[EM] Absolute Utilities

LAYTON Craig Craig.LAYTON at add.nsw.gov.au
Sun Apr 22 17:31:08 PDT 2001

Martin wrote:

>Other people might suggest electric shocks, or amounts 
>of cash.

I like the sound of electric shocks.

>I'm not advocating this - but that's how I'd measure Absolute (though 
>not all sincere) utilities for non-factual issues. Myself, I'm sticking 
>to the concept of normalised utilities, and I'll rashly claim that, in 
>the absence of any other information we might be able to obtain, that 
>normalised sincere utilities are the best estimate of absolute sincere 
>In other words, the aim for me is to maximise ASU, but this isn't 
>remotely possible, because you can't collect the info. Maximising 
>normalised SUs is possible, and it's as close to ASU-maximisation as we 
>can get.

I agree.  My question was, if we could measure absolute utilities
accurately, should that measure be used as an indicator for how good
election methods are?  If you think that election methods should be measured
by normalised SUs, then you should have to answer yes to that question.

My other point was that the acknowledgement of the existence of absolute SUs
leads to an understanding that the "worst case" scenario is equally as bad
in all election methods, in the real sense of how happy people are with the

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