[EM] ironclad pro-Condorcet argument?

James Green-Armytage jarmyta at antioch-college.edu
Mon Aug 23 05:13:30 PDT 2004

>It's similar to the "arena voting" method I wrote 
>about a few years ago here in the em list, as a 
>thought experiment: All the voters are assembled
>together in the morning in a (huge) arena, in which 
>each candidate has a banner planted.  At the end 
>of the day, the winner is the candidate whose 
>banner has the most voters gathered 'round.

	Yup, it's related, but stated in more abstract and tautological terms...
We have some primary caucuses which work this way, don't we? ... Iowa... I
don't know the others...
	I don't think that the arena method would 100%-always settle on the CW,
because they don't know each other's sincere preferences, but it should do
so very, very often.
>Calling it an error seems an overstatement.  Consider
>this example:  
>   2 candidates: A & B.
>   49% intensely prefer A.
>   51% slightly prefer B.

	Sure, but if you use this critique, then you can't argue for any kind of
majority rule at all... basically it undermines the principle of everyone
getting equal voting power.
	The cheerful part is that the distribution above seems pretty unlikely to
me. It's pretty abnormal in statistical terms, isn't it? And mightn't you
think that those intense 49% should be able to communicate their intense
reasons for liking A, so that enough of the B voters change their mind?
	When I said mistake, I wasn't making a judgement about the candidate
himself. Of course, a clear majority can elect an awful candidate
(Reagan)... that's "mistake" in another sense. What I meant was that it is
a mistake for the voters who could have gotten a preferable result but
failed via bad info, bad coordination, etc.

my best,
James Green-Armytage

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