This is something that has had me thinking for a while now. Not the "many hands" principle you guys were talking about, but rather the aspect of a small group of people being privy to sensitive information that can potentially have a big effect on the Dash price, and hence, their own investment.
I remember back in 2012-2013 I did some BTC trading based on scouring the news for really positive or really negative press, and if I caught it quickly, I was able to make money on the price swings that were obviously tied to public reaction to the news. Since those news-based price swings for bitcoin (at least back then) were so predictable, it was always my suspicion that the traders who stood to make the most profit were the people with their fingers on the news release buttons themselves.
This value itself (knowledge of what will be released and exactly when) could be worth at least as much as the expenses that the PR budget funds. I am not saying this is really a bad thing, just that we are in an interesting situation where private work gets paid for through decentralized community funds. Ultimately, the dev team and PR/marketing team are still going to be in a better position to make strategic investments than people NOT working on these things (including the majority of MN holders/voters). I think this is also the reason why the budget proposals are still modest subsidies to pay only for external expenses, and not the entirety of the hard work, inspiration and man-hours spent on the project. The latter part is what actually deserves the "insider information," IMO. This is similar to the "founders holding many coins having incentive to continue the project" principle.
I'll use raganius
' Tennis promotion as an example: We can assume he owned at least some Dash at the time of his promotion, and he took a risk with an effort to get the word out about the project he was invested in, and he (along with the rest of us) would be rewarded if the price went up as a result of that effort. If in the short term the price did not go up and he did not make back his marketing expenses as a result, then that's where the PR/marketing budget comes in, because it is designed for the long-term
image of the project. Although I originally objected to the idea of "retroactive funding," I had no problem voting YES for his budget after checking my premise to what the PR/marketing budgets are actually for, and I viewed it as more of a safety net that allowed someone to take more of a risk--one that I supported because his motive and actions (although not financially provable, at least in the short-term) were good for the long-term vision of the currency.