Daily Archives

2 Articles


We finally found a use for the financial markets.

Posted by Romain on

Could financial markets finally be useful, and could financial markets finally be useful? Imagine you organize an event with a hundred seats and you have a thousand people who want to go to this event. The classic solution consists in giving the seats to the first arrived. The solution I propose uses sortition to designate the participants. We could write an open source script to automatically perform this task. France Insoumise organize a convention and put their script on github. Yet it is insufficient, a malicious agent can re-run the script until they obtain the desired result. A way to circumvent the problem would be to randomly pick the seed with witnesses. As soon as you have a givent seed any computer can reproduce the entire allotment.

Two sets of empty chairs. Maybe in the future one will fill the others. Romain Cazé CC-BY

Picking a seed with witnesses has an inherent cost and it may be complex to make the full procedure tamper-proof. Here comes the stock market. The idea would be to use a stock market index like the dow jones or the CAC 40 at a given time in the future. To make the seed even more unpredictable we can hash this number using a cryptographic algorithm. This method seems easy and very robust. Manipulating a market to obtain a given index cannot be done and we know that markets behave very close to a random process. The hash function makes sure that a minimal variation in the index creates.

Thank you for reading! If you have other ideas you can write them below.

P.S: Thank you Luca to point out this method to me. Démocratie réelle used this method to randomly pick candidats for the French European elections in 2014.


No thumb but a maximal time

Posted by Romain on

Things reborn yesterday evening. I was at a participative list meeting for 2020 the municipal election. We had a productive meeting and I loved it. We randomly sorted moderators, last time such an event happened was months ago.

The beginning was clunky. No one opposed to the idea yet I had to insist: I brought two dice and asked multiple times to use them to select a moderator. Before the meeting I also explained the method I wanted to use, but we didn’t use this exact method.

We did not use this method but we made it better. The initial stage stayed similar, we cast two dice to select a moderator among all the people (we were 9). The thumbs up stage to make the moderator resign was deemed too violent and we replaced it by a limited time condition. In a nutshell the rules changed the following way:

Two ways of ending dictatorship. Romain Cazé CC-BY

To designate a new moderator we cast a dice. The nth person on the left of the caster becomes the moderator, n being the number on the dice. The person can decline this assignment any time -because everyone experiences fatigue- and before casting the thrower set a maximal time -to avoid dictatorship-. You don’t have a dice? You can use a coin then: heads, the first person on the left becomes the moderator; tails it’s the second. You are more than six and you want everybody to have the same chance to be moderator? Use two coloured dices following this method (details are here).

Thank you for reading! Try to designate a moderator using chance at your next meeting, write below your impressions.