Re: So... how DO we get more of public good things?
@Tim Worstal - Whilst I can, and do, applaud the attempt to understand what the heck is going on in the thing that is generall called 'the economy' using a combination of maths and psychological hypotheses, the trouble is that it's an ever-changing target due to the ability of a minority of those taking part to change the rules more or less at will (and they can't confidently predict the outcome of their fiddling with the system, a lot of the time).
I put it to you that the root of the problem is that our current economic system presupposes that humans always behave greedily and dishonestly and therefore actively encourages such behaviour (within 'economics', greedy behaviour is seen as 'good'; encouragement of dishonesty follows in its wake), which, of course, means that it encourages fiddling with the system to ones own benefit, and thereby making the whole thing more chaotic than it might otherwise be, thus rendering the study of the economy more of an intractable problem in statistics than a separate science itself.
Further, I put it to you that if a little of the effort put into diddling the current system by economists were instead put into devising a better system that presupposes that humans can act cooperatively and encourages them to do so for mutual benefit, then we MIGHT come up with a better game for us all to collectively play in the name of trying to ensure a fairer distribution of goods.
If there's one thing that apalls me, it's the fact that so many people seem to assume that we came to the end of what's possible in the field of economics once capitalism was created. First barter, then money and capitalism then that's it (aside from the creation of paper, and later digital, money, which simply let the game become ever so more complex and chaotic and changeable on ever smaller timescales). Everything, and I do mean EVERYthing, including so-called 'communism' - since some bod decided that trading using chunks of metal rather than sheep and cows was a good idea - has been, pretty much, diddling with the rules of the SAME game. Let's put some thought into devising a NEW and BETTER game to play with our collective wealth, eh? Followed by, assuming we succeed, trying to work out how we get from our current system to the better one without inducing a major war, if possible.