[Election-Methods] Election-Methods Digest, Vol 42, Issue 75

rob brown rob at karmatics.com
Mon Dec 31 11:22:28 PST 2007

On Dec 31, 2007 4:50 AM, CLAY SHENTRUP <clay at electopia.org> wrote:

> > I've presented evidence over and over, based mostly on the fact that
> Clay
> > refuses to define utility as he intends it.  So please, Clay, please
> define
> > utility.
> again, you are simply confused.  and you do not pay attention.  i have
> defined utility in the same way as bentham, harsanyi, etc.
> satisfaction/happiness/value - the general concept that utility
> theorists have been talking about for years.

> > Does it only include satisfaction with the elected candidates
> themselves?
> i never said it did.  i said that warren's simulations could only
> _account_ for the satisfaction from the election result itself, and
> could not account for various externalities (like the fire and
> brimstone tales you imagine of voters staying at home rather than
> casting weak votes, or feeling guilty by casting strategic votes).

The point is that if it does include those things, you can't say that it
"not debatable" that range has greater net utility, because those
intangibles are impossible to work into any sort of "proof".

It is as stupid as saying that there is "more net utility" for a company to
pay the janitor the same as the top engineer.  In the short term, the
janitor can use the money more than the engineer, so greater utility. But
that is only true in the short term, because of the side effects.

And you just happily ignore that sort of side effect because it isn't as
easy for Warren to calculate.

> > Do people with a direct vested interest in a candidate winning
> > (such as the candidates themselves, or their campaign manager) get to
> have
> > much higher utility values because it affects them more?
> they don't "get to" have - they _do_ have.

I'll take that as a yes.  Every time you want to quibble with another thing
that you knew what I meant (in this case, I meant "are they so lucky as to
have their preferences given more weight?"), is another ten pages worth of
your rants that I just don't read.

> Is this on a linear or logarithmic scale?
> we (me, warren, harsanyi, sen, etc.) are proposing that the social
> utility function is the simple sum of individual utilities, without
> any kind of logarithmic rescaling.  i've said this to you over and
> over again since i first encountered you.

Sure, and it doesn't make any more sense.

So...lets see....I want to quantify this.  Since you are saying net
utilities are numerical values, and that it might make sense to say "I like
A ten percent more than B"....what exactly does that 10 percent represent?
I imagine your calculations must be measuring the quantities of seratonin or
dopamine in their brains or something?

Because if not, whether it is linear or logarithmic is not quantifiable, nor
is their baseline.  It's like saying one day is 10% hotter than another
day.  No makie sense.

> > More importantly, does it ignore long-term intangibles, such as whether
> > people feel the election was fair, or whether everyone's vote was
> counted?
> > Or are these simply ignored?
> i'm not ignoring that, but it's not accounted for by warren's
> simulations.

Pretty huge thing it's missing.

Again, that is doing a simulation of the utilities of a janitors pay and
engineers pay without considering the long term consequences of what would
happen if they are paid equally.

>  we instead have to theorize about such externalities,
> and try to back up our theories with evidence, just like anything in
> science.  we see strong evidence that range voting will have external
> effects like increasing voter turnout, reducing the effect of money in
> elections, and breaking up duopoly.  you postulate some negative
> outcomes, but so far none of them seem to be based on flimsy
> conjecture and pathetically flawed logic - like "voters will hate
> casting a weak vote so much, they'll just not vote at all".

Fine,  As long as you acknowledge it is opinion, not fact, that range has
"greater utility".

And I did not say ""voters will hate casting a weak vote so much, they'll
just not vote at all"

My opinion is that, over time, it will anger those who are honestly casting
weak votes that they will have less power as a result. I think that Range,
explicitly, by design, rewards the dishonest and selfish, and that
institutions that do so, in the long run, increase sociopathy and discord.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say most of the concept of "society" is in
minimizing the rewards for dishonest and selfish behavior.

but then you also think range voting wouldn't have changed the outcome
> of the 2000 election, so this shouldn't surprise me.
> > Please clarify your definition.  You have weaseled out of this over and
> > over, I'd really like to know.
> more pot/kettle rhetoric.  fact is, i've answered every correspondence
> we've ever had, line by line.  meanwhile, i've seen you completely
> fail to reply to numerous points i made which absolutely demolished
> your arguments.  two easy examples:
> 1. your insanely ridiculous claim that nader would have still thrown
> the election to bush under range voting.

It's not ridiculous.  They talk about the effect with regard to approval
voting here:
The same effect applies to range.

Your only response to it was to only discuss "Nader voters" and ignore all
of those who preferred Nader>Gore>Bush but who actually voted for Gore.

The point is that without Nader in the election, most of the N>G>B people
would give Gore a 100, with Nader, many of that group would give Gore less
than 100.

I can't think of another group that make up for that effect, and you have
not mentioned one.

> 2. your rather confused belief that dsv shouldn't leave voters with
> any incentive to strategize.

If it does, than it is not actually dsv.  By definition, a dsv agent is
working toward your interest and  therefore it makes no sense to lie to it.

> i could go back and cite numerous other examples, but now that we're
> debating in a public forum, everyone else can go back and see for
> themselves.

Yep.  I don't see everyone jumping to your side.
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