[EM] goal of a better election method

steve bosworth stevebosworth at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 14 04:50:36 PST 2017


Subject: Election-Methods Digest, Vol 152, Issue 8

   1. Re: ?goal of a better election method? (fdpk69p6uq at snkmail.com)


Message: 1
Date: Sun, 12 Feb 2017 12:52:20 -0500
From: fdpk69p6uq at snkmail.com
To: election-methods at electorama.com
Subject: Re: [EM] ?goal of a better election method?
Message-ID: <13212-1486922215-391893 at sneakemail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

Hi fdpk69p6uq at snkmail.com (i.e. fdpl69):

(i.e. fdpl69):  On Sun, Feb 12, 2017 at 6:48 AM, steve bosworth stevebosworth-at-hotmail.com
|electorama electowiki/Example Allow| <9zz1sjkwvt at sneakemail.com> wrote:

S: > My suggested goal for a single-winner election (e.g. for a president,
> governor, or major) is Balinski and Laraki?s:
> ?The purpose of ? an election is to select, if possible, some candidate
> who shall, in the opinion of a majority of the electors, be most fit for
> the post?? (E. J. Nanson, quoted by Balinski and Laraki, *Majority
> Judgment*, MIT, 2011, p.209).

(i.e. fdpl69)  :I definitely disagree with this quote, after learning of the difference
between majoritarian and utilitarian systems.  I'm solidly in the
utilitarian camp now:

The purpose of an election is to select the candidate who maximizes the
utility/happiness/satisfaction of the voters.  (*All* the voters; not half.)

Also, ?... to determine as precisely as possible, the true aggregate wills
> of electorates ?.? (Ibid, p. 388).

This sounds more like utilitarianism.  If the electorate's positions on
political issues are plotted in a multi-dimensional issue space, the winner
should be the candidate who is nearest to their centroid (= the aggregate
wills of the electorate).  This goal is incompatible with the previous goal
of majority rule.


The Tyranny of <strike>the Majority</strike> Weak Preferences<http://leastevil.blogspot.com/2012/03/tyranny-of-majority-weak-preferences.html>


Suppose you and a pair of friends are looking to order a pizza. You, and one friend, really like mushrooms, and prefer them over all other v...

S: In the context both of the  above article you referenced and my explanation of how HMJ works, I accept that HMJ could also produce the inappropriate result you describe, i.e. 2 friends imposing pepperoni on their vegetarian friend (i.e. given 3 voters, they could “grade” the single pizza toppings as follows and giving pepperoni the highest “median-grade” represented as 5 (i.e. EXCELENT):

Pepperoni -- 5, 5, 0

Mushrooms -- 5, 4, 4

However, given that these 3 are “friends” and they are talking with each other before the vote, I think both of us would expect them to vote differently using HMJ.  They would vote follows for the topping most “fit” for this situation by giving Mushrooms the “highest-median-grade” of something like, 4 (i.e. VERY GOOD) and the option supported unanimously:

Pepperoni -- 1, 1, 0

Mushrooms -- 5, 4, 4

HMJ seems to be the method that would most clearly prompt (e.g. more than APPROVAL or SCORE) each voter not simply to think of her own personal preferences but to value the option that is best for the whole society concerned.  The same considerations would seem most likely to apply to an election of a president by HMJ.

Thus, I see HMJ as mostly likely to be both “majoritarian and utilitarian”.  What do you think?


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