[EM] [CES #4445] Re: Looking at Condorcet

robert bristow-johnson rbj at audioimagination.com
Thu Feb 9 21:01:47 PST 2012

On 2/9/12 10:55 PM, Dave Ketchum wrote:
> On Feb 9, 2012, at 9:02 PM, Kevin Venzke wrote:
>> (Your idea of all the utilities being 0 or 1 can't even be made to 
>> work as a model, I don't think, unless voters really only have two 
>> stances toward candidates. Because what happens when you introduce a 
>> third candidate that some people like even better? Utilities don't 
>> change based on who else is in the race, they are supposed to 
>> represent in absolute terms the benefit from a candidate being elected.)
> Utilities do not change?  I buy that they do - given that A or B offer 
> no special value and that neither is worth voting for, getting C in 
> the race can matter if C is known as willing and able to be useful.

i think that he was addressing scaling or normalization.  in a 
two-candidate race, we may as well assign the values 0 and 1 (if you get 
the candidate you voted for, it's a 1, otherwise it's 0), it doesn't 
matter as long as one value is greater than the other, the maximum 
utility occurs when you elect the simple majority candidate.  but when a 
third candidate comes into the picture, if, for a voter A and B already 
are 0 and 1, then if the voter really likes C better than either, maybe 
C should get a 2, so that the assigned utility for A and B remain 
unchanged in an absolute sense.

>> When you try to make an argument for Condorcet and 3+ candidate 
>> scenarios, based on the inevitability of using majority rule with two 
>> candidates, you will fail to convince an advocate of utility, because 
>> an advocate of utility probably doesn't think the method options are 
>> as limited anymore, once you have 3+ candidates. The majority rule 
>> procedure with two candidates may be necessary (Clay may even 
>> disagree with that though), but that doesn't mean it was always doing 
>> the right thing.

well, when we are trying to do the "right thing", that's pretty 
subjective.  so i try to resolve the subjective into the objective early 
in the process.  it's the reason for starting with the Two-candidate, 
Competitive, Governmental race where no one wants to dilute their vote 
(so the utility values can be 0 and 1 for everyone because no person's 
vote counts more than anyone else's).  somehow, i think that if you 
weight the effectiveness of some voter's vote more than another voter 
(not "one person, one vote"), it is prima facie *not* the "right thing".

so you hold onto that value (one person, one vote) and apply it to the 
multi-candidate race.  you elect the CW (assuming one exists) to office 
because electing any other candidate means that some minority gets to 
have their votes weighted more heavily than their complementary majority 
(in order for this minority to have their way and prevail in the 
election).  if you say that must not happen, then you must elect the CW.


r b-j                  rbj at audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

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