Election method articles and books

Mike Ossipoff dfb at bbs.cruzio.com
Fri Jul 19 02:28:47 PDT 1996

Thanks for the article references, but why not include at least

a brief statement of what the authors, or some of them, say.
What does a particular author consider important. What does
he recommend?

Brief, or not so brief, statements about that would be helpful
when naming the articles & books.

And I just want to re-assure anyone who feels daunted by
the amount of academic literature, or who doesn't have the
chance to go through those things, or doesn't live near a
university library: You're not missing anything worthwhile.

The academic authors who write about single-winner methods
seem remarkably dedicated to publishing perpetually about it,
while getting nowhere with it. One can't blame them, because
publishing is very important in the academic world, and 
genuine systematic progress would spoil the beautiful open-ended,
unlimited publishing opportunity.

There seems to be a little consensus about a few academic
criteria--criteria met by lots of methods, including Smith//Condorcet,
but no systematic & orderly effort to narrow it down by asking
for other criteria. I haven't been over all of that literature,
of course, just a little of it, but enough to get the drift.
Sometimes authors will come up with standards of their own,
or standards about which there's little agreement, and little
or no apparent effort to discuss standards & criteria & really
pursue a discussion of what's important for single-winner methods.

You won't find anything about the lesser-of-2-evils problem,
unless you search more successfully than I did. Everything but.
Well that's understandable--that's just the most important
problem to voters & electoral reformers.

On what basis does Demorep recommend _Making Multi-Candidate
Elections More Democratic_? I don't want to guarantee that
every statement I make about these books is correct, but it
seems to me that that book, though it said many good things
about Approval, also rejected Pairwise-Count methods, as a
whole class, tarring them all with 1 brush, and saying something
to the effect that they aren't really suitable for public elections
because of the possiblity of insincere voting. But even under
the worst conditions, where there are many people who could
be tempted to order-reverse, Condorcet still has a better
strategy situation than Approval does. Not that Approval
isn't a good method too; it is. But the author of that book
dismisses a whole class of methods, one which contains the
best methods, without discussion.

The sw discussion that's worthwhile is discussion among people
who are genuinely interested in progress for single-winner
reform: electoral reformers. Discussion on EM & ER has been
sincere, because it's among people who are actually trying
to find the best sw reforms. 

I suggest that going through the academic literature would be
a waste of time. But especially, don't feel daunted by it,
and don't feel that you're missing something important if
you don't have the time or opportunity to go through it.

But if you do choose to go through it, and if you find something
that seems that it may be worthwhile, I hope you'll quote it
here, on EM, so that it can be discussed.

Wasn't Dummett the one who advocated the Borda points system?
A method notorious for being strategy-ridden, and for its
(perhaps unique) abililty to fail to elect an alternative
which a majority indicate as their 1st choice.




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