Experiment 2.

If you read this blog, whether you’ve happened across it by accident or you actually read it on purpose, I would appreciate it if you responded to this one particular post. Yes, you. Please comment on the following hypothetical situation. It’ll take a while before your post shows up because I have to press some buttons for it to show up, but please comment. Please be as specific or as vague as you wish. Add any details or assumptions you’d like. Put your own spin on it. Respond to other people’s spin. Wax philosophical if you must. But I would like as many responses as possible to this one particular post. I’ll explain in one week, on March 14th. Einstein’s birthday. Pi Day. Even if it’s only just this one time, please respond. Pretty please with sugar on top. I need the data. Okay?

Thanks! Now here’s the hypothetical:

$100 is to be distributed amongst 100 people. How should it be distributed?

24 comments

  1. Me: Have a way to measure who’s earned the highest percentage.
    Friend to my left: Give it to the people in different percentages based on need
    To my right: $1 each person
    Random friend: “Dr. Timothy Placek’s ‘Driven by Need Method”

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  2. Case 1: Assuming there are 100 people and $100 to go around, all the money should go to me.

    Case 2: Assuming that there are 100 people and there are 100 US dollars, give each person 0.77 Euros.

    Case 3: Assuming there are $100 US to go around and 100 people, burn the money and quote the Joker. “It’s not about the money… It’s about sending a message…”

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  3. Without knowing anything else: $1 to each person

    Assuming that the 100 people know what is happening, are gazing at me expectantly and jockeying for position: equal division between the people that seem the most uninterested

    Assuming that the people don’t know that $100 is being divided: proportional division between those that look like they need it the most

    Assuming that the 100 people are virtually indistinguishable from each other, and I have some time on my hands: $10 each to the first 10 people that act/behave in a way I find commendable

    Assuming the 100 people are standing in line to watch “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters”: I keep the $100

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  4. Using only the facts I have been provided, I would say $1 to each person.

    If I had the time, I might ask each person what they would do with $20, and give it to the 5 best idea-havers.®

    I am secretly hoping VDV has acquired a large fortune he wants to distribute to his loyal readers. In fact, I’m sure he has. Everyone who responds and forwards this blog to everyone in their address book will be given 3.14% of the proceeds from the sale of a goatsweight in gold.

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  5. Give each person 1 dollar but leave them to option to not take their share and to instead give it to the people in the group who have a greater need for it.

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  6. “To each according to his need”

    But seriously, it depends on the circumstances. If I don’t know about the people at all, a dollar to each person. (unless I am one of the hundred and there’s a “keep the money” option)

    If I have information on each person or the ability to interview each person I’ll divvy it up based on who I think will put it to the best use. Ten people may each receive ten dollars, one might receive fifty and five ten, or I may deem that someone has a hundred dollar idea and that person will receive all of it. It’s up to them.

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  7. @WDE (And friends): could you describe the Doctor’s “Driven By Need” method?

    @JackBristow: What if the people who seem the least interested in your second scenario are the same as those who look like they need it the most in your third scenario? And if they’re in line to see that movie, burn the money. What happens if you spend it and it finds its way to those people? How could you live with yourself?

    @V&T: I think you know better than to hope I’d distribute any part of my large fortune.

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  8. Step 1: 5 minutes to nominate 5 leaders.

    Step 2: 5 leaders receive $10 each.

    Step 3: leaders distribute $10 within their group of 20.

    Step 4: leaders send distribution requests to me for allocation of the remaining $50 requiring validation and signatures by the requester, one witness and the leader.

    Step 5: I scan requests and distribute the $50 according to the requests.

    Step 6: Be smug in the knowledge that no leader will take a “cut” and that bureaucracy is a beautiful, wonderful system free of issues.

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  9. Place the $100 on the ground, and tell them all to decide among themselves who should get it. Those least in need of the money will probably excuse themselves from what will be a long and boring debate. Those most in need will stay and duke it out. Set the rules as no violence, no stealing, and contracts can only be dissolved upon all parties agreement. From there, who knows how it’ll get sliced up.

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  10. @vdv: I would tend to somewhat discount the outward appearance of need from people who KNOW they are in the running for cash disbursement (scenario 2). And money is fungible, so if some of the $100 I keep makes it back to a then-regretful movie audience it wouldn’t bother me; I’m not saying they should be denied money, I just don’t to give them any.

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  11. The driven by need method actually is just a problem solving method that he was making fun of. He was basically saying you need to list everything you know about the present situation, and then make a decision on how to allocate it based off of a mathematical approach used to find a way to create the most wealth.

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  12. I personally share it with those who I think would have the greatest entrepreneurial mind after extensive interviews. Hopefully my investment would be a wise one and they would turn that money into more money and be able to provide jobs to those who didn’t get any share of the original $100.

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  13. tell the 100 people to go home, distribute half the money equally among the people who stay after an hour. The other $50 goes to me

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  14. say you are going to give the money to 10 people, give them each 1$ and invest the rest, keep doing until 100% of the world’s GDP is under your control and then execute the people you promised money to, and become King Vincent I.

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  15. A couple of slightly more serious suggestions:

    1. Set aside the $100 to fund a lottery pool. Sell chances to win to the 100 people at $1/pop, with a minimum jackpot of $50. Keep $0.50 from each ticket and put $0.50 into the pot. The lottery winner gets the pot and the person with the original $100 keeps the proceeds.

    2. Another random distribution method – set up a prize drawing. First prize, $50, second prize $25, two third prizes at $10 each, one fourth prize at $5.

    3. Borrowing from edavout and academia – make each of the 100 people fill out a detailed application for what they would do with the money, how it would be spent, what good it would do for society, ability to execute the plan, etc. Set up a peer review panel to review the applications, and split the $100 between 2-3 applicants.

    4. Borrowing from VDV’s Tournament of Death – set the 100 people in a circle of adequate diameter. Drop the $100 in the middle. It’s yours if you can grab it and keep it. Distribution deals, backstabbing, negotiation, full-out fighting are all encouraged.

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