Subject: Re: bleeding money out of clispers
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001 17:45:41 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

> To understand it, consider what would happen if you agreed to donate $5 to
> each of 1000 different projects.  If you agreed unconditionally, you would be
> contributing $5000, which you might not be able to afford.  But if each
> project has a one percent probability of getting enough donations to proceed,
> then you're probably only contributing around $50.  That would be a much more
> effective use of your $50 than to just contribute it to a random subset of 10
> of those 1000 projects.

  What would happen to the money you gave to a project that did not get
  enough funding?  Would it just "vanish"?  The word "FRAUD" keeps flashing
  in red neon sign letters in the back of my head when I hear of such
  endeavors.  _Obviously_, you would get the money back that went to
  projects that did not get enough funding.  Such a return policy is
  inherent in asking people for money.  (Frequently, the return is effected
  by not actually transferring the money until ons is asked to do so, but
  it cannot be spent on other endeavors while thusly committed.)

> That's one factor, and one way to understand it.  But there is also the
> factor that a project is more likely to get enough conditional pledges to
> proceed than to get enough unconditional ones.

  And those are the only two options you can see?  I am frankly amazed.
  40,000 years of human beings on this planet, 10,000 years of systems of
  money and finance, and _still_ people are unaware of financial systems.

> If people use the reasoning in the previous paragraph and this one,
> they're more likely to contribute conditional money than unconditional.
> So the conditional money will add up faster and is more likely to be
> enough to proceed.

  The way you do this is ask people to commit a certain amount of money to
  a project _if_ it gets through.  That commitment is not "conditional" at
  the level most people understand this term.  You _must_ commit that money
  when the conditions are met.  If the conditions are _not_ met, you do not
  commit the money.  When you commit the money, it is _committed_.  It is
  out of your hands, and somebody else has the right to ask for them when
  the terms of the contract you have (implicitly) entered require it.

  Somebody, please investigate the concept of an Initial Public Offering.
  That is _exactly_ what you are doing.  You see, amazingly, the world has
  had this concept for more than 9,000 years.  Actual written records of
  what we call "shares" exist that are about as old as number systems.  The
  Sumerians invented numbers to keep track of their money, as far as
  history can tell.  Options, forwards, futures, etc, were all invented in
  extended farming communities to protect against bad weather, pests,
  fires, etc, and were well understood by people who were used to take
  risks.  Insurance is another way to deal with unknown risks that are
  known to happen with a low frequency, but to unknown individuals.  There
  is archeological evidence of "insurance communities" that are more than
  6,000 years old.  The first known tax systems were based on compulsory
  insurance.  Wise rulers also collected a certain portion of the seed to
  keep a treasury in case the subjects acted unwisely in dire times.

  Yet, in 2001, we have people who do not understand enough finance to even
  help launch a simple little hobbyist software project.  I'm shocked.

  I wonder why this Ballmer dude thinks Open Source is such a threat.  I
  have yet to see a single person who favors Open Source show an ounce of
  business sense, financial understanding, or knowledge of marketing.  It
  is as if they are trying to invent a whole different kind of economy,
  which would have been a smart thing to do if the past umpteen thousand
  years of human development was all a giant mistake.  Peaceful transition
  to world communism will happen before _that_ ever makes sense.  *Sigh*

  Travel is a meat thing.