[EM] SARA voting: easier-to-describe MAS

Toby Pereira tdp201b at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Oct 26 07:28:39 PDT 2016

Also, a given amount of money is worth more in utility to a poor person than a rich person, so Michael's analogy of taking a dollar from a homeless person and giving it to a billionaire doesn't work. I know he gave a previous example where the billionaire gets a yacht or something and it does get more debatable at that point.
But I don't think the maximum minimum utility is necessarily even the best principle to use anyway. There are good arguments for maximising average utility. If I am given 100 dollars, then there is an amount of money that I would gamble that for on a coin flip, or where I'd call them equivalent. Let's say I decide that I'd gamble it for anything more than 300 dollars. That's the same as me saying that for me the difference in utility between 0 and 100 dollars is the same as the difference between 100 and 300 dollars. It is also equivalent to saying that if there are two people with the same utility ratings as me, it's as good to give one of them 300 dollars as it is to give each of them 100 dollars. (Obviously you can argue about loss of utility through envy and perceived unfairness, but that's a separate issue - you don't need to tell the loser what happened.)
I have the same intuitions about rich/poor people, but you need a logically consistent framework as well as intuitions.

      From: Jameson Quinn <jameson.quinn at gmail.com>
 To: Michael Ossipoff <email9648742 at gmail.com> 
Cc: "election-methods at electorama.com" <election-methods at electorama.com>
 Sent: Wednesday, 26 October 2016, 13:31
 Subject: Re: [EM] SARA voting: easier-to-describe MAS
Michael, you're arguing that certain kinds of utility or disutility are more important than others. As a human being with my own judgment and morals, I'd agree with you. But it's not just impossible, but actively counterproductive, to try to build that kind of judgment and morals into a voting system. If a voting system weights certain kinds of ballots more, sophisticated voters will strategically cast that kind of ballots, and unsophisticated voters will be ignored. 
VSE (aka BR) is, in fact, the right target to aim at. It does not include any judgment or morals, but, by an argument similar to the Condorcet Jury Theorem, in the long run it's got the best chance of agreeing with a system with did. To take your specific example: there are a lot more homeless people than billionaires, so in general a democratic election system will (correctly) weight the preferences of homeless people above those of billionaires. (And if the billionaires can successfully trick all the homeless people into thinking they prefer a candidate who will actually serve the billionaires, there's nothing the voting system per se can do about that.)
2016-10-25 18:41 GMT-04:00 Michael Ossipoff <email9648742 at gmail.com>:


You said that SARA does particularly well by VSE.

But VSE is: (winner's SU)/(average SU among candidates)

...where SU is social utility.

...which is some constant minus BR.

But I've just told why BR is no good as a measure of the rightness or goodness of an outcome.

Take a dollar from a homeless man and give it to a billionaire? That's a negative change, because changes in greater disutilities are more important

Michael Ossipoff.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.electorama.com/pipermail/election-methods-electorama.com/attachments/20161026/9099af45/attachment.htm>

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list