Pragmatarianism would be a disaster.
Michael Kelly
1

After 9/11, with the current system… congress was pressured by the shouts of voters and by the lobbying of the military industrial complex. The outcome was a given.

You’re certain that, in a pragmatarian system, even more money would have been allocated to defense. This is because you’re naively correlating popular opinion (seen) with economic demand (unseen). The two things really aren’t the same. This is why we say that actions speak louder than words. This is why we tell people to put their money where their mouth is. This is why we say that talk is cheap.

We don’t know, and have never known, and will never know the demand for defense. Unless… taxpayers can choose where their taxes go. If taxpayers can choose where their taxes go then, and only then, will we know the demand for defense.

In the absence of a market in the public sector… if you think that the demand for defense can be so easily and accurately gauged, or measured, or assumed, or divined by government planners… then that’s the mentality of socialism. And you can’t only have this mentality for public goods… you have to have this mentality for private goods as well. If you don’t have this mentality for private goods as well… it simply means that you’re incoherent. You’ve never really sat down and seriously thought things through.

Regarding advertising… in the private sector for-profits advertise… and non-profits advertise… so it’s pretty reasonable to conclude that, in a pragmatarian system, government organizations would advertise as well. Personally, if somebody wants my money, I really prefer it if they have no choice but to persuade me to give it to them.

If somebody points a gun at my head… I might brazenly ask them what they want the money for… but they certainly aren’t going to feel any need to inform me. Take away the gun, and it will be entirely necessary for them to give me some really good information if they expect me to hand over my money. I’m not a fool who is so quickly parted from my money. People really aren’t equally foolish. In a pragmatarian system… less foolish people will pay more taxes and have more influence in the public sector… and it will take some solid information in order for them to hand over their money.

Of course it’s not necessary for us to test my theory on the entire government. The pragmatarian model can be easily tested here on Medium. Each month we could pay $1 dollar… but we would be able to choose which stories we give our pennies to. How much would you be willing to bet that the most popular stories (most *hearts*) will also be the most valuable stories (most allocations)? Seriously. How much would you be willing to bet? If you genuinely believe that people’s votes/shouts/“Likes” accurately reflect their valuations… then you should be willing to bet a lot of money. And I’m really sure that you’d lose that money.