[EM] majority tyranny (was proof idea for non-summability of STV)

Forest Simmons fsimmons at pcc.edu
Thu Dec 3 16:57:36 PST 2020

 An insight of Jobst Heitzig has made a big difference in my thinking about
this topic ... namely that all of the supposedly democratic deterministic
consensus-building techniques must (in order to guarantee reaching a full
formal consensus compromise in every case) sometimes resort to some kind of
more or less subtle group pressuring of some participants.

Once this insight gets lodged in the brain of someone who is categorically
opposed to coercion, compulsion, or abuse of conscience in any form, in any
degree, such a person must wonder if there exist non-deterministic,
abuse-free methods for achieving consensus.

To Jobst we also owe the insight that in the context of "lottery methods" a
non-coercive, proportionately fair, full consensus solution always does

Jobst has led the search for the simplest minimal entropy solutions. A
zero-entropy solution is necessarily minimal. If there is no zero entropy
consensus, then by definition there is no deterministic consensus.

There is a lot of psychological pushback against this idea ... which is
understandable ... it's the same psychology that made Einstein (and almost
everybody else) so reluctant to welcome quantum mechanics into mainstream
physics a century ago.

This psychology is perhaps reflected in the traditional designation "random
dictator" for the benchmark lottery more neutrally known as, "random ballot

Game theorists have known for ages that for some games no "pure" strategy
is optimal ... mixed strategies are sometimes indispensable. What is a
mixed strategy? It is a mixture of pure strategies. How are they mixed
together? Stochastically, i.e. by lotteries.

I'm not saying that every election methods scientist needs to specialize in
lotteries. I don't know as much as I should about them, but I'm glad that
Jobst has raised my consciousness about the limitations of determinism and
about the possibilities of minimal entropy excursions away from determinism
in the inerest of efforts towards social consensus as opposed to mere
"majority rule."

I hope nobody gets the impression that I am a know-it-all on this listserv;
I have huge gaps in my knowledge ... but the few things I think I
understand ... I try to articulate them as clearly as possible ...to
facilitate communication, including facilitation of revealing my mistakes
... which happens more and more often as I get older🙄

> -----------------
> Date: Thu, 3 Dec 2020 18:04:40 +0000 (UTC)
> From: Kevin Venzke <stepjak at yahoo.fr>
> To: Richard Lung <voting at ukscientists.com>,  EM
>         <election-methods at lists.electorama.com>,  Kristofer Munsterhjelm
>         <km_elmet at t-online.de>
> Subject: Re: [EM] Proof idea that IRV can't be summable
> Message-ID: <1307822904.7547807.1607018681005 at mail.yahoo.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> Le jeudi 3 d?cembre 2020 ? 04:20:54 UTC?6, Kristofer Munsterhjelm <
> km_elmet at t-online.de> a ?crit :
> >If told to create something democratic without concern to current
> >constraints, I'd probably just skip right to sortition. This would not
> >just invalidate single-winner methods, but voting altogether; except,
> >possibly, the method the assembly itself uses to decide.
> In this exchange "democratic" must mean that the assembly's seats are
> allocated proportionally. This leaves the issue of allocation of actual
> policy-making power as you suggest.
> Maybe there is a way to determine policy proportionally, and without using
> randomness. I don't think it can be based on decay of individual delegates'
> voting power (because if you use your power sub-optimally you may fail to
> influence policy) or on how many things you vote on (because proposals
> could be clones of each other etc.). So it might have to be based on
> time... A faction gets an amount of time in power.
> But realistically there is probably a minimum faction size you would want
> to allow to wield power. And to prevent whiplash you'd probably want a
> minimum amount of time that a faction could be in power. Could a faction
> representing 25% of the voters be allowed to set policy for even a year? If
> not, can we defend that without invoking the principle of majority rule? (I
> doubt it... And for me that is always the limitation, that no matter what,
> you have to implement majority rule somewhere in the process.)
> Kevin
> ************************************************
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