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patrissimo comments on Politics as Charity - Less Wrong

29 Post author: CarlShulman 23 September 2010 05:33AM

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Comment author: patrissimo 29 September 2010 05:43:39PM 2 points [-]

And this argument has what to do with my personal decision to vote?

My choice does not determine the choices of others who believe like me, unless I'm a lot more popular than I think I am.

After saying voting is irrational, the next step for someone who truly cares about political change is to go figure out what the maximal political change they can get for their limited resources is - what's the most efficient way to translate time or dollars into change. I believe that various strategies have different returns that vary by many orders of magnitude.

So ordinary people doing the stupid obvious thing (voting, collecting signatures, etc.) might easily have 1/1000th the impact per unit time of someone who just works an extra 5 hours a week and donates the money it to a carefully chose advocacy organization. If these rationals are > 0.1% of the population, they have greater impact. And convincing someone to become one of these anti-voting rationals ups their personal impact by 1000 as much as convincing someone to vote.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 29 September 2010 11:36:31PM *  4 points [-]

There's an organization (sorry no cite, but maybe this story will dredge up the info from other people) which teaches people how to be politically effective.

There was a woman who wanted to get a local issue taken care of, but she couldn't get any traction. She went to the organization, and they found a mayor(?) who was running uncontested, and told her how to run against him.

If she'd actually run, he'd have needed to do a lot more campaigning, even though he certainly would have won. So he went to her and said, "What do you want?".

Her issue was taken care of, and she has continued to be politically active.