All of Clay S's Comments + Replies

ethics is just the heuristics genes use to get themselves copied. we're all trying to maximize our own expected utility, but since none of us wants to let any others become a dictator, there is a game theoretical equilibrium where we agree to have rules like "murder is illegal" because even though it stops me from murdering you, it also stops you from murdering me. our rational goal is to shrink the circle of people included in this decision to the smallest possible group that includes ourselves. hence why we wouldn't want to sacrifice our own interests fo... (read more)

extensive computer simulations show that approval voting works extremely well, especially when voters are more tactical (game the system). and it has worked phenomenally well so far in fargo and st louis.

Do you have any details about what's happened in Fargo and St. Louis? Just the other day I was wondering about the outcomes of these kinds of election reforms.

Utilitarianism is certainly correct. You can observe this by watching people make decisions under uncertainty. Preferences aren't merely ordinal.

But yes, doing the math has its own utility cost, so many decisions are better off handled with approximations. This is how you get things like the Allais paradox.

I'm not sure what "moral" means here. The goal of a gene is to copy itself. Ethics isn't about altruism.

Rational utilitarianism means maximizing your own expected utility. (Technically from the gene's perspective; so caring for your children is selfish.) Social contracts (voting, laws against killing, etc) are just the game theoretical result of everyone acting selfishly.

It's about selfishness not altruism.

Your point about minimum wage, is exactly the point I made about price controls more generally. Bravo.

This is just a variation of asset voting. I like it too. I could see an argument that you should start by redistributing the votes from the people who are guaranteed enough votes for a seat, because that could change elimination order. There are a bunch of different heuristics you could use.

Thanks for sharing the official name. Personally, I don't like the idea of "negotiations" (as noted: this is rough for single winner elections), and would advocate for some sort of deterministic reallocation based on pre-election decisions. That is, each candidate sends thier instant runoff ordering to the election commission, before any votes are counted. There could still be negotiations then, but the voters would know if centrist candidate C was going to roll thier votes rightward or leftward, and could decide who to support in light of that.

It's not at all clear this is a problem. If all the winners are the closest to the centroid, then you will have statistically about the same overall ideological center within the group regardless of whether a proportionality is used. You might expect the lack of different perspectives to cause a problem, but a bunch of centrists can solicit expertise from multiple perspectives. Which makes sense since they are vying for every vote. Not to mention that a body of centrists will tend to get along a lot better than a bunch of quarreling extremists like American leftists and Trumpists.

But as was noted, there are things like sequential proportional approval voting if you really want PR.

1[comment deleted]2y

Quadratic Voting is a very bad idea. Score Voting (aka Range Voting) or STAR Voting are better.

majority preference’s intransitivity makes the notion of a best or winning candidate meaningless.

No. The social welfare function is *utilitarian*. The best candidate is the one with the greatest sum of utilities among all voters.

When you use this (correct) metric to assess voting methods, you get very interesting results.

There's no group that prefers Kasich to Trump and also prefers Kasich to Clinton.

That is irrelevant.

Australia has been using a much more complicated ranked system since 1918, and Ireland has used an even more complicated weighted proportional system. The entire state of Maine adopted IRV, and cardinal systems are much simpler. It's not a fatal disadvantage.

The Approval Voting system is arguably simpler than the status quo, because you remove a rule. The one that stays your vote is invalid if you vote for multiple candidates.

Maybe "near-fatal" is too strong a word, the comment I replied to also had examples. Existence of examples doesn't distinguish winning from survival, seeing some use. I understand the statement I replied to as meaning something like "In 200 years, if the world remains mostly as we know it, the probability that most elections use cardinal voting methods is above 50%". This seems implausible to me for the reasons I listed, hence the question about what you actually meant, perhaps my interpretation of the statement is not what you intended. (Is "long run" something like 200 years? Is "winning" something like "most elections of some kind use cardinal voting methods"?)
every voting system has downsides

You linked to an article about Arrow's Theorem, which only applies to ordinal (ranked) voting methods, not cardinal (rated) voting methods like Score Voting and Approval Voting.

In any case, it's worth noting that Approval Voting was adopted in Fargo, ND in November 2018, and will be used in June 2020.

There will be a 2020 ballot initiative in St. Louis to convert their current partisan March primary + April general with a non-partisan March open primary with Approval Voting, followed by an April top-two.

There will ... (read more)

1mako yass4y
Is utilitarianism an ordinal voting system?
While Arrow's Theorem applies only to ordinal voting methods, other voting methods still have downsides, primarily that you need to be tactical: voting honestly won't always give you your best result. Why are you classifying Approval Voting as cardinal? Why do you think this? You can think of there as being a range of complexity in terms of how much information is elicited from voters: single top preference (FPTP), all acceptable candidates (Approval), candidates in order (Ranked), candidates with ratings (Range). Where we end up on this seems like more a question of what ends up working well in practice than something we can answer from thinking about humans. I like Approval a lot, as I said in the post, but after seeing more hotly contested Approval elections I might understand new aspects of how it works in practice that would change my mind.
(What kind of long run? Why is this to be expected?) Popularity is not based on only merit, being more complicated than the simplest most familiar method sounds like a near-fatal disadvantage. Voting being involved with politics makes it even harder for good arguments to influence what actually happens.

A 2/3 majority prefer Kasich to any other candidate. The point is that Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives dictates that if a group prefers X to Y, and prefers X to Z, that they logically must prefer X if all three are options. It's like if I ask you to choose between chocolate and vanilla and you pick chocolate; if I tell you strawberry is also an option, that shouldn't make you switch to vanilla.

1Sunny from QAD4y
There's no group that prefers Kasich to Trump and also prefers Kasich to Clinton. It's 2/3 in each case, but those two groups of 2/3 only have an overlap of 1/3. I'm not familiar with voting theory, so I might be missing the point, but the sentence "there exists a 2/3 majority of the voting population all of whom prefer Kasich to any other candidate" is false. (The problem might be the ambiguity of the English language: it is true that "for any candidate besides Kasich, there exists a 2/3 majority who prefers Kasich to that candidate".)