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Author Topic: The current Bitcoin economic model doesn't work  (Read 81328 times)
kjj
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June 01, 2011, 12:40:11 AM
 #241

Except that the objective factors you are looking at are such things as the number of standard deviations away from the average personal preferences of society.  You have taken your own personal preferences out of your system, but only by including everyone else's.

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June 01, 2011, 12:51:54 AM
 #242

Except that the objective factors you are looking at are such things as the number of standard deviations away from the average personal preferences of society.  You have taken your own personal preferences out of your system, but only by including everyone else's.

Except the factors don't look at personal preferences at all. 

Expectation of significant price increases certainly has nothing to do with preference.

And as to the first point, simply because preference might be correlated with amount of acquisition does not mean the two are measuring the same thing.

As the examples given above show, I may have little or no personal preference for an item, and accumulate a significant amount of it because of my expectation for future price increases, or tremendous personal preference for it, and accumulate an average amount of it because of an expectation of future price stability. 

The definition I gave is agnostic with respect to group or personal preference, although it may be correlated with it.  I am more likely to acquire significant amounts of things I personally prefer, but not guaranteed to, as is society as a whole. 

The definition is measuring two objective measures, the expectation of future price increases and the amount of acquisition, not the preference of the acquirer or of the society, which could be all over the map and diverge from personal (or collective) preferences. 

The task was to come up with a definition of hoarding that did not "rely on personal preference and is demonstrably different than 'saving'".   Task accomplished, no? 

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June 01, 2011, 01:48:44 AM
 #243

Except the factors don't look at personal preferences at all. 

Expectation of significant price increases certainly has nothing to do with preference.

And as to the first point, simply because preference might be correlated with amount of acquisition does not mean the two are measuring the same thing.

As the examples given above show, I may have little or no personal preference for an item, and accumulate a significant amount of it because of my expectation for future price increases, or tremendous personal preference for it, and accumulate an average amount of it because of an expectation of future price stability. 

The definition I gave is agnostic with respect to group or personal preference, although it may be correlated with it.  I am more likely to acquire significant amounts of things I personally prefer, but not guaranteed to, as is society as a whole. 

The definition is measuring two objective measures, the expectation of future price increases and the amount of acquisition, not the preference of the acquirer or of the society, which could be all over the map and diverge from personal (or collective) preferences. 

The task was to come up with a definition of hoarding that did not "rely on personal preference and is demonstrably different than 'saving'".   Task accomplished, no? 

I'm pretty sure you've defined all of the terms as statistic deviations away from the group average.

Post your complete theory in one place, just for clarity.

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June 01, 2011, 02:18:33 AM
 #244


I'm pretty sure you've defined all of the terms as statistic deviations away from the group average.

Post your complete theory in one place, just for clarity.

No, the distinction between saving and hoarding does not rely on statistic deviations away from the group average under the definition I proposed.  

It has to do with deviations away from the historical price averages.  

A hoarder accumulates because they expect price to increase significantly.  

A saver does not accumulate because they expect price to increase significantly over time.  Rather, a saver saves to preserve an asset for future use, and possibly to benefit from appreciation in the asset (but again, does not expect significant price increases, as defined statistically).    

Another element of hoarding (but one that does not necessarily distinguish it from saving) is that the hoarder accumulates a significant amount of the asset.  You can argue that this definition relies on personal preference but this is not the case.  You do not have to have a preference for the asset in order to hoard, you merely need to accumulate a significant amount of it, and do so because you expect that the price will increase significantly.  Measuring the deviation from the mean also does not mean the definition relies on society's collective preferences, society's average level of acquisition could be based on factors other than the collective preference of individuals for the asset, people could be accumulating ugly smelly icky pond goo, because they believe that it is a store of value.  One person could be accumulating a significant amount of ugly smelly icky pond goo, expecting that it will not merely be a store of value in the future, but actually increase in value significantly, i.e., the person could be hoarding.  

Personal preferences for an asset be correlated with the level of accumulation, but they are different measures.  The definition's reliance on level of accumulation is entirely agnostic as to people's preferences for the asset (or society's).  

The definition distinguishes saving from hoarding in an objective manner that does not rely on personal preference.  It looks at two objective measures that can both be analyzed using statistical tools (price increase expectation and level of accumulation).  

I hope people don't find this discussion too insanely technical or boring, I actually think it's pretty interesting, I had never thought about the distinctions between hoarding, speculating, and saving until today.  I do think, though, that I have met the task set forth.  Although I definitely would like to hear if anyone has any other arguments against what I proposed?


