I’ve made various suggestions about the possible terrificness of open source approaches to government, for instance here.
UK researchers have created a tiny liquid crystal display using a transparent material harder than diamond and only one atom thick.
I (Nicholas Gruen) was going on about the renewed importance of public goods to the Review Panel on the Innovation System and so they asked me and another economists on the panel to do a bit of a write up for them. For various logistical reasons, the ultimate document was run up by me the night before the next meeting. I’ve reproduced it below the fold with a few nips and tucks mainly to remove typos etc. It’s not rocket science, and readers of my stuff on this blog won’t find anything much that’s terribly new, but nevertheless, for the record, it’s below.
Quite a while ago, Kevin Cox approached me with an idea he had called ‘energy rewards’. Kevin may wish to chime in on comments with an appropriate link to the best explanation of the idea. In any event it’s a method of generating purpose specific permits or certificates which are given out as a reward, and is then constrains the beneficiary to spend it in a certain way.
The Fin asked me to write my summit idea up for them - so I did.
150 years after Adam Smith first expounded the miraculous way the market’s ‘invisible hand’ transforms private self interest into social prosperity, some economists argued that we could achieve the same result with sufficiently sophisticated government planning.
Enter the Austrian émigré Friedrich Hayek . . . who showed that markets achieve their efficiency by utilising information which is distributed throughout the economy and so often unavailable to government.
If you’ve been round bureaucracy for any length of time (and yes, folks, this includes anyone in the private, public or ‘third’ sector working for an organisation of any size) you’ll know how hard it is to get good ideas up from the bottom to the top. Toyota built its dominance on its capacity to harness ideas from the bottom. And policy competitions have been held in the Victorian public service to good effect in recent years, turning up some very good ideas I’m told.
Subject to my usual caveats, Kevin’s next post on tagged money is below the fold.
An efficient private/public transport market
Following my outlining of Web 2.0 ideas for the ABC on Counterpoint, innovator and entrepreneur Ralph McKay got in touch with me to tell me of his own efforts to develop online opinion markets. These are interesting because they’re not principally prediction markets. They’re devices to elicit the opinions of large numbers of people using the net. Elections do this of course, but in a less flexible way than the online opinion markets that one can develop on the net - where people can change the questions being asked and so on.
I didn’t want to let the Summit pass completely without sharing a few thoughts about it from an overseas Australian.
NEWS ANALYSIS: We can send probes to the fringes of the solar system. Swap instant messages with friends on the other side of the world. Conduct surgery by remote control over the internet. So surely we have some hi-tech help for the hundreds of thousands of people in Burma and China who are walking on the tightrope of death. Right?