How the internet unleashed a burst of cartooning creativity
The Economist

Maybe there are more valuable uses for liberals? I wonder what’s a good way to determine the value of things. Hmmmm?

I think, hope, pray that sooner rather than later you folks will write an article about the pragmatarian model…

“Shucks, it turns out that it is a good idea to give our subscribers the freedom to choose which articles they spend their fees on. Now we know the demand for our articles! Now we know how to allocate our brainpower! Now we have this wonderful, elevating and constant intercourse with our readers!”

Yeah, I mean “intercourse” in the old school sense. It bugs me that this rather awesome word has become synonymous with “sexual intercourse”. You guys should really lead the fight in taking back the word “intercourse”.

Seriously though… you don’t know the demand for your articles. You know the demand for your publication… but you don’t know the demand for your individual articles. Doesn’t your economic ignorance embarrass you? And/or… aren’t you the least bit curious to know which of your articles is the most valuable? Personally, I’m bursting with economic curiosity!

My friend Michelle teaches 4th grade. We recently hung out and created a list of our favorite kids’ books. Of course we used our pennies to sort the list. She and a few students recently put the list up in their classroom…

All the pennies that Michelle and I spent on the list were given to her classroom’s Book Department. What’s the Book Dept going to do with the money? Well… it should get a few ideas from the book valuations!

What do you think? It’s a real life example of Crowd Sponsored Results (CSR). How many real life examples of CSR have you seen?

So far, in this case, the crowd is really small… it consists of Michelle, myself and one student… Laila. When Laila gave her 28 cents to the Book Dept… she told them to put it on Charlotte’s Web. The list will change as more and more students in Michelle’s class use their pennies to show/reveal/communicate their valuations of their favorite books.

Somehow I forgot about Calvin and Hobbes (C/H). I think that I was trying to remember “real” books that I had loved when I was in elementary school. But I sure did love C/H! I still do. So I plan on giving Michelle $3 bucks to give to the Book Dept so that they can put C/H on top of the list.

Michelle and I can definitely spend a lot more pennies than the kids can. Is this fair? Who cares about fairness. The far more important question is whether it’s beneficial. The answer is definitely yup…

  1. The kids know our valuations of our favorite books
  2. The classroom’s Book Dept gets more money

The engineering challenge is being able to efficiently resort the list! Resorting the virtual list using Google Sheets is obviously super easy. But resorting the physical list? Ehhhh… I was thinking of a modular system connecting the titles using wire S hooks. Or maybe using coat hangers and modifying them somehow to get them to stack so nicely. I get the feeling that I’d probably be reinventing the wheel but I don’t know which search terms to use.

What would Adam Smith say about CSR? And I don’t mean your Adam Smith… I mean the real one. I’m pretty sure that he would approve. After all… CSR is the logical application of his Invisible Hand.

Here on Medium… my most popular story is about Medium facilitating (micro)payments

My story has a whopping 13 recommendations! I feel a bit funny that my most popular story is about the idea of knowing the value of a story. Do you know what I mean?

While I’m here… if you’re actually reading this… then I want you to know that I do think it is cool that your publication is sharing some content and getting some feedback here on Medium. Even if you don’t read this I still appreciate being able to publicly remind you about the Invisible Hand.

See also:

Pragmatarianism For The Economist
Coasianism For The Economist