[EM] When and how can we speak of "individual utility" and "social utility"?

Michael Ossipoff mikeo2106 at msn.com
Thu Mar 1 00:33:07 PST 2007

Lomax says:

>But we should not let this distract us from the fact that utility
>analysis is really the *only* approach to judging how well election
>methods perform, it is not like we have other methods competing with it.
>Election criteria might be considered such methods, but they are
>clearly indirect. Even the most basic of them, such as the Majority
>Criterion as usually defined, is clearly flawed in that we can easily
>propose election scenarios, and not rare ones but common ones, where
>it requires results that by any reasonable definition of election
>success are defective.

I comment:

Those are incredibly ignorant statements.

The fact that two criteria are incompatible doesn't mean that one of them 
requires defective results. And the fact that majority rule is incompatible 
with maximizing summed utility when everyone (hypothetically) votes 
sincerely doesn't mean that criteria relating to majority rule require a 
defective result.

Of course, even with Cardinal Ratings (CR), the pizza majority can easily 
get its way. Likewise in political elections.

Lomax, for the little-caring majority to outvote the strongly-caring 
minority is not a defective result, except, typically, to people who are new 
to the subject.

As I said, criteria tell what must or can’t happen. Some are of more 
interest to a particular person than others are. I consider it important to 
minimize the class of situations that require defensive strategy, and the 
drasticness of that strategy. That’s because, as I’ve said, to the extent 
that  people are strategically prevented from voting their preferences, 
democracy becomes a joke. No method can respond to preferences that aren’t 
voted because of strategic fear.

FBC, SFC, GSFC, SDSC, and WDSC are about that concern. CR doesn’t meet most 
of those, though it meets one of them. Does that mean that those criteria 
require a “defective result”, when we unrealistically assume that everyone 
votes sincerely? It depends on what you consider more important: Freedom 
from strategic need to not vote one’s preferences, or maximizing summed 
utility when everyone hypothetically votes sincerely.

As I said before I quit that discussion, what happens when everyone votes 
sincerely doesn’t matter a whole lot if the method causes people to not vote 

Lomax says:

>If the Majority Criterion is
>satisfied by a single-stage election method involving choices among
>three or more options, the majority has not consented to the result,
>unless this is somehow made explicit.

I reply:

What an odd claim.

One could hold a 2nd balloting, an up/down vote on the 1st balloting’s 
winner. But few would want to waste time and money in that way.

>The proposals that have been made that a Range election, where the
>Condorcet winner and the Range winner differ, be followed by a
>top-two runoff approach more directly the real majority right of

I reply:

The CW would win a 2-candidate race with any one of the other candidates. Or 
maybe you mean that the majority would generously decide to give the 
election away. Again, it would be an unjustified waste of time and money.

Mike Ossipoff

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