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June 01, 2011, 02:45:50 AM
 #245


I'm pretty sure you've defined all of the terms as statistic deviations away from the group average.

Post your complete theory in one place, just for clarity.
No, the distinction between saving and hoarding does not rely on statistic deviations away from the group average under the definition I proposed.  

It has to do with deviations away from the historical price averages.  

A hoarder accumulates because they expect price to increase significantly.  

A saver does not accumulate because they expect price to increase significantly over time.  Rather, a saver saves to preserve an asset for future use, and possibly to benefit from appreciation in the asset (but again, does not expect significant price increases, as defined statistically).    

Another element of hoarding (but one that does not necessarily distinguish it from saving) is that the hoarder accumulates a significant amount of the asset.  You can argue that this definition relies on personal preference but this is not the case.  You do not have to have a preference for the asset in order to hoard, you merely need to accumulate a significant amount of it, and do so because you expect that the price will increase significantly.  Measuring the deviation from the mean also does not mean the definition relies on society's collective preferences, society's average level of acquisition could be based on factors other than the collective preference of individuals for the asset, people could be accumulating ugly smelly icky pond goo, because they believe that it is a store of value.  One person could be accumulating a significant amount of ugly smelly icky pond goo, expecting that it will not merely be a store of value in the future, but actually increase in value significantly, i.e., the person could be hoarding.  

Personal preferences for an asset be correlated with the level of accumulation, but they are different measures.  The definition's reliance on level of accumulation is entirely agnostic as to people's preferences for the asset (or society's).  

The definition distinguishes saving from hoarding in an objective manner that does not rely on personal preference.  It looks at two objective measures that can both be analyzed using statistical tools (price increase expectation and level of accumulation).  

I hope people don't find this discussion too insanely technical or boring, I actually think it's pretty interesting, I had never thought about the distinctions between hoarding, speculating, and saving until today.  I do think, though, that I have met the task set forth.  Although I definitely would like to hear if anyone has any other arguments against what I proposed?

I think I found the problem.  You think that personal preference means what someone says about a good.  This is incorrect.  The preference is what they actually do.

In your goo example, if someone finds goo disgusting, but also feels that it is a store of value, then the accumulation by that individual is an expression of their personal preference for a store of value, in spite of their dislike of the goo.  Trade is, in fact, the only objective way to measure preferences.

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bitcoinfrenzy
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June 01, 2011, 03:32:52 AM
 #246


I think I found the problem.  You think that personal preference means what someone says about a good.  This is incorrect.  The preference is what they actually do.

In your goo example, if someone finds goo disgusting, but also feels that it is a store of value, then the accumulation by that individual is an expression of their personal preference for a store of value, in spite of their dislike of the goo.  Trade is, in fact, the only objective way to measure preferences.

I think this is a stretch.  The task was to find an economic definition that didn't rely on personal preference.  I proposed one that looked at expectation of significant price increases and significant accumulation, as opposed to saving which has an expectation of non-significant price increases.  To say this relies on "personal preferences" is only true if personal preferences encompass everything in the entire world, including economic predictions and warehouse inventory.  If a company accumulates more goo than another company, can you say that is somehow based on personal preferences?  Only in bizarro-world. 

If you are correct, the request for a definition was just a trick to show that personal preferences accompany everything in the world.  I think a more reasonable reading of the purpose for the request was to try to discredit the concept of hoarding as a descriptive term, saying that it was just a pejorative for saving.  I think what I have shown is that hoarding is not without merit as a descriptive term, and is not just a pejorative for "saving that I don't like" or "saving that society finds distasteful".  It is actually a distinct economic category that can be defined objectively, by looking at price expectations and extent of accumulation.  A plain reading of the request and my answers will reveal that this is the case. 

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June 01, 2011, 03:34:07 AM
 #247


I think I found the problem.  You think that personal preference means what someone says about a good.  This is incorrect.  The preference is what they actually do.

In your goo example, if someone finds goo disgusting, but also feels that it is a store of value, then the accumulation by that individual is an expression of their personal preference for a store of value, in spite of their dislike of the goo.  Trade is, in fact, the only objective way to measure preferences.

I think this is a stretch.  The task was to find an economic definition that didn't rely on personal preference.  I proposed one that looked at expectation of significant price increases and significant accumulation, as opposed to saving which has an expectation of non-significant price increases.  To say this relies on "personal preferences" is only true if personal preferences encompass everything in the entire world, including economic predictions and warehouse inventory.  If a company accumulates more goo than another company, because its computer price algorithm predicted significant increases, can you say that is somehow based on personal preferences?  Only in bizarro-world.  

