Liberal Radicalism: Breaking down Buterin, Hitzig and Weyl’s paper

Posted on Sep 4, 2018

Liberal Radicalism: Breaking down Buterin, Hitzig and Weyl’s paper

Vitalik Buterin, Zoë Hitzig and E. Glen Weyl yesterday released their paper Liberal Radicalism: Formal Rules for a Society Neutral among Communities. As prior readers will know, I tend to break down whitepapers I suspect most of the community won’t have the time or inclination to do. This falls squarely in that bracket given it is self admittedly ‘strange’ and weighs in at a healthy 41 pages.

My formal economics training is essentially limited to some cursory reading and a module in an MBA six or seven years ago. Obviously I smashed it, but I suspect that my understanding may be slightly below the curve needed to properly interrogate this paper. That said, let’s go through and try to break it down to understand what they are arguing for and proposing.

Usual disclaimers apply: As usual I’ll write as I read the paper through myself. Breaking down the entire abstract bit by bit: We propose a design for philanthropic or publicly-funded seeding to allow (near) optimal provision of a decentralized, self-organizing ecosystem of public goods. A decentralised, self organising ecosystem sounds very much like the concept of the DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation).

The difference here is presumably going to be in the details of how they intend to achieve near optimal provision of public goods out of this organisation, which is something the DAO didn’t cover.