Centralized media institutions create “fiat narratives” by forcing self-serving interpretations of reality on the public. In the same way that fiat currencies are valuable only because governments say they are, fiat narratives are true only because media corporations say they are.
Media corporations have near-limitless power to enforce fiat narratives using tactics like these:
Limiting the scope of discussion (“Democrat vs. Republican”)
Astroturfing (paying people to imitate a grassroots movement)
Distributing airtime ($4B of free airtime to Donald Trump in 2016)
Sponsoring entertainment and media (CIA involvement in media)
Great firewalls (China)
Banning media outlets (Facebook and Twitter)
Interrupting members of US Congress to cover Justin Bieber (Video)
Scripting local news on a national scale (Video)
No amount of public outcry or reasoned dissent can change fiat narratives if doing so would threaten the power of their issuers.
In the same way that Bitcoin allows people to transact without trusting banks and governments to manage fiat currency, a decentralized market that measures the perceived value of ideas allows people to define reality without trusting fiat narratives created by centralized media and other reality-defining institutions.
Pascal’s Wager is one of the most famous examples of beliefs being regarded as bets.
Pascal argues in favor of a belief in God due to its high reward and low risk, and to the high risk and low reward of its alternative.
In one way or another, all beliefs work this way — when we “bet on” a belief, we expect to be rewarded more for holding that belief than we would for betting on an alternative.
Typically, the risks involved in betting on a belief are primarily personal and social:
“Will my community still accept me if I contradict their beliefs?”
“I’ve been saying x on social media, how embarrassing would it be if I started saying y?”
“If I believed something else, who would I even be?”
Research on numeracy, cult behavior, science denial, and scientific suppression shows people tend to be far more concerned with issues like the above than with whether they are actually right or wrong.
This is normal and natural, but it’s no secret that humans are lousy belief-investors. We do not manage “ideological risk” well at all.
“Rationality is risk management; nothing more.” — Nassim Nicholas Taleb
To achieve collective “rationality,” therefore, we need a mechanism for collective ideological risk management — an idea market that uses financial structures to assign value to ideas, propositions, and narratives about how the world works.
Introducing financial risks and rewards to “belief betting” alters the risk management landscape for decision-making about beliefs. Not only do financial markets codify what “deciding what to believe” means in the first place (i.e., making a bet), they reward better thinking and punish worse thinking.
Ideamarket uses investment to establish credibility for ideas and narratives without trusting a centralized third party.
Fundamentally, Ideamarket uses price discovery to advance discovery.
While hopefully Ideamarket makes intuitive sense, one metaphor may resonate more than another. So here are a bunch to choose from:
A protocol for the battlefield of ideas A protocol for trustless credibility A protocol for defining reality without media corporations A protocol for harnessing greed to empower curiosity A protocol for capturing the value of obscure genius A protocol for perpetual scientific and cultural revolution A protocol for killing bad ideas A protocol for rendering propaganda powerless A protocol for making credibility harder to achieve by force than by merit A protocol for using price discovery to advance discovery A protocol for creating high-quality common knowledge A perpetual global dashboard for sincere belief An authority without authorities
An intellectual gold mine
Ideamarket allows investors to profit by identifying and popularizing under-appreciated ideas. (I call this venture philosophy.)
Since anyone can participate, an “intellectual gold rush” will occur, as millions of people comb the internet to find obscure geniuses and usher them into the spotlight.
A scientific and cultural revolution engine
Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions argues that scientific progress is incremental most of the time — only occasionally do we participate in revolutionary science, in which discoveries are made that change our fundamental assumptions about the world.
Ideamarket crowdsources a continuous renewal of our fundamental assumptions about the world, enabling an environment of perpetual scientific and cultural revolution.
William Gibson wrote, “The future is here; it just isn’t evenly distributed yet.” Ideamarket is a future-distribution mechanism.
Humanity’s ideological immune system
By making it profitable to identify under-appreciated ideas, Ideamarket in turn makes it expensive to promote ideas that can’t stand on their own merits — propaganda and false narratives.
Corporate and governmental interests will need to continually spend money to artificially inflate the value of a false narrative, and with each passing day the reward to venture philosophers who convincingly replace or refute it will increase. Thus, weak narratives are doomed to crumble and propaganda is doomed to fail.
Idea markets measure the
of an idea.
Current: That the Earth moves ‘round the sun would have been very exciting and disruptive 400 years ago, not so much today.
Perceived: Ideamarket operates on the assumption that discovering important “truths” with any kind of finality is impossible. Ideamarket, like science, shares the principle that all discovery is tentative, pending improvements.
Usefulness: An Ideamarket investment asserts that an idea is worthy of increased attention. Profitability is proportionate to how many others come to agree with you over time.
What gets measured gets managed. — Peter F. Drucker
Measuring "perceived truth" allows us to collectively manage the zeitgeist, rather than have it managed for us by centralized interests.
Ideamarket's goal is not to fully eradicate falsehoods, or prevent them from achieving prominence by force of censorship. It’s to create a game that over time rewards billions of people for managing truth responsibly instead of dozens of people for managing it poorly.
(Replace “truth” with “money” in that last sentence, and you get the purpose of Bitcoin.)