[Election-Methods] Election-Methods Digest, Vol 42, Issue 70

CLAY SHENTRUP clay at electopia.org
Sat Dec 29 21:43:06 PST 2007

On Dec 29, 2007 8:31 PM,  <election-methods-request at lists.electorama.com> wrote:
> From: "rob brown" <rob at karmatics.com>
> Subject: Re: [Election-Methods] RE : Re: rcv ala tournament
> Please elaborate.  Seems to me that the optimum strategy of Approval
> involves guessing how others will vote.

that's also true of EVERY deterministic voting method.

> And guessing how others will vote
> involves a) guessing what their best strategy is, which of course is
> cyclical and becomes a great big hall of mirrors

again, true of EVERY voting method.  which is why all voting methods
become condorcet if we let people see the result then change their
ballots infinitely.

> and b) guessing how how
> their actual voting differs from optimum strategy, which becomes an exercise
> in psychology.

yeah, still true of every voting method.  a fact which has been
pointed out to you numerous times, but which you seem incapable of
grasping and/or remembering.

> Except that your definition of utilitarian is simplistic and doesn't include
> long term issues like "does the electorate consider the results fair".

of course i consider such things.  but you haven't shown any evidence
to substantiate the kind of mayhem you predict would result from range
voting.  it's fair at the ballot level, since each person gets one
vote, and has the same options as every other voter.  and it's fairER
at the result level, since it makes the average voter more satisfied
with election results.  and it's fairER in the sense that honest
voters are less victimized by strategic ones.

there's no catastrophe as a result of range voting.  the bush
presidency vindicates me here.  people got a result that was more
widely deemed "unfair" than perhaps any election in u.s. history.
_and_ they got a president who has made a lot of people very unhappy.
now imagine how docile they'd be if they got a result that was deemed
"unfair", but got a candidate that the average person liked quite a
lot more.  i don't see any kind of mayhem breaking out from your
contrived hypothetical scenario of widespread rejection of the system.
 there's _nothing_ to support this.  consider also that 1/3 of voters
are registered independents, making them less powerful.  say the
primary elections don't go their way.  do they riot in the streets
that system was "unfair" by letting them opt out of a chance to
influence the nominees?  no!  they just register with a major party so
they can vote in the primaries next time.  and a disgruntled range
voter can just decide to vote strategically in the next election, if
he really wants to.  you also employ bizarre contortions of logic,
like "range voting will cause people to want to stay at home and cast
no vote at all rather than show up to cast a weak vote."

bottom line: your logic doesn't hold water.  nothing you envision is
realistic or supported by any evidence - just your imagination.

> Likewise, it is more utilitarian by your definition to divide wealth up
> equally rather than the capitalistic way of dividing it up based on a free
> market/supply demand/etc etc.  In the short term, its "more utilitarian"
> because surely a poor person will be made happier by recieving $100, who can
> buy groceries with it, rather than give it to a wealthy person who is just
> going to use it toward getting leather seats for his fancy car.
> Any thinking person can see the problem with this logic.  No matter how many
> words you type, it doesn't make your definition of utility make any more
> sense.

it makes perfect sense, if you understand it.  but you don't.  i'll
try to help.  i might start by pointing out that i define utility in
the same way as the experts, from harsanyi to sen.  you think i've
been redefining it because you've confused different things i've said.

your point about economies is 100% correct.  collectivist systems have
historically failed, because they do not realistically account for
self-interest (akin to strategic voting).  a collectivist system
essentially suffers from the "prisoner's dilemma", where everyone
might be better off if everyone would work hard, but an individual is
personally better off if he _doesn't_ work hard, because his lost
revenue will be less than his gain in free time or comfort.  thus, the
system ends up being _less_ utilitarian than, say, capitalism.

in an interview in the feb. 1973 issue of _playboy_ magazine,
economist milton friedman said:

"what kind of society isn't structured on greed?  the problem of
social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed
will do the least harm.  capitalism is that kind of system."

some speculate that alternatives such as georgism could actually be
better, but his point is still relevant, that in trying to create a
system that does the most good for the most people, we have take into
account the realities of selfish human behavior.  as you have said
time and time again, humans are not eusocial the way bees are.  that
is why warren smith's social utility efficiency calculations took
strategic voting into account.  and range voting came up effectively
the best - with some methods performing slightly better, but having
_externalities_ which would make them unfit for political adoption.

so the point you keep trying to drill in, as if range voting
proponents don't understand, is actually quite well understood.  and
it has been taken into account.

no matter how many words you type in response, nothing you write will
make any sense until you understand this.

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