Posted by: tejat | December 11, 2008

Are Individual Rights Possible?

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Responses

  1. Sen’s theorem is in the same spirit as Arrow’s theorem and as Joe’s review article, both of which you may find interesting further reading.

    One could rephrase the problem as this: if there’s a voting system in place which satisfies U and P and is not subject to cycles, then ML fails. This means in such a system, there is at most one person who can get his way reliably on a particular preference. The idea that this implies society is choosing what Kate is eating for dinner tonight only applies if Kate’s dinner choice is among the things society votes on! In a way, one could argue that this is the case, of course: that societal forces do influence what we eat or wear. It’s a complicated question as to whether this applies to the real world!

    I was pleased that you went out and investigated the voting used in the UC. As you point out, it is relevant that there are multiple seats available. You didn’t discuss whether the assumptions of U, P and ML hold there, however. Are you sure that they do?


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