Sunday, August 15, 2021

[niufkaxx] gifts with credibly no strings attached

which grant organizations have established a good reputation of giving grants without strings attached?  assume pessimistically that strings are bad because they will inevitably get abused -- power corrupts -- even if the granting organization has good intentions.

where does "the government" fall on this reputation scale?  where should it fall?  inspiration was subidies (of many forms) and public funding for education, and how it might be (probably is being) used for political leverage, controlling what is taught, what is learned.

invisible strings might be tricky to discern.  for example, how a recipient uses a current grant, with seemingly no strings attached, might have consequences on eligiblity or success in receiving future grants.  grants and prizes that you can only win once can avoid this, but that's a very blunt method of avoiding this problem.

how should a granting organization operate, deciding on grant applications, to establish a good reputation of no strings attached, to avoid becoming corrupted by its own power?  regular turnover of people involved in making grant decisions might be one way.  similarly, avoid persistent structures or institutions within a granting institution having long term influence.  perhaps also blind applications: grant decision makers do not have access to identity of the applicant.

government "grants" in the form of higher minimum wage, and other similar regulations, perhaps lowered interest rates, might be interpretable as grants with few if any strings attached.  despite their problems (e.g., deadweight loss), perhaps their good of avoiding "power corrupts" outweighs their harms.

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