[Election-Methods] a story for christmas

rob brown rob at karmatics.com
Fri Dec 28 09:55:22 PST 2007

On Dec 26, 2007 3:30 PM, Jan Kok <jan.kok.5y at gmail.com> wrote:

> Ever hear of welfare? Social Security? Medicare? Medicaid?
> Unemployment insurance? More examples of a majority (apparently)
> supporting schemes that benefit a minority but are a net loss for most
> people. E.g. most people would be better off putting their retirement
> money into an ordinary savings account than paying into Social
> Security. The savings account would give better returns.

Sure.  Representational democracy handles that situation pretty well, and
doesn't require each issue to have majority support.  Ever notice we don't
tend to vote directly on such issues?  That wouldn't work, and range voting
wouldn't help.  We vote for representatives, which have many elements on
their platform, and voters can prioritize them in choosing which candidate
they support.  Strength of preference DOES apply, but it does so in a way
that is not asking people to de-weight their preferences out of the kindness
of their hearts.  (if you prioritize, say, welfare more strongly that other
issues, you do so at the expense of your ability to express your opinion
strongly on other issues)

If you forbid people from voting intermediate values, then the only
> other option people have is to vote 100% option A or 100% option B.

Actually, your majority vote scheme allows voting an intermediate
> value, by abstaining. But then sometimes it seems you don't want to
> allow voting intermediate values... Be consistent, will ya? :-)

Abstaining is only intended for cases where you really don't know or don't
care.  There is always the possibility of considering two options to be
equal, in which forcing a preference is not appropriate.  But if a voter has
a preference, my idea of a "fair" voting system should expect them to
express it as strongly as possible.

Otherwise, asking if people want to "let others 'take advantage' of
you" (your words) is as dumb as if the grocery store treated every price is
if it was the minimum you had to pay, and you were asked how much you wanted
to pay the store for each item, as long as it is over the minimum they will
accept.  Sure, some people have lots of money....maybe some will be dumb and
pay more than required....

But why would anyone do that?  It is insulting to their intelligence, and
annoying to be constantly asked how much you want to pay, especially if
there was an implication that paying more is somehow expected.  Likewise I
would find it annoying to constantly be asked how much I want to de-weight
my vote.  As if  my vote doesn't count little enough already.....

(and before you compare it to tips or charity...no.  Different thing.  My
example is paying the store itself more money, on an item by item basis)
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