30-minute read

3 Ribbonfarm posts about the philosophy behind Ideamarket

1 — Where 'facts' come from

“Facts” have outlived their usefulness as society’s default unit of truth. This article outlines 4 major reasons:

Crypto fans will note that “facts” always require trust in a third party.

The argument goes like this:

Facts don’t exist

Don’t get me wrong — truth exists.

But facts are a convention of language, a shorthand for “thing it’s safe to believe without further question.”

Creating “facts” requires deciding which information is important to include.

If you don’t trust the person making those decisions, it’s not your fault, and you’re not a “science denier,” “conspiracy theorist,” or whatever else they call you.

"Fact-checking" doesn't exist — only fact-deciding

Most approaches to solving the Credibility Crisis assume “facts lead to trust.” They say “get the facts, then determine who’s wrong, then censor them.”

But Ideamarket flips this on its head — facts require trust.

Facts require trust

Trust must come first, or what we call “facts” others will call “claims,” and the debate will continue forever.

Ideamarket allows the public to establish Trust without relying on a centralized third party — like a media corporation, a government, or the World Health Organization — to tell you who to trust.

Read that article here:

2 — Trust (not facts) powers the knowledge economy

A journalistic article, like a reserve bank note, is a lightweight convenience that invites the holder to redeem it for the promised underlying asset. For worldly currencies, it’s gold. For epistemic currencies, it’s truth.

Articles are not “truth” — they’re supposedly redeemable for truth. They're promises that if you do your own research, you’ll reach the same conclusions the article claims.

By trading in articles instead of mining for truth yourself, you put your trust in the article publishers.

3 — Measure trust using risk management

An epistemic currency market would establish a direct relationship between prominence and scrutiny, illuminating the best ROI on your trust. For example, if market participants audit a publisher and find it has no truth in its reserves, then it is epistemically insolvent, and demand for its epistemic reserve note goes down (i.e., people exchange its articles less).

If society manages trust using the same aggressive meticulousness with which it manages money, could the sheer lucrativeness of epistemic arbitrage make “obscure genius” a thing of the past, and keep the rate of ideological progress above zero forever?

Here’s why this may be worth trying, regardless:

Market incentives create the kind of consensus the information age demands, and also the kind of people who can tolerate it.