> Just as an aside before I delve into this again,> apparently some states actually tax recordable media> like cassettes and put that into a fund to compensate> copyright holders because they know that a lot of the> media is being purchased with a view to piracy. Clever> idea that. Not fair on those using recordable media for legitimate purposes, though. And which copyright holders? I suspect it's only the big corporations which get compensated. And in the case of CDs, I very much doubt that the musicians get to see a single cent of that compensation (this is the industry where the record companies still deduct a "new technology" percentage from the artists' royalties for albums released on CD, even though CDs now cost _less_ to produce than vinyl or cassette).> Ah, but y'see, I was talking about broadcast. Limited> number of timeslots. I don't watch broadcast TV at all these days, myself. And I suspect a lot more people would do the same if programs were available to buy/rent at cost on the same day as the first broadcast. But there's no reason TV can't continue to operate the same way it does now, except that they won't have to pay for the shows. There's no need for broadcasting schedules to be voted on by the public.> Soooo, now we have the> Fund and voting options split between "new stuff we'd> like to be made" and "foreign stuff/old stuff we'd like to> be imported/brought back out so we can get hold of it> one way or another." Yes, short term. Though eventually you'd run out of old stuff, and foreign stuff would become automatically available as other countries joined the scheme (though the fund would still have to pay for translations where necessary). Or foreign stuff can be left out of the system altogether, and sold on a purely commercial basis as it is now.> You'd better hope everyone signs up for the systemIt's a tax; people don't have to sign up. And if the variable rate system is used, and people don't give data production a high priortiy, well, that's what the people want.> I shudder to thing how much you'd have to cough up> to get an unlimited licence to produce Buffy DVDs at> will!In the short term, no, that's unlikely to be affordable, so people will have to continue paying the current price (actually, market forces would probably force the price of Buffy to come down, to compete better with the at-cost DVDs). No problem. But long term, if the US switches to the same system, it won't cost the UK anything to acquire the rights to Buffy.> you're changing the rules more each post! Refining to deal with issues raised. I'm trying to come up with a workable system, not defend a fixed theory. Is that a problem?> Now we've got NEGATIVE voting! It's an idea on how to handle the problem you raised of the list being clogged with "cats doing aerobics while whistling Dixie" submissions.> Plus you're expecting members of the public to turn> their hand to script writing?! No, I'm expecting script writers to turn their hands to script writing. Submissions could be made by anyone prepared to work on the show if it was chosen, not by _absolutely_ anyone. But that's a self-selecting group; nobody would be _prevented_ from writing a script.> The more layers of complexity you add to this> taxation/voting system the more people are going to> get turned off by it and production will just fall back> into the hands of the powers that be. Just completing> a form could be a full time job!The important thing there is "layers". Complexity would be entirely optional. The highest level (below not participating at all) would just be assigning priorities to various broad categories (drama, comedy, documentary, etc). I think most people should be capable of rating a handful of categories from 1 to 10 (with the current average value listed, to give them a point of reference). Those who wanted to specify specific shows as well could, but nobody would have to. And ratings for existing shows would require no conscious input from the public.> Seriously, why? The public won't be as clued up on the> industry as network executives. But they are presumably clued up on what they like to watch.> The latter have years of experience of what formats do> and don't work. And are reluctant to take any risks, and are motivated by factors which have nothing to do with maximising overall efficiency or satisfying the public. But such people could act as advisors to the proposal-makers/program-makers.> Your argument here is massively subjective and > requires that the public devote a great deal of time and> energy to their choices. If all they actually have time to> do is pick generalised preferencesIf they're that busy, how are they going to find the time to _watch_ anything??? Is it really that terrible a chore to do something like this every few months?:"hmm, another of my favourite programs is coming to the end of its run soon... that won't leave very much worth watching. I wonder what proposals are in the works at the moment. *checks www.proposalsforpeoplelikeme.com
* Yep, that looks good, and so do those two. But the rest of them sound boring. *submits choices, then checks www.anotherproposalshortlistsite.com
* Ah, that's more like it - almost all of those look worthwhile*submits choices*It's no different from going shopping! (except it doesn't cost anything)> Indeed, what you'll actually end up with in your stated> scenario is a fund that satisfies the wishes of the vocal > minority who bother to vote in detail, not the majority> of voters of all.The wishes of the minority would be constrained by the wishes of the majority. If the majority want 30% of the budget spend on comedy, then that's how much is spent. A minority may choose _which_ comedies get made, but if it is a minority of voters, then up to half will be chosen by the fund managers. I don't see that as being at all unfair, and I'd certainly prefer it to the current system.And of course, ongoing shows would be funded more by actual ratings than votes.> But if perfect knowledge isn't achievable, then how can> you obtain perfect knowledge about entertainment> desires and create an efficient system? It's much easier for one central organisation to acquire information than it is to distribute information to every single member of the public, especially when the businesses involved don't _want_ the public to be informed. A public fund would be _trying_ to obtain the best possible information to serve the public, whereas businesses are trying to manipulate the information available to (or forced upon) the public to maximise their own profits, with any public good occuring only as a side effect.> You seem to be assuming a massive amount of> knowledge on the part of the public. I'm assuming people are capable of deciding for themselves what they want, which seems reasonable. If advertising were abolished, I don't imagine people would be wandering around saying "help! I don't know what to buy!"> Certainly there are some barriers to entry in the current> state of economics, but the fact is that economies are> not as protectionist as they used to be and with> improvements in technology we're getting much closer> to that perfect efficiency point. I don't think we're getting any close to perfect efficiency. Intellectual property laws restrict competition, and improvements in technology increase setup costs, so only a limited number of corporations are capable of entering the market (and the smaller the number of competitors, the easier it is for them to engage in price fixing).> the equilibrium achieved by a nominally free market> is better than an imposed equilibrium...Absolutely. But a socialist free market would reach a
