, to share with others, to build reputation and myriad other reasons. I doubt the artists of the beautiful cave drawings in Lascaux, France were paid. I doubt that all artists in our future will be paid. Yet creativity won’t stop. The beauty of what the combination of open licenses and the web brings is that creators who wish to create for non-monetary reasons can now reach a broad audience and a willing body of collaborators. I don’t think we need to fear that non-monetary creation will completely replace paid creative work. But we should all rejoice that the web is offering an venue for non-professional creativity that wasn’t drawing such a large audience before.

Why isn’t this question asked more often? Note this is far from an ideal phrasing — the nut should be global welfare, not how the class we currently deem creators might cope.