If you are correct, the request for a definition was just a trick to show that personal preferences accompany everything in the world.  I think a more reasonable reading of the purpose for the request was to try to discredit the concept of hoarding as a descriptive term, saying that it was just a pejorative for saving.  I think what I have shown is that hoarding is not without merit as a descriptive term, and is not just a pejorative for "saving that I don't like" or "saving that society finds distasteful".  It is actually a distinct economic category that can be defined objectively, by looking at price expectations and extent of accumulation.  A plain reading of the request and my answers will reveal that this is the case.  

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June 01, 2011, 04:37:13 AM
 #248

I think this is a stretch.  The task was to find an economic definition that didn't rely on personal preference.  I proposed one that looked at expectation of significant price increases and significant accumulation, as opposed to saving which has an expectation of non-significant price increases.  To say this relies on "personal preferences" is only true if personal preferences encompass everything in the entire world, including economic predictions and warehouse inventory.  If a company accumulates more goo than another company, can you say that is somehow based on personal preferences?  Only in bizarro-world. 

If you are correct, the request for a definition was just a trick to show that personal preferences accompany everything in the world.  I think a more reasonable reading of the purpose for the request was to try to discredit the concept of hoarding as a descriptive term, saying that it was just a pejorative for saving.  I think what I have shown is that hoarding is not without merit as a descriptive term, and is not just a pejorative for "saving that I don't like" or "saving that society finds distasteful".  It is actually a distinct economic category that can be defined objectively, by looking at price expectations and extent of accumulation.  A plain reading of the request and my answers will reveal that this is the case. 

But that's just it.  Economics is the study of personal preferences, either in small (micro) or large (macro) scales.  Personal preferences are how people make value decisions, which they express through trades.

Also, I should point out that no one else in the entire world would ever come up with your definition of hoarding, and you've really only twisted "saving that society finds distasteful" to "saving that society finds statistically abnormal".

I think it was a trick.

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June 01, 2011, 05:48:40 AM
 #249

But that's just it.  Economics is the study of personal preferences, either in small (micro) or large (macro) scales.  Personal preferences are how people make value decisions, which they express through trades.

Also, I should point out that no one else in the entire world would ever come up with your definition of hoarding, and you've really only twisted "saving that society finds distasteful" to "saving that society finds statistically abnormal".

I think it was a trick.

I suppose it was a trick in that I didn't expect anyone to come up with a satisfactory answer. It wasn't a trick in the sense that I thought it was a self contradictory question or it was impossible to answer.

There is a lot of talk of hoarding, especially revolving around the concept of deflation. The idea is that if the purchasing power of a currency is rising, people will hoard it instead of spending it, as if the only correct way to use money is to spend it. Hoarding, or saving as I prefer to call it, is merely the action an individual takes when they prefer a liquid cash balance as oppose to less liquid investments. When people refer to saving as hoarding, to me what they are saying is that the person is saving an excessive amount. Again, excessive is completely subjective.

I feel like the definition that you presented was carefully crafted to exclude things that you do not consider "excessive", but does not fit the normal use of the word. That is why I do not feel obligated to pay you the bounty.
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June 01, 2011, 06:59:55 AM
 #250

In that case, I think I should get it for coming up with the only qualitative difference between saving and hoarding cash.  Smiley

Then again, my answer falls apart when applied to commodities other than cash, as they all must.

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June 01, 2011, 10:23:49 AM
 #251

I like hoarding, and I think it's a good thing. Imagine if an Ebenezer Scrooge like actor stages a giant feast. More people would starve to death because the price of food had skyrocketed and the amount of food had dropped. Gold coins might buy food but being rich in gold doesn't mean you can magically make more food than there is. I'm often angered by this myth.

Still, I do consider there to be differences between "saving" and "hoarding", perhaps just because I read something about a bounty.
I'll assume (because I haven't read the entire thread) that by "saving" no one is talking about investing, "savings and loan" style deals.

Saving is holding with a target purchase in mind.
Hoarding is holding with a target value in mind.

If I save my money, I'm holding to buy say, a motorcycle. Once I have enough, I buy the motorcycle.
I might "save" a bag of potato chips for a party. I don't care what the later price of potato chips is.
When I "save" I most likely expect what I hold not to devalue, though. This is not a necessity in saving.

If I hoard my money I'm holding to make a profit.
I might "hoard" a bag of potato chips expecting a boom in the price of potato chips.
I use the bag of potato chips as a store of value, as opposed to a future use of potato chips.
When I "hoard" I expect what I hold to appreciate in value. I gamble that the price will increase.

