nonmajoritarian disadvantages

Mike Ositoff ntk at
Sat Jul 18 03:17:19 PDT 1998

The Clarke tax with play money doesn't seem a good idea at all.
Without using real money, I doubt that it could be possible to
give incentive for sincere ratings. Sure, there could still be
nonmajoritarian point systems in which voters could allocate a
fixed supply of points or special payment currency between different
issue votes in an election, or between different elections, so that
a highly motivated minority could win on one issue against a
less motivated majority, at the cost of their voting power on
other issues or in other elections. But the trouble is that theyk
_are_ point systems, with the need to use point-system strategy,
further complicated by the decisions about allocation between 
different elections or issues in an election.

For several years this list has been discussing & perfecting
methods to get rid of the LO2E problem, to get rid of strategy
problems, the need for strategy. I don't believe that any of
us want to give up that goal to trade it for the motivated-minority
help that those points supply or currency supply methods can give.

If a point system could really make strategy unnecessary &
motivate sincerity, like the Clarke tax with real money, that
might be different. But that only seems possible with real money,
and the use of real money in public political elections is, I feel,
out of the question.

Because Mike S. is interested in nonmajoritarian point systems,
it seemed justified to investigate what's possible with them,
which is what I've been doing, a little. But nonmajoritarian
methods have only been discussed here for about a week, as compared
to several years for rank-balloting methods designed to avoid need
for strategy. Rank balloting is well understood by people on this
list. The somewhat majoritarian point systems, majoritarian in the
sense that they enforce majority rule when well-informed strategy
is used, haven't been discussed here much, but they've been
thoroughly studied & discussed by others.

But even if you like the nonmajoritarian methods, majority rule
still can't be avoided. For one thing, the decision to enact
such a mathod would have to be made under a majoritarian system.
And, even when the nonmajoritarian system is in effect, a vote
on repealing it couldn't properly be done as just one of the
issues between which points or currency are allocated in that
system--it's a separate issue deserving a y/n vote by itself.
A majoritarian vote.

And in any case, even if the issue of repealing the nonmajoritarian
system were voted on as just part of the nonmajoritarian system
of elections, a pro-repeal majority could easily sacrifice other
issues in order to put their full points or currency on the repeal
vote. Of course that sacrifice wouldn't mean anything after the
repeal. My point is that even if you believe in nonmajoritarian
systems, you can't get away from majority rule, which is an
unchangeable fact of life. A nonmajoritarian system could be
enacted & stay in place only at the sufference of the majority.

And, aside from all that, such a system is, as I said, so different
from how things are done now, compared to our rank-balloting proposals,
that nonmajoritarian systems wouldn't be at all feasible as proposals.

I just wanted to check it out, since all serious proposals deserve
a look.

Mike Ossipoff

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