The Invisible Hand

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As far as I know, there is only one list in the entire world that is ordered by the Invisible Hand... Favorite Books.  The order of this list is determined by the aggregated valuations of the Classtopians, their teacher and myself.

When the Classtopians buy a donated item, they can choose which of their departments they give their money to. If they give their money to the Book Dept, they can use it to communicate their valuations of their favorite books.  The Book Dept keeps track of everybody's book valuations on a Google sheet.  This last weekend I taught their teacher how to embed the Google sheet in a page on their new blog.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the idea of the Invisible Hand...

Quote

It is thus that the private interests and passions of individuals naturally dispose them to turn their stocks towards the employments which in ordinary cases are most advantageous to the society. But if from this natural preference they should turn too much of it towards those employments, the fall of profit in them and the rise of it in all others immediately dispose them to alter this faulty distribution. Without any intervention of law, therefore, the private interests and passions of men naturally lead them to divide and distribute the stock of every society among all the different employments carried on in it as nearly as possible in the proportion which is most agreeable to the interest of the whole society. — Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

In a really small nutshell… the Invisible Hand is the decentralized process by which money is used to simultaneously identify and encourage beneficial behavior.

Adam Smith published his book when America was founded.  Yet, as far as I know, this is the first time that a list has ever been ordered by the Invisible Hand.  Which leads me to believe that very few people truly understand the Invisible Hand.

I figure that, with Donald Trump in the White House, now is an especially a good time to discuss the Invisible Hand.  With Kennedy, the result of the Visible Hand was a man on the moon.  But with other leaders the result of the Visible Hand was obviously and severely detrimental.

How many people should determine the order of things... and how should they determine it?

Here on this forum the order of the threads is chronological.  It definitely makes sense to be able to see which threads have the most recent replies.  But... can you imagine what the order of the threads would be like if it was determined by the Invisible Hand?

Personally, I've never donated any money to this forum.  From my perspective, the free-rider problem is a real problem.  But what if this forum implemented Classtopia's idea?   Then, if I made a donation to this forum... I could use it to communicate my valuation of my favorite threads.  Everybody's thread valuations could be kept track of in a Google sheet that would be embedded in a webpage that we would all have access to.  The threads here in the forum would still be chronologically ordered... but we'd also be able to see the threads ordered by the Invisible Hand.

It would be the epitome of killing two birds with one stone.  We'd all be able to easily determine, and see, the most valuable threads... and this forum would receive more donations.  

Would it be worth it for the owner to update the list?  Well... if the donations were large and frequent enough... then it would probably be worth it.  Of course only he can know the minimum donation that it would be worth it for him to update the list.  If there was enough demand though it would definitely make sense to automate the process.

The Bible gets a few things really right.  For example, don't hide your light under a bushel.  This forum definitely has a lot of buried treasure.  However, since values are subjective, this forum's treasure can only identified and unearthed by the Invisible Hand.

Edited by epiphyte
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Interesting application, but the flaw is that when the Classtopians buy an item -- they get something for their money.  When someone on the forum makes a donation, they get the satisfaction of supporting PalmTalk, but they don't get a palm or a book or a bag of seeds.  Adam Smith's principles can be applied to choosing to buy or not buy Starbucks coffee (and indirectly influence the price of Starbucks stock), but I don't think charity was in his equation.

But everyone CAN become a member of the International Palm Society and receive the journal PALMS, and get special privileges here on PalmTalk -- listing items for sale, posting more photos, and so on.

Many new to the forum think PalmTalk is free -- but it is made "free" to users by the good graces and financial support of the International Palm Society. When the IPS goes, this forum will go.  The current rate of attrition gives it about 4 to 5 years. If you enjoy the forum and would like to see it last longer, please, become a member of the IPS today. Annual membership is $55, or slightly more than $1 a week. Do you think your visits here are worth $1 a week? Join here:  SUPPORT THIS FORUM

If you can't afford a membership, but want to support PalmTalk, click on the yellow "Donate" button at the top right of the HOME page, and give what you are willing to give, and be sure to mention PALMTALK as the reason for your donation.

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Kim, people are already giving money to the IPS.   For them, being able to use their fees to show their love for their favorite threads would be an additional perk.  Would they appreciate this additional perk?  

I just donated $5 dollars to the IPS and started an example list... Most Valuable PalmTalk Threads.  It only has one thread on it.  Of course there are other threads that I also value but it's a start.  

Since you already paid your $55 membership fees, you could decide how you wanted to break it down ($5 dollar increments please!) among your favorite threads and I would add the info to the list.  Of course you really don't have to!  But it would be pretty much the same as telling me which threads are your favorite.  I'm guessing that you have at least a few favorite threads? :D  

One thread that comes to mind is the one with all the great pics of Loran Whitelock's outstanding garden.  

 

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A system like your proposing is unnecessary, the principles of economics already apply to the internet. The threads that get the most pageviews are the most valuable through advertising. ;)

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RedRabbit, in the tropical looking plants (other than palms) section, here's the most viewed thread... Cycad cones and flushes.  Personally, I value this thread a lot more... Why not grow orchids?

At the bottom of this page is a banner ad... "Ready Refresh... Just Click and Quench".  That company spent their money to bring a product to my attention.  Donors to the IPS are already spending their money... so why can't they bring their favorite threads to my attention?  For sure I'm going to be a lot more interested in any plant thread than I am about "Ready Refresh".  

 

 

 

 

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On 2/17/2017, 1:09:51, epiphyte said:

Donors to the IPS are already spending their money...

 

 

 

This is the problem.  NO, they are NOT donating. NOT becoming members. NOT spending their money.

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