Matters of Equity

Draft 1 (long, informal, superfluous, likely more wrong than not about general observations)

Sometimes I see (especially on Twitter, but sometimes here) exchanges that want for a very simple kicker — which, spoiler alert, is “equity.”

Sometimes the issue is underspecification of a problem of political economy as relating to reliance on durable normative assumptions about distributive justice and persistence of entitlements.

Sometimes there’s a serious mechanism design question that addresses practically freestanding “incentive structures” in a context where rational market actors may at some point be a reasonable assumption as/if the ecosystem matures from a numéraire of exuberance and hoarding.

& All in all, I think simply recognizing the problem domain as “equity” in many instances (I am thinking in particular of “forced errors” in TrueBit) might be worthwhile.

Mostly I may be posting about the technical debt in the form of legacy semantics that the notion of “smart contracts” has fused into the legalistic intuitions of (by the functional necessity and design of the unforgiving compiler) formalists that results in models of human users that may be ill-suited to debugging social failure modes.

My vague hand-waving not being much in the way of help on any particular applications, and not to give an opinion on actual forward-compatibility with any kind of real-world legal system, I suggest that if debating the value of the term “smart contract” is to the point of specifying whether “persistent scripts” are parallelized instances of agent-based computational specific performances, and a stable technical vocabulary of primitives in the manner of “mechanisms” is a public good in its own right, then a number of game setups in a similar vein of those discussed on “incentives” have been indexed and discussed by topic — the matters simply happen to have been arguably incompletely theorized from a mechanism design standpoint. /s

Maitland (1910)


This is a thread for matters of equity. The motivation is simply that it feels like introducing the problem domain of “equity” sooner than later would improve communicative efficiency. It anticipates a category of posts complementary to expositions of purposive computations. An example text on, inter alia, “forced errors” and analog Level 2(+) structures is below.

Maitland on Equity (1910)