[E-Lang] Irreversible delegation, was: draft statement of con sensus

Ralph Hartley hartley@aic.nrl.navy.mil
Fri, 09 Feb 2001 09:33:50 -0500

Karp, Alan wrote:

> Note that Mallet and Carol have no need to invite Bob to the banquet.
> Bob can't revoke the privilege he gave to Mallet, so he has no recourse.
> If there is no honor among thieves, then Bob won't give Mallet the right
> to the can.  Why should Mallet get all the goodies?  (I'm assuming no
> side payments.  Is that fair?)

No. When you irrevocably give something it is customary to receive 
something in return, that's called a sale.

>   Alice's tuna is protected because the
> only way that Bob can give Mallet what he needs to get the tuna is to do
> so irrevocably.

You are also assuming that Bob is an "ideal economic agent", that he has 
a self interest, and always acts in that interest. One of the real life 
examples where people are prevented from taking irrevocable actions is 
to protect children from their own foolishness (in many jurisdictions 
children cannot make legally binding contracts for this reason).

> Is this reasonable?  Can anyone see how to turn the story around so Bob
> only benefits from irrevocable delegation?

A power that MUST be irrevocably delegated to be effective?

Alice want's to give something to an agent chosen by bob but want's to 
prevent Bob from getting it, even if the agent conspires with Bob.

Without more, I don't see how it is possible, and even *I* have trouble 
thinking of a practical example of that one.

I would have to think about it.

Ralph Hartley