Selt-Interest Meets the Lottery

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Selt-Interest Meets the Lottery

Postby mshaman » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:06 am

Believing that everyone, or that even the vast majority of people would put the whole of the Burning Man community ahead of themselves by only ordering the tickets that they absolutely needed is naive. Believing that Scalpers wouldn't be better at obtaining tickets than burners is naive. Believing that people won't buy from scalpers for an extra $500 when they've already spent $5000 on their art is naive. Believing that people will want to contribute as much to a theme camp or art project when they may not even be able to go is also naive.

While I didn't order more tickets than I needed, and I have made a commitment to myself not to buy from scalpers, the numbers have shown us that the people who were "good actors" were clearly overwhelmed by the people who were "bad actors". In fact I'm reluctant to even call them "bad actors" when really they were looking out for their own interests. As a whole, PEOPLE WILL PUT THEIR OWN INTERESTS FIRST. This is predictable. That this would cause a profound shortage due to scalping and hoarding was predictable. I wrote a letter of protest to BMOrg within 15 minutes of reading the JRS that announced the lottery, and predicted these very things, not because I'm smart, but because it was obvious. You can have a copy of the letter if you like.

If we see what history has shown us about the fact that people will act in their own interest, we can also predict that many, many tickets will be sold by scalpers outside of the STEP program, and that they will be bought by people who are more interested in going to the burn that they've planned their vacation time for, than they are boycotting scalpers and hoarders. The system will have rewarded all three "bad actions" of scalping, hoarding, and buying from scalpers.

In fact many of us predicted these problems. We wrote letters. We posted social media. But it was too late. The call had been made, some would say capriciously, some would say naively, and no community member was going to change it for this year.

But we can change it for next year. I am a long-time burner who had been avoiding eplaya and all sorts of other groups due to politics; I just wanted to build my camp ($50k and growing), bring my art, and enjoy. But when an individual is harmed (even if unintentionally), an activist is born. So I will lobby consistently and rationally on this board and every other means at my disposal until I see things get better. I will remind decision-makers publicly and vocally that self-interest will undermine group interest if they are not aligned, and that policy is how to align them. By that measure, the ticket lottery as implemented this year is a poor policy. BMOrg, I will see you in every venue, reminding you of this patiently, until you fix it with something that isn't so naive.
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Re: Selt-Interest Meets the Lottery

Postby lemur » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:09 am

to believe there is some magic cure for this problem that doesnt involve raising the population cap for participants at burning man to something like 80,000 is naive.
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Re: Selt-Interest Meets the Lottery

Postby mshaman » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:37 am

Lemur, I think you're right. With the money the extra 25,000 tickets raises, they could pave Jungo road and solve the bottleneck in Gerlach... heh. I wouldn't mind a 100 mile shorter commute each way...
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Re: Selt-Interest Meets the Lottery

Postby oneeyeddick » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:44 am

Less than 20% of participants come from the east without stopping in Reno first, not much of a cure.
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Re: Selt-Interest Meets the Lottery

Postby mshaman » Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:20 am

oneeyeddick wrote:Less than 20% of participants come from the east without stopping in Reno first, not much of a cure.


OneEyeDick, I'm not doubting your statistic, but I am curious where you got it. I've had a hard time laying my hands on real empirical data bout the event. Also, I wonder how many WOULDN'T stop in Reno if they could shave a total of 300 miles off of the drive. I know I don't stop in Reno, but apparently I'm in the minority.
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Re: Selt-Interest Meets the Lottery

Postby pink » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:35 am

I believe that's one of the questions asked on the census....did you spend money in Reno, Wadsworth, Fernley....I remember putting down the approximate amount spent in both Reno & Wadsworth.

So that data could be obtained by people stopping in Fernley without stopping in Reno.
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Re: Selt-Interest Meets the Lottery

Postby JayBobBoy » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:57 am

mshaman, Thank you for your post. I am with you 100% and have had those same intuitions since the beginning as well.

Growing up, I was in a situation where I had to look out for my self, because no one else would. I became a very crafty SOB and my mind has always worked that way. I immediately evaluate situations like these for weaknesses and find ways try exploit them. I have long since given up my scamming ways since I have done well for myself and can now live a more moral life while helping out others.

This one had so many holes, I can see where it would be impossible to resist for people who are looking out for their own interests.

BM has created an investment tool whereas you can enter a lottery to turn $480 into $1,000 in 6 months time with very little risk (I'd say zero risk). Even at the 2nd tier price it's a great return on the investment, and hard to turn down. All you need is knowledge of the situation and a credit card to get in on it.

There are a lot of crafty SOB's out there and the red flags have been waving in their faces for months...
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Re: Selt-Interest Meets the Lottery

Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:52 pm

mshaman wrote:Lemur, I think you're right. With the money the extra 25,000 tickets raises, they could pave Jungo road and solve the bottleneck in Gerlach... heh. I wouldn't mind a 100 mile shorter commute each way...

What's the stat, that every foot of linear road costs $1,000,000? Something mind-boggling, at any rate. You might be able to grade it. Paving is ...
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Re: Selt-Interest Meets the Lottery

Postby mshaman » Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:07 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:
mshaman wrote:Lemur, I think you're right. With the money the extra 25,000 tickets raises, they could pave Jungo road and solve the bottleneck in Gerlach... heh. I wouldn't mind a 100 mile shorter commute each way...

What's the stat, that every foot of linear road costs $1,000,000? Something mind-boggling, at any rate. You might be able to grade it. Paving is ...


Heh, I was being somewhat facetious when I mentioned paving Jungo, but it wouldn't break my heart if it happened. I was just more interested in how people get their data and how accurate it is; it would be very helpful in studying traffic patterns and assessing solutions that might help support a higher ticket cap.
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