[Election-Methods] more of rob browns extreme confusion

CLAY SHENTRUP clay at electopia.org
Wed Jan 2 17:05:25 PST 2008

rob brown wrote:
You are wasting our time with your meaningless tautological argument that
"people want what they want" Why don't you just cut to the chase, and
demand that everyone "wants" Range voting, it's been proven, case closed?

it's not a tautological "argument" - or an argument at all.  it's a
definition.  the definition of utility.

maybe you would call it a tautology if i told you the definition of "duck"
was "duck".  but if i said the definition of duck was "a type of water
fowl", would you still call that a tautology?  hopefully you're brighter
than that.  so when i say utility is the "measure of what people want", it
sounds very silly for you to accuse me of saying "people want what they
want".  that's just not what i said, and you have a habit of this kind of

> Sorry if I seem like a broken record, but you are mixing up "simple net
tangible utility of candidates elected" and "total long term happiness with
the results, the electoral process itself, and all the side effects".

i'm not mixing these two things up.  you are again confused.

there are aspects of social utility that are not accounted for by
simulations concerned with only the election results.  we could say these
are "externalities".

the thing is, the only realistic externalities i'm aware of are actually
positive for range voting.  reducing spoiled ballots, increasing turnout,
and decreasing the effect of money in politics.

where are the negative externalities?  you haven't shown any evidence of
any.  and they would have to be pretty huge to overcome the election outcome

> Yours is more of a "the greater the short term ends, the better", which is
truly preprosterous.

no.  people base their candidate utilities off both perceived short-term and
long-term effects.

by breaking up duopoly, reducing the effect of money in elections, and
increasing voter turnout, i believe range voting will have long-term effects
which are comparable to its immediate election-result utility.

and you haven't demonstrated any evidence for long-term effects which would
counteract the election outcome utilities.

> Once again, this exactly equivelent to your logic: "If we reduce the
engineer's pay and increase the janitor's pay until they approach each
other, we create a net gain of utility, since each dollar provides more
utility to the less wealthy janitor. So we should do that, because net
utility is what we want, by definition".

that analogy is not equivalent, and is no more relevant now than it was the
last time you invoked it.  there are obvious reasons why salaries aren't
"fair".  if you don't pay the engineer what he thinks he's worth, he just
finds a new employer.  _if_ he can find one who will pay him more.  if he
can't, he might be forced to stay no matter how insulting his salary
becomes.  no comparable problem exists in voting.

> No matter how many times you try to evade this issue, it is still there.

i haven't evaded it.  i've addressed it.

> This article discusses your error pretty well

the error you've accused me of making is to ignore the effects of
externalities to the direct election result utilities.  but i haven't, and
you only thought i did because you didn't pay attention.

and that link is nothing but elementary evolutionary game theory, which is
covered in much more detail in books like _the selfish gene_, by dawkins.
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