Another key difference is that when I purchase my potato chips to "save" them for later, I am not going to be acting in reverse of the mechanism with which I got them. I am not purchasing them to allow someone else to purchase them later. If I hoard them that's exactly what I am doing. An exception to this is money which by it's nature is a liquid asset. The only way to get money is to provide goods or services, and the only purpose to save money is to pay for goods or services. The difference here is of again saving money for an goal (even if unknown now, like a possible future medical bill) vs hoarding money for an appreciation in value.

I think hoarding/gouging are good things. They are natural and efficient mechanisms for managing a shortage, and gauging accurate prices.

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June 01, 2011, 01:08:57 PM
 #252

Hoarding was an unintended consequence of GPU mining that raised the difficulty factor against CPU mining. Unless more people get GPUs, the majority of bitcoins will be in the hands of a few people. Bitcoin will die unless they are spread around. It is up to the bitcoin holders to develop a means of getting bitcoins into the hands of others or all interest will be lost in them. No one else cares enough about bitcoins to do this for them.

Any significantly advanced cryptocurrency is indistinguishable from Ponzi Tulips.
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June 01, 2011, 01:44:52 PM
 #253

Hoarding was an unintended consequence of GPU mining that raised the difficulty factor against CPU mining. Unless more people get GPUs, the majority of bitcoins will be in the hands of a few people. Bitcoin will die unless they are spread around. It is up to the bitcoin holders to develop a means of getting bitcoins into the hands of others or all interest will be lost in them. No one else cares enough about bitcoins to do this for them.

The initial distribution of bitcoins probably doesn't matter.

That said, I believe the early users were able to generate tens of thousands of bitcoins on CPUs; GPU mining did not come until late 2010. Currently the difficulty is so high that even with a high end graphics card, you cannot generate a significant number of bitcoins (compared to what was generated by CPUs earlier).
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June 01, 2011, 02:05:53 PM
 #254

"It is up to the bitcoin holders to develop a means of getting bitcoins into the hands of others or all interest will be lost in them."

Yeah, like changing the Drupal 7 Commerce module natively support BTC, and creating a wiki on how to set up a website to sell goods for Bitcions.  Heck, an amazon like website that holds many storefronts would be super nice, too!  Nudge nudge.
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June 01, 2011, 02:28:58 PM
 #255

Hoarding and saving are just building up of capital for future investment. The problem with fiat currencies today is they discourage saving of investment capital, so everyone spends everything--even money they don't have in the form of credit. This is the crux of a consumer driven economy.

This is also the crux of a hyperinflation economy, where business owners cannot even buy half a can of paint for a work site, because in one week the can of paint will have doubled in price. Everything must be bought and used that day.

If everything can be bought and used 10 years from now, this would be a sign of a healthy economy that can invest in big, long-term projects, like cancer research, dam building, etc.
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June 01, 2011, 03:47:31 PM
 #256

But that's just it.  Economics is the study of personal preferences, either in small (micro) or large (macro) scales.  Personal preferences are how people make value decisions, which they express through trades.

Also, I should point out that no one else in the entire world would ever come up with your definition of hoarding, and you've really only twisted "saving that society finds distasteful" to "saving that society finds statistically abnormal".

I think it was a trick.

I suppose it was a trick in that I didn't expect anyone to come up with a satisfactory answer. It wasn't a trick in the sense that I thought it was a self contradictory question or it was impossible to answer.

There is a lot of talk of hoarding, especially revolving around the concept of deflation. The idea is that if the purchasing power of a currency is rising, people will hoard it instead of spending it, as if the only correct way to use money is to spend it. Hoarding, or saving as I prefer to call it, is merely the action an individual takes when they prefer a liquid cash balance as oppose to less liquid investments. When people refer to saving as hoarding, to me what they are saying is that the person is saving an excessive amount. Again, excessive is completely subjective.

I feel like the definition that you presented was carefully crafted to exclude things that you do not consider "excessive", but does not fit the normal use of the word. That is why I do not feel obligated to pay you the bounty.

I think we're not that far off.  I think we both see hoarding as similar to saving, but different in degree.  I don't think there's anything wrong with hoarding, and I don't think the definition I proposed implies that there is anything wrong with hoarding.  As several posters have noted, hoarding can serve as a value to society, as the profit motive rewards people who recognize trends or future developments and accumulate/preserve the appropriate resources for later distribution. 