much better equilibrium than the capitalist one in which everyone is trying to unbalance it in their own favour (and some people are much heavier than others).> Ah, perhaps I now understand a little better where> you're coming from. You don't want the government> best guessing as to what's in the public's best> interests, you believe that the public are competent> enough to come to their own decisions which> government should then implement. Yes.> The difficulty, of course, is that you can't avoid> compromise and at the end of the day some central> body is going to have to have responsibility to sort stuff> out. True. But it should be a mediating, facilitating, protecting body, not a decision-making body.> I'm guessing that what you're suggesting is akin to> government by referendum rather than government by> general representation...Somewhere in between. Representation would be the default, but people could override their representative on any particular issue, if they so desired.> As you say - not a lot. But at least if you have both,> there's choice, and the truth might fall out of the> middle.I'm not advocating a monopoly on distribution of information, just public funding for its creation. Anyone who wanted to could create any data at all from their own efforts, as long as they don't mind it being freely available. In fact, people could even be paid for privately created data out of the fund, if it was sufficiently popular, with no government input or control whatsoever. Of course, if the data in question was a snuff film, then the police would probably want to speak to the people who made it, but that's another system independent thing.> Quite - which of course brings us back to the question> of whether or not entertainment would really be> considered a sufficiently public good for taxes to be> directed towards it in a social democracy.It's inherently public; there's no real way to restrict access, and doing so would reduce its value anyway. Whether its sufficiently important to spend taxes on is another matter; maybe not, in which case we'd have to rely on amateur entertainment. If that's what the people want, I'm in no position to demand that they do otherwise.> Incidentally, one plus of artificial demand in capitalist> systems - more taxation, which means more public> spending. You could take the view that taxation on> advertising revenue pays for libraries, for exampleThat's just money shuffling; it doesn't generate any net additional wealth. If the money spent on advertising was instead paid directly to libraries, they'd be a #### of a lot better funded than they are from tax on advertising revenue (and the former advertising executives can get jobs shelving books, doing construction work on library extensions, etc).> You do realise you just reduced the career term of a> MP to about three days, don't you?! No. The voters wouldn't change their minds unless they though there was a better candidate, which would be unlikely to happen unless the MP was seriously going against their pre-election promises.> You see, enabling people to vote on every little thing> might be doable but it isn't necessarily a good thing> because it can lead to massive instability which results> in inefficiency. Why do you expect people's opinions to be so unstable? And I'd expect there'd be "points of no return" on big projects; if the people don't vote to stop it before it goes ahead, then it has to continue till completion.> Which we must recognise, because we elect people> whose job it is to deal with day-to-day issues for a> period of time unless they really foul up. But under the current system there's very little we can do if they do foul up, which they do on a regular basis.> If everything was up for a public vote the public> wouldn't do anything but vote - and they couldn't> possibly be well informed about everything they were> voting on, either...Voting would be optional, with non-votes counted as supporting the government. As long as the government was doing a good job, the people wouldn't need to vote much.> If the Fund was only up against itself, would that> incentive to improve popularity and ratings exist I> wonder? If the Fund wasn't doing a good job, people would cut funding for it. But the real drive for quality would come from the program makers themselves. I very much doubt that Babylon 5 would have been an inferior show if JMS hadn't had commercial imperatives to push him, for example. And for some program makers, making their shows as popular as possible would be their primary goal (as opposed to people like JMS who had a primary goal of telling a particular story).> But the point is, while there may be enough resources> for both to get done, but you've now gone so far as to> introduce negative voting which could stop Farscape> getting funding despite lots of people wanting it to be> made. Negative voting would only be used to eliminate clearly incompetent or frivolous submissions (without giving any one person the power to filter submissions). If enough people wanted something to be made, then it would be, irrespective of how many people didn't want it.> Those people will also feel a bit cheated because it> means they used up one of their picksPicks would only be "used up" on shows that actually went in to production. Any number of shows could be requested.> At least in a commercial setting, positive demand for> both cricket and shows like Farscape would generally> result in both getting made - until something better> came along.It doesn't seem to work very well in practise, for all sorts of legal, fincancial, and network executive personality reasons.> I'll tell you what I think might work as a compromise> though. > You could, if you were so inclined, simply vote for> "more" or "less" for pre-existing categories. That> would give the BBC a broad idea of what the public> wanted and how it should use its budget - with certain> minimums still in place. Yes, that sounds good.> As for the creation/adoption of> more specific shows - I think discussion boards like this> would work quite nicely. It would allow the heads of> department to get an overview of what people wantedThat has potential, though such things could equally be used prior to submitting a proposal under my system.> If few people vote, the BBC just makes its own> decisions... I'd prefer a compromise between voter choice and the BBC making its own decisions, with voter choice always having _some_ direct influence, but the amount depending on how many people vote.