Lewis Carroll Invented Retroactive Public Goods Funding In 1894

Source: Astral Codex Ten
by Scott Alexander

“Retroactive public goods funding is one of those ideas that’s so great people can’t stop reinventing it. I know of at least five independent inventions under five different names: ‘social impact bonds’ by a New Zealand economist in 1988, ‘certificates of impact’ by Paul Christiano in 2014, ‘retroactive public goods funding’ by Vitalik Buterin a few years ago, ‘EA loans’ by a blogger who prefers to remain anonymous, and ‘venture grants’ by Mako Yass. … they all share a basic core: some structure that lets profit-seeking venture capitalist types invest in altruistic causes, in the hopes that altruists will pay them back later once they’ve been shown to work. … Julie K says that the actual first person to invent this idea was Lewis Carroll (aka author of Alice in Wonderland) back in 1894.” (01/03/22)