The definition I proposed simply offers an objective way to tell whether someone is accumulating a significant amount of something for a particular purpose (expected significant increase in prices).  What are normal uses of the word that my definition does not fit?  Accumulating liquor and guns for an apocalypse would seem to fit, hoarding bitcoins with the anticipation of significant profits would seem to fit, putting 10% of my weekly paycheck in a CD would seem not to fit (and would be considered saving, which I think comports with the generally accepted use of the word)?  What does my definition exclude that should be included?  Again, I'm not looking for the bounty, just interested in pursuing the discussion at this point.

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June 01, 2011, 04:18:12 PM
 #257

I think we're not that far off.  I think we both see hoarding as similar to saving, but different in degree.  I don't think there's anything wrong with hoarding, and I don't think the definition I proposed implies that there is anything wrong with hoarding.  As several posters have noted, hoarding can serve as a value to society, as the profit motive rewards people who recognize trends or future developments and accumulate/preserve the appropriate resources for later distribution. 

The definition I proposed simply offers an objective way to tell whether someone is accumulating a significant amount of something for a particular purpose (expected significant increase in prices).  What are normal uses of the word that my definition does not fit?  Accumulating liquor and guns for an apocalypse would seem to fit, hoarding bitcoins with the anticipation of significant profits would seem to fit, putting 10% of my weekly paycheck in a CD would seem not to fit (and would be considered saving, which I think comports with the generally accepted use of the word)?  What does my definition exclude that should be included?  Again, I'm not looking for the bounty, just interested in pursuing the discussion at this point.

I still disagree, but since I worded the challenge poorly I sent you 5 BTC.

Maybe this is more in line with my intention:

What makes saving good but hoarding bad?
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June 01, 2011, 07:08:21 PM
 #258

Hoarding is somewhat inefficient but more efficient than alternatives. People just get upset with hoarders because they drive the price up, often profit from the price going up, and don't contribute anything but storage or market adjustment for that profit. It's pretty much the same envy that drives some people to have an emotional issue with concept of early adopters/initial investors who get something for nothing (in said people's minds), and everyone else who follows their lead is left to diminishing returns.

There's nothing bad with hoarding but that's the problem people have with it. If it isn't flat envy of wealth it's envy of foresight. There is also the irrational fear that hoarders can somehow take everything and leave nothing, and the concept people learn at a young age that it's rude not to actively share what you own.

"Saving" money isn't quite hoarding, even when you aren't investing it because [see my earlier post]

People don't have a problem with saving because you aren't strictly profiting from it. You weren't actively pursuing profit, merely a wait, or a critical price [edited from "gain" because I don't proofread my messages for thought process artefacts]. The same irrational people often dislike the opposite side of the coin as well, which is to borrow the money for something instead of saving it, because they see everything from only one side. Borrowing money means you increase the overall cost (for the borrower) and therefore it's a worse deal than saving. These ideas are irrational but pervasive.

Since everyone is doing it: 1DqtCAksMPAkWdryGUFRe8d1KrhX2LRYfL
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June 01, 2011, 08:08:42 PM
 #259

I think we're not that far off.  I think we both see hoarding as similar to saving, but different in degree.  I don't think there's anything wrong with hoarding, and I don't think the definition I proposed implies that there is anything wrong with hoarding.  As several posters have noted, hoarding can serve as a value to society, as the profit motive rewards people who recognize trends or future developments and accumulate/preserve the appropriate resources for later distribution. 

The definition I proposed simply offers an objective way to tell whether someone is accumulating a significant amount of something for a particular purpose (expected significant increase in prices).  What are normal uses of the word that my definition does not fit?  Accumulating liquor and guns for an apocalypse would seem to fit, hoarding bitcoins with the anticipation of significant profits would seem to fit, putting 10% of my weekly paycheck in a CD would seem not to fit (and would be considered saving, which I think comports with the generally accepted use of the word)?  What does my definition exclude that should be included?  Again, I'm not looking for the bounty, just interested in pursuing the discussion at this point.

I still disagree, but since I worded the challenge poorly I sent you 5 BTC.

Maybe this is more in line with my intention:

What makes saving good but hoarding bad?

Cool, thanks!  I'm going to hoardsavespeculate with that...

And thanks for the interesting question.  I was looking at some economic texts today and they define hoarding with some convoluted formulas that if I had more time it would probably be fun to try to decipher. 

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June 01, 2011, 08:23:05 PM
 #260

And thanks for the interesting question.  I was looking at some economic texts today and they define hoarding with some convoluted formulas that if I had more time it would probably be fun to try to decipher. 

I'm curious as to where the assumption that "hoarding" is objectively and quantifiably different than "savings" originates from.  Could you identify those sources?
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