Friday, September 21, 2012

This was me a couple weeks ago

More or less out of the blue it occurred to me that the ability of a majoritarian government to supply goods that are positive externalities dependend critically and quite straightforwardly on the distribution of utility functions across the population.
I did a little googling and it turns out that back in the 70s someone had published almost exactly the same math I had jotted down.



  1. Ideas certainly aren't scarce. Only the ones that we attach ourselves to seem to share that characteristic.

  2. Ah, yes. When I was nearly done with my thesis, I found a source that had covered exactly the same ground... in 1917. It was disspiriting.

  3. I've written a blog post only to find a paper pretty convincingly refuting everything I said.

    Not quite the same, but still.

  4. It seems that Dr. Michael Emmett Brady has had the opposite problem - while Dr. Michael Emmett Brady's articles on decision theory are based on A Treatise on Probability, he's had trouble getting Keynes's results accepted. There are exceptions, however - some of his work on Keynes's decision theory has been accepted at these journals: the History of Economics Review, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, and Psychological Reports.

    According to Dr. Michael Emmett Brady, Keynes's conventional coefficient of risk and weight, and Keynes's interval estimate approach to probability (which itself is derived from the mathematics of George Boole's An Investigation of the Laws of Thought) can be used to solve all the anomalies and paradoxes plaguing Subjective Expected Utility. See the following papers by Dr. Brady for more